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CGH Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom

The district of Kuttanad (land of short people) in Kerala is home to a timeless property named Coconut Lagoon which has been rated amongst the top 25 best getaways in the world by Conde Nast Traveller. Spread across 30 acres of beautifully chiseled landscape, Coconut Lagoon is not quite what you'd expect from a holiday resort. Surprised? Well, just sit back, relax and explore; there's much more that defies easy definition of a retreat.

There are so many facets to the Coconut Lagoon experience. This includes heritage of the old feudal villages of Malabar, the vast frolic of the Vembanad Lake, the shimmering waters of the canals that crisscross the property, and the flavour bursts of Kerala home-style cooking. Together, they truly depict celebration of harmony, life and natural beauty that touches every sense and takes you into a world still unsullied by modern ways.

The distinctive architecture of Coconut Lagoon has its own tales to tell. Some of these mansions are over 150 years old, and were transplanted here, beam by beam, timber by timber, from the old houses of the county that had fallen to ruin. Restoring them was an elephantine task and the process in entirety took several years that included much love and labour. It's a great feel when one comes across the Aasaris, descendants of the master craftsmen who had originally created these dwellings. The styled woodwork and fine detail of Coconut Lagoon's mansions is a tribute to their skill, patience and devotion. Those with a keen eye for architecture will surely find the carved balustrade, an ornate railing and elaborately worked brass locks a reflection of the bygone era.

The total inventory of 49 rooms may be divided into three categories – 27 Heritage Bungalows, 14 Heritage Mansions and 8 Private Pool Villas. All categories meet highest quality standards and are equipped with all modern amenities for any discerning traveler.

Just drop into Aymanam, the Lakeside restaurant for some genuine fish curry with bones in it, tapioca with crushed bird's eye chili and more. Here the guests are served the most authentic, home-cooked Kerala food on a banana leaf which gives a great feel and surpasses all flavours of Kerala food that they might have tried before. The lakeside grill offers an innovative and fresh approach toward cooking seafood. Thanks to a super-hot clay oven that cooks a fish of up to two kilos in seven minutes flat that allows it to retain its essential juices.

At Ettukettu the multi cuisine restaurant one can savour Indian and Continental delicacies. It offers Kerala cuisine that allows one to check out some authentic Malabari food in form of fresh fish from the lake and the sea. It is highly recommended that one tries here the local delicacy, Karimeen (Pearl Spot fish) a dish beloved of its connoisseurs, who will argue for hours over the proper method of cooking it.

The Vembanadu Grill near the swimming pool offers its guests assorted salads, sandwiches, wraps and grills. Those who wish to engage in a special moment with close friends can surely try The Heron's Pond Bar which serves up to 6 different coconut cocktails.

Every morning at 7.00am one can try yoga class under expert guidance of a yoga instructor at the open air platform yoga centre. In the evenings at 6.00 pm, Meditation & Pranayama sessions are conducted at the same venue. Those who wish to understand the ancient martial arts of Kerala may join and Practice some deft movements, grace and swordplay combined with the traditional martial art form of Kerala known as Kalarippayattu.

Some other leisure activities include Bird Watching, Butterfly Garden and Dragon Fly watching. Butterflies are one of the most fascinating creatures in nature. Take a trip around the property with a naturalist to see the profusion of flora and fauna on display.

Coconut Lagoon also plays host to some of the finest dancers, musicians and performers of traditional art forms of Kerala which surely enthralls the audience who carry home some great memories to cherish for a lifetime.