For stories from Kayal

Come away with us to explore a life charmed.

Kayal is our ode to slow living and simpler times. It was a touch of serendipity that brought us here – to this little secret island on India's largest lagoon, Lake Vembanad.

And then, it was sheer inspiration that led us to share this life with you. We created Kayal so you can experience centuries old traditions and myths right from the plush, contemporary luxury of our retreat.

Tucked away on the secluded shores of Kakkathuruthu, the Island of Crows, Kayal mirrors the undiscovered, unspoiled natural beauty of Kerala. The only way to get here is by traditional rowboats. And when you're here, all you've got to do is give in to the moment.

Take a pause. Put your dizzying routine on hold. And experience life as it were a hundred years ago.

Say hello to Maneesha.

In another life, she was no different from you. She lived in New York, worked in the bustling, mega metropolis and loved every moment of it.

But home was Kerala.

Its rich traditions and beautiful landscapes always evoked a sense of nostalgia in her, and a deep desire to share the stories of her home, with the world.

She moved back to Kochi, a sea-side town in Kerala. And launched her own experiential travel company, Silk Route Escapes. Today, she travels to discover authentic India and delivers personalized, offbeat, life-changing travel experiences to global travelers.

Kayal, her latest project, is a boutique island retreat in the backwaters of Kerala

Staying true to the spirit of the island, she adds her own charm. She brings in her love for movies, theatre, art and design to the place.

If you are her guest here, rest assured that there will be more travel, more breaking bread with the locals, more unexpected adventures, more local experiences and more village adoptions. But above all, you'd have made a pen pal for life.

Harmonious living

For centuries the people of Kakkathuruthu lived in harmony with nature and with each other. This perhaps is their secret to looking younger and living fuller, happier lives.

When we created Kayal, we chose to embrace this life of the island folk.

To have minimal impact on nature, we used reclaimed and recycled material to recreate our cottages.

To promote sustainable living, we strive for greater local participation. We involve and engage the islanders in every way we can – from employing them and making them a part of the everyday functioning of Kayal, to encouraging them to share their stories with our guests. For our authentic recipes, we source our produce from local farmers and fishermen.

To garner greater awareness and respect for these local communities, we encourage our guests to partake in the island's traditions and culture. Our interactive theatre and art shows with the locals are not just expressions of creativity, but also identity.

At Kayal, we truly believe we owe our existence to nature and the community we live in. We believe in growing together with the local community and we hope our guests can support us in our endeavors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days is ideal for a holiday at Kayal ?

To truly experience life on the island you would need to spend at least two nights or more with us at Kayal. That will give you enough time to enjoy the seclusion and get reacquainted with yourself.

On request, and subject to availability, we also welcome guests for just a day at Kayal. You could plan this as an alternative to a typical backwater ride in a houseboat. The experience at Kayal is far more immersive, up close and personal. You don't just get a fleeting glimpse of life along the backwaters, you get to be a part of it.

How many rooms do you have? How many travelers can you accommodate at one time ?

To keep the experience at Kayal intimate and exclusive, we've limited the number of guests we have with us, at any point.

We have four cottages, which can accommodate 2 adults (with the option of one extra bed per cottage).

For the day trip, we can accommodate up to 20 pax. We'll treat you to a scrumptious lunch, followed by a walk through the village and a canoe ride.

When is a great time to visit Kayal ?

Like life itself, the Kayal experience is not seasonal. We are open year round and you may choose to visit us anytime of the year. If you plan for the monsoons, we will include Kerala's magical rains in your travel plan. Or would you prefer the summers? Bet on the healthiest tan one can get, unless you decide to laze around in the cool shade of the coconut groves.

How do I get to Kayal Island Retreat ?

We are an hour's drive away from the Kochi airport (or about 30 minutes away, by road, from Ernakulam / historic Fort Kochi).

When you reach the shores of Lake Vembanad, our blue boat will await you at the ferry (Kodumpuram Ferry near Eramalloor Junction). A soothing ride through the backwaters will set the mood for your stay and get you to the shores of our hidden retreat.

Here's our address:

Kayal Island Retreat

Door No. VIII/265-A

Kakkathuruthu, Eramalloor, Alleppey, Kerala, India. 688534

Here is the location map of Kodumpuram Ferry.

Do I have to call ahead to arrange the boat pick-up ?

Yes, we require this. Call us ahead and give us your arrival/departure details so we can arrange private boat transfers.

What are some of the activities I can do at Kayal? Do these activities cost extra ?

Even as we designed the place for solitude, there's no dearth of things to do here. A 30-minute canoe ride and village walk are offered complimentary as part of your overnight stay.

You also can go toddy tapping, stargazing, cycling – and a whole lot more. These activities come at an additional charge.

Read more in the Experiences section; see our selection of On the island and Off the island activities.

What is your tariff ?

For tariff, inclusions and exclusions see our Rates section.

What is your check-in and check-out time ?

Check-in at or after 1 p.m. and check-out by 11 a.m.

Do you have high-speed wired and/or wireless Internet access available ?

Yes, we do have wireless Internet access in all the rooms, as well as in the common areas.

But being on an island, we don't have high-speed wired Internet yet.

With the calm at Kayal, we suspect you'll miss your gadgetry.

Do you have a spa? What are the hours ?

No, we don't have an in-house spa, but we can arrange Ayurveda massages on request and by appointment.

How can I change my booking ?

If you've pre-booked a holiday with us, you can call us or email us to change your travel dates. However, this may be subject to availability and a rate difference may apply too.

I booked on a website other than the hotel website and I need to make a change to my reservation. How do I do this ?

In order to change your reservation you must go through the booking agent/website that you went through.

Do I have to pre-pay my room ?

To ensure availability and to get the best rates, all bookings must be paid in advance.

What is your cancellation/deposit policy? Do you have a premature departure fee ?

1. Reservations are confirmed on 'first paid first served basis', and rooms will not be blocked until 25% deposit is received.

2. Balance payment is required 30 days prior to arrival (non-refundable unless we can re-sell the room).

3. In the event of a 'no show' or premature departure, the full extent of the stay will be charged, as originally booked and confirmed.

4. We recommend guests have travel insurance for cancellation and accident / medical costs.

Read through our full Terms and Conditions.

Is my ID/passport required at check in ?

At the time of check-in, foreign travelers are required to present a valid passport and Indian visa; as well as comply with filing of online Form C.

Indian travelers are required to present government-issued identification, as well as provide current address.

What forms of payment are accepted to pay for my room ?

For pre-booking rooms, you can pay through net banking, online wire transfer, cheque or American Express Cards. Once on the island, all transactions are to be made in cash.