Kerala has a huge variety of resorts, ranging from family-run guesthouses to upmarket resorts. Visitors can expect to find a resort that suits their needs and their budget in all tourist destinations.
Most of the tourist accommodation facilities in Kerala are in the form of small resort complexes. You can find large number of resorts in the beaches, backwaters and hill stations. You can also find unique Heritage resorts and Ayurveda resorts in Kerala.
Resorts are graded from one-star to five-star deluxe and above given by the central government authorities and the lower star classification by the state government. Resorts are judged on a number of pre-determined standards, from ambience and room size to the qualifications of the staff, services and facilities.
Five-star deluxe resorts have extensive facilities, including modern rooms, round-the-clock room service, swimming pool, bar, 24-hour coffee shop and restaurant. Five-star and four-star resorts are a cut below the five star deluxe resorts, while three star resorts are maintain reasonably good standards without the frills of a five star deluxe.
Kerala has many modestly priced resorts. Most of them are located near hill stations, backwaters and beaches and standards vary considerably. Some can be great value for money, while others are downright dirty.
Before booking into a really low-priced resort, it is important to inspect the rooms to check the standards of cleanliness and to see that everything works.
The forest department has lodges and rest houses inside most Kerala wildlife reserves. Like the other government guesthouses, these too are beautifully located but are rarely well managed and can be difficult to book prior to arrival.
Privately owned lodges, resorts and camps are generally located near the entrance to or in peripheral areas of the reserves. These are organised for visitors to the wildlife reserves.
Government guesthouses, such as the Circuit Houses in cities, and the Public Works Department Resthouses, which are located outside the cities and towns, are often grand colonial buildings with equally impressive rooms.
Most of them have highly desirable locations, but unfortunately many of them are poorly managed and maintained. Moreover, rooms are generally reserved for government officials, so finding accommodation can be difficult.
Old buildings have been opened for visitors are called heritage hotels in Kerala. This is not a homogeneous concept, and it covers a variety of types of accommodation, from luxury heritage resorts to bungalows run by the owners.
In Kerala, heritage resorts, such as Ayish Manzil at Thalasseri and Harivihar at Kozhikode, are still partially occupied by their owners. Other old residences, including River Retreat at Cheruthuruthy and Malabar House, have been converted into hotels.
A unique concept in Kerala is the relocation of old wooden houses to new sites, such as beaches and backwaters, to create 'heritage resorts'. Surya Samudra, Somatheeram and Nikki's Nest at Chowra south of Kovalam, and Coconut Lagoon at Kumarakom, are almost entirely comprised of transplanted old wooden buildings.
It is possible to stay at working plantations, in Munnar, Kumily near Thekkadi and on the way from Thekkadi to Munnar. These plantations all have converted heritage houses, as well as newly built resorts.
Upmarket resorts at the beaches or hill stations have a special attraction because of their location. They provide idyllic settings and a vast range of facilities.
Some popular resorts are at the beaches of Kovalam and Marari, the backwaters around Kumarakom, the hill town of Munnar in Kerala. Such resorts are heavily booked in the winter months from October to March, so early advance reservations are recommended.
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