Niraamaya Retreats – Backwaters & Beyond, Kumarakom is an atmospheric retreat into the world of natural beauty, elegance and culture.
Niraamaya Retreats Backwaters & Beyond, Kumarakom defies stereotyping. It is grand, yet intimate. It is a backwaters retreat, but also an Ayurveda haven. The eight acres of sprawling grounds, sited on the historic Lake Vembanad, the longest lake in India, is plotted in a way that one section effortlessly tumbles into another. Beyond the Tharavadu-style reception area and the restaurant, is the pool, bordered by willowy trees and a teardrop-shaped lotus pond.
The stately grounds with hammocks are just a two-minute walk from the reception. The villas stand on both ends of the central courtyard, which means there is nothing obstructing the view of the striking blue lake. Old stone sculptures, an allusion to south Indian temples’ sculptural heritage, are spread out across the lush tropical gardens. The series of luxury waterfront villas are enveloped by gracefully swaying coconut trees and wildly growing anthuriums.
Blending Traditional Architecture and Colonial Design
Design-wise, Niraamaya Retreats – Backwaters & Beyond, Kumarakom is a nod to Kerala’s traditional as well as its colonial architecture, with elements drawn from both. While the architectural style is strongly redolent of classical Kerala architecture, the interiors reference the colonial influences in the choice of wooden furniture, the planter’s chairs, loungers and four-poster beds.At the core of the retreat is the reception centre—a Tharavadu-style one-storey structure. The voluminous top level, sheltered under a sloping red tile roof, holds an un-hotel like lobby. Open to the abundant natural beauty of the location, it is a subtle play on a relaxed lounge, reception area and a hang-out zone, where the retreat hosts its cultural evenings. At the lower level is a sumptuously outfitted restaurant with generous views of the grounds and the swimming pool through its French windows, a bar and a private dining room. The art on the wall are terracotta painted faces, which allude to Kerala’s long-established terracotta art heritage.
The accommodation is intimately connected with the lake. The Luxury Private Pool Villas, Premium Water Front Villas and the Presidential Suite command views of the private pool and the lake beyond. Guests wake up to the surreal view of the lake—mist covered in winters, lashed by torrential rains in the monsoons, and calm as a yogi in summers.
The Superior Lake View Villas have unobstructed views of the garden and the central courtyard on the lower level, and a glimpse of the lake on the upper. An elegant charupadi or traditional balcony skirts the suites and is a guest’s private sanctuary, engulfed by trees. Even the suites at the ground level command a significant private space so that guests can disconnect from the rest of the retreat. The Niraamaya Spa is a sequestered space, consisting of treatment rooms clustered around an intimate court. At one end is the Yoga hall.