Kayal Island Retreat
Breathe deeply, close your eyes, and allow yourself to daydream about living a simpler life free of stress.
Unwind from the dizzying obligations of your daily routine at Kayal Island Retreat—living like a Kerala local while indulging in the comforts of contemporary luxury. Take in the natural beauty of this unique region in southwest india, give in to the moment, and enjoy life unspoiled by concrete jungles and modern hustle and bustle.
Kayal Island Retreat (also featured in Conde Nast Traveller) is rich with tradition, undisturbed by the passing of time. Kakkathuruthu means Island of Crows. Centuries ago, it was inhabited by only crows, but now there is a vibrant village with 300 families that live on the island. Located in the middle of the beautiful Lake Vembanad, the surrounding water reflects the burnt orange and gold sunset each evening.
They say the journey is just as important as the destination, and this holds true for the traveler’s path to Kayal. A short ride from Kochi brings you to the banks of the enchanting Lake Vembanad, which is then followed by a romantic rowboat ride to the lodgings.
Kayal Island Retreat consists of four cottages on the very edge of the Kakkathuruthu Island, built using sustainable, recycled materials. With a secluded water-front and lake front vistas and surrounded by coconut trees, guests find themselves in full quiet and privacy—a complete escape from the hectic world.
From the outside, the cottages appear to be authentic local dwellings; on the inside, sophisticated modern furnishing and luxurious amenities make for a five-star experience. Each cottage is equipped with a reading area and desk for the contemplative and bookish, as well as an open-air ensuite bath garden that showcases nature as the most divine and purest art form.
The cuisine at Kayal is designed to nurture and replenish your body. It is a tribute to Kerala’s rich culinary tradition, created with fresh, locally-sourced produce and seafood freshly caught off the banks of the island. Eat lunch off a banana leaf and sip nutritious juice concoctions of fruit, wheatgrass, aloe vera, and other super-foods; observe the serene waters of Lake Vembanad while sampling a selection of tea and local delights in the outdoor dining area.
Kayal is an oasis of relaxation and rejuvenation, and activities such as meditation, massages, and yoga can be scheduled at your leisure. Venture onto the lake on a canoe ride for a peaceful morning, and sail pass rice paddies, fisherman, coconut farms, and small villages. Digest a book in the open reading space as a gentle breeze runs over your skin.
For those seeking a bit of exercise, a cycling excursion around the island may suit your tastes. For off-the-beaten-path adventurers, join a farmer in the fields, take a day-trip off the island to Fort Kochi, or participate in local festivities and traditions.
Maneesha Panicker, the founder of Kayal Island Retreats, succinctly says that “travel should be full of surprises, unexpected adventures, and last minute addictions.” Staying true to this philosophy, the retreat offers a myriad of exquisite experiences that will please travelers from all walks of life.
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