Joanna Lester-George

Boutique Schmoutique!?

KOKOindia Luxury Travels | 23rd May, 2018 |

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The word ‘boutique’ is being increasingly used these days to describe any old kind of hotel, which can be pretty confusing when you're deciding how and where to spend your precious holiday time. 'Boutique' should conjure up the image of an intimate and stylish hotel, one that can only accommodate a limited number of guests and one that is beautifully run with love in all the details - which is exactly why I make a point of personally reviewing all of KOKOindia’s hotels on your behalf. (You’re welcome).

Some years ago, I reviewed a new property in Goa which was strongly advertised as 'a boutique hotel' in the name - but which turned out to have ninety-seven rooms. Hardly the intimately luxurious experience one would expect! The huge swimming pool was constantly packed with noisy families, queues for the lunchtime buffet were tediously long and, to top it all off, there was a huge conference taking place there over the entire two days we stayed. Having personally reviewed hundreds of hotels across India ever since founding KOKOindia Luxury Travels - most of them fabulous but certainly not all - properties such as this one in Goa should be strung up for defying the Trades Description Act.

One of my very favourite such hotels in India that legitimately ticks all the boxes is 'Purity' in Kerala. From the moment you arrive, you know you’re in for the real deal. This stunning little hotel, with just ten deluxe bedrooms and garden suites, is set on the shores of spectacular Lake Vembanad and has been transformed by the Malabar Escapes chain from a simple Italianate villa into one of the finest boutique hotels in India. It is also quite probably the most stylish place to stay on the Keralan Backwaters.

Every individual room or suite is decorated with contemporary artwork and oversized monochrome photographs, as well as featuring all modern amenities for an uber-comfortable stay. The original Italian villa now houses a courtyard dining area, a Penthouse Suite and a plush lounge with deep sofas. Step through the courtyard and you will find yourself in lush tropical gardens complete with an infinity pool, an Ayurvedic spa and a wide expanse of glittering lake right before you.

My own suite at Purity was the exact epitome of how a boutique hotel room should be – spacious and stylish with a comfortable lounging area, a deluxe king sized bed, a fridge to keep your wine cold, a sunken bath and a fabulous walk in rain shower. The balcony offered breathtaking views across the lake and the friendly staff were always on hand for anything I might need. There was a range of personalised excursions to choose from at the hotel, a Head Chef delighted to cater for individual palates - and above all a sense of feeling utterly looked after in the most luxurious of surroundings.

After over a decade of running KOKOindia, I can usually spot a ‘fake boutique’ hotel a mile away - but my dedicated travels have also helped me tick off a few imposters from the list. Non-bonafide websites and reviews can be the disappointing ruin of a longed for and well deserved trip. So the next time you start dreaming about spending your hard earned bucks on a fabulous Indian hotel experience, just get in touch with us at KOKOindia Luxury Travels – we’ve been happy to do all the groundwork for you!