I must start by saying how well we were looked after by our host, Manoj. Even though the lady of the house, Shantha, was away herself, Manoj was a superb and delightful host. We had many interesting conversations with him and he was always there to see to our ever need. The house itself is like staying in a National Trust property- beautifully proportioned and retaining original fittings and fitments. The rooms are very spacious and comfortable and we had some of our most peaceful nights. Situated just outside of Kottayam town in the village of Ayemenem (for book lovers- this is the village where 'The God of Small Things' is set), the house backs on to the river and has its own garden full of fruits and spices, which end up on your plate! Our cook, Poinama, provided traditional Keralan feasts every lunch and dinner- this was a real highlight. Afternoon tea is served daily which suited us Brits!
Great Getaway/Home away from Home? - especially because it SO epitomizes the spirit of Syrian Christian culture and hospitality.
Back Home on the Waterfront-since I have spent many Christmas holidays in another such home a little further up the same Meenachel River in Aymanam-
Having read the book " Four Aleys" by Renu Kurien Balakrishnan- the youngest Aley in the book - I felt rather transported to the mystical era described by Renu.
The magic of the place works best when we observe the simple rules of the house- mainly punctuality and observing consideration for other peoples time and effort.
Great personal and personnel management.
Mouth watering Syrian Christian cuisine.
Missed meeting the hostess since she was away on holiday.But her spirit pervaded the Home.Many thanks. Hope to meet her sometime.
The icing on the cake was that the young master of the property - Kurien-was there to play host- came all the way from Bangalore to ensure his mother's standards were met.
I take this opportunity to thank the Management and the staff!
We stayed at Akkara House for three glorious days while in Kerala, it was a fantastic stay! Shantha our hostess was kind, generous and a superb cook. The rooms and grounds were very well maintained and spotless! Manoj the driver was a personable and friendly young man, whose driving skills were absolutely commendable. Shantha and her staff fed us as if we were royalty, everything was impeccably fresh and well made and tailored to our low heat tolerance. We were lucky enough to have received handwritten recipes and fresh nutmeg & mace to take home with us .Shantha arranged an overnight houseboat stay and a canoe ride to the beautiful seminary, where we were personally escorted by one of the gracious seminarians. We will definitely go and stay again at Akkara House the next time we are lucky enough to travel to Kerala.
We had stayed in large hotels in Mumbai and Delhi, and the delightful Secret Garden in Fort Cochi. Arriving at Akkara driven by the lovely Manoj was interesting as we cluttered over the last bit of dirt track he christened the Akkara Express Way( soon to be tarmacced).
Mrs Kurien welcomed us and immediately asked what we wished to do. At our request she arranged a birdwatching trip by canoe on the lake, we got up at 5 am, fabulous Ayurvedic 4 hand massage, and she even booked the houseboat trip for us at a very competitive price for a very comfy boat. It is staying in someones hosuse, and this may not suit everyone, but made a lovely change for us. She is a good cook, and her european style deserts like creme caramel and a wonderful love apple sorbet are delicious. A lovely relaxing stay.
Me n my family (four of us, me, my husband, kids aged 11 n 5) visited Akkara from 24th to 28th dec. I booked Akkara looking at pics of the house on their website and wanted a low key, quiet, relaxing, truly Kerala holiday. The house and the setting is beautiful. Backwater runs arnd. the house and the area around the house is huge, making it a great place or kids to play. U get can free boat rides and enjoy fishing anytime u want. The good things end just abt there.
My idea of a homestay (my first this one) was a loving, hospitable looking after your needs, providing you awesome food, positive attitude and a relaxing environment. This was not meant to be.
The hostess of the house, a strong willed lady, very controlling and not so welcoming. She follows strict timing for Bfast, lunch and dinner and is not flexible with them. Lady... If u r sooo strict abt them, pls. highlight them at time of booking. Also people r here on a holiday not on a business conference. Her bfast time is 8-9:30 am (9:30 is max....) and from 9 am she starts telling u to eat quickly. No mrng tea served. Food is not allowed to ur room. Twice when we went to pick the tea from her kitchen to our room on first floor, we were given cold tea. Her food is good but bland from Indian perspective. She prefers catering to English, who expect bland food, eat bfast at 8 am, kids r quiet and to top it all, she tells me all this....yes, she tells me. I guess she was stuck with us Indians.....:(.
The cleanliness is also an issue...we discovered they don't clean rooms or take even litter out till u tell them. Don't clean patio table's etc. Once our juice came with ant and i found a long hair in a chutney bowl. Dosa's served last day were cold, when we asked for fresh...she didn't look too pleased.
My kids said that she gave them disapproving looks when they used to go for bfast arnd 9 and told me that it was the worst stay ever. They also told me to never book there again.
So lady of the hs, pls stand us and take notice or make it a homestay for English people only who will never complain...good or bad. We r Indians and we need clean food, clean surrounding and service....we r paying for it right???