Built in the Dutch style of architecture with hints of Portuguese influences, Old Harbour Hotel was the first hotel of old Cochin. A restored colonial home converted into a hotel whose architecture displays an amalgamation of Dutch and Portuguese styles, this 300 year-old building has long been a heritage monument of the town, now reopened as a boutique hotel.
Room rates range from USD $185 to USD $315
Their al fresco terrace restaurant called 1788 serves a menu of Indian and international dishes, made with organic vegetables and fruits.
Being a coastal town, you can expect to find an array of delicacies with varieties of fish as the protagonist. The breakfast options vary from Western to Keralan, allowing you to sample the local cuisine.
The in-house Chariot Bar is perfect while sharing chronicles from the past, as they serve beer prohibition-style: in teapots.
There are a total of 13 rooms to choose from; including three suites. Airy and spacious, the rooms have high ceilings and period furniture with tall French windows. The decor is minimal with a few sculptures and vases sourced from nearby Jew Town.
The furnishings comprise lightweight fabrics that add bursts of red and yellow colors in the otherwise white rooms.
The plush amenities of the rooms consist of a private balcony or patio, king-sized antique four poster bed, wooden flooring, roofless bathroom, cable television, tea/coffee maker, air conditioner, computer with internet access, mini bar, and DVD player on request.
Being a historic coastal town, there are many fragments of bygone eras that lie in Fort Kochi. The hotel arranges day trips and tours with informed guides to explore spots like St. Francis Church that was once the resting ground of Vasco da Gama, Jew Town that houses the oldest Jewish Synagogue in India, or the Palace Museum in Mattancherry to gape at murals and royal paraphernalia of the Rajas of Kochi.
You can also attempt at decoding the working system of the Chinese fishing nets, as Fort Kochi is the only place that uses them in India. Alternatively, shopping therapy seldom fails. Expect to pick up curios and antiques; as well as spices like cardamom, cloves and pepper that the region is known to produce in abundance.
Located on Tower Road, the Old Harbour Hotel claims to be the first hotel in Old Cochin, now called Kochi. This 300-year-old building was originally built in the Dutch architectural style with Portuguese influences.
It later became a residential home to employees of English tea-broking firms, until it was left unused for a period of time. But proprietor Edgar Pinto hatched a restoration plan in a bid to offer the people of Kochi to preserve and relive a glorious past, together with German architect Karl Damschen, who refurbished this heritage structure. Being an art lover, Edgar has transformed some of the hotel’s walls into an art gallery where he features paintings from budding local artists.
The restored home has a stark whitewashed exterior complemented by a slanted tiled roof, and a spacious courtyard. It also houses a little pond dotted with lilies surrounding the tropical garden, and an infinity pool lined with deck chairs to lounge in. In a bid to encourage and share local culture, they have built a mini stage that showcase performances by folk musicians and dancers.
Visiting Kerala and not experiencing a traditional Ayurvedic massage would be sacrilegious. The can arrange treatments in your room upon request for a range of treatments, such as the famed shirodhara, with trained professionals.
"This is a lovely hotel, old and beautiful; a restful little oasis at a central location. The rooms were very comfortable and spacious, and the food was good. The only drawbacks were the sun loungers that you cannot move; and some early morning noise from workers in the adjacent street. However, what was outstanding was the first-class service, which was the most genuine, courteous and graceful we experienced throughout our visit to Kerala." Yasha, UK.
"This old hotel has been wonderfully renovated. The suites in particular are extremely comfortable and the staff is great. If your trip around Kerala starts in Cochin, then this is a lovely place to stay. Plus, it is only a few minutes away from the nets and other attractions." Roddy, Rugby.
"This was our first stay and came as a recommendation from some friends who live near Alleppey. The hotel is the best place to stay in Cochin—a real oasis of tranquility, set in the stunning conversion of the colonial building. With a four-year-old kid, the pool proved to be a real bonus. The staff was excellent; they paid attention to my daughter’s needs. I would certainly recommend this hotel to anyone." Simon, Bath.