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Surya Samudra Beach Garden
Surya Samudra Beach Garden, Kovalam, Kerala
Surya Samudra Beach Garden, Kovalam, Kerala Surya Samudra Beach Resort, Kovalam - "Situated on a rocky promontory between two deserted beaches, Surya Samudra is the kind of place you could easily imagine Hemingway or Somerset Maugham retreating to for weeks at a time to bash away at a typewriter in splendid isolation. It's that kind of place." Herbert Ypma, HIP HOTELS ESCAPE BOOK, Thames & Hudson

Welcome to Surya Samudra - Kerala's spacious, lush resort! Here one can't get enough of Surya, the Sun or Samudra, the sea. "This place, Surya Samudra is like a setting in a James Bond film," said a friend. Quite so: exotic wooden cottages, coconut trees, a fine beach.This is a place for dreaming, in the silence and the sun and the roar of the waves. Kerala has no beach resort like it.'

An impressive line-up of 21 antique granite sculptures of lions welcomes every visitor into the reception area of Surya Samudra. They are positioned against the backdrop of an unpolished granite wall. A pathway laid with rectangular granite slabs, reminiscent of the outer courtyard of traditional Kerala temples, ends in front of a pair of carved granite pillars. From there, steps lead towards houses so positioned, that each house offers an unrestricted view of the sea and the beaches. Further, sand paths couched in rich foliage, link the houses. The land is terraced to prevent erosion and the cottages are placed at different levels hidden from each other by vegetation.

"Guests are accommodated, not in mere rooms or suites but a choice of modern or traditional houses, the former built of stone with soaring roofs.the others are traditional Kerala wooden residences, transplanted from their original sites." - The Western Australian,

"More than 100 years old, with intricate carvings and heavy shutters.these cottages have outdoor garden showers, wide verandas and, like all the accommodation, are surrounded by terraced tropical gardens. Bliss. Recommended: the Ibis or Myna rooms furnished with squatter chairs, bamboo beds and mind-blowing views of the ocean." - Jill Mullens

Presenter, Joan Bakewell answering "What is the best hotel you have ever stayed in?" "Surya Samudra ... It's so beautiful and natural. It's a series of little houses built in the old Keralan style of wood. There's no glass in the windows - you don't need it, it's so hot. You can only glimpse the other houses through palm trees. You feel really away from things there. It's for complete unwinding." Interview in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

Kovalam Kerala's Beach "The best thing about Surya Samudra is that it is on the charter tourist trail: it's a 40-minute drive from Trivandrum airport, with direct flights from London. It is close to Kovalam, Kerala's beach for budget travelers, yet when you stand on the rocky promontory overlooking the Indian Ocean, flanked by coconut groves and two stunning curls of sand, you feel as if you are alone on the tip of the subcontinent. The second-best thing is the crosswind.

This is peculiar to Surya Samudra's location (move off the promontory and you'll hit a wall of heat)... Interiors exude a romantic charm, with beamed ceilings, antique beds, peaceful verandas and fans whirring lazily overhead. The best have dramatic ocean views, though you won't feel short-changed by the less expensive Bamboo Garden rooms, hidden among pink hibiscus (avoid the 4 modern rooms unless you are a stickler for air-conditioning). Sophy Roberts, Conde Nast Traveller (UK)

"The most romantic and luxurious hotel I stayed in Kerala. Accommodation is in beautifully furnished teak cabins set in a palm grove on the sea shore. There are two beaches and a pool. Top-class seafood restaurant, spa, massages and health advice... Here you eat breakfast in a restaurant set on a cliff high above a pale blue sea, surveying an unbroken necklace of golden beaches without a motorboat, windsurfer or hawker in sight.

You go to sleep in thatched wooden huts lit by candles and listening to the sweeping sound of the palm trees and the breaking waves. The only criticism, if such could be made, is that you dread being woken at 5 am by the ear-shattering hoping of the drongo - the football hooligans of the bird world. But if the only problem you can find with a place is that the dawn chorus is too noisy, you really are a fool in Paradise." Catherine Miller Sunday Telegraph

Surya Samudra began as a single octagonal stone house thirty miles from the tip of India and just a few minutes from the historic Vizhinjam Harbor (pronounced as Virinyam). Today, it has grown into an eco-friendly beach resort with 23 houses spread over nearly one-third of an acre of private space and each house comes with a luxuriant foliage of coconut, palm, bamboo, banana, wild shrubs, flowers and the chirping of birds. "Surya Samudra projects a new trend in eco-friendly beach resorts"

Traditional Keralan  Homes If you long to luxuriate in an exotic beachside setting then Surya Samudra is for you. Set in 10 acres of landscaped gardens, surrounded by coconut plantations, the 21 wooden cottages cling to a steep hillside overlooking the Arabian Sea. They were recycled by local craftsmen from 100 year old traditional Keralan homes. The results are the sort of idyllic haven where you might expect famous writers to retreat to work on their next opus. There's even a writing desk, with a sea view, to inspire you!

Whilst the two beaches are not private, they are secluded and cared for by the hotel, shared only with the occasional fisherman. The hotel also boasts a wonderfully inviting pool, carved out of the hillside and complete with underwater sculptures. Surya Samudra offers an irresistible mix of Western comforts and traditional Keralan culture. And as an added bonus you can relax in the knowledge that the hotel is environmentally friendly.

Highs : The cool 'woodiness' of the Karl Damschen-designed cottages is hard to beat - the kind of simple but elegant Raj-style room you always hoped you might stay in

Lows: A minimum level of fitness is required for the uphill walk to the restaurant and the downhill knee ache to the pool. The Ayurvedic treatments are relaxing but certainly aren't the best you can find in Kerala.

Accommodation : Individual cottages or houses make up the resort, call bells at the door have been avoided since the sound is jarring and each house has a granite-topped table and stools cut from granite pillars where one can sit and watch the waves lash against the cliff throwing little water beads against the azure sky. "Waves lash against the shores, the wind murmurs as it rustles the bamboo clusters and caresses the rustic wooden walls of the houses which are a hundred or more years old. Surya Samudra, the first heritage hotel in Kerala, stretches out across two beaches facing the Arabian Sea with a cliff anchored in between."