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Destinations · Asia · india · Kerala · Where to sleep · A Real Find


Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS


It's quite a breathtaking sensation when Vismaya Villa finally come s into view after all that travelling along narrow meandering streets of small villages along Lake Vembanad with fishermen's cabins and kids in uniforms treading back from school. The name of this beautiful Kerala style building means Magical Place in translation and is the very epitome of feelings that you would experiences upon beholding it. Glistening water and a single palm-tree right beyond the house is visible through its door-way, attesting to a perfectly calculated perspective.
Entwined with legends and exuding charm and history, Vismaya is among the most exceptional Kerala lodgings. Dating back over 400 years, Vismaya is tied to ancient legends about various lords and chieftains that once have ruled in this area. The house and lands were said to have been presented to its original owner, one of the 43 chieftains who helped the king of Travancore, for his valorous deeds.

Foto: VismayaFoto: VismayaFoto: Vismaya

The villa located on the very water edge of a small peninsula and surrounded by 6000 m² garden is the very embodiment of a unique symbiosis of natural and man-made beauty. The villa is not only restored to its original beauty but also kit up according to the modern requirements. It is done very discretely and thoughtfully, and all the modern conveniences and amenities blend seamlessly and naturally into its design. The author of the restoration project is a well-known Swiss-born architect Karl Damschen, living in Kerala for over 30 years now. For the first time he arrived there in the 70s, when travelling to India by car together with his wife, but later they moved to Kerala for good. Restoration of historic Kerala houses is his passion and, saving from decay, he has given brand new life to many of them. He has also designed several Kerala district hotels, such as Old Harbour Hotel and Brunton Boatyard in Fort Cochin.

Foto: VismayaFoto: VismayaFoto: Vismaya

Vismaya architectural ensemble consists of three mutually connected buildings - the 400-hundred-years-old main building, which-is the heart of the villa and two adjacent terraces that feature 250- and 150-year-old traditional Kerala architecture elements. There is a typical Kerala style inner courtyard in the center of this complex. It is a spacious living area, in fact, with many windows that allow abundance of fresh air and sunshine into the place. It also gives a relative freshness even on the most sweltering summer day. The ceiling features the most exquisite ancient wood-carvings and all the furniture is custom-made according to Damschen's sketches. Being a perfectionist, he has paid particular attention to details. Vintage door-locks alone are a great example of fine craftsmanship of local artisans. Of course, wonderful views are one of the greatest values of the villa. Like fabulous, framed paintings they are a little different through each window.

Foto: VismayaFoto: VismayaFoto: Vismaya

The villa has only two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom (more like a small garden, in fact) and a large terrace overlooking the lake. Looking through the windows, the nearby swimming pool (75m²), seems fusing with the lake, creating a united mirror-like surface with reflections of palm trees flickering in it.
Even though Fort Cochin, the historic center of Kerala, is just 35 km away and Alleppey with its backwater ride starting point is nearby too, Vismaya lures its visitors to stay longer and to enjoy its serene rhythm, while reading a book or just walking and savoring the beautiful scenery. It is much like a slow-motion movie, meant for heartfelt delight. You can also take a bike ride through the nearby villages and get a glimpse of local life, which flows with no haste.
Vismaya is just perfect holiday location for a small bunch of friends or a family vacation, when you occupy both rooms. The rooms are available separately, too, but in that case it is a bit of a lottery - your neighbors may turn out to be a pleasant surprise or, perhaps not so much.
Vismaya managers are a Belgian couple Christel & Jan Arryn, who are also the owners of the most beautiful Kerala seaside lodging - A Beach Symphony. You can comfortably combine your stay at Vismaya with a couple of nights at A Beach Symphony or at Veena Beach Villa, which is yet another beachside property managed by Christel&Jan.

Room rates - 6000 - 16 000 Rs per room;
Entire villa for two - 9000 - 35 000 Rs (prices depend on season)


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