Kerala vacation, hidden gems of India
Two week tailor made tour of Kerala showcasing a range of characterful locally-owned accommodation away from tourist areas.
The Quiet by the River, Malayattoor Forest Windermere River House Elakai, Munnar Ameya, Backwaters Ginger House Museum Hotel, Fort Cochin Indian Summer House
£3185including UK flights
Description of Kerala vacation, hidden gems of India
This trip can be booked at any time and tailor made to suit your requirements
Tailor made tour:
All our vacations are tailor made which means we can create a unique vacation for your individual requirements. We offer a range of accommodation from guesthouses and homestays to the more luxurious hotels. Where possible we use properties that are heritage or characterful. Quality and value are the hallmark of our trips. We are licenced to sell flights from the UK.
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) vacation so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetThis vacation is arranged on an individual basis and a vehicle of appropriate size will be used. All the accommodation owners are committed to operating in an environmentally friendly way.
All the properties on this tour are small - Ginger House Museum Hotel is the largest with seven rooms. Windermere River House and Indian Summer House each have five rooms, Ameya and The Quiet by the River have four. Elakai has just two and is sold as an exclusive property - so if you are a couple you will have it all to yourselves (they will lock the other bedroom). Small numbers of guests have lower impact on the environment.
Other than Fort Cochin - all the accommodation in this tour is in a rural location (and in many cases set in a plantation or farm) and away from the main tourist areas we expect guests selecting this vacation to be interested in nature, walking or photography as well as wanting a very personal experience of South India. The backwater resort of Ameya operates totally off-grid.
PeopleThe Quiet by the River is owned by the environmentally friendly and Kerala based family owned group - CGH Earth. CGH Earth Group were pioneers of eco-friendly resorts in Kerala. They also own the reknown hotels of Coconut Lagoon, Spice Village, Marari Beach and Brunton Boatyard. CGH Earth evolved over four decades into a chain that specialises in remaining true to the environment – one of their mottos is "Nature remains the Chief Architect".
All the other properties are privately owned and staffed by locals of the area. Elekai was the private 'vacation home' of the owners and therefore much of the time unused. By offering it to guests it means that the property will be occupied more and it has generated much needed local employment.
Ginger House Museum Hotel is both a hotel and a museum! The owner is an antiques dealer who decided to work in the tourism industry as well when he converted an old warehouse (with a harbour's edge location) into a boutique hotel. This not only created more employment - is also has increased his antique sales as one of the very unusual aspects of this hotel is that guests can buy artifacts and furnishings from their rooms!
Ameya is owned by a French couple and Indian Summer House by Don an Australian and his Mini is Keralite wife - both properties are staffed by locals. The combination of Indian staff and Western owners is good as the Western input ensures that certain standards are maintained. The plot of the Indian Summer House is the ancesteral home of Mini and they have a range of activities that involve members of their local community.
All the properties employ local people as staff - cooks, housekeepers, managers etc. As all the properties other than Ginger House are in rural areas away from the normal tourist destinations this local employment is very important to the individual communities. The experience and training they get often enables them to pursue a career in tourism.
Our local agent is also a family owned business and our lovely team of drivers (most of which have been with us for many years) are dependent on our company for their business. We have an unusual arrangement with our drivers who are paid a monthly wage. This helps them to budget as work in South India is very seasonal and during the low season drivers typically have no work and therefore get no salary and no tips. Our drivers have a contract of employment too which means they know that they still have a job at the beginning of the next season. The drivers and their families were also given a ‘free’ vacation. Many people in India do not take a vacation as such – rather they visit family members. Our agent negotiated with the hotels and houseboat operators we work with and arranged a vacation for 36 people with transfers, accommodation and meals all included. The highlight was to return from Cochin to Trivandrum by air. None of them had stayed in a hotel or flown before so this was a tremendous experience for them. We know of no other local agent who has provided their staff and family with a vacation.