We had a choice of hotel. We have used the Taj group hotels in Cochin, Kumarakom, and Kovalam before. (The cover photo on my Facebook Page, for those who can see it, is of the swimming pool at Kovalam at sunset). They are all stunning hotels, but we like the Malabar the best, and we just keep coming back. There has been another well known couple who have stayed here in the recent past - November 2013 to be exact, the same year we last visited.....
Our journey down here went like clockwork again. This time we had arranged a driver from the Vivanta by Taj President Hotel to take us to the airport. This involved a little more luxury with cream leather seats and a uniformed driver. Check in went without hitch, and after an hour and a half in the air aboard another new Airbus Industries A320 owned by indigo, we made another smooth landing at Cochin. As last time we landed here, our pilot was a lady, and why not!
While waiting at the gate in Mumbai, we met a lovely family who were awaiting their own flight home to Varanasi. If you are reading this, first apologies for any spelling mistakes of Indian place names, then I hope the coin brings you good fortune!
On arrival at Cochin we picked up our cases and as we walked out into the hot sun, (36 degrees today), the travel agent walked over to us (the only Europeans on the flight), and introduced himself. He summoned his driver, and off we went (another air conditioned Toyota Innova).
Soon we were to be welcomed back to the Malabar in fine style, with drinks on arrival and a tour of the hotel. Everybody is treated like Royalty here.
After settling in we took our complimentary afternoon tea on the lawns overlooking the "lake", and later watched entertainment that had been laid on.
The hotel also offers a complimentary sunset cruise directly after the afternoon tea, where great views of the Chinese fishing nets can be taken in.
Our dinner choice tonight was outdoors in the BBQ, with various delicious meat, kebab and chicken platters. There are three other restaurants all offering their own delicious food genres.
In our opinion this is the best hotel in the world. And to date we have visited 305 Cities in 34 countries, 24% of the globe, to compare. (Statistics courtesy of my TripAdvisor account). Why? Because it offers supreme luxury in a friendly and informal way. Far better, again in our opinion, than the Palace hotels from the same group that we find to be too formal.