Why do we constantly have to remind ourselves that we need to pause? That a getaway is long overdue. We as a family were in dire need for some freshness, a good dose of nature and sea. On our last trip to Kerala, India we made sure we planned out time for exactly that.
We did not want to be on the road too long to get to our destination. And so Cherai it was. Cherai is famous for the Cherai Beach, which is the longest beach in Kochi, Kerala. It took us around 50 minutes to get there from Chalakudy.
Once we reached Cherai, we drove through a narrow stretch of road with houses on one side and the beach on the other. 36 Palms Boutique Retreat for one was at the perfect location. It was like taking a ticket for an exclusive view of the Arabian Sea.
So apparently the retreat has 36 palms and so the name. And also a lot of scenes from the recent Malayalam movie ‘Pretham’ was shot at the retreat.
The boutique offers two kinds of rooms. The Deluxe sea view rooms on the top floor and the garden rooms on the ground floor.
We picked the deluxe sea view room (of course!). The furnishing of the room is completely done using wood and stone flooring. The first thing that occurred to me was the respect and significance given to Kerala in the architecture and design aspects of the retreat.
I was looking for a safe to store our valuables and instead found a fairly large wooden box with compartments inside that used a lock and key. I remember seeing one of these as a child when we were visiting my mom’s sisters house in Haripad.
The one concern we had when we were making the reservation was whether privacy would be a concern given that the deck doesn’t have partitions. This means you can walk around the deck of the resort passing by other rooms freely.
But this wasn’t an issue at all for us during our stay. The rooms have curtains all around (glass windows and doors). The retreat was fully booked at the time and we didn’t have any problems relating to the concerns we previously had.
Calm and serene. The rooms do not have televisions. Which is great because the whole point of such a trip is to cancel out all that other noise. Although the same did not apply to my phone (Guilty).
If you follow my Instagram account, a walkthrough of the retreat was featured on my Instastories.
Throughout the retreat, the one constant sound was that of the sea and the waves washing up against the shore.
Once we checked in and were settled in my son Adrian and I decided to go for a walk and have a look around.
We walked downstairs and then into a lush green garden that surrounds 36 Palms. We walked through the unevenly stoned pathway past potted plants, bright pink bougainvillea climbers, and tall palm trees.
I loved the extensive use of woodwork throughout the retreat.
On one end of the top floor are the infinity pool and a medium sized restaurant space. In the center is a lounging area with beach chairs and hammocks.
The best part about our stay was the near theatrical view of the sea.
Between the deck for the sea view rooms and the deck leading to the pool is a small walkway. At the end of the walkway is a door. The door opens to the beach. And that is something a picture can capture but truly something that should be experienced.
We sat on the rocks and watched as the sun set.
We were in for a visual treat after the sunset as well. There was a hint of rain and we watched as thunder and lightning put up a spectacular show for us.
There was nothing spectacular about this part. For lunch, we picked simple Indian bread with a Paneer masala and for dinner sandwiches. The food was served outside our room.
For breakfast, they had a selection of Indian food along with add on’s like fresh juice, eggs, and pancakes which would be made to order.
The service was good. The one issue was that there wasn’t a phone in the room, so we had to walk all the way to the restaurant or wait for someone to come to our side of the retreat for any assistance.
I was quite nervous doing an overnight stay away from home with my 6-month-old because of the constant need to sterilize his bottles. But the staff was very accommodating and they provided me complete assistance in this regard.
The retreat offers a number of interesting activities focussed on the mind, body, and soul. I would have loved to explore these options if we had been there for a longer stay.
I did opt for an early morning Yoga session but in the end, due to some sort of miscommunication it ended up not happening.
Instead, I woke up early to the sight of a number of fishermen walking along the beach waiting for the right time to release their fishing nets.
They take their time and walk the length of the beach watching the water. I think it’s the right swell of the waves that they wait for.
They then slowly unravel their fishing nets before walking into the water and then doing a well spreadout throw of the net into the sea.
Adrian joined me soon after. We walked past that gateway and climbed our way past the rocks to the beach. He made a friend and had the best time frolicking in the water and running away from the waves. I watched him laugh as the waves washed away the sand castles he was trying to build.
This was our first trip as a family after we had Derek. And what a great experience it was. We didn’t need a soundtrack to fall asleep. There is no better sound to hear than the ocean, the wind and the rain all at once, late at night.
Note: Do carry a book along with you. If you have kids accompanying you, pack along some beach toys and swim wear. Adrian got quite bored after sunset. The time at the beach was the best part for him.