The Best Hotels in Kerala, India

From mountaintop hideaway to beachside resort, your choice of hotel in Kerala is as rich as the tea grown locally
From mountaintop hideaway to beachside resort, your choice of hotel in Kerala is as rich as the tea grown locally | Courtesy of Cranganor History Cafe Riverside Chateau / Expedia
Photo of Judy Cogan
24 March 2021

Palm-tree lined beaches, yoga retreats and elephant sanctuaries are all part of Kerala‘s appeal. Explore tea plantations, try Ayurvedic therapies and cruise the tranquil backwaters of this southwest Indian tropical paradise.

Recognised as “God’s Own Country”, Kerala is renowned the world over for its warmth, which is instrumental in the place being consistently ranked among the all-time top tourist destinations in the world. With the philosophy of “Athithi Devo Bhava”, meaning “the guest is equivalent to God”, the hospitality industry of Kerala delivers on all fronts. Choose from these top hotels and resorts for your next stay, and book with Culture Trip.

Purity at Lake Vembanad

Hotel, Resort
4.5/5 (12 Reviews)
Purity at Lake Vembanad, Kerala
Courtesy of Purity at Lake Vembanad / Expedia
Expect luxury in the most authentic sense at Purity. The property, an extensive but peaceful villa, feels like an extension of Lake Vembanad and is accessible by boat or car. Choose from deluxe rooms or garden and wellness suites decorated with modern Indian art and pops of colour. The hotel offers backwater experiences, from an evening canoe ride to day-long excursions, plus daily yoga classes. It’s 70km (43mi) from Cochin International Airport.
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Blanket Hotel and Spa

4.7/5 (26 Reviews)
Blanket Hotel and Spa, Kerala
Courtesy of Blanket Hotel and Spa / Expedia

Imagine swimming in an elevated infinity pool facing the babbling Attukad waterfalls above a beautiful sloped tea plantation. Munnar is the tea capital of southern India and staying here you’ll be in a blissful oasis of natural greenery. Explore the area on a trek with the in-house naturalist, relax with yoga and meditation sessions or learn about Ayurvedic living from local experts. The accommodation has plenty of comforts and all the right tech, and the staff are warm and helpful. A freshly brewed cup of Munnar tea on the terrace is a must.

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Cranganor History Cafe & Riverside Chateau

Boutique Hotel
5/5 (4 Reviews)
Cranganor History Cafe Riverside Chateau , Kerala 2
Courtesy of Cranganor History Cafe Riverside Chateau / Expedia

Wake up in this charming Dutch-inspired property to the sight of fishermen on Periyar River just metres away, and enjoy a breakfast of traditional southern Indian dishes. All seven colourful rooms are river-facing and light-flooded. The hotel kitchen garden is teeming with spices ready to be picked and cooked with the catch of the day for dinner. The Ayurvedic Spa offers excellent massages in a snug cottage with a colour-stained glass roof.

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Port Muziris, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

Hotel, Chain Hotel
4.4/5 (8 Reviews)
Port Muziris, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Kerala
Courtesy of Port Muziris, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel / Expedia

This stylish and modern property with popping murals and oversized windows that frame tropical scenes is found in a suburb of Kochi called Nedumbassery. The Kettle tea lounge is a high-end buzzy canteen, while the all-day restaurant, Lila’s Kitchen, serves delicious homemade Keralan dishes. This is one slick, but heartfelt, operation.

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Forte Kochi

Boutique Hotel
4.8/5 (17 Reviews)
Forte Kochi, Kerala
Courtesy of Forte Kochi / Expedia

Take a step back in time in this buttercup-yellow hotel, originally built by the Dutch in the 1860s, on the popular Princess Street in Fort Kochi. The 27 luxury rooms are ample in size with four-poster beds, elegant antique furniture and Portuguese-style tiled flooring. The central courtyard is the perfect spot to start the day with a tasty continental breakfast.

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Fragrant Nature Munnar

Hotel, Luxury
4.4/5 (40 Reviews)
Fragrant Nature Munnar, Kerala
Courtesy of Fragrant Nature Munnar / Expedia

Teetering high in the dewy greenery of Munnar, this hill hotel is suited to nature lovers and adventurous tea drinkers in equal measure. All rooms are elegant, with pastel-hued panelling and a decadent regency-feel, but the mid-range Moonlight Bliss rooms have private hill-facing terraces with plunging views without the honeymoon price tag. Take a (strenuous) trek followed by an authentic Ayurveda wellness treatment in the spa.

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Poovar Island Resort

3.5/5 (19 Reviews)
Poovar Island Resort, kerala
Courtesy of Poovar Island Resort / Expedia

The ancient principles of Ayurveda, an alternative medicine system rooted in India, runs through every part of this hotel from the specialised restaurant menus to calming spa treatments and accommodation, which is split over water and land. The floating cottages are bursting with character and offer close-up views of the Keralan backwaters, and fishermen casting their Chinese nets each morning.

