Bringing a dash of secluded style to the northern backwaters of Kerala, Vivanta by Taj’s property in Bekal is well worth the two-hour drive from the airport at Mangalore, just across the state border in neighboring Karnataka.
Why you’ll want to go: The 71-villa retreat is set behind Kappil Beach on luxuriant grounds overlooking a placid, palm-fringed river, which guests can explore by kayak or by foot along waterside trails. Not too far from tea, coffee, and spice plantation and with access to the beach, the resort is the ideal base to explore the region’s riches on land and the appeal of its waters.
Rooms: Roofs and awnings of hand-woven bamboo reference traditional kettuvallam houseboats, while inside the laterite-clad villas, rooms are decorated with wall murals inspired by chitra pothi (palm leaf) art; the most covetable units come with private courtyards and plunge pools.
Things you can do: The heart of the property is the 15,000-square-meter jiva grande spa, which features yoga and meditation pavilions, ornamental ponds, and a dedicated Ayurveda facility with a comprehensive menu of treatments. Try the Vishrama, a deep muscle massage that uses essential oils of eucalyptus, Indian ginseng, sesame, and camphor. For those keen on venturing outdoors, a range of activities from boating, kayaking, fishing, trekking or having a picnic to nearby plantations are among activities guaranteed to keep you busy.
For more information, visit Vivanta by Taj.