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“Great retreat on the backwaters”

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Backwater Heritage Homestay
Ranked #1 of 14 Kumarakom B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 17, 2013

Xavier Joseph's Homestay is a hidden gem in the backwaters of Kerala. The verandah's and hammocks are perfect for a lazy morning, followed by a canoe - expedition, exploration of the long-boat, and a walk through the rice fields. Xavier and his wife are excellent hosts and helped us if we required anything (i.e. arrange a car to go sightseeing or a houseboat tour on the Lake).

The rooms are basic, but clean, but I can guarantee that you won't be inside your room for a long time, instead you'll be out on the hammock on the verandah or in the canoe.

The food was cooked by Xavier's wife, and amazing - especially the appam's and fresh fish dishes were delicious. And, of course, fresh coconuts from the tree every morning!

Don't hesitate - book today and experience a chapter from the Arundhati Roy's novel "God of Small Things"

Room Tip: AC room in the far back corner has a nice swinging bed outside of the door
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank IljaDelhi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 12, 2013

Yes the place is good and tranquil and yes the facilities are not too great, but Mr. Xavier is an excellent host and will do whatever he can to make you feel comfortable and at home. He is trying very hard to make the place more livable. I have suggested to him that he needs to put proper sign boards to guide his guests from the main road to his home. The bathrooms needs complete change over and he also needs to to install a water purification plant as the water on the tap is very muddy. I hope he manages to change a few things in the coming months. Once done the place is a complete paradise. The home is an old 100 + year heritage house and I was lucky to have it completely to myself as there weren't any other guests at that time. The fresh coconuts water from the garden was very refreshing and Mr. Xavier allowed us to have them to our hearts content.

Room Tip: There are 2 bungalows. One is old and heritage. The new probably would have better bathrooms though.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Tapan-Patel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
backwaterheritage, Owner at Backwater Heritage Homestay, responded to this reviewResponded January 12, 2013

Thanks for your compliments!
We have already installed a very good filter plant by Aqua Engineering services ,Bangalore.You came on that day the installation was going on . So water was not clear.Now it is perfect. We have fixed already made sign boards in each and every corner and turning that the gusts come through.
Thanks for your instructions.

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Reviewed January 10, 2013

Mr Xavier's homestay was recommended by our previous accomodation - a bit of a trek to find but heaven once we were there. Our room had a cool verranda with swinging seats/beds outside and the place overlooked the small waterway where life goes on very slowly. We only stayed one night but Mr Xavier took us for a short walk to show us the village snakeboat which he captains in the yearly village meets - an amazing piece of history in an unassuming lean-to!
The accomodation was pretty good given the price. I think we rigged up our own mozzie net but besides that everything else was fine.
The food was amazing - right from coconuts on arrival, jugs of chilled home brewed mallow infusion, teas (no charges at the end of the stay either) and fabulous evening meal with papaya fresh from the tree!!!! Breakfast was great too - the only quirk being that we had requested it at 7.30 and only got fed well after 8.30 ... Bit odd as we were trying to get an early start to the next place. Still, our hosts couldn't have been more charming and we were made to feel incredibly welcome.
Definitely a good bet for a homestay and a taste of the slow paced village life in this area.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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1  Thank Seallofapproval
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2013

We stayed at this place, mid November.
It's situated in a beautiful surrounding. The backwater canal is just in front of the house. If you want to experience Kerala for backwater, this is really a good place to stay. The houses are very basic but has good open area in front with green trees and canal in front. One can just relax and enjoy. Mr Xavier even arranged canoe boat ride for us which was not to be missed.
The house is far inside and very difficult to locate. And as other guests also pointed out at it, you would end up multiple phone conversations with multiple local people to reach the place. If you are reaching late in the evening this would be very frustrating experience.

The area of improvement. Lack of good service. Even if it's homestay, people expect certain basic services. The bath towels provided were of hand towel size and not cleaned properly and that too we had to ask for the towels. Availability of hot water was another problem as we were travelling with the kids. Although we arrived late by 9 PM, at least you expect welcome greetings and a glass of water if nothing else.

Room Tip: Stay in the cottage as they are newly built.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Divyesh_b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
backwaterheritage, Owner at Backwater Heritage Homestay, responded to this reviewResponded January 27, 2013

Mr. Diviyesh called me in the after noon to cancel the stay here and decided to stay in a lodge at Mundakkayam on the way of their travel from Thekkody. Again at 9 p.m he told me he would be coming.At last he came here at 10.30 p.m. After taking all complimentary refreshments to all, next day morning they left to a house boat . We did not ask anything extra cost for the extra persons stayed here and provided small and large towels to each children and adults .I don't know what more services they expect in the late night stay here.
We always welcome all types of gusts in a comparatively low budget to enjoy Kumarakom .
But the bitter experiences force me to rethink to manage in such a way that the other home stay providers do.

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Reviewed January 1, 2013

We (2 families with kids) stayed for just one night at this place last week and even though I was impressed by the natural setting the house is located in, the attention and the quality of service we received during our stay wasn't all that impressive.. one would not expect a professional experience with a home-stay but I was hoping for a more friendly and genuine touch to the service offered..

