If you are an art aficionado and seek to surround yourself with awe-inspiring creations, then Port Muziris ticks all the boxes. The first Marriott Tribute Portfolio hotel in South Asia, it’s luxurious and just 300m from Kochi International Airport, so navigating the city or catching a flight back couldn’t be easier.
Photos don’t do it justice. A boutique hotel with an indie spirit, Port Muziris is nestled amidst lush greenery, water fountains and lily ponds, its grandeur reminiscent of the Dutch colonial residences. You’ll be floored, in more ways than one. Upon entering the lobby with a backdrop of plantain trees and hornbills, you immediately feel the frenetic streets trickle away. It’s a showstopper, for sure, but one that feels like a part of the neighbourhood. A subdued vibe takes over. It all feels like a lounge, equally suited for a MacBook and a cuppa.
At Port Muziris it pays to walk to your room. Prepare to be dazzled as you take the marble stairway to the room (there’s a lift too), the walls are amped up with charcoal paintings by Sachin Samson. Another painting by the artist chronicles Kochi’s repertoire of sights and sounds – bustling corners, quiet landscapes, people, culture, art and religion – at once a traveller’s delight. Some artworks evoke memories of the golden era of Muziris. Particularly Vishnu Nair’s paintings that depict scenes of trade where pearls the size of elephants were traded in exchange for precious stones. Jayesh Sivan’s oil on canvas captures large foreign ships discovering Muziris for the first time. Artists with roots in the Malabar Coast, living across the world in the present day, were handpicked to create the art at Port Muziris. From thoughtfully-placed installations in the lobby to museum-caliber artefacts and paintings inside intimate rooms – there is art everywhere. In short, there are lots of niches that could set Instagram on fire.
The rooms outfitted in a neutral palette are cute and cozy. They masterfully blend old-world charm with contemporary amenities. My room with its hand painted walls, teakwood furniture, colourful upholstery and hand-loomed textiles creates an environment as tactile as it is photogenic. The piece- de- resistance is the large glass window that ensures high-definition views over the lush farmlands surrounding the property. The bathroom, decked in plush sanitary ware and art (yes more paintings), is sufficiently roomy. A glass wall here can be closed off with interior blinds at the push of a button. The Waterbliss products, without question, are worth pocketing.
There are only 54 rooms spread across two floors – meaning there’s more to this place than beds.
Lila’s kitchen, the all-day dining outlet serves local delicacies. I highly recommend the kozhi muringakka soup, chuttulli meen, amarakka parippu, nadan njandu curry, and attirachi biryani. Lunch lets the chef shine: Fabulously plated thali with seasonal dishes will take your breath away. For dessert there is an interesting payasam (kheer) that hits all the right notes. There is also a choice of international cuisine if you wish to go that way. The Kettle is where you can sip the best varieties of tea and coffee. Don’t miss the tea ceremony in the evening where you are introduced to four variants of the beverage along with local snacks such as pazham puri (banana fritters), unnakaya (stuffed banana) and meen samosa (Kerala-style samosa with fish stuffing) served as nibbles. The Verandah designed like a patio in a traditional Kerala house is meant for leisurely meals. There is also a gym and a rooftop swimming pool looking on to the large swathes covered with coconut trees. Even if you are not a water baby, do visit for the stunning sunset from the terrace. For events and intimate weddings there is 150 sq. m of space.
The immaculate service delights.Who could be left unmoved by the cheery salutations as the staff swings open the main doors? Or the executive who personally chalks out a city tour with local attractions and throws in a few secret shopping jaunts? Considering that the staff at this ultra-new hotel are still cutting their teeth, they do a good job of welcoming guests, remembering names, and providing everything they might need.
When you’re ready to step outside, do visit the Athirapilly Waterfalls, the location for various Malayam and Hindi movies (read Bahubali), the Hanging Bridge, Fort Kochi, 175 years synagogue in Chennamangalam, and the Athirappalli and Vazhachal waterfalls.
Address: VIP Road opposite Kochi International Airport, Nedumbassery, Vappalassery, Kochi.
Contact: +91 48471 93333
Tariff: Rs 8,000 to Rs 11,000 a night. Taxes extra.
All images: Courtesy Port Muziris