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“Colonial charm and warm service” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Malabar House

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Malabar House
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1/269 Parade Road, Kochi (Cochin) 682001, India   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #26 of 166 hotels in Kochi (Cochin)
Ashford, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“Colonial charm and warm service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

My wife and I had toured the Golden Triangle and Rajasthan over the previous 10 days on an excellent bespoke private tour arranged by Transindus which was exhilirating, educational, informative, interesting, fascinating and which exceeded all our expectations culturally and geographically. It was now time to move on to something culturally different and to experience perhaps a more leisurely, relaxed stay in Kerala as stage two of our passage through India. And so it was we found ourselves in Cochin via Mumbai (a short stop over and transfer) and Udaipur where stage one of our tour had come to an end.

As in our previous destinations, we are met at Cochin airport by the local Transindus rep and our new driver who will be with us for the remainder of our trip over the next 10 days touring Kerala. We are booked in at Malabar House Hotel in Fort Cochin. We had left our hotel in Udaipur for the airporrt at 6am and arrived at the Malabar House at about 5.15. We are greeted by a gurkha clad young security man who salutes us and deals with our driver on arrangements for our cases to be delivered to our room. Once again the reception staff are delightful in welcoming us and providing us with a delicious cold drink whilst they and our rep deal with the formalities of check in as we relax for a few minutes over our drink and reflect on our long journey here. Soon we are led to our room through an elegantly designed courtyard bordered by shrubs, tropical trees, radiantly hued flowers and a small pale blue pool reflecting the last vestiges of a slowly declining sun.

This is a heritage hotel (I would call it a boutique hotel) which means that it was not originally built as a hotel. It is steeped in history having been built in 1755 and originally a private Dutch mansion. It has character and old fashioned colonial charm. This area known as Fort Cochin which very much has a colonial feel to it having been built and occupied by the Portugese who built a fort here in the 16th century and which was also later colonised by Dutch and British settlers, merchants and traders.

Our ground floor suite is cosy and comfortable but we have no time to settle, only to shower quickly and be on our way as our driver is returning to collect us shortly to take us to a Kalikathi dance performance which is Kerala's classic dance drama where a story unfolds by dance, music, song and strangest of all, the performers make weird facial movements to convey emotions and dialogue. It is a mixture of calm, rhythmic movements, frenetic drumming and leading to a dramatic climax but throughout colourful and elaborate. It was all a bit odd to us and a little overlong but an experience of an ancient Keralan cultural tradition.

Our driver picks us up and takes us the short drive back to Malabar House where our table for dinner awaits us. We are in the courtyard under a palm tree by the pool which now reflects the stars and the moon. The tropical sounds of the local insect and amphibious life echo through the trees and shrubs. A cool breeze whispers through the foliage comforting us and we are not bothered by mosquitoes. Three Indian musicians gently play traditional music and songs.It is very romantic. We have an excellent meal including a delicious king prawn and mango curry cooked in coconut milk. The next day we are up early and met with an extensive buffet breakfast although my wife and I eat lightly with some cereal, toast, marmalade, fruit juice and black coffee.

Our driver arrives with a local guide and they take us to the harbour for sightseeing where we stroll for a couple of hours taking in the local history and meeting not only the local hawkers (we support these small businessmen by buying some useless nick nacks for a few hundred rupees!) but also fishermen and local people who want to chat to us inquistively and we are happy to do so. We are taken to a department store called Saga where we browse and buy some nice cashmere knitwear, pashminas, marble ornaments, pottery and small hand painted miniature trinket boxes. This is a government approved and licensed store so it is a guarantee of quality and authenticity and there are many such throughout India. You will pay more at these outlets but you have the security of buying hand made products of quality.

Back to Malabar House where we have lunch on our patio which is private and sheltered from the courtyard by shrubs and trees. I would recommend a room or suite on the ground floor leading to the courtyard, with a covered, sheltered patio to relax in the shade over a cool drink and a light lunch. My wife and I stroll outside the hotel, we watch the schoolboys playing cricket on the green outside and I bowl a ball or two and take a wicket!! We buy some good quality throws in a nice shop nearby and then we are off again as our driver collects us to take us to the harbour where we have a boat which can seat 20 to 30 people all to ourselves and embark on a two hour sunset cruise around the bay where we see local life at work and at play. Our crew then slow down and float gently for a few minutes so that we can take in the full effect of the last rays of the golden, fiery sun descending into the distant horizon of the Arabian Sea. Spectacular!

