I was seated on the fifth floor deck of my Grand Executive Suite in Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty. Overlooking the serene expanse of the Vembanad Lake, I sipped my morning coffee. Lush green palm trees swayed in the wind as glistening rays of the sun danced on the water. I was joined by my husband and son soon after and we broke into a chatter and chalked out an itinerary for the rest of the day.
Having travelled extensively across the country, my family takes annual excursions quite seriously. This isn’t our first vacation in Kochi, but the venue of our hotel in Bolgatty Island certainly hailed it as our most memorable stay in Kerala so far. Grand Club, the ‘hotel within the hotel’ is exquisite with spacious seating and modern decor. With recommendations from the chef, we decided to call for a traditional breakfast of puttu and kadala curry, which is essentially a scrumptious dish of steamed, cylindrical rice flour and coconut flakes paired with Bengal gram curry. We gorged on the subtle sweet flavors of the rice flour that perfectly complimented the spices of the curry.
We then headed out to the Kodanad Elephant Training Centre after an hour’s drive from the hotel. Upon our arrival at Abhayaranyam, an elephant rescue and training centre, a naturalist guide welcomed us. As we trekked through the dense forest over the next hour, he engaged us in a conversation about the region, informing us about the various species of medicinal plants and spices there. Branches hung loosely from the giant trees that cast looming shadows on the moss-patched floor. Angad, my six-year-old son, could hardly contain his excitement and occasionally interrupted asking how long it would take for us to spot the elephants.
With a few pit stops along the way, we reached the Kodanad Elephant Training Centre. Elephants stood tall in herds as the mahouts groomed them near a river. My husband swooped Angad on his shoulders as he leaned forward to feed the mammals. We chuckled as they sprayed trunkfuls of water, leaving us drenched. Stopping by the banks of Periyar river, we took pictures of tree houses before returning to the hotel.
Later in the day, we decided to go kayaking on the Vembanad Lake. Under the expertise of an instructor, we equipped ourselves with kayaking gears and set sail. Touring the island villages of Pizhala, Kadamakudy and Moolampilly, we stopped by at a fisherman’s house to learn about fishing nets and cage farming. While on our way to Kadamakudy, my husband and I sipped on freshly tapped toddy, a beverage commonly consumed by the natives. The sky grew to a shade of angry orange that spilled on to the river. We sailed a while longer to catch the sunset before calling it a day.
Dinner was an extravagant affair at the Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty. We chose an alfresco setting by the poolside, from where we could spot the riverfront under a soft moonlight glow. Lampposts and scented candles lit up the entire space. W we indulged in freshly grilled fish and marinated lamb. Only when we thought our evening couldn’t get better, we were entertained to live classical Kathakali performance. The colourful costumes and bright green facemasks had left us enraptured. The crowd broke into an infectious applause at the end of the dance-drama. The rest of the evening was followed by fondly reminiscing our memories through the day.
We returned to our suite. I plonked my clutch on the sofa. The lace curtains swayed in the wind as my husband slid open the French windows of our living room. Neatly placed fruit basket sat atop the dining table. Angad headed straight to the bedroom, turning our king size bed into a bouncy castle. I embraced him in a bear hug as he chuckled and tickled his way to break free. Our high-ringing laughter echoed through the room. Growing tired after a bit, the cotton-soft bed lulled the three of us to sleep.
Over the course of our stay for the next two days, we toured the iconic landmarks across Fort Kochi and Mattancherry in a tuk-tuk and cruised the Vembanad backwaters on a houseboat. We depart with a promise to return to the hotel someday soon.
This was our memorable holiday at the Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty. When do you plan on booking your stay?