Photogallery: The luxury suites at Niraamaya Retreat Surya Samudra, Kovalam

The heritage suites, rooms, and villas effectively channel the wind-swept views of Kovalam and the beauty of its Tharavads and the elegant living of its elite in the past.Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra spreads languorously over a clifftop, cocooned in soothing lush greenery, a restful seaside oasis known as much for its spectacular views as for the heritage suites. The architecture perfectly complements the outside topography. From hidden alcoves to verandahs with sit-outs that straddle the cottages, the sea seems right there — the villas and cottages offering an eagle-nest perspective of the coastal stretch.

Traditional Tharavads of a former mansion have been restored and readapted.

The Heritage Premium suites and the Heritage Classicsuites are much like art-filled salons and fitted out with striking dark wood, much of it salvaged from ancient homes. Most of the rooms and suites, in fact, are characterized by ornate doors with huge old bolts, the kinds you see in old Kerala palaces, and by burnt orange-red terracotta roofs and intricately carved pillars. The striking red clay roofs of the suites are an alluring contrast to the blue sea and the green surroundings.

The Banyan Tree Bungalow, a signature suite, lies in the shadow of an antediluvian banyan tree with branches that spread out like a protective awning that shelters an ancient shrine. The Octagon, another signature suite that lives up to its name in terms of design, is an expansive stone house with views of the Arabian Sea from the four-poster bed, and features a private sundeck and open-to-sky baths with rain showers.

The Family Villa is a two-storeyed villa suite with a book reading nook and an outdoor dining space, of which there is more than just the views. The fishing hamlets around the retreat are alive with sounds of fishing boats being launched for a daily fishing expedition in the Arabian Sea in the morning, and the ones coming back with the haul as the sunsets. All you need to do is step out of your suite, on to the verandah outside, and watch the world unfold.