After an exhausting 2 and a half weeks travelling around the busy, noisy and dusty cities of North India, arriving at Marari Villas was like stepping into a whole different world. A small resort in the quiet beach village of Mararikulam in Kerala, Marari Villas was exactly the bit of luxury and relaxation we needed to end our trip with.
While I plan all our trips and Alex just goes along with whatever I say (who says there’s no such thing as the perfect man?!), I had told Alex absolutely nothing about this place. I knew how good it was and I wanted to see his face when he realised this.
Stepping into the Orchid Cottage, whilst sipping our welcome drinks, was like having our own little gorgeous cosy home for the next few nights. A huge soft bed scattered with flower petals, a kitchen stacked full of cold drinks, and a TV with a variety of DVDs and books. There was even a traveller goody set complete with mobile phone, SIM card, sun cream and insect repellent which was extremely handy. They had thought of everything to make our stay as perfect as possible.
One of my favourite things about the cottage was the open air bathroom where you could take a shower and brush your teeth with the blue sky, plants and lizards all joining you. It was a little strange at first and I hesitantly crept into the shower watching out for prying eyes but you’re surrounded by a wall and just alone with nature. It ended up being rather exhilarating showering out in the open!
But the best part of our cottage was easily the garden which was decked out with hammocks, sun loungers, a dining area for our meals, and a pool. Our own private pool. This was the part where Alex’s jaw dropped and he turned to ask me with wide eyes “Is this just for us?”. Yes Alex, yes it is. Aren’t I just the best wife? 😉
While the actual property is nothing short of perfect, the staff make Marari Villas even more incredible. Rupert and Olga who run the Villas were so friendly it felt like we had known them for ages. Shan, our villa host, was there at all times of day to help with anything we needed at the ring of a bell. Literally, we rang a bell and Shan came running. It was like something out of Downtown Abbey! I must admit it did feel a bit odd doing this at first but the children in the villa next door loved using their bell and I guess that’s what the villa host is there for. We tipped him nicely at the end of our stay as a thank you but he was always more than eager to help us out in any way he could, whether it was getting us a cold lassi to drink, bringing us an ironing board or booking us a backwater boat ride.
Rajesh, our personal chef, rustled us up an amazing selection of fresh food from their menu every day. I feasted on honey soaked pancakes for breakfast; a delicious thali at lunch with a selection of foods I never thought I’d try let alone love; and some of the most mouth-watering fish and chicken dishes for dinner. It was South Indian cuisine at its very best.
We spent most of the time in our cottage having early morning yoga lessons in the garden and relaxing by the pool during the day. A 5 minute stroll through the tiny village lead us to the beach where we had our own private area away from the local fisherman.
The beach attendant, Benjamin, made sure we were nice and relaxed on the sun loungers or hammocks and he would chat to us about his life in India and even invited us to church with him.
As the sun set we would take a walk along the beach and watch the fishermen bringing their catch in. Then, back at the cottage, we had dinner by candlelight in the garden while the pool glimmered next to us.
We were there over New Year and it was by far one of the best New Year’s Eves we have ever had – a barefoot BBQ on the beach with the other guests and staff, constant top-ups of champagne and more delicious food than we could ever dream to finish. Indian drummers and dancers then performed and at midnight we toasted in the New Year while watching fireworks on the sand and sending floating lanterns off into the sky with our wishes for the year ahead.
By the end of our stay I was almost crying at the fact we had to leave whilst also plotting how to kidnap Shan and Rajesh and take them home with us. It was all so perfect. I couldn’t think of a single thing that would have made our stay at Marari Villas any more idyllic, unless we had longer there of course. We were truly in paradise.