Indian Summer House : 6 days of Pure Relaxation
The Indian Summer House is a luxury villa that has been built by an Indian/Australian couple called Mini and Don. Don was the host during my stay and you can clearly see how proud he is of this sanctuary and he has every right to be as it is a remarkable place.
This is a retreat to make memories and I certainly came away with some amazing ones that I will never forget the Indian Summer House and it is going to take something really special to live up to this place.
What makes the India Summer house unique is its exclusivity. No matter if you are renting one bungalow or all 4 the place will totally be yours which makes it ideal for family getaways, group holidays or even weddings. If 4 of the bungalows are used, then it makes the Indian Summer House great value for money.
I was so excited to be invited to this beautiful Indian Villa with some other travel bloggers. After visiting the golden triangle in April, I had already fallen in love with India and the opportunity to go and review this luxury villa is making all my hard work on TraveltoRecovery so worthwhile.
I was slightly nervous travelling to Cochin on my own as even though I had visited the northern areas of Indian I wasn’t sure what to expect in the South and also the language barrier can make travelling alone difficult but I was greeted by my transport and it was hassle free and I felt safe straight away.
After arriving at 3am I was shown to my room where I crashed as I was so tried from my flight. I had been to India a few months earlier, so I wasn’t as apprehensive as I would have been if it was my first time visiting the country and I just feel straight to sleep.
I was woken in the morning to a beautiful breakfast and met the other bloggers that were staying with me and our host Don.
Don gave us a tour of the house and grounds, he explained how the Indian Summer House was designed and it made it even more special finding out about the architecture. The property is fabulous to look at but finding out how it was designed by a famous architect Made Wijaya and that the stone masonry has been done by hand and discovering the hidden gems in the building was delightful.
Indian summer house is in Muvatupuzha, Kerala about 1-hour drive from Cochin International Airport. This is not a tourist area and it will definitely give you a taste of real life in South India. Step outside the gates and it looks like you are in the countryside, walk a few minutes and you get to the heart of the town which is colourful and bursting with life.
The India Summer House was designed by architect Made Wijaya who is a world renowned tropical garden designer and has worked on some impressive properties including David Bowie’s estate in Mustique. The project took 5 years to complete and is surprising to think that it was once a rice paddy field is now home to four exquisite villas and beautiful gardens.
The property has been designed with Balinese influences and also based on traditional Keralan building architecture. Around every corner is something to explore from hand carved stone masonry to timber beams, tiled walkways and lighting made from Indian cooking pans, makes walking around the property wonderful.
This is the bungalow that I stayed in. I had one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in and with such high-quality bedding it makes it a bit of a challenge to get up in the mornings. My stay was during monsoon season and opening the shutters and listening to the rain was so tranquil.
One of the things that surprised me about the room was the 3 pin plug sockets for some reason I just wasn’t expecting that in India. There were points when the power went off but then the generator kicked in and it came back on. This all added to the cool experience of being in India in the monsoon season.
My room was light and airy and had plenty of storage. I loved the bathroom, it was nearly as big as the bedroom. There was even a outside shower. I did use the outside shower after I had my massage outside the treatment room and listening to the birds singing whilst I showered was like something I had never experience before.
This room was next to mine and we shared out outside seating area. The room are nearly identical.
This room even has its own equipped kitchen not that you would want to do any cooking when you have such a wonderful chef but would be great if you needed, to prepare food for little ones during the trip. It also has its own outside shower and a lovely seating area to listen to the rain or to chill getting a great view over the main garden.
This room is just amazing. It has an upstairs and downstairs. Downstairs is a lounge which is the perfect place for some pre dinner drink and to relax. Then it has an amazing bathroom and even a spare bedroom.
But the bungalows are not the extent of what the property has to offer there is also a saloon to have evening drinks, a dining terrace and plenty of outside seating to take in the fresh air.
You can spend hours walking around the gardens even though they are not vast in size there is just so much to look at. It is a place to relax but then there is also so much on offer to keep you entertained.
I loved walking around and looking at all the different plants. There are several different ornaments and somethings you don’t even notice straight away. I walked past this elephant a number of times before I noticed it was the shower by the swimming pool.
In the family room you can do some adult colouring which is supposed to be very therapeutic. There are books on local plants and birds so walk around the garden to see what you can spot. This room is by the kitchen and the dining terrace so a great place for families to gather for a pre dinner cocktail.
