Why homestays make a great accommodation choice

This is a guest post from Dominic Sawyer at Mahindra Homestays.

Kerala Recipes, Alleppey

Cooking lessons at a Kerala homestay

If you’re planning your Kerala trip and thinking about where you’re going to stay, take a good look at the Kerala homestay option.

Homestays are the preferred choice of travelers that want comfort and quality, but who also want to avoid the often sterile and detached experience of chain hotels and package holidays.

Staying in family homes has become a popular and rewarding choice for thousands of India travelers and it’s not difficult to understand why. While Kerala has glorious beaches, few visit just to lie under the sun. They are looking for a bigger experience, whether that includes cruising the backwaters, discovering night-fishing, exploring the spice plantations of Munnar, tracking exotic wildlife in Wayanad or simply expanding their understanding of a different culture.

They want a colourful and interesting holiday that they will remember for ever.

This makes homestays ideal, because they provide a range of complimentary benefits: warm hospitality from attentive, knowledgeable hosts and their staff; delicious home-cooked local cuisine, often with impromptu cooking lessons; assistance and advice on getting around and day trips; fascinating insights into Kerala family life that you would be unlikely to get in a hotel, and much more.

Mahindra Homestays, set up in 2008 and now with over a hundred homestays across India – including a Kerala homestay portfolio totaling 56 – are of particular appeal because they guarantee a consistent standard across all their homes. Inspectors regularly audit each homestay to ensure the highest standards of comfort, cleanliness, safety and even ‘originality’ are being kept.

Here’s a sample of their Kerala homestay offering, all available to book online:

Kodianthara is an elegant and characterful six bedroom homestay set on a rubber plantation in sleepy Kumarakom. Its owners, the Crispins, also have a delightful Kumarakom boat house available for hire – saving guests the hassles and uncertainties of arranging a houseboat trip through agents or touts. The home is 150-years-old and designed according to Vaastu Shastra, the Hindu system of architecture. A sunny courtyard, relaxing gazebo and lofty communal area are particular features. The family are eco-aware and make the most of their location, using solar power to warm the water and canoes to travel the watery roads. Fishing in the Kerala backwaters, open-air meals in the sun or moonlight, swimming, bird watching, cooking lessons and Ayurvedic massage are all options.

Orion is an romantic homestay in the centre of Fort Cochin, run by a down-to-earth modern young Indian couple. The property is newly constructed but in a traditional Keralite architectural style. It has four spotless bedrooms, all with private balconies, looking over the city. A lush green lawn, communal areas and efficient staff on hand to look after the needs of guests make this a popular choice. Ayurvedic massages can be arranged.

Spice Garden is a charming wood-built homestay in Munnar, with gorgeous views of the surrounding green mountains. Spice Garden was originally an award-winning pepper plantation, but five years ago owner George ventured into the hospitality industry and didn’t look back. He’s created a home for peace and inspiration; it’s no surprise that it attracts acclaimed writers and Bollywood directors. It’s hugged by lush tea estates, flowering plants, spices and fruit trees.

For more information about Mahindra Homestays and to book, visit their main site. Also take a look at their blog on real India travel, follow their Twitter and check them out on Facebook where they run regular competitions and share travel tips.

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