Short breaks instead of a long holiday make people happier said a study; obviously, it was not conducted by our kind. Ask a traveller and he will say any excuse for a holiday, no matter what the duration, is pure happiness. This time around, our excuse was a mid term break for the boys and we were on our way to the Taj Bekal Resort & Spa.
After driving for a couple of hours from the Mangalore Airport, we had reached our destination. We were warmly welcomed to the resort with seashell garlands. The Taj standards of customer service were very evident.
The kids were already feeding the fishes in the koi ponds adjacent to the lobby with fish food they had got from the reception. The architecture of the resort is beautiful, it is inspired by the traditional “Kettuvallam” houseboat. After a quick checkin we we were led to our room. Nested in nature’s lap, our room had the local houseboat design, a huge courtyard, a daybed, a sit out overlooking the meandering backwaters and a victorian bath tub with candles on the wall adjacent. The walls of the room had Chitra Pothi art on it.
While we were busy checking out our room, we could hear footsteps and then a scream of CANNONBALL and a splash in the plunge pool.
Startled, we looked inside the room to find that our bags were stripped open. The kids had pulled out their swimming gear and torpedoed into the plunge pool. When we saw them in the pool and we couldn’t agree more; it was really inviting!
In the evening, we went for quick tour of the resort. Set on the bank of the Kappil River, the property is spread across 26 acres of lush green. Every corner of the resort is exceptionally well designed. The view of the pool, the backwaters, the sandy beach and the ocean, all in one frame is beyond words.
By the backwaters, snacks and tea was being served, a daily evening feature.
We went river rafting across the backwaters of the Kappil river in traditional solid wood raft.
As the evening settled in, the evening sky, a myriad of hues, looked beautiful.
After our trip, we visited the creche. I had an outdoor play area, pool and pingpong tables, e-games and other daily hosted activities. A nice space for the kids to be entertained.
By the pool, there was a restaurant where a variety of grills were served. A very pretty setting under a clear starlit sky. We dined at Grills and More
The next day…
We were up early and out with our cameras
We were on a bird watching trail to spot “the winter migrants” that arrive in South India towards the end of September. We could spot Magpie, Sunbirds and White-bellied sea eagles.
There are guided tours by specialists that offer viewing opportunities of the more majestic birds; for the interested folk. After our birdwatching trails, we visited the beach. In the early morning mist, the beach looked stunning. We clicked a few pictures and went to the spa for a yoga session.
We got back to our room and hit the pool. Lunched at the Backwater Café , an all day that serves exquisite regional dishes, the chef recommendations are a must try
After lunch, we visited the spa. The spa here, in our opinion, is one of the most beautifully designed spas in the world. It is an island of tranquility and bliss; not figuratively, but literally, the spa is set on an island that is connected to the resort by a bridge over the Kappil River.
Spread over 1,65,000 square feet, the Jiva Grande Spa is massive, it has speciality areas and eight private treatment rooms with each room having a private courtyard and a private bath tub. It offers exceptional rejuvenation therapies undertaken by highly trained therapists and offers various signature experiences. They have kids treatments on offer as well. There is also a juice bar that serves fresh juices picked from a nearby garden.
In the evening, we vistied the nearby town of Kasargod.
The next day…
My wife and I had an in room breakfast at the sit out overlooking the backwaters.
Once the kids were up, they wanted to go to the resort pool. Set amidst swaying palm trees, and overlooking the backwaters, the pool area is very pleasant spot. We stayed there till noon and lunched at the Ivory Bar.
Afternoon, we went kayaking in the backwaters. We could spot various colorful birds including herons and white-bellied sea eagles. There are various other professionally supervised activities on offer here such as archery and paint ball. A ride to the Bekal fort on a cycle and a visit to Ratnakar’s Thonikadavu are very popular.
After Kayaking we went to the beach for the sunset. By the beach, there is a speciality seafood restaurant called By The Bay. It was undergoing a renovation while we were there but from what we heard, it is the best seafood restaurant around. The playful beach looked beautiful, as the sun disappeared in the ocean.
The next day…
Today was our last day here and we spent all our time at the plunge pool.
The swaying palms, the hammocks, the kayaks, the sunsets, the backwaters, magical family times!
Thank you for the memories Taj Bekal.