As we approach the resort, a white watch tower begin to get distinct at the backdrop of verdant coconut trees. The resort of Soma Kerala Palace, is actually a tiny island situated at the estuary of Muvattupuzha River and Lake Vembanad. Our boat draws up in front of the reception center and the staffs gently lead us in. The other side of this cottage opens up, to a sprawling lawn, myriads of coconut trees and splendid looking mansions.
Though kind of tired, but I’m intrigued by the architecture of these mansions, which are predominantly white with brownish wood works and outstretched eaves; few even have their first floor, made entirely of wood. We ask the manager and he willingly agrees to show us around. Each of these mansions, we are told, is built using masterpieces disbanded from their actual sites, and hence, are so genuine in their resemblance to the houses of bygone era, especially the Illoms, Tharavadus or Naalukettus. Each one simple yet charming in their appearance. This simplistic look is what makes Soma Kerala Palace stand out of other resorts, as it gives a feeling of some ancestral home rather than a resort. Standing in the lawn and looking at one of the frontal villas, it appeared to me as though I could surely run in to meet a grandmother knitting a cardigan for us. We walk around the entire resort and the manager also shows us few of the resort’s best rooms. Keeping up with the exterior appeal, every room is very tastefully decorated blending in the aura of yesteryear and modern amenities.
After a good time exploring, its time for lunch now and we head towards the restaurant. Besides offering good food and different types of cuisine to choose from, the restaurant is also very thoughtfully situated at an edge of the island. We take a table by the window and we have our lunch, enjoy the view of the lake, above which a dark cloud looms as fisher folk sails by. All of these make an image which is quintessentially, Kerala in monsoon. Soma Kerala Palace is also second to none when it comes to wellness. Its Ayurvedic Center has a doctor, who can be consulted for massages and their healing effects. So essentially, the massage that one gets here is actually based on recommendations rather than individual choices.
One of the best things of visiting a resort in an off-season is that you can lose the unwanted crowd and this is exactly what happened to us – an entire island only to ourselves! As we lay on the green grass chatting off the lazy afternoon, we seem to lose all notion of time. I guess some of the most cherished moments of our lives are created this way! And in between the fun and amusement, when the last light of the day begins to fade, Soma Kerala Palace assumes another dimension with its lighted mansions against the silhouettes of coconut trees and a bluish-black sky.
The next day turns out to be much brighter and after a quick breakfast, we have already found a spot to our liking – the watch-tower situated at a corner of the island. We sit here overlooking the entire lake and let the morning pass by, while a cool breeze runs through our hair. The fishing activities that happen all day at the lake, either by the fisher folks or by the cheeky Kingfishers continues to amaze us for the rest of the morning.
As the day progress our time at the resort comes to an end, we pack up and wait at the reception center, for our boat to arrive. As I sit and muse over, a kingfisher snoops down to catch another fish right in front of us, adding to the memories that I will cherish for a long time to come. Isn’t this what a relaxing holiday all about?
Soma Kerala Palace is around 30 Kms from the Ernakulam Railway station and under 50 kms from Kochin International Airport
There are load of activities that a tourist can participate in including fishing, boating or can expect to see various dance or Kalaripayattu ( Martial Art) performances if visiting on a peak season.