The backwaters, a self-supporting eco-system of lakes, canals and estuaries that connect many villages together, are unique to Kerala and best explored by houseboat. Monumental sites may be few here, in comparison to the rest of India, but Kathakali more than makes up for this.
Colonial or small characterful hotels, tea plantations, havellis
These dreamy little hotels today belong to the descendants of those who lived here in the colonial era, who are your highly affable, energetic and involved hosts.
Historic forts and opulent palaces (India)
Few structures evoke the majesty of the Indian courts as splendidly as the country’s numerous palaces and ancient forts.
Village trek houses (India)
Village walks are a great concept and an increasing number of sophisticated travellers are seeking something beyond five-star luxury – although even here it is possible!
Owner Managed Retreats (India)
Staying at establishments which are owner managed is becoming increasingly popular, allowing one to experience real India.
Tented camps and luxury safari lodges
The subcontinent has a wide range of wildlife camps – from intimate, owner-managed camps to luxury lodges. The owner-managed camps are intimate and are set in magnificent locations either overlooking a river or the forest.
Royal Tented Luxury Lodges
These small, often luxurious boutique style camps are found all over Rajasthan - from the Thar desert, to Nimaj, overlooking a lake, to outside the tiger reserves in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and occupying locations on the outskirts of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur.
Houseboats and luxury cruises
A trip to South India is incomplete without a journey on a traditional house boat. Locally known as kettuvallam, these traditional rice barges are made by tying jackwood planks together with coir rope and then coating them with black resin made from boiled cashew nut shells.
Design Inspired, Luxury Boutique Hotels
You will enjoy fine food and an intimate atmosphere in our specially selected luxury boutique hotels. These usually are smaller independent properties including city hotels and retreats.
Luxury trains in India
Welcome to the world of luxury train travel in India, where pampered guests can drink in scenes of daily life from a cocoon of comfort. In India, the rail network is an essential part of life. The second-largest system in the world, stretching nearly 64,000km, it could be wrapped twice around the Earth.
Private Villas and Houses
Goa and Kerala are best known for some of the country's finest beaches. The Dutch and Portuguese both left their mark on these coastal towns, which means you will find charming properties from simple, private houses right on the beach that one takes over exclusively, to sumptuous villas. Sri Lanka has a wealth of beautiful, colonial style villas on the coast and beautiful houses in the tea plantation regions.
Luxury Beach Lodges and Hotels
We have a wonderful array of luxury beach lodges and hotels in India and Sri Lanka.
Robinson Crusoe retreats – India and Sri Lanka
Away from the mainland are the Andaman and Lakshadweep Islands, where you can discover India’s best-kept secrets.
Resorts – five-star and lower – India, Bhutan, Burma and Borneo
These are larger hotels, again, either placed in a city in India such as Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, Bangalore or Bhutan, such as Paro, Thimphu and Bumthang.
Bhutan Accommodation Style
Elegant hotels like the Uma Paro and the Aman group rub shoulders alongside resorts and the more basic, traditional Bhutanese hotels that have their own particular charm.
Maldives Accommodation Style
Resorts that just breathe imaginative and inspired luxury in one of the world’s most beautiful seascapes – this is sybaritic bliss at its most blissful!
Nepal Accommodation Style
Award-winning heritage hotels, atmospheric walking or trekking hotels, vibrant hubs of activity, pioneering jungle lodges, and camps and mountain lodges.
Sri Lanka Accommodation Style
Sri Lanka is a country that has effortlessly preserved its wealth of colonial houses and converted these into the most stunning and stylish boutique hotels, homestays, country retreats and seaside villas. It has also built itself some exceptional modern examples.
Borneo Accommodation Style
Borneo is one of the ultimate diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. These resorts are often wonderfully isolated and many have turtle nesting sites that you can observe in carefully controlled night watches.
Burma (Myanmar) Accommodation Style
There is an array of accommodation to choose from in Myanmar. The majority of choice is for larger hotels but as tourism develops there are an increasing number of smaller, more boutique style places and those with a difference that go that extra mile.
A powerful combination of dance and drama, heavily made-up actors dressed in elaborate costumes use head and eye movements, facial expressions and mime to tell ancient tales of gods and demons.
Kerala is a tropical paradise. It follows a much gentler pace than its northern counterparts, the tropical beauty of this south-west swathe of India is unrivalled.
It’s not only the region’s scenic splendour that will win your heart on a holiday in Kerala, but also its friendliness, spirituality and tasty cuisine.
It has a fascinating mix of influences, from the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs and Chinese who came to trade spices and ivory, to the Dutch, Portuguese and British – all of whom have left their mark: the Chinese fishing nets in Cochin, the Dutch forts and palaces throughout the region, the tea plantations and the cricket pitches of the Raj occupation.
In addition to the long shoreline, there are tranquil backwaters to enjoy on your luxury holiday in Kerala, flanked by beautiful hill country where the slopes are blanketed with tea plantations and the cooling breezes provide respite in the searing summer months. In amongst the plantations and paddy fields, there are numerous historic and cultural monuments.
The Keralan people, with their distinctive Malayalam language, are among the most charming and independent in India, famed for their delicious fish curries and a history of independent thinking. With its rolling hills of the Western Ghats, wildlife sanctuaries, spice plantations and tranquil backwaters, Kerala deserves its title ‘God’s Own Country’.
A Kerala vacation has so much more to offer than beaches, backwaters and massages. Our bespoke luxury holidays to India take in lovely small, owner-managed properties overflowing with warm hospitality and wonderful local cuisine; superbly guided individual birding and wildlife trips well off the beaten track, where you can camp out in the middle of elephant and tiger safari country; beautiful and remote plantation bungalows stylishly and imaginatively converted to accommodate our discerning clients for their luxury Kerala holidays.
- Utterly designed and tailored around you and your requirements
- Totally unique every time you travel with us
- The very best hand picked guides which can make the difference between a good and an outstanding holiday
- Established over 30 years ago we have been around longer than most
- Our specialists come from, have lived in or travelled extensively in the regions we cover
- Unparalleled knowledge provides you with the best possible experience
- Philanthropy is our philosophy
- Our founding principle is to always ‘put something back’
- An amount from each holiday is donated to our selected conservation and humanitarian charities
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...
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