Step into the pages of history at Le Colonial, a Neemrana property. Touted to be Asia’s oldest hotel, dating back to 1506, it’s a hidden treasure in the quaint town of Fort Cochin. A large wooden door leads you into the almost-secret getaway, and like you’ve entered Shangri-La, a large garden and the dominating house appears before you. Follow the inner patio and you’ll glide through to the garden, which also houses the pool.
Truly old-world, the dining area and living room is homely, and encourages guests to catch up as they unwind. Of course, most of the time, you’re likely to be living in and around the swimming pool – possibly the best spot there. Rooms, very colonial, indeed, will throw you into a time machine, no matter which of the eight plush ones you choose. Named after Dutch or local influencers, all of them feature swanky mahogany and marble en-suite bathrooms, and the suites have a private terrace! Jan Van Spall, named for the last Dutch Governor, is a massive room with two king-sized beds – perfect for a family. Or pick Major Petrie, though smaller, overlooks the impressive St Francis Church.
But who wants all of that when you see what must have been the master bedroom in its glory day. Say hello to the Viceroy. Decked out in art deco furniture, a secluded terrace, tree branches adding to the privacy and you’ll really feel like nobility, if not royalty here. Being a port town, fresh catch of the day is usually the centre of attention at the kitchens, and thereby on your platter too. With local ingredients being focus, your best culinary bet is having the regional specials off the buffet.