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Le Colonial 1506

Boutique Hotel
5/5 (2 Reviews)
Le Colonial 1506, Kerala
Courtesy of Le Colonial 1506 / Expedia

Built in 1506, this boutique hotel is an aptly named private home near Fort Kochi. Each of the eight rooms are named after famous former guests and explorers, and are fitted with elegant antique furnishings. There’s a small decked pool in the garden, and although there’s no spa, in-room or on-your-veranda treatments can be arranged. The communal areas are accessible for wheelchair users and one ground-floor room has been specially adapted.

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Abad Whispering Palms

Chain Hotel, Hotel
3.4/5 (20 Reviews)
Abad Whispering Palms, Kerala
Courtesy of Abad Whispering Palms / Expedia

This beautiful property flanks Vembanad, the largest lake in India and a tranquil backdrop to the garden-view and lake-facing rooms, and the bamboo pool villas. There’s also a lake-fronting infinity pool and three plunge pools with a view of the backwaters. Granary, the in-house restaurant, has a multi-cuisine menu and all dishes are created using locally sourced ingredients and fresh market produce. The property is roughly a two-hour drive from the international airport and Kottayam Railway Station is half an hour away.

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  • Brunton Boatyard – CGH Earth

    4.7/5 (58 Reviews)
    Brunton Boatyard – CGH Earth, Kerala
    Courtesy of Brunton Boatyard – CGH Earth / Expedia

    Once a former shipyard, Brunton Boatyard’s architecture harks back to the British colonial period. Just take a look at the lounge – old-fashioned punkahs (fans) still hang from its ceiling. It sits prettily on the waterfront with gorgeous views across the harbour. Book a sea-facing room if you can – you’ll catch the stunning sunsets, and might also spot a dolphin or two. Start the day with laps of the pool, followed by a traditional Ayurvedic massage.

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    Parakkat Nature Resorts

    Resort, Independent Hotel, Eco Hotel
    4.5/5 (22 Reviews)
    Parakkat Nature Resorts, Kerala
    Courtesy of Parakkat Nature Resorts / Expedia

    This five-star hotel is just a 15-minute drive from Munnar, but feels secluded, thanks to the 12 acres (5ha) of gardens surrounding it. A real highlight of Parakkat Nature Resorts is the stunning view across the verdant rolling hills and tea plantations. For the ultimate luxury stay, book a villa with a private plunge pool. The resort also offers a number of tours – from guided 4×4 tours to local market visits.

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    Xandari Harbour

    4.5/5 (22 Reviews)
    The hotel faces the ocean, where dolphins can be sighted if you are lucky
    Courtesy of Xandari Harbour

    Steeped in history, Xandari Harbour at Fort Kochi is a walk into the past. Housed in an ex-spice warehouse that is nearly 300 years old, the hotel is pared-back and rustic with unpainted walls, especially in the industrial 51 Restaurant. Rooms are more plush with wooden floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and crisp, white bed linen. Enjoy a dip in the natural pool or start the day with a yoga class.

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    The Zuri Kumarakom

    Resort, Spa Hotel, Hotel
    4.3/5 (177 Reviews)
    The Zuri Kumarakom, Kerala
    Courtesy of The Zuri Kumarakom / Expedia

    Nestled in the backwaters of Kumarakom, the Zuri Kumarakom is a five-star property located on Vembanad Lake. Winding lagoons, coconut trees and a sea breeze paint a picture-perfect view of the place, combining nature with luxury. Head to the award-winning Maya Spa, which combines Ayurvedic treatments with Western and Oriental therapies. Try the Abhyangam massage, which uses dosha-specific oils to flush out toxins.

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    Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel

    4/5 (76 Reviews)
    Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Kerala
    Courtesy of Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel / Expedia

    As you might imagine, the Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel provides sea views from its Fort Kochi vantage point. With just 13 guest rooms, the hotel provides a personalised service and relaxed, calming atmosphere. Book a sea view suite to enjoy the sound of waves at night. Breakfast is complimentary, plus there is an outdoor pool, Ayurvedic spa and yoga studio. At dinner, the honey glazed pork is well worth a try.

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    Hills and Hues Resort Thekkady

    Resort, Eco Hotel
    The hotel also offers easy treks to the surrounding mountain peaks
    Courtesy of Hills & Hues | Courtesy of Hills & Hues

    Nuzzled in the heart of nature, Hills and Hues Resort is where you can wake up to chirping birds and the sight of mist rolling down the valley. The real draw here is the infinity pool with its truly astonishing view over the Periyar hills. Book the King’s Lair for 180-degree views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Try one of the many experiences – from visiting a tiger sanctuary to bamboo rafting. We’d also recommend booking the cooking lesson from the in-house chef, who will take you through their fruit, vegetable and spice garden.

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    This is an updated version of an article originally by Charishma Thankappan.

    These recommendations were updated on March 24, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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