Best Houseboat Operators in Kerala
Backwater Tours, Backwater Packages

Where can you find the best houseboat operators in Kerala?

Cruising in a houseboat through backwater is the incomparable experience Kerala can offer. To make it a really great experience you have to select your houseboat carefully.

Houseboat operators are working around almost all the backwaters stretches in the state. But the great majority of operators are around Vembanak lake, which is the largest backwater stretch in Kerala. Popular backwater destinations like Alleppay, Kumarkom and Cochin, all are in the banks of Lake Vembanad.

Kollam in the banks of Ashtamudi lake is another important backwater destination. You can find some of the best houseboat operators in Kerala here.

I would like to tell you about few of the best houseboat operators in Kerala. The operators list includes the pioneer of the houseboat concept to ultra luxury hoteliers.

Spice Coast Cruises

One of the simplest and most sensitive conversions of the kettuvallam has been done by Spice Coast Cruises. It is part of CGH Earth Group based in Kochi. They definitely are one of the best houseboat operators in Kerala.

They are cleverly increased the number of "awnings" for views as well as breeze. The boats have comfortable sun deck "bed" with white bolster cushions on the elevated section of the boat up front. It is perfect for lounging around with a book. The "captain" steers from the front but you soon forget his presence.

Just behind deck is your coir-carpeted dining room, furnished with unpretentious antiques. The tiny bedroom comes with A/C (running at night only), and in our experience staff strike just the right balance between attentiveness and discretion.

Three more reputable companies, each with huge and reliable fleets, are Lakes and Lagoons, Rainbow Cruises and Soma Houseboats.

CGH Earth

Casino Building
Willingdon Island
Tel: +91 484 3011711

Soma Houseboats

Soma Housebaots are part of famous Somatheeram Ayurveda Group based at Kovalam. They specialize in boats with a separate elevated viewing platform; for this luxury make sure you book one of its "Upper Deck" houseboats.

Prices vary according to season, number of bedrooms, and the length of your cruise. But you should be able to get a basic, air-conditioned one-bedroom houseboat for a reasonable price during the season (much less if you chose a quieter period).

Soma Houseboats

Nehru Trophy Finishing Point
Tel: +91 477 2264112

Houseboats by TourIndia

If you prefer to go with sentiment, you can also investigate TourIndia, the company that pioneered the houseboat concept and were then imitated by countless others. They've stuck to their guns, though, and now operate 12 boats.


Near SMV High School
M G Road
Tel: +91 471 2328070, 2330437, 2331507

Dicovery by Malabar Escapes

If you don't mind forgoing the traditional kettavallam design, the best houseboat experience is aboard Discovery. Launched in late-2006 by Malabar Escapes. Malabar Escapes is Kerala's much-lauded boutique hotel chain, runs The Malabar House in Fort Cochin.

This is a gorgeous modern interpretation of the houseboat concept, with a large upper deck where you dine and sunbathe which is furnished with dining table and loungers. It has a comfortable and stylish bedroom, large shower room and dressing area, and a separate, spacious lounge -- all A/C.

The team works hard to create routes where you won't come across other houseboats, but the likelihood is slim these days. You will probably dock your final night at Privacy, one of their favourite backwaters villas, from where you start and end your journey.

The drawbacks are hefty price tag and the early morning "check-out"-you're required to be off the boat by 10am.

You can also opt for a 3-night package on board the boat, with 2 1/2 full days spent getting a better understanding of backwaters life. You'll visit a market, dine in an authentic village home (one of the best meals you'll have), and watch Kathakali in itss spiritual context in a temple. Discovery has an edge of modernity and style that makes it our personal pick as far as houseboats go.

Discovery Backwater Cruises

"Privacy at Sanctuary Bay"
Tel: +91 478 2582794

Houseboats by Kumarakom Lake Resort

Another top option if money is no object is the small fleet of well-equipped houseboats belonging to Kumarakom Lake Resort. They're among the most luxurious on the lake, and highly recommended. They are also slightly cheaper than Discovery.

Kumarakom Lake Resort

Kumarakom North
Tel: +91 481 2524900, 2524501

Vrinda by Oberoi Hotels and Resorts

The Vrinda is the top-of-the-range choice for 100% luxury and excellent service from India's best-trained hoteliers. The vessel is operated by Oberoi Hotels and Resorts.

The Oberoi Motor Vessel Vrinda, Kerala

C-46 / 452 (II)
Bristow Road
Willingdon Island
Tel: +91 484 3081002

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