The room itself was basic and adequate for an overnight stay but getting hot water was a challenge in the morning as there is a shared geyser for multiple rooms (in fact Mr. Xavier had to wake-up the guests in another room to switch on the geyser when I went asking for the hot water !) and since 3 of us had to take bath back to back, I had to eventually take bath in cold water which would have been OK if it wasn't at 7:30 in the morning.. On the food front, though Mr. Xavier was very accommodating in arranging for the break fast early in the morning (at 8:30 itself), the food lacked choice and wasn't even hot and there was no one to help us with the replenishment which is so unlike of other home-stays where I have seen the host getting more involved and showing a greater sense of hospitality which is what you would expect from a "home"-stay.

The place is also not very easy to locate especially if you happen to reach there a little late in the evening (like we did when we reached there by around 9 PM) though I must appreciate the fact that Mr. Xavier himself came to escort us from the main road after we failed to locate the place based on the directions provided over phone !

All in all, my "average" rating is based on the overall experience which was probably set high based on all the reviews that I had read before going there !

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank sbinamdar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
backwaterheritage, Owner at Backwater Heritage Homestay, responded to this reviewResponded January 27, 2013

Mr.Sarath Inamdar confused me while he came from a different way other than already told.He told me he would come at Kottayam instead of Kumarakom So i guided the way from Kottayam. He could n't identify whether it is Kumarakom or Kottayam. After understanding the exact place i went there and collected. he came here after 10 p.m though told me an early arrival in the afternoon.The duty time of the staff was over. But we managed to provide enough and more than they required.
Every body was very busy with their personnel affairs and needs as well as taking bath ,looking for food especially for the children and extra coat & mattresses for each extra persons .he brought 4 children of different age groups instead of 2 children that he told me already.We provided every thing that they needed with out any extra costs even for the extra persons for their food and for their mattresses.They had taken a long time to finish their dinner one by one making an absolute disturbances to the other gusts especially to the adjacent rooms to the dining area. Imagine the services provided to them in the absence of staff and servants.The other gusts complained also against the dust and sand they spread inside by using foot wear .
Those want to get boating or to enjoy a calm & peaceful stay , it will not be in a traffic junction or in a city. Yes, it is 3k.m distant from the mail road . I have given the exact distance to each town in my website.
Very late accommodation with out any regularity of numbers making nuisance to other gusts not at all appreciable for the home stay atmosphere. Why can n't these people approach for a lodge instead of a home stay especially in the peak time of tourism in Kumarakom?

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Reviewed November 29, 2012

Backwater heritage was the nightlight of our trip to kerela. Situated in beautifully rural part of Kerela, the house is right by a canal and surrounded by lush green trees and fields. The houses are basic and comfortable and have everything you need to survive comfortably. Mr Joseph was exceptionally helpful in arranging things to do for us and Mrs Joseph cooked the most delicious, authentically kerelan meals for us. The place is serene and allows for space to breathe, hang out and just be in the midst of nature. Overall, a great experience.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Apekshav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2012

1) Travel Information: It takes @ 2 Hours & is between 80 to 90 KMs from Cochin. There are no direction boards leading to this place. One has to be in constant touch with the owner, Mr. Xavier. There was no information given to us that the homestay is @ 3 - 4 KMs inside the main road.. In spite of showing the address to local autorickshaw drivers, they did not had a clue.. It was quite a task to reach & finally, we had to call Mr. Xavier to escort us.

2) Check-In: Check-In was quite smooth & we were offered Fresh Chilled Coconut water, that was really very relaxing !! We had booked A/C Cottage for 1 Night, i.e., 10/11/2012 to 11/11/2012.

3) Room: Just about OK, can't expect more from a homestay..

4) Food: Food served was very good.

5) Service: There was a problem here as there was a local old man who was serving us & had problems in communication. We relied on age old sign language ;)
There were hygiene issues with him as obviously, he was not from the hospitality industry, he looked like a farmer to us..

6) Other Observations: Mr. Xavier was very prompt in executing instructions, for e.g., we asked for backwater sightseeing at the time of Check-In, he arranged the same in 20 minutes. Ideally, to arrange a boat without prior intimation is quite difficult task. The Backwaters are in the backyard of his homestay, the convenience factor gets full marks here..

7) Few Nearby Attractions: Backwaters, Bird Sanctuary, Vembanad Lake & Duck Farming.. Some expensive houseboats can be seen during backwaters tour..

8) Overall: It was a decent stay, however, things could have been much better by employing at least 1 professional.. Would recommend this homestay. Good Job Mr. Xavier !!!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank yez2030
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Backwater Heritage Homestay

Address: Kumarakom, Kumarakom 686015, India
Location: India > Kerala > Kottayam District > Kumarakom
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 14 B&Bs / Inns in Kumarakom
Price Range: $29 - $48 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
Backwater Heritage Homestay Kumarakom, Kerala

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