Apart from Goa, India is not known for its beaches; even there it tends to focus on the backpacker or party-goer wanting to, how shall we say this delicately, have a very good time with the aid of sun and substances. Calmer, luxury-seeking beach lovers may despair at the lack of options in a country with such a long coast.
Fear not, we have a solution, as always. Neeleshwar is south of Goa, in the oft-overlooked northern part of Kerala, and the gorgeous Neeleshwar Hermitage is a wonderful destination hotel on a beauteous beach. Consisting of just 18 detached cottages modelled on traditional fisherman’s huts, it is an oasis of tranquility in this colourful, chaotic country.
Situated directly on the beach, there are plenty of private spots to sunbathe or swim, including the fabulous pool and a wonderfully calm lagoon where you can also take early morning boat rides in a dugout canoe; if you’re lucky, you’ll spot white-bellied sea eagles while you’re out. Other activities include cooking classes, biking, visiting the close by heritage site of Bekal Fort, or going walking in the Western Ghats.
While you’re in the area, we also recommend you make some time for the lovely Lotus Houseboat. A one- or two-night stay cruising the serene waters is a gloriously chilled way of exploring the backwaters, and far less crowded than similar experiences further south. The Lotus has just two elegantly decorated bedrooms, and features an awesome rooftop viewing area, perfect for sundowners.
Anton recently completed a rickshaw race across India. He’s crazy, we know. Just crazy enough to plan your perfect Indian odyssey.