BRUNTON BOATYARD, Fort Kochi [Cochin]
The Brunton Boatyard Hotel is AN attempt to distill an aspect of this heritage, and to bring colonial Cochin alive for the contemporary traveler. For what is essentially a small and intimate city resort hotel, The Brunton Boatyard posses a remarkable sense of scale, evident the moment you turn into the tiled forecourt
The lobby is a vault of sunlight and air, framed by arches and overhung with punkahs – enormous, old-fashioned fans of Indo-Portuguese origin. A rich, and colourful history marks the corridor, once the century old boatyard of Geo. Brunton and Sons. On this site cghearth recreated the splendour of the city’s illustrious past, using the materials of fin de sieclé Cochin – lime, terracotta, wood and tile.
A short saunter down the corridor brings you to a little doorway. Pass through and suddenly, the whole vista of Cochin harbour opens up beyond the pool’s inviting waters. The hotel’s nautical past seems to follow around the guests. On one wall, old Dutch maps, on another, a small navigation device, in the grassy courtyard, an ancient anchor. Walk further, turn a corner, the guests will find themselves outside the Armory Bar. Perhaps later, the guests could enjoy a sundowner here, with old Portuguese armour and musketry for company
A short saunter down the corridor brings you to a little doorway. Pass through and suddenly, the whole vista of Cochin harbour opens up beyond the pool’s inviting waters. This is the spot to read a boring historical novel, work on your tan and watch the ships sail by, so close you can almost reach out and touch them. Crane your neck a bit and you can spot a serried rank of Cochin’s famed fishing nets. They first made their appearance in 1350 a.d. and their much-photographed preying mantis shapes form one of the city’s most enduring images.
Also near the pool is the hotel’s jetty, and a word at the reception gets you a variety of cruising options to choose from. The heritage of Cochin is most evident around its enormous harbour, and this is a not-to-be-missed experience.
All of the Brunton Boatyard Hotel’s 22 rooms overlook the sea, and so, by happy circumstance, do the en-suite bathrooms. Few pleasures rival a long hot soak in your tub of an evening, watching the dolphins play tag with the trading ships of the globe. Your super-rested muscles should then have just enough energy to carry you to the quaint four poster bed that dominates your room.
Relaxation, in fact, may well be a necessity after a meal at The Brundon Boatyard Hotel. We must hastily add that our menus offer many healthy, low-fat options, but we also urge you to indulge yourself at least once. For here is your chance to dine from, literally, a melting pot.
To the basic melody of black pepper, ginger and cardamom, each group that came to Kerala added a counterpoint of its own. The Portuguese came to trade in spice, but left behind the ‘ Indian’ red chili. The Syriac Christians brought a variety of meat dishes, that co-incidentally, tasted fabulous with the native string hoppers. The Jews found coriander both Kosher and delicious, so into the pot it went. And Dutch puddings were found to benefit greatly from a spot of fresh cinnamon.
At the History cafe, these cuisines have been given a new lease of life. The Hotel coaxed some carefully guarded secret recipes from the old families of Cochin, and every evening, they are faithfully recreated for your pleasure. You can, for example, try that Raj standby, Mulligatawny soup, followed by the da Cunha clan’s Pork Vindaloo, and Awaal arubyan bil Kabaneh, an Arab pulao (rice dish) tempered with local spices and yoghurt. There should be just enough room for Pazham Nirachatu, a Malabar dessert made from steamed bananas with a delectable stuffing.
Armed with a map and some comfortable footwear, you can tour the historic Fort Cochin area where the hotel stands. Sadly, little remains of the fort itself, but the other legacies of history are everywhere. Here, Vasco da Gama succeeded where Columbus failed, and found the fabled sea route to the Indies. His grave is still marked with a plaque and a brass rail, though his remains are back home in Portugal. Artefacts of that era abound in the old St. Francis’ Church area, not far from the gravesite.
Across, in the Jew town, the four-century old synagogue still stands testimony to the tolerant, multi-cultural nature of Kerala society. Looming protectively over the synagogue is the Mattancherry palace, erstwhile home to the Verma kings and today a fine museum, not to be left unvisited. The Palace became known as the Dutch Palace in the early 17th century, as another era began in Cochin’s history. Today, the crest of the Dutch East India Company can still be seen in the Stuber Hall
Standard sea facing rooms
Deluxe sea facing suite
History Cafe – Multi cuisine restaurant
Armoury – Coffee shop / bar
Swimming pool, Ayurveda Centre
Regular doctors on call
THINGS TO DO :
Touring historic Fort Cochin, Harbour cruise, Visit Spice Market, Visit Jew Street, Matancherry, St. Francis’ Church, Walking down to the Chinese fishing nets
42 Kms from Cochin international airport (travel time – 45 mins)
Jan – Mar: cool, dry
April – May: Summer
June – August: Monsoon
Sept – Dec: pleasant, dry
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