Ground down by stress? Go to the Taj Green Cove Resort in Kovalam,where they treat you like a goddess — every conversation begins with a low namaste, which liberally punctuates the encounter and provides closure too.
To remind you of your divinity, they worship your concrete-wearied feet with oils of ajwain and ginger. A wipe-off with rose petals, and they proceed to awaken your chakras with fragrance, chants and meditation. Then they rub you with garam masala, wrap you in banana leaves, and proceed to ease out the kinks with oils of brahmi and tulsi. Next, you are steamed and unwrapped for the therapist to tap, press, stretch, stroke and baste with essence of sesame and ashwagandha. The final garnish: anointing your face with seven kinds of scrubs and emollients from the kitchen garden. You come out smelling like a cool, piquant pachhadi. All that’s left to do is dress your translated self for the table.
And such a table it is. Bharatanatyam concert in the courtyard. Star-lit table under terracotta tiles, overlooking the sea’s phosphorescence. Eager wait-staff. Chefs who magic up off-the-menu specials.
This two-year old Taj Green Cove property is still unfolding to full bloom. The 10 acres rise in tiers of granite-faced, elephant grass-thatched cottages. There’s a tea lounge and a bar, archery green and floodlit tennis, gym and wi-fi. Yoga retreats and a new Ayurvedic regimen at the spa are on the cards, along with a brace of spa suites, 10 houseboats with yoga decks, and massage rooms serried between lagoon and beach.
Next day, take up residence in the infinity pool after the poolside breakfast at 24-hour Jasmine Bay café. Or mosey down winding cobbled paths to the nine-hole golf course for a quick round, before taking a boat across the lagoon to the beach.
Bask as the waves wash home. Amble over to beachside restaurant Cabana. Your seafood platter is a tumble of squid pepper-fry, plantain-leaf wrapped sea braal, Cajun-spiced prawns, crisp anchovies; but don’t miss the signature fried Brie and Greek souzoukaklia, Brazilian-style feijoada and devilish ‘Ferrero Rocher Fascination’.
For dinner, choose the ethnic degustation at Curries — all 15 choice portions from north and south. Finally, request a sadya. In Kerala, they like to make believe they’re living in the age of generosity a la Raja Mahabali, so it’s customary to have 64 dishes, eight varieties each of eight elements; you may make do with a mere 18.
Or just follow up the wellness-induced serenity with clean-tasting spa cuisine. Soothing juices. Broth of Kerala brown rice and vegetables. Soba noodles or steamed red snapper, a side of ratatouille or wakame. Melange of grilled fruits. That should satisfy soul, spirit and stomach.
Where:20min from Thiruvananthapuram airport, 30min from the railway station
Accommodation: 42 superior garden-view rooms, 8 superior sea-view rooms, 8 two-room suites with private balcony, 1 Presidential suite with private pool and sundeck
Tariff: Superior garden-view Rs.8,000; superior sea-view Rs.9,500; two-room suites Rs.15,000; Presidential suite Rs.23,600.