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© Kadaltheeram Beach Resort 2013 © photographs by Philip Stewart
The first time I came to India in 2001 I stayed in a neighbouring Hotel near to where I have built mine. I had a wonderful stay there and the staff were all helpful & friendly but I felt I was missing out on seeing "India" because I was enclosed behind the walls of the Hotel and not meeting and seeing the locals doing their daily chores. It was too restricting and it felt like the staff were servants rather than friends, and that I was expected to stay in the Hotel rather than being able to go out and explore the village.
I loved the holiday but I knew there was more to India than staying behind the Hotel walls. The following couple of years I came back to the same village but tried different smaller Hotels to stay in. They gave me more freedom to go out and meet the locals and I enjoyed these stays and learnt more about Indian life than the previous years and made many local friends in the village, but the places I stayed in had very basic rooms with no decoration and looked quite dirty and tired, even though they were clean. I wanted both....the luxury of a nice room with nice furniture and bedding etc., but the freedom to discover India in a place which felt more like a home but with the staff available to help me out when I needed them.
That's what I have tried to create at Kadaltheeram Beach Resort.
Kadaltheeram Beach Resort is set in the middle of a Hindu Village just South of Kovalam in Kerala, South India. Staying here gives you the opportunity of "Experiencing India" and seeing Indian life unfold around you. From the Hotel you can watch the locals going about their daily business and you will see the local parents washing their children by the well outside the house next door.
Down by the beach is the Washing Pool where they wash their clothes on the rocks at the side of the pool giving you a cheerful wave when you pass them by. The children pass on their way to & from school and the fish lady coming to sell fish to the locals or the pots & pans man carrying an amazing amount of utensils piled on top of his head. Every so often you will see the coconuts being harvested. The men climb up the tree like monkeys and cut down the ripe coconuts and hack off the lower branches to use for making the roofs of the local houses
In 2004, Ambi, my friend who is now Manager/Co-director of Kadaltheeram, had some land for sale so I decided to buy it and build my perfect Hotel. Designed in traditional Keralan style, using local builders and craftsmen and having all the furniture made means I was able to create exactly what I had dreamed of.
All the rooms have natural ventilation and ceiling fans. Cool tiles on the floor, decorative terracotta ceiling tiles and all handmade wooden furniture to keep the traditional Kerala style. Local scenes decorate the walls and the ensuite bathroom is fully tiled with shower, wash basin & W.C. All linen and towels are provided and changed on a regular basis. All rooms have a mini fridge, kettle, tea, sugar & milk.
The Ground floor available for rental means you have basically got your own home while in India. The Kitchen has a fridge, electric hob, cooking utensils and cutlery & crockery etc. The granite work surface is easy to clean and the table looks out onto the garden and path down to the beach. The sitting room has a cane set of chairs, settee and coffee table. An ensuite bathroom goes off the sitting room which means you can put a futon in the sitting room if you have young children and need them to be in the same accommodation as yourselves. The bedroom has twin beds, built in wardrobe and a writing table & chairs. It has its own larger ensuite bathroom with shower, sink and W.C. The veranda for the ground floor looks out onto the garden and beach in front of the Hotel, an ideal place to sit and have a relaxing drink, read and watch the world go by.
The other alternative is of course to go down to our beach 'sit-out' area with hammocks, sun beds and deck chairs. This has direct access on to the beach and you can either go for a swim, sunbathe or sit under the shade of our coconut trees - the choice is yours.
The rooms are cleaned every day. All linen & bedding provided. We check and top up or replace the tea, sugar, milk & soap/mosquito mats every day. If there is anything you need then please ask one of the staff and if they cannot sort it out they will contact either myself or Ambi so that we can help or advise.
Most of all we want you to have a relaxing and enjoyable holiday while you are with us. Everyone who has stayed with us has commented on the natural beauty of this stretch of coastline which was voted one of the top 20 beaches in the world in an independent survey a few years ago. Also how nice it is to see local life going on and on how friendly and pleasant the local people are. I feel very honoured and privileged to have been accepted by the people in the village and hope that by coming here you will be able to experience, if only for a week or two, what I have been experiencing since 2001......It really is paradise!
Philip Stewart (M.D. Kadaltheeram Beach Resort).