We reflect on how fortunate we have been on this journey. We sail back into the harbour and stroll and find somewhere to have dinner. It is our second and last night here and tomorrow our driver and guide will pick us up for a short tour of an area called Jewtown and they will then drive us to Alleppey where we will take an overnight house boat to our next destination on our passage through India. We check out of the Malabar House and the beautiful and colourfully adorned lady receptionist maintains the excellent service we have had here and we leave a generous gratuity for the staff as a thank you.

Room Tip: A ground floor suite to the left of the poll as you enter the courtyard. It is private as it is hidd...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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318 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

The Malabar Group of Hotels have managed to achieve something very special: All the wonders and charms of Kerala, without any of the attendant discomforts!

We utilised a pre-planned Malabar Escape, staying at all five of the group's boutique hotels and they surpassed our wildest dreams. Each property is unique and spectacular in its' own right but the glue that holds this all together is astonishing, clever design - creating funky, light airy and very private spaces - outstanding cuisine and exemplary service.

They've got the formula right and long may it continue!

Kevin and Michelle Thomas

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Delhi, India
Top Contributor
115 reviews 115 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2012

The best food you can get in Cochin. Even if you are not saying there you have to have a meal here. The chef Manoj Nair is a young charming person who turns out amazing tuna in balsamic starters and amazing pasta and many other Awesome dishes. In the evening get yourself a glass of wine with tapas. The hotel is owned by a lowly couple from germany and Spain.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Germany
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2012

a stylish, charismatic, truly indian place - indeed a 'feel good place' with a great location within Fort Cochin. We had one of the suites - a great room!! The staff at the reception and responsible for the rooms was friendly and competent, the service was great. The pool is quite small, nothing to swim in but rather to cool down a little bit, but we actually did not care too much about the pool. The only thing we did not like that much was the food. The hotel proposes to offer indian fine dining - but we did definitly not experience this category of food. The menu offers only few indian dishes and these dishes were at most average good but surely far from fine dining. The staff at the restaurant was also not convincing as the other people. The rest of our stay here was really very good.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jodhpur, India
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2012

Located in a fun area, this hotel is in an older building which has been refurbished with a lot of style. We stayed in a room on the 1st floor in the main building - lovely colonial furniture and interesting pieces of art and decor dotted around. Pool behind reception is very small but very necessary to cool off ! Highlight is definately the food .... great meals and good service. Enjoyed our stay here very much.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai, India
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

Everything about the Malabar house was so fabulous, from the lovely artsy interiors to our spacious rooms. I loved our stay there and our cozy breakfast in the morning, the friendly and efficient staff and the wine bar was fabulous with the food complimenting it!

Room Tip: I like the rooms that are near the pool
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
41 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2012

The Malabar House is a really cute boutique hotel in Cochin. My husband and I stayed here for two nights in late August, and even with a little monsoon action, we had a wonderful stay! Its centrally located so you can easily walk around and see the town and FabIndia and an great antique store are both located directly behind the hotel. The staff is friendly, the rooms are unique and pretty spacious. Its a clean modern hotel, the main hotel area is really nice, there is a cute little pool and the food is awesome! The restaurant/chef has won several awards from Time Out and they are all well deserved! Like I said, the main restaurant is delicious but the tapas wine bar is also really great so even if you're not staying here you should check out the restaurants. After traveling all over India this was one of the last legs of our tour and we loved it. Would definitely stay here again on our next visit to Cochin!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Malabar House

Address: 1/269 Parade Road, Kochi (Cochin) 682001, India
Location: India > Kerala > Kochi (Cochin)
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Spa Hotel in Kochi (Cochin)
#10 Business Hotel in Kochi (Cochin)
#10 Luxury Hotel in Kochi (Cochin)
#13 Romantic Hotel in Kochi (Cochin)
#26 Family Hotel in Kochi (Cochin)
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Malabar House 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Malabar House is a charming boutique hotel overlooking the parade ground in the heart of Fort Cochin. The 17 highly individual rooms and suites seamlessly combine tradition and contemporary design. The Malabar House is a member of Relais & Chateaux. Malabar escapes offers the finest circuit of boutique and villa hotels in Kerala. Placed in colonial Fort Cochin, the backwaters and the plantation hills, each escape gives you a distinct experience & flavour. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Malabar House Hotel Kochi (Cochin)
Malabar House Kochi (Cochin), India - Kerala

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