Hotel Fort House: Rusticity On The Backwaters
When you learn about the history of this quaint property located in an old corner of perhaps the oldest part of Cochin, (or Kochi as it is now known), you would know that although the property is almost eighteen years old, ‘old’ is merely an appellation best used to describe its charm and rusticity.
And of course its earthy thumbprint which is evident in the verdure growing carefree and almost carelessly everywhere, showing little reverence to the ‘expectation’ one might have from a garden-in-a-hotel… And that is why we fell in love with Hotel Fort House.
It is rustic. It is local. It is unpretentious. It is. As is.
Fort House is your hotel-next-door where hospitality has not been sacrificed at the altar of its image of being a simple place. From the moment you walk in you will be given a warm welcome, with ample smiling faces on the staff that is extremely courteous and professional, catering to your every need.
The family-owned hotel constructed in Kerala architectural style, began operations in 1997 as a five room property in an age when Kerala was yet to witness the tourism boom. In the early years of its operation, the hotel gained popularity amongst travellers as a place where the lady who co-owned the hotel with her husband personally prepared all the food in the kitchen, whipping up delightful home style Kerala food with great love!
The family still runs the hotel and their attention to detailing is evident from the artefacts, most of them genuine antiques, virtually strewn about in the open areas of the hotel as well as inside the rooms. Hotel Fort House has grown into a 16 room property where informality and friendliness are still the two watchwords that keep bringing regular tourists to them.
Location, Rooms, Food and of course, Ayurveda!
When it comes to location, Hotel Fort House is perfectly positioned between the two most popular tourism hubs of Cochin – Fort Cochin and Jew Town, within walkable distance. It is also a stone’s throw from the local ferry jetties that can take one across the backwaters into the mainland Ernakulam or another beautiful island called Vypeen.
The rooms in the Fort House are comfortable and air-conditioned with solid wood antiques and well equipped bathrooms – perfect for a long term stay. The rooms do not have televisions, another reason why we instantly liked this down-to-Earth hotel!
While chefs at the Fort House are adept at whipping dishes made from the fresh catch of the day, cooked especially in the Kerala Syrian Christian style, tourists can also choose from a wide range of vegetarian and global cuisine on offer.
The waterfront restaurant provides an amazing view of the Mattancherry backwaters (they have their own personal jetty from where we undertook the Mattancherry Backwater Cruise!!!!) We liked the stark and offbeat ambience of the restaurant but were told that noted Swiss architect Karl Damschen, renowned for his work in restoring some of the oldest heritage properties in Kerala that were converted into hotels was due to refurbish this space. Well, we didn’t feel the need! But the owners of the hotel are not content to simply sit back and shovel the goodwill their hospitality was earning them! (Yes, Wow!)
It would be considered a cardinal sin if we were to leave Kerala without experiencing one if not more of the famous Ayurvedic treatments or massages! So once again, we did the touristy thing and took two treatments at the Ayurveda centre.
Our therapist was a chatty young woman called Sobha who explained the benefits of every ingredient and technique used in the treatments. The treatment was invigorating and we left the room with near-sparkling skin!
Hotel Fort House doesn’t exactly fit a budget accommodation but considering its location, it would fall under the budget category amongst the neighbouring properties. The hospitality of the owners, the personalised service and the food are the reasons why Fort House is on Our HOT Hideouts!
How to contact Hotel Fort House
The website of Hotel Fort House has all the relevant information including an online booking facility. As always, we leave you with more photos of the hotel!
Ritu@2017 March 31, 2014