Review of Kerala Backwater Retreat, a heritage resort in Kumarakom

I recently stayed in Kerala Backwater Retreat, a heritage style homestay cum budget resort in Kumarakom. Read my review and experience at this water front property.

For most tourists, monsoon is not the best time to visit the backwater destinations in Kerala. Even though I am not a daredevil, I chose to go for a trip to Kumarakom in the peak of monsoon. I stayed one night in Kerala Backwater Retreat and also enjoyed a houseboat cruise in the backwaters of Kumarakom.

The backwater cruise in the houseboat was a real fun especially in the rains. Our group really enjoyed the heavy rain and wind in the middle of the lake. Read more about our houseboat experience in Kumarakom.

Why Kerala Backwater Retreat

My personal view is, if we are spending a lot of money on a resort or hotel, we should stay in the resort itself and enjoy the amenities and comforts and use the vacation for relaxing instead of sightseeing. If we are just staying overnight for sleep and want to spend the rest of the day for sight seeing or other purposes, there is no point in wasting a lot of money on a premium hotel. At the same time, I don't want to end up staying in a lodge where I will lose my sleep all night and spoil my vacation.

Kerala Backwater Retreat, Kumarakom
This is a water front property on the bank of Aymanam river, with a very good view of the river.

Kerala Backwater Retreat is a good compromise. It is a heritage style budget resort with beautiful view of the river, which joins the backwaters, the primary attraction of Kumarakom. Some of the highlights of this budget resort are:

  • It is not very far from Kumarakom town and not difficult to reach. About 15 minutes drive from the town.

  • It is a water front property. Usually water front properties are very expensive.

  • Not very expensive. An air conditioned room costs about Rs 2,000/- to Rs 3,000/ per night, depending on the season, which includes free breakfast.

  • You can take a private boat ride (or, by road) to reach the property. The boat ride through the canals, lake and Aymanam river is an experience by itself.

  • A nature friendly, heritage style building, allowing you to enjoy the calm and beautiful nature.

  • Owner of the property, Mr. Kurian, is a very friendly person who interacts with all guests directly and makes sure they are treated well.


There were fishing rods and I wasn't a lucky person to catch any fish. But if you have the patience, it is a fun experience to catch fish from the canal and get it cooked in their kitchen. The staff will help you clean the fish and will cook for you.

Kerala Backwater Retreat, Kumarakom
Even though I couldn't catch any fish, it was a lot fun

About the property

It is a pretty old building, located on the shore of Aymanam river, with steps leading to pretty deep canal. The ceilings of the ground floor and first floor are made of wood, which gives a good feeling and eco friendly appearance. There are 2 rooms in the ground floor and 4 rooms in the first floor. The first floor rooms have a much better view of the river compared to the ground floor. There a big veranda in the first floor on the river side and a similar one is there on the ground floor as well. It is a great experience to sit and enjoy the river from the veranda.

Kerala Backwater Retreat, Kumarakom
All the rooms in the first floor open into a long veranda, facing the water

All the rooms are air conditioned. You can't expect the polished look or premium amenities of a star hotel but if you are looking for a nature friendly budget resort to enjoy the beauty of backwaters in Kumarakom, this is an ideal place.

When you are making the reservation, you can ask for a boat ride to the property. It may cost you about Rs 1,000 extra for the rental boat but you will definitely enjoy that. However, if houseboat cruise is part of your itinerary, there is no need to spend extra for boat ride. Car can reach to the property through the road on the backside of the building.

Morning coffee at Kerala Backwater Retreat
Morning coffee

Many locals take bath in the canal. There is a retired professor on the opposite side of this property and when we stayed there, we saw this gentleman woke up at 4:30am in the morning and taking batch in the cold water in the river at that time. You may be wondering what we were doing at 4:30 in the morning! I woke up listening to some bird chirping sound and went out to see if am lucky to see some rare birds. Even though I couldn't see the birds, I was surprised to see the old man started his day already. No wonder he is very healthy at the age of some late 70's!

WARNING: The river/canal is very deep (about 30 ft) except adjacent to the shore. Unless you are good in swimming, don't risk your life. I saw the grandchildren of the professor swimming in the water but they were like little swans and they know the water well.


They have a small library with nearly 100 books on Indian culture, tourist destinations, and several other Malayalam and English literature books. We didn't pay any attention to the books there and we even wondered who would read the books in a tourist destination. But according to the owner Mr. Kurian, many foreign tourists prefer his property for extended stay to relax and enjoy nature. One person from Germany stayed there for more than a month and he finished almost all books in that library in addition to the books he purchased and contributed to the library.

Library in Kerala Backwater Retreat

Spice Farm visit

The professor living opposite to the river has a pretty big spice garden spread across about 4 acres. He love his plants and he has a lot to talk about them. If you are coming from a city and have never seen the spice plants in Kerala, it is worth a visit. He charges Rs 50 per person but he would take you through his entire farm and explain each and every tree/plant he has.

My review of Kerala Backwater Retreat

I enjoyed my stay there. Even though I wouldn't call it a premium resort, there was nothing to complain. Very friendly staff and decent facilities. The breakfast was typical Kerala Idly with chutney and sambar. For the dinner, we ordered chapathy with nadan chicken curry (Kerala style) and it was as tasty as home made curry.

Kerala Backwater Retreat, Kumarakom

The primary advantage of this property is the location - it is sitting on the shore of a river, facing the water. You can see a lot of country boats passing by. A lot of birds are regular visitors to the property.

Also Read: Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

(I am not sure whether to call it a river or canal. The locals call it "Aymanam river" but it merges with the lake. On that aspect, it is a "canal").

I would recommend this place for the tourists to Kumarakom who want a calm and quite place to enjoy the beauty of Kumarakom. Check out more details at their website -

For reservations, call the owner +91 94970 89361.

Photos of Kerala Backwater Retreat


Guest Author: Vinod Krishnan20 May 2016

Do they have air conditioned rooms in Kerala Backwater Retreat? Your review is nice and the place looks very good but I am afraid to stay in a budget resort due to some past experience. How is the mosquito problem there? Alternatively, can you suggest any other budget resorts in Kumarakom?

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