Our hunt for a lavish wedding destination ended by the backwaters of Kerala, at the charming Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty. The gorgeous Nushrat Bharucha was our muse, and we couldn’t help but fall in love. By Rashima Nagpal
“So serene,” I say out loud within a few minutes of our arrival at the expansive Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty. I am sitting in the lobby lounge, sipping on a refreshing welcome drink, and I can’t take my eyes off the glistening waters seen through tall glass windows. “This side of Lake Vembanad opens into the sea,” I’m informed by a staff member. I secretly wonder what it’d be like for him to work in such a dreamy setting every day.
Such is the backdrop of this stunning resort and our cover shoot this month. Perched amidst the backwaters of Lake Vembanad, on Kochi’s Bolgatty Island, this Hyatt gem claims an enviable location. It is a mere 40-minute drive from the airport, and yet, it feels like a different world altogether. The fact that it is home to 264 guestrooms—including 38 suites and four villas, one of the country’s biggest convention centres (the Lulu Bolgatty International Conventional Centre), and three helipads, among other things, only reaffirms its grandeur.
As I check into my suite, my first instinct is to open the curtains and check out the view. There it is, the same sight that bewitched me in the foyer, only better from the vantage point of the third floor. An endless stretch of the still freshwater lake, a few ferries gliding over it, and the popular neighbourhood of Fort Kochi visible in the distance. A break from the Delhi winter, the sun feels warm on my face and almost washes away the fatigue of the early-morning flight. It’s a pleasantly romantic blend: the tranquillity, the scenery, and the soothing weather, I think out loud, before I pull myself away from the window pane.
That’s Kochi for you in January. The weather in this littoral region remains pleasant, I’m told, through the year. “Except during heavy rainfall, guests seek all kinds of getaways in Kerala. From traditional wellness resorts to world-class destination-wedding venues like ours, different parts of the state cater to different kinds of travellers. And coastal beauty lies at the heart of it all,” says Mausam Bhattacharjee, director of sales and marketing of the hotel, or ‘Employee No. 1,’ as his team calls him.
The shimmering lake follows us around as we take a tour of the Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty. Mapping the 26 acres that the property is sprawled across isn’t exactly a stroll in the park—especially when covered in one go. After we’ve walked our way through its 10 floors, three dining venues, lush gardens, playful poolside, tennis court, and massive event spaces, one thing is clear—its lakeside location and coastal character play the central part in its romantic allure.
One of the most heart-warming elements of the property is the Malabar Cafe. The star of the hotel, this all-day dining venue has earned rave reviews for its regional specialities. Think vazhapoo cutlet (prepared with the flower of the banana), beef fry, kozhi pathiri (wheat pancake filled with minced chicken), parippu pradhaman (sweet lentil payasam), sulaimani chai, and more—authentic Malabari recipes come beautifully presented on your plate. “Malabar cuisine has been significantly influenced by the Arabic history of the region. In terms of flavour, fennel, mint, black pepper, coconut, and kaima (a small variety of rice from Wayanad) are some of the most common ingredients. For weddings, we definitely suggest the traditional sadhya feast served on a banana leaf,” Chef Latha, chef de cuisine of Malabar Cafe reveals. “But hosts today don’t limit themselves to Indian food; they demand all kinds of international platters. We have the best in business to offer them that,” adds Hermann Grossbichler, the hotel’s executive chef.
Shajith Khan, the chief concierge at Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty, further elucidates the cultural riches of the region. “The last 700 years have contributed tremendously to the culture of Kochi. Today, it is home to over 19 cultures and communities.” The hotel has curated 19 experiences to bring out the essence of Kochi for its guests. Guided heritage walks in Fort Kochi, interactive toddy experiences, and unique village visits are organised on the islands in the backwaters. “Couples especially enjoy our exclusive cruises that include a host of activities, such as traditional fishing and canoeing,” Khan reveals. “Another attraction is the Athirapally Falls, 60 kilometres away—a jungle path takes visitors to the foot of the falls.” In an effort to support the locals, the hotel also organises experiences in the Eroor suburb, famously known as the potter’s village. Couples staying at the property can also choose to renew their wedding vows in a variety of settings—on a pedestal in the middle of the lake, in the gardens at sunrise, or on a houseboat.
Weddings at the property are grand. Since it opened its doors in April 2018, the hotel has witnessed some extravagant ceremonies. Imagine a couple arriving straight from the runway in a Porsche, and post the wedding ceremony, taking off in a helicopter from the property’s helipad. “There’s nothing that we say no to,” Khan states proudly.
I reconsider a previous thought, as we prepare to bid goodbye to the backwaters. At the Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty, the tranquillity, the scenery, and the soothing weather are all
bound together not just by a coastal vibe but also by heartfelt, personalised hospitality.
Almost all flight operators offer direct services to Cochin International Airport from major airports. The hotel is a 40 minute drive from the airport, on Bolgatty Island. You can hire a taxi or opt for the hotel’s airport pick-up service.
Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty offers accommodation in 264 rooms, including 38 suites and four private villas. From the Grand Terrace Suite (from Rs 22,000) to the Three-Bedroom Villa (from Rs 76,000), the hotel caters to groups of all sizes. For a premium staying
experience, choose the Presidential Suite, which comes with two bedrooms, walk-in wardrobes, a dedicated entertainment area, a kitchenette, a private balcony, and unparalleled views of the Lake Vembanad. Complimentary butler services are offered to guests staying in the suites and villas.
EAT & DRINK:
You’re guaranteed memorable meals at the hotel’s multiple dining venues—from the traditional Malabar Cafe serving up regional specialities, to the Bangkok-inspired Thai Soul, the Colony Clubhouse & Grill that whips up sumptuous seafood and grills with local ingredients, and the lake-facing Grand Lounge.
PRODUCED BY AINDRILA MITRA
PHOTOGRAPHED BY TARAS TARAPORVALA
STYLED BY LEEPAKSHI ELLAWADI
ASSISTANT STYLISTS ANUSKA GUPTA & PRANAL SAID
HAIR ALIYA SHAIK
MAKEUP SALIM SAYED