You arrive by boat to this Keralan paradise. We were welcomed on a hot afternoon with a glass of chilled nutmeg juice. The building is heritage, gently curving roofs and all creaking teak. It is set in a little garden of Eden... it feels like its own little tropical island floating between the river on one side and an enormous emerald-green rice paddy on the other (hence the name?). One of the owners took us around their gardens, and showed us all the wonderful things they grow: coconuts, bananas, nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon, and a dozen other things I can't remember. They also did a toddy-tapping demonstration for us. The gardens were lovely and peaceful to wander in or lounge in. There are lots of places to lie down in the shade and read a book. They also have a massage hut, where you can have a great ayurvedic massage. Everything is engineered for peace, quiet, and relaxation.
The rooms are very simply decorated. We stayed in the granary room, which had a dark, cozy feel. But the real beauty of these rooms are the bathrooms, which are open to the sky. There's nothing like the bliss of showering under a canopy of tropical greenery.
The food was excellent and we were even able to get a cooking demonstration. All meals are communal with the other guests, so if you're not in a sociable mood, you may not like this. Most of the guests were pretty convivial when we were there, so it wasn't much of a problem for us. Ask if you can purchase beer. They might have a few bottles stocked.
Emerald Isle is a great jumping-off point for exploring the backwaters, a lot more so than an overnight houseboat cruise. At Emerald Isle, you are in the heart of the backwaters, and you can get up close and personal with river life. We met some locals this way, and were even invited into a family's home. You can walk everywhere or take a bike (but be warned that if you turn left out of the homestay, you will be carrying that bike over lots of bridges!). The most magical thing that we did in our entire time in Kerala was a dugout canoe ride with one of the workers from the homestay. We went just before sunset and set out down the river and then into one of the little canals to the sound of birdcalls and temple singing. It was absolute magic.
My only complaint is that the cost seems disproportionate to the actual rooms, which is the only reason I did not give this place 5 stars. However, when you consider what a unique experience you're getting, the cost is worth it in the long run. If I was forced to choose between this and the overnight houseboat (which we also did), I would choose Emerald Isle. You can really experience the rhythm of life here and meet the locals in ways you couldn't on a houseboat. We had some of our most memorable experiences there, and we felt warmly welcomed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the beautiful waterways and backwaters of the Kuttanad region of Central Kerala lies Emerald Isle, an exotic haven of tranquility, seemingly remote from city life, yet barely 10 kilometers from Alleppey Town. Tucked away on this delightful island lies the Emerald Isle Heritage Villa, an ancestral Country House set in 9 acres of secluded grounds – your Retreat into a Paradise of Peace. Emerald Isle Heritage Home is situated in an island resplendent with exotic flora, breathtaking flowers, myriad birds and butterflies to make for a memorable holiday, affordable and unforgettable. A truly wonderful way to spend your time on the banks of the backwaters of Kerala! Our house, dating back 150 years, retains its original architectural features, mostly in teak, with splendid wood carvings. There is also a fine Ara, the timber storeroom used in former times for the golden harvest of rice – golden because the island’s lush green paddy fields turn gold at the time of the harvest. Our property stretches across 9 acres including lush green paddy fields and fish ponds. All meals are served in dining room. Please ask us if you want to have any special facilities like Ayurvedic treatments or houseboat rides. Emerald Isle is ideal for those wanting to relax, sun themselves or getting away from it all. The tranquil air here is salve to frayed nerves and everyday tensions. Read a book or taste the locally harvested ’toddy’ fresh from the coconut trees ! When you tire of lazing in a hammock, or sunbathing in the courtyard garden, you can take a walk around the island, go fishing or have a swim. Emerald Isle Heritage Villa offers peace, privacy and pure relaxation. There are only 5 rooms (All Air-conditioned) for guests and each has its own en-suite Open-Shower bathroom with all modern facilities. The en-suite bathrooms have been tastefully done and open to the sky above to give you a feel of being truly closer to nature at Emerald Isle! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Emerald Isle - The Heritage Villa Hotel Alappuzha
- Emerald Isle - The Heritage Villa Kerala/Alappuzha, India