Not only is the food amazing but the covered outside dining terrace is such a beautiful place to spend all the meal times. The pond with resident fish and magnificent plants attracts butterflies for you to watch whilst you are having your breakfast. At night with the added ambiance of candle light it makes the experience wonderful. Even if the heavens have opened and it is raining, listening to the rainfall is another relaxing way to spend your meal.
The chef Rajesh has such a passion for cooking and rightly so as he is so talented. I went to the local market with Rajesh to see the ingredients he used, and he was so enthusiastic about showing me around it was one of the best experiences whilst travelling in India.
All the food I tasted whilst here was delicious. I don’t like a lot of spice and the chef warned me if something was a little spicy so at least I was prepared. I have to say that I was so impressed with how the food tasted I never imagined this high quality of cooking.
One night we had a Seafood BBQ. I am not a big fan of seafood and was kind of dreading this meal as I can’t eat seafood that has heads on but I have yet again been converted by this amazing chef. We had these huge prawns that were so succulent and nothing like I have ever tasted before.
Sadthya is a dish served at weddings and any celebration. It is all vegetarian and has a minimum of 16 parts to it you obviously do not eat the banana leaf it is served on. It is eaten with your hands but I did give up half way through and got a spoon as it was too messy.
And I got a little surprise of a birthday cake. It technically was not my birthday for another week, but it was my websites 1-year birthday the next day and I had sort of been hinting at chocolate cake during the trip but never expected this. It was delicious and was the best ending,to one of the best trips I have done so far.
On our last day Rajesh made us a burger as I mentioned I review burgers for my burger around the world series and it was so good. I can’t even tell you what type of meat it was but it was so juicy and really tasty. I have had a lot of burgers and this makes it into the top of the bunch. Well a chef as good as Rajesh isn’t going to make anything that was not luscious.
The staff here are amazing, and this is what really makes this place special as they seem to have so much love for the property that it really shows. I remember on my first night when I arrived at 3am I was greeted by the chef who explained who he was and he would be looking after us during our stay, I thought I had misheard since I was so tired as I had never heard of a chef looking after the guests before, but as I found out more about the Indian Summer House I love how it is like a family home and they make you feel part of their family which I have never experienced before or since.
I had all good intentions of trying Yoga. I even spoke to a fellow travel blogger who loves Yoga for some tips, but my bed was just too comfortable that I never made it up for the early yoga sessions. I admit I was awake in time but listening to the rain falling whilst chilling in my bed was just more appealing to me because yes, I admit it, I am just a tad lazy.
However, Kirstie from You The World Wandering tried the yoga and wrote a great article about it so if you are looking for an amazing yoga retreat in Indian then this is the place or if like me you just want to chill it is also a dream place for that too its perfect for whatever you want to do.
Exploring local life in Muvattupuzha
One of the many highlights of my stay was going into Muvattupuzha with Don and Rajesh the chef. We went to the local market with the chef to buy produce for our evening meal. Every dish served at the Indian summer house is of great quality and to see where it is bought was so interesting. You can even visit Rajesh in the kitchen to see how he prepares and cooks the dishes you will be eating.
My sandals had broken, and I was panicking as I had 6 weeks travelling round South India and Sri Lanka thinking I was going to have to go barefoot. OK maybe a slight exaggeration but I have very strange feet and find it difficult to find comfortable shoes, but Rajesh came to the rescue. He took me shopping in Muvattupuzha. The first shop we visited had very pretty women’s shoes but I am more about comfort than looks so headed to the men’s section but they only have really big sizes so that was no good. We then went to another shop and again they were showing me big sizes and really heavy walking sandals which was no good but I looked through what seemed like hundreds of shoes and I think poor Rajesh thought we were going to miss dinner the amount of time I was taking but I finally found some and the best bit was they were only about £5. These shoes lasted me the whole trip and are now moulded to my feet so comfortable.
Walk around the village
A quick way to get to the pineapple fields was to cross the river. I thought Don was joking when he said this was our ride over the river.
A call had been made to a local who owns this boat which is currently the only way to get to the other side. Whilst we were waiting a woman came to the river to wash her clothes. It was a great thing to see and looked like such hard work it really makes you appreciate the luxuries we have at home such as a washing machine.
