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June 2006   


Whilst the UK summer comes and goes in a tepid flash, it's time to think about escaping for some autumn and winter sun so that you can snare the warm beauty of a long, lingering Indian summer. And once the monsoon season is over in time for September, the balmy, tropical paradise of Kerala in South India, will be bursting with sunshine all the way through to next April. Which is why we've been out there to find you the very best unique homestays in the region. And you can forget the busy beaches and tourism scene of Trivandrum, these special places to stay are hidden gems hosted by generous local families. But whilst you lap up an intimate experience of Keralan culture, cuisine and scenery, you certainly won't be scrimping on style or luxury...


PHILIKPKUTTYS, Kottoyam District, Kerala
Enjoy the hidden gems of the Keralan backwaters from a magical island retreat.
Arrive by boat to this island paradise that encapsulates eco-tourism at its most luxurious. Six cottages fashioned in traditional Keralan style peep out from beneath the coconut palms, boasting incredible views over the backwaters. Enjoy private, super-comfortable lodgings with first-class facilities, whilst also joining in the local lifestyle and mealtimes in the family residence. A walk around the lush farm island will introduce you to much of the produce you will find on the dinner table, including coconuts, nutmeg, bananas, cocoa, cardamom, cinnamon and peppers. (Villas from $185 per night, Sept-April)

Tranquil by name; tranquil by nature.
This plantation hideaway tucked amongst the stunning scenery of the Western Ghats is a luxurious retreat in the arms of nature. Oozing with the colonial ambience of yesteryear, yet boasting modern facilities on par with the best hotels, this extravagant homestay is situated in a 400-acre coffee, cardamom and vanilla plantation. Follow the jungly paths to 'Lookout Rock' for breakfast served with a jaw-dropping view or take a dip in the azure-blue pool; but it is the luxury tree house that really steals the show. For romantic couples a stay in this magnificent treetop abode carved out of coffee wood is an absolute must. (From 170 Euro per night per standard double - inclusive of all meals, local taxes and local sightseeing)

Enjoy the culture and cuisine of Kerala on the beach and the backwaters
Choose from a traditional heritage home in the heart of the backwaters, or one of four luxury fishermen's cottages on a nearby palm-fringed beach. Or why not try both? From your stylish accommodation in a traditional family home you can learn the secrets of the local cuisine, try an authentic ayurvedic massage, or head into the backwaters by houseboat or dugout canoe. And from your fully-catered beach cottage you might desire to do very little except swing in the hammock, sip the milk of fresh coconuts, dine on sumptuous cuisine on the veranda, and soak up the sun from your open-air shower. (Full-board only $50 per person per night)

THARAVAD, Palakkad, Kerala
A heritage homestay set in the lush rice paddies of Kerala
The two-hundred-year-old ancestral home of the Kandath family, Tharavad is an exceptional example of traditional Keralan architecture and one of the only homes of its calibre left standing in the area. This beautiful heritage home has been meticulously maintained to keep its original features including magnificent rosewood and teak pillars and 'Nadumuttams' - open-air courtyards inside the building. Tharavad makes an exceptional location for an overseas wedding celebration in true Indian style, but whatever the occasion your warm host, Mr Bhagwaldas, will treat you to the finest local cuisine and hospitality and take you to the local villages where you can witness the artisan skills of the region. (From £70.00 per room per night, including all meals)

AYISHA MANZIL, Tellicherry, Kerala
A colonial-style Malabari heritage home overlooking the Arabian Sea
Indulge in sumptuous regional cuisine and enjoy being pampered when you stay in this 145-year-old Malabari heritage home that almost topples into the azure ocean on its doorstep. Inside you will find terracotta-tiled floors, regal furnishings, and a maze of spacious rooms linked with living spaces, mezzanine levels and balconies facing the divine views. There are seven palacial suites where you can enjoy royal comforts, and outside you can take a dip in the temple-style swimming pool. With an internationally renowned chef, there is nowhere better to sample to the local Mopillah cuisine than Ayisha Manzil. And in a location enveloped in local culture, you can also experience the rare and ancient dance form of the Theyyam at a local temple. (Full-board $200pp inclusive of all meals and sightseeing)

THE TRYST, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu
Hideaway in the peace and quiet of the stunning Nilgiri Mountains
Just over the border in the even more peaceful neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, this exclusive homestay tucked up in the hills amongst a tapestry of tea gardens, is definitely worth a visit whilst you're in the region. Set on the side of a hill surrounded by spectacular scenery, The Tryst is a beautiful home packed with antiques and fine furnishings. The beautiful grounds boast water features, topiary, fruit, vegetables and medicinal plants, and the six bedrooms range from Indian, Italian, Egyptian, Victorian, Spanish and Country Cottage in style. (Full-board only £45 pppn)

Travel Information: The easiest route is to fly into Cochin (Kochi) International Airport. You can also fly to Trivandrum or Bangalore. Please feel free to contact us for any further travel advice.



For More Information Contact:
Sarah Stanley
Tel:  +44(0)1637 881183



This is a small selection of our unique home stays. Please see our website for more ideas and accommodation to suit you. We have properties in the UK, USA, Spain, South Africa, Portugal, New Zealand, Italy, India, Greece, Germany and France.


Please contact Unique Home Stays in the event of featuring any of our properties.


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Launched in 2001, Unique Home Stays offers the crème de la crème of privately hosted accommodation that offers a unique alternative to run-of-the mill hotels. Having travelled the world, MD Sarah Stanley knew what she expected from top quality accommodation: Intimate and luxury hospitality, pristine homes oozing with character, excellent regional cuisine and comfortable bedrooms with all the trimmings. Today Unique Home Stays offers superior accommodation in over 100 homes scattered over 14 different countries. The properties include castles, priories, rectories, windmills, water mills, townhouses, coastal homes and even a house in the sea.

Take a look at our website for all of UHS homes

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For more details on our exclusive houses please contact: 
+44(0)1637 881183
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GUARANTEE UHS have visited all the houses available and guarantee the quality and high standards that the owners offer


Unique HomeStays. Lantern Cottage, Trebudannon, Newquay, Cornwall, England TR8 4LP
e:  |   |   tel: +44 (0) 1637 881183