With refurbished cottages, a honeymoon suite and unique spa services, Niraamaya Retreats’ Surya Samudra gets a makeover
It’s 6 am and I’m sitting on my bed, watching a brilliant blue sky leak into an equally blue sea, as I debate whether I should head out for a spot of beginner’s yoga by the beach or accompany the chef to the local fish market to buy fish fresh off the fishermen’s boats. I choose instead to snuggle back into my four poster bed, just managing to surface after three hours for a late breakfast at Cafe Samsara. Such ‘unfrowned’ upon laziness, along with a picnic on the beach (wine glass in hand) and platefuls of decadent ragi brownies, are just some of the luxuries that make up my two-day break at Niraamaya Retreats’ Surya Samudra property in Kovalam.
Set in the middle of 32 lush acres, the property is well designed. Stone paths run down the terraced hillside, winding between coconut palms and traditional wooden cottages, down to an infinity pool that was once a natural creek. Now, lined with slate and with water that’s copper-filtered (no chlorine here), the pool overlooks the rolling waves. Steps lead down to two pristine beaches (the private cove manned by lifeguards), where you can enjoy a candle lit dinner or a pre-dawn tea.
One for the couples
But my favourite has to be my cottage with picture windows looking on to the Arabian sea. One of 31 on the property, recently refurbished with soft furnishings in bright colours, the space has quaint touches like stone washbasins in their open-air bathrooms and wooden doors with sliding latches juxtaposed with flat screen TVs and wifi. Renjith Menon, the operations manager, tells me there is more to look forward to. “We plan to open a honeymoon suite (latest by December) with perks like a champagne breakfast in bed, a private sound system, mood lighting, a small kitchenette and a spectacular view of the Arabian sea,” he says.
At the end of my stay—a blur of sampling local mutton pepper fry and Thai grilled fish in banana leaf at its restaurants, Cafe Samsara and Essence; sipping fresh watermelon martinis at their sea-facing bar, Madira; and relaxing abhyanga snana massages—I know I’ll be back, if for nothing more than falling asleep to the sound of pounding waves.
Rooms from `9,000 (inclusive of breakfast and taxes). Details: niraamaya.in
—Surya Praphulla Kumar
The writer was invited
by Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra.
From oils to jams
● Niraamaya Spa retails Ayurvastra—made from hand-woven organic cotton and treated with medicinal decoctions—which is said to be good for people with skin ailments like eczema. From `950. Also pick up specially-created Ayurvedic oils—like nilibringadi and dhanwanthram. From `500 for 225 ml.
● There is a new line of organic pickles and jams. Made from produce grown in their organic gardens, you can choose from varieties like gooseberry and snake gourd jams or papaya and pineapple preserves. Or get the chef to customise a special fish/prawn pickle for you. From `300 onwards.