Homestay to hotel to homestay.
I always love to stay in authentic accommodation when travelling abroad. With this trip being no exception, I began my search on Airbnb and It wasn't long until I found this beaut. Set in a lush tropical garden overlooking Lake Vembanad in Alleppey, is Love Dale homestay.
£25 per night for a double room including breakfast is quite expensive (would you believe) compared to other places in India. However, the gardens and surrounding nature looked too stunning to resist. Plus, Kerala is quite a wealthy region compared to the north, so I expected it to be slightly more expensive, but for 12 quid a night each, it's an absolute steal.
We stayed in a gorgeous outbuilding in the garden whilst our homestay family were next door in the main house. Anshad and his wife were the perfect hosts, cooking us deliciously traditional Keralan meals every evening (at an additional cost) and telling us everything we needed to see and do in the area. They also provide a yoga teacher so you can take classes on the balcony overlooking the lake in the mornings. The public bus is nearby which takes you into Alleppey town, and you're only a half an hour tuktuk ride to Marari beach.
What I loved about staying here was feeling like part of the community. This secluded homestay almost hides you away from other tourists and is a wonderfully placid place to return to after a full day of exploring.
After saying goodbye to our wonderful Indian family, we moved on to the Marriott in Kochi for a little treat... and to cool down. This Marriott would only be around £70 a night, so you get a lot more for your money here. When we arrived, the pool was a welcome relief, the room was beautiful, and the hospitality was faultless. However, we were only staying for a short time as we were heading to another homestay in Munnar in a couple of days...
I feel Munnar needed her own little section to this post, purely because of her beauty and It was unlike anywhere else I'd been to in India before. The hills of Munnar took four hours to reach by car from Kochi and I'd booked through a tour company called Wilson tours, but there is also a public bus that takes you up too. It's such a lovely place to visit if you do find the Indian heat difficult to bare, as the air is thinner, a hell of a lot cooler, and feels much less polluted. Our homestay was called Green Magic and you can find this listing either on TripAdvisor or through the tour company I mentioned. There also seems to be similar accommodation on Airbnb, so it's worth having a look on there too. Our stay at Green Magic also included a tour through an Ayurveda spice garden, (Kerala is the home of Ayurvedic therapy so I highly recommend having a treatment) and an early morning hike through the tea plantations. (www.wilsontours.co.in)
Our host, Robin, was very kind and hospitable. He cooked us a wonderful candle-lit dinner and welcomed us back from our hike with a delicious breakfast on the balcony which looked out onto the stunning Munnar valleys.
If you have any questions about Munnar, leave a commet below.