With the exotic scent of spices in the air, tuk-tuks, vans, push bikes and trucks vie for space on the road. Heavy sacks, carried on heads, are moved from warehouse to vehicle and back. Incense wafts from the nearby temple. The call to prayer can be heard in the distance.
You’ve arrived on Bazaar Road in Fort Kochi. More specifically, at the Waterfront Granary Hotel. The door is open, let’s take a look inside.
The Waterfront Granary Hotel is on Bazaar Road Fort Kochi. Bazaar Road is an active spice market. Lining the street are spice wholesalers. Filling the street are deliveries and traders. It’s all go and you’re in the thick of it.
Fort Kochi is around 90 minutes from the airport on a good day. Traffic is congested most of the time, so be prepared for delays. Uday Kumar, The Waterfront Granary Hotel’s helpful GM, will arrange a car to ensure your journey runs smoothly.
On arrival, it’s immediately evident, The Waterfront Granary Hotel is no ordinary accommodation. As its title states, the hotel was once a trading granary (1877) followed by a “godown” or warehouse/ storage space for Ayurvedic herbs.
Take a moment to admire the craftsmanship of the solid arched entrance. Opening directly onto the street, the door was built for the vertically challenged, so watch your head! You’ll only hit it once.
Solid oak floors, beams, window and door frames, are accentuated by the colours of handmade Athangudi floor tiles. The airy split level ground floor leads out to the waterfront and Mattancherry Channel.
Cruise ships dock opposite, the Naval Base welcomes destroyers, and fishing vessels glide by, all managing to avoid one another. The Waterfront Granary Hotel vessel is moored at the wharf and the deck is set with tables ready for lunch.
The major draw of the Waterfront Granary Hotel is the Museum. Extravagant chandeliers light the lobby where a Model A Ford takes pride of place.
A grand piano and other instruments are joined by antiques, memorabilia, and artefacts. You’ll notice something new each time you stroll through and if you fall in love with a piece, it’s for sale!
The 16 rooms are simple, stylish, clean, open and airy. Once used for auctions and later for storing ayurvedic herbs, 3 of the 8 Museum rooms have a magnificent view of Mattancherry Channel. The 7 Trader rooms open into the museum area of the hotel and the single suite with incredible space overlooks the channel at the highest point in the hotel.
Ceiling fans and air conditioning make for a comfortable night’s sleep. Bathrooms are renovated with huge shower cubicles and antiques follow the hotel theme into the rooms with writing desks, bedside tables, and wardrobes.
The semi open-air restaurant begins on the verandah overlooking the channel and extends to the lawn and wharf. Ceiling fans under the verandah move the air and create a scene from a bygone era.
At breakfast, fresh juices are made to order and coffee is strong.
A western breakfast or traditional Kerala Dosa are on the menu. Speak clearly and be patient. Ordering the evening prior may help, but can’t be guaranteed. Good things do come to those who wait, the dosa is delicious!
Lunch and dinner menus are balanced with Indian and international options. Tasty sounding delights entice diners off the street from the daily specials board.
Please remain calm. There is no bar. The restrictions for alcohol licenses are covered in our recent article, “Walking Fort Kochi”. In this case, the owners are Muslim preventing them from obtaining an alcohol license. Fresh juices, soft drinks, and mixers are all available with coffee, tea, and water.
In a boutique hotel like the Waterfront Granary, resort style facilities are not expected. The hotel boat is available to cruise the channel. Sunset cruises make for some stunning photography and seeing Fort Kochi from the Mattancherry Channel shows it in a brand new light. Arrange your cruise with Uday or reception.
The pool is more of a water feature, a large water feature, but not exactly a pool. A quick dip in the heat would be possible but laps are out of the question. Sun lounges are scarce so lounging is not an option but kicking back with a freshly made lime soda on the wharf may be the only “facilities” you need.
The Waterfront Granary Hotel oozes old world charm. Historians and architecture or design lovers will adore the stories and detail of this magnificent building.
For those who enjoy a refreshing G&T at sundown, The Waterfront Granary Hotel may not be your first choice. With very few premises in Fort Kochi with alcohol licenses, it may be more convenient to stay in accommodation that has one.
With the bustling trade outside contrasting with the cool, calm interior of the Waterfront Granary Hotel, it’s like staying in an oasis. Being on the waterfront: it’s a thing we love….
Shona’s award winning travel blog shares tips and tricks on where to eat, drink, explore & shop in any given destination. At home ordering street food or perusing a fine dining menu, she seeks out venues with a conscience who promote local produce and sustainability. Find her in markets, museums, art galleries and on walking tours as well as wineries, breweries, distilleries and restaurants. Wherever she is, she’s always looking for something a little different to share with her readers. Follow her travels at www.paraphernalia.co or subscribe to her Shenanigans Report http://paraphernalia.co/subscribe-form/ so as not to miss a post. email@example.com