Fisherman fishing on a lake during sunset

Walking into a 150-year-old paradise. We spent four lovely nights at Emerald Isle Heritage Villa, surrounded by coconut trees and lush green plants. Located right on the bank of the river Manimala which is a branch of the holy river Pamba and connects to Vampanad Lake; one of the largest lakes in India. This is the place to book if you are looking to escape from your busy and hectic life and looking to unwind and relax in a stunning location.

If you are looking for a peaceful and relaxing stay with the ease of booking some activities, then consider staying at Emerald Isle heritage resort, where you can experience the best of Alleppey in a beautiful and tranquil part of Alappuzha. Here is our complete review of our stay at Emerald Isle Heritage Villa.

How to get to Emerald Isle Heritage Villa in Alleppey

Emerald Isle Heritage Villa is located in Alleppey. You can get to this tranquil heritage villa by boat or even by taxi (a new little bridge road has been built recently, allowing easier access). The property is about 10km from Alleppey town centre. But you will probably be spending your whole time here as there are many optional activities that Emerald Isle Heritage villa can organise for you or just soak in the beautiful tranquil atmosphere in their peaceful gardens.

History of Emerald Isle Heritage Villa Homestay

One of the reasons I love to stay in homestays is the authenticity and connections you make with the family you stay with. We were greeted by the brothers Vinod and Vijoy, who care for the family property. The brothers explained that this was, in fact, an ancestral home which was purchased by the family’s great-grandfather; showing us the original deed, which was engraved on a palm leaf.

You can tell a lot of love and care has been put into this property by the little details you see, for example, the unique wooden tree root ornament which holds the filtered water. This tree was cut in their garden, and their mother really liked the roots, so the family built a unique table feature with the tree’s roots.

Deliciously Prepared Food at Emerald Isle Heritage Villa

Food is freshly prepared with the help of a local cook and their mother who has a passion for cooking. There is no menu but instead, seasonal food is prepared from the garden or locally sourced. You can enjoy your delicious, mouthwatering Kerelan cuisine in the outdoor communal area under the bamboo thatched rooftop, it was so pleasant to eat outside surrounded by the coconut trees and if it gets too hot the fans were also available.

Every day delicious and freshly prepared food with locally sourced herbs and spices was served. Some of the foods we tried during our 4-night stay served by Bhime and Tom included chicken curry, egg curry, tomato & coconut curry, fresh fried marinated fish, payasam and fresh seasonal fruits from the garden. We especially liked the noodles served with slightly sweet coconut milk and banana for breakfast. So tasty!

Explore the Gardens of Emerald Isle Heritage Resort

The next morning we toured the gardens which are full of fruit trees, including Jackfruit, bananas, mango, papaya, guava, coconut, cashew nuts and spices, the all-spice tree, nutmeg, cinnamon, bush, pepper and coffee. The garden also has a fishing pond area and little lakes where you can relax on the hammock. The beautiful lush gardens back onto the rice fields (during our stay in March these were just harvested), but we can imagine what a beautiful view this must be when the rice paddies are in full bloom. Make sure to take your mosquito repellant as you will have mosquitoes in this region.

The rooms

The rooms are authentic wooden built, and you don’t have a lot of light inside, but then the rooms are cooler, and you have ample outdoor space where you can relax or work. During the warm season, you have fans outside on the veranda which makes it more pleasant to relax or work.

There are currently seven rooms available, all beautifully decorated and with an outdoor tropical shower. Room facilities include fresh filtered water, tea and coffee facilities, a desk and a TV if you need them. There is a more private cottage at the back of the property surrounded by the little ponds perfect for a couple or longer retreat. They are also renovating another larger cottage at the front of the property, which should be ready for 2024.


Activities on offer at Emerald Isle to complete your trip to Alleppey

Emerald Isle can help you to book many different activities to make your Kerala trip easy and relaxing. (Prices may vary). One of the best things you can do here is to borrow the free bikes available and discover the local area. Vinod and Vijay will gladly help you to navigate around the island.

If you fancy a wonderful Ayurvedic Massage, they have an onsite outdoor massage room and a choice of Ayurvedic massages available performed by a local nurse using Ayurvedic medicinal oils. Prices start from 1200 rupees. It is quite reasonable if you compare it with European prices.

They also have cooking classes, where an English-speaking cook demonstrates three different delicious dishes, 750r per person.

You can also book an Auto Rickshaw tour to visit the village to see a 500-year-old temple, lake and churches, including St Joseph’s Church.

In particular, we really enjoyed the Shikara cruise, which we definitely recommend. These boats can take up to 6 people. They have bamboo roofing with relaxing chairs. You can take a 2-hour cruise along the river and lake which is a beautiful and comfortable way to see the backwaters of Kerala. The price is 950 rupees per hour.

Another way to see the life of the locals in the backwaters of Alleppey is to take the non-touristic local passenger ferry boat, which is government owned. You can take one to Alleppey. It stops near the Emerald Isle Heritage and will take you 1.5 hours to Alleppey. These boats are large. so they won’t take you to the narrow canals which in our opinion is something you must not miss in Alleppey.

Emerald Isle Heritage Villa can organise a short 1-hour trip to take you around the narrow canals in a small canoe boat, which is definitely one of the highlights of our stay in Alleppey. We saw locals washing their clothes, having a bath, swimming and fishing in the backwaters.

Finally, we were curious to learn more about the famous Toddy drink in Kerela, so Vijoy was kind enough to show us a demonstration from a local toddy tapper to see how they collect the sap from the coconut trees to make a special local alcoholic drink toddy. The sap ferments naturally and should be drunk within 1 to 2 days. Toddy Tappers are skilled and trained to make Toddy, they carefully select the trees that they know will provide the best toddy. It was a fabulous demonstration organised by Emerald Isle heritage villa and we got to taste this freshly made drink.

We had a fabulous time at Emerald Isle Heritage Resort and would love to return one day. The staff were very welcoming, and the family were attentive to our needs.

Some tips for your stay

Make sure to have your mosquito spray as the property has lakes and rivers nearby there are mosquitoes, the property also provided us with a plug which we used in our bedrooms.

In regards to food, if you find the food spicy they can accommodate to your spice level.

In regard to booking a houseboat, my recommendation would be to shop around and get a quote of different prices. Ideally, try to visit the houseboats when you arrive, as there are varying costs and standards. During peak season, the risk is that these houseboats get booked up, so just be aware of that.

We were kindly hosted by Emerald Heritage Isle, but all opinions are our own. We only recommend places which we have tried and tested and to try and give our readers a true account of our experience. If you have any questions, please do comment below and we will get back to you with pleasure.

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