We did the crossing in two groups the first group made it over, but I was still nervous.
The canoe had water in and I was slightly apprehensive that it wasn’t going to make it over to the other side. At one point I was even going to start scooping out the water that seemed to be rapidly coming in, but we made it!!
It was so worth the nerve racking canoe ride to walk through the village on the other side. We went past rubber trees, cows, saw local children coming home on the school bus, heard the birds singing it was my first taste of what Southern India had to offer and I was mesmerised.
We went to a local tea shop which was like a hut and was full of bananas. This is not good for me since I have a slight phobia of bananas well to be trueful it’s the smell I can not stand. However, I made it into the hut to watch the owner make the tea in a very special way. Indian Chai is quite sweet and has a slight taste of spice it varies from place to place. I don’t like the sweetness as I drink very strong black tea and he made me some. But I watched how he made the Chai by pouring it from pot to pot to mix up the flavours. He then brought us a plate of mini bananas, banana fritters and banana chips. I did try everything can’t say it was the best thing but my taste for bananas was improving.
We then took a tuk-tuk ride back to the town. It was an experience in itself flagging down several tuk-tuks for us all, but our chef/guide managed it and we headed to town. I love riding in tuk-tuks although on this road it was quite hair raising with large lorries speeding past. Plus, our driver could not understand a word of English, but we got there safely.
We had a walk through the town looked at the beautiful flowers stalls, saw someone making some type of bread and visited a tailor who was very proud to show us some of their items even though we didn’t buy anything.
We went Sari shopping as our host wanted to buy some for his wife who was back in Australia. Everything was so colourful I wanted to buy all the beautiful fabrics. I really wanted to try one on but they would then have expected me to buy one and since I was on a budget and didn’t really have the space in my case I didn’t want to waste their time. But the materials were amazing.
Day trip to Cochin
You know how I said India was so colourful an example of this is our bus it was a bit of a surprise at night when the lights came on and it was all lit up in bright colours. Cochin is the main tourist area closest to the Indian Summer House about 1 hours drive. The area has plenty of things going on and is well worth a visit. You can watch the local fishermen using huge nets to catch their fish and then have a look a the stalls that are selling what they have caught.
There are also many other souvenir shops and the best café ever. Kashi Art café which is also a art gallery had some delicious food I ended up visiting 3 times as I spent some time in Cochin after this stay. I fell in love with their honey and ginger lemonade which was so refreshing after being out in the heat. As you enter the front of the café you can see some of the exhibitions and they are a little strange. When I was there it was called my uncles sweat and it was little pots of liquid, I asked the artist and he said yes it really was his uncles sweat not sure how that classes as art but I guess I am no expert.
Anyone that is following my blog will know that I absolutely love Spa treatments and the two treatments I had during my stay at the Indian Summer house were out of this world and has given me an insight into Ayurveda treatments and now I cannot wait to go back to India and explore these treatments in more depth.
One night a local girl came to show us a local dance and it was mesmerising how much emotion she put into the dance. It was quite a family affair as her mother, father and uncles came with her, but I think that is because they are so proud of her. She was very talented and beautiful.
The swimming pool is amazing and very peaceful. I just wish the sun was out more, so I could have relaxed on one of the loungers. Unfortunately, as it was monsoon season when I visited it didn’t actually come out until my last day, but I managed to get a few hours chilling. It is surrounding by amazing plants and coconut trees.
The Indian Summer House is a retreat of relaxation and it definitely wins at being one of the most relaxing places I have ever visited. I could have spent weeks here and still not have been bored. It was nice spending a few hours reading under the terrace by the pool listening to the outside noises and the rain…
On my last day I wasn’t leaving until the afternoon, so I got to have another massage. After my massage the sun had finally decided to show itself, so I spent a little time around the pool. I was playing at being an Instagram star what do you think lol
Any other tours or requirements can be arranged by the villa just ask and I am sure they will do there very best to help and if they can’t they will contact someone local who can help.
This is one of the best experiences I have had so far as a travel blogger and the memories are going to stay with me for a very long time. It is going to take a lot to live up to the luxury of this villa. This is a very special place and I would return tomorrow if I had the chance.
Thank you so much to Dom at the Indian Summer House for letting me make perfect memories.