As we drove into the Cherai Beach Resorts, the waves crashing in the background, a feeling of serenity accompanied us into the lobby. The decor was, perhaps, a trifle underdone, but the property itself was housed in the midst of lush greenery dotted with pools, winding paths, disused boats, awe-inspiring trees with roots hanging all the way down and a profusion of ancient doors studded with wood and glints of brass.
We (my husband, my daughter and granddaughter) had two and a half days of relaxation to look forward to and were excited about our room which was supposed to have a pool within. However, on the first day, a mix up with our reservations ensured that we made our way to another room, which faced the resort pool, instead of a pool inside.
The beach beckoned us welcomingly, as we scrambled across the road, stumbled down a pile of rocks, straight on to one of the cleanest beaches we had ever come across. Vast expanses of sand, the blue grey waters at sunset and the sight of our little granddaughter playing in the sand with her little pots and pans made our hearts swell with joy.
The meals at Oottupura, the restaurant at the resort, were all buffet-style, and the food did not offer much variety, especially the desserts which were ice cream and fruit salad every single day. However, being on holiday and dipping into the baby pool (the main pool being too deep for me and my daughter!) and the beach, in turn, made us develop a healthy appetite, and we did full justice to the meals, which consisted of at least three non vegetarian dishes every meal.
The first night, the geyser in our bathroom turned temperamental, and the moment we lodged a complaint, Mr. Raymond, the manager, offered us our original room – the one with a pool within. Off we went, all excited only to find that our new room was right next to the water, and offered us a spectacular view. The pool inside the bathroom was, indeed a novelty, but the weather being nippy, we did not take a chance to jump in. There was a tiny sit-out upstairs, where again, the view was amazing, but the rickety staircase made us a trifle wary of venturing there.
However, despite all the niggling hitches, we did have a lovely time, walking around the property, as the little one spoke animatedly to the equally animated crows that swooped down with no warning and the well-fed doves that drank water from the pool.
My husband threw his fancy fishing rod into the water in front of our room, but found that he had misplaced a vital part of it somewhere. The intrepid Army officer in him resorted to a ‘jugaad’, as he attached a water bottle to the reel, stuck on chicken pieces as bait and threw it over. However, the fish proved to be even smarter as they whisked away the bait without even a ripple.
For a change, I woke up early enough to view the sunrise, enthralled with the crimson hues that heralded the appearance of the golden globe that drove away the nip in the air. The sunsets were as mesmeric, except when the clouds decided to come in the way.
At night, the sound of the crickets lulled us into a somnolent mood as the lights from the resorts around shone bright, like a necklace on two levels, the lower half being the dazzling reflection on the dark waters. I spent much of my time, sitting on the hammock outside our room, savouring the fresh, balmy air and the mesmerizing landscape.
Cherai Beach Resort has been put together by a group of post graduate doctors who own a number of villas. Thus, a line of Doctors’ Villas share space with Club Villas, Illam Villas, Garden Villas and Pool Side Villas, among a few.
One main draw here is the Ayurmana Spa, a Government approved Ayurvedic Centre, which welcomes you in with a traditional ‘villakku’, a lamp lit at its entrance.
Alongside the the multi-cuisine restaurant named ‘Oottupura’ is ‘Tharavadu’, a Beer and Wine lounge, for those so inclined. (Pun intended!)
The sheer exuberance of colours painted by Mother Nature, as the sky and the waters took on myriad hues, each more breathtaking than the other, was another feature that kept us fascinated.
One of the purple patches of our stay was the sight of the fishermen in four boats who gave us a spectacular viewing of the way in which they caught their fish. It was like a ballet being staged for our benefit, as they came in from four directions, gave an oral signal and cast their nets at exactly the same moment, four fairy nets shimmering in the air for a split-second.
By the end of the trip, we were quite euphoric, as the ambiance of Cherai had entered our souls, and we left with full hearts, satiated and relaxed, despite the fact that my husband had not caught a single fish. John Muir’s words echoed in our hearts as we drove away. “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
Cherai Beach Resorts is located at the Gateway of Muziris, around 25 kms from the Nedumassery International Airport.
It is 14 km away from the renowned Bhagavathy Temple in Kodangallur.
Picture credits: Gopi Menon, Priyanka Menon-Rao, Deepti Menon