Villa Jacaranda

Villa in Kerala

Bijou Guesthouse

Want to unwind? Then this cosy guesthouse in Varkala, on India's south west coast, is where you need to be.

Named after a lilac tree that rivals cherry blossom for its beauty, Villa Jacaranda in Varkala, Kerala, is everything you could want if you're looking for a home from home.

With no reception, it feels homely from the minute you walk in – straight into the kitchen.

Forget checking into an anonymous lobby; rather, the process takes places on your private balcony over fresh lime juice and a homemade cardamom biscuit.

The staff can't speak English but show their hospitality through big smiles and little touches such as gifts of fresh jasmine. However, the owner Ajay Ojha – from Punjab in the north – has lived in London so his English is perfect. Following his dream to open a bed and breakfast, he built Villa Jacaranda in 2002.

“I knew I wanted a private garden and large rooms with big en-suite bathrooms, so the villa only has four guest bedrooms,” he explains. “The builders thought I was crazy. They said ‘But you could fit 10 rooms in there’. But this way, I can interact with my guests and make it feel like home. I live here myself. It's a dream job and I couldn't ask for more. Visitors arrive stressed and leave tanned and happy. It's a lovely feeling.”

The next morning, a spread of eggs, toast with homemade pineapple jam, tea and a mango milkshake is presented to me on a pink and orange tablecloth on my balcony, which has a view of the sea peeking through the trees. The rest of the rooms overlook the lilypond in the garden, which bursts with colour.

My room (number two) is lovely; it has pale sage walls, antique furniture and a fan on the ceiling. Mosquito screens are Velcroed to the window, one of which overlooks the road. I hear motorbikes early in the morning, but Varkala is the type of place that's early to bed, early to rise, so they don't wake me. Wi-Fi and international adapters are provided.

The villa is directly opposite the yoga and surf school, Soul & Surf, which is handy if you're planning on taking part in its 6:00am surf lessons. It's also just a two-minute stroll down to the beach, from which you can walk up steep steps to a cliff top lined with restaurants, cafés, shops and laidback bars. Varkala is the place to come for a few days' R & R; but chances are you'll find yourself wishing you could stay longer.

Sarah Riches has eight years' experience as a lifestyle journalist and author having been based in London and The Middle East and can be followed on @healthy_holiday

Photographs courtesy of Villa Jacaranda

Reviewer's Rating
Ambience Quiet, Hidden Gem, Charming
Services Daily Housekeeping, Free High Speed Internet
Cost Medium
Number of Rooms 4 guestrooms
Relaxation, Shopping, Beach/Sun, Great local restaurants

Room Categories

4 spacious rooms with private verandas and large en-suite bathrooms.

Additional Ambience Information

Friendly and relaxed.

Last updated on 17-01-2016

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