The historic Fort Cochin is home to numerous heritage hotels, many of which are in buildings dating back centuries, to the times when the Dutch used Cochin (now also known as Kochi) as a major port and trading hub. Malabar House is set a few streets back from the seaface, where you will spot the traditional Chinese fishing nets, and it is opposite St Francis Church. Malabar House is a boutique hotel in a building that dates back to 1755, when a Dutchman bought the property. It was subsequently owned by spice traders and bankers, and in 1996 became Fort Cochin’s first boutique heritage hotel.
What sets Malabar House apart is its unique design: walls are painted in shades of ochre, mint or red, while original artworks grace the walls – fitting, in a city that is host to the the biennial Kochi-Muziris Biennale, as well as numerous art galleries and the renowned Kashi Arts Cafe.
Malabar House has 17 unique rooms and suites: five roof garden suites on the first floor, and 11 deluxe rooms on the ground floor, featuring antique beds, traditional Keralan columns, artworks, sculptures, as well as comfortable beds and all the necessary mod cons. The hotel also has a beautiful and compact swimming pool, a restaurant, wine lounge and offers free bicycle hire and ayurvedic treatments. Malabar House also has a handful of sister properties and can arrange day excursions on Kerala’s lakes and backwaters.
Malabar House is justifiably one of Cochin’s most popular hotels: it is more an experience than a simple stay, a place that should be savoured and enjoyed as much as the city itself.