India is a haven for those without a lot of cash to splurge and Fort Kochi is no exception. There are a wealth of options high quality food in local restaurants and comfy beds all the way from Princess Street to Pattalam Road. However it’s not all cheap thrills. In order to cater those on a higher budget and looking for luxury you can also find a number of top notch hotels – all with accompanying restaurants.
The Xandari Harbour on Bazaar road is no exception. Owned by the RAXA group, Xandari Harbour is part of a family of hotels across South India providing luxury getaways away from any potential of bedbugs and prolonged powercuts. However they are about more thank simply luxury. According to their website, the word RAXA comes from the Sanskrit for Raksha meaning guardian/protector, Xandari harbour fits the bill – a former merchants house in the heart of the former spice centre of Cochin, Mattancherry – an area which now houses poorer communities with bank balances and quality of material wealth dropping dramatically as soon as you pass the Xandari’s entrance and head deeper into the narrow alleys – it’s real India at it’s finest, and possibly most awkward. It’s a brave move – further from the fishing nets than others may dare – it’s oppulence has brought others following but it’s adherence to it’s value that dictated it’s location. It just wouldn’t have worked sat on the beach front.
On my budget, where I flirt with the risk of bedbugs every evening and am forced to spend time talking to people when the power dies; which on some days is painfully regularly means that hotels such as the Xandari are way beyond by budget, however on this occasion I can go in – thanks to their Sunday promotion ‘Brunch on the bay’. This promo means that in the past 7 weeks I have managed to not only tan my arms but also my stomach which is almost impossible in India unless you’re at one of about 3 locations or you’re at a private pool. And yes, Xandari has a pool. The ‘Brunch on the bay’ allows you to spend a large chunk of sunlight hours lying by the pool and negotiating their expansive brunch menu and buffet options all for 1000r. From mexican squid salsa, quinoa, hummus, oriental beef, creole chicken, omelettes, pancakes and a cheese platter – if you squint it resembles the brunch haunts surrounding Victoria Park. Yes you’re pushing the boat out in regards to budget basics however I can guarantee that if you’re either a weary traveller, a weary volunteer and need a pickme up and an escape from spending Sundays handwashing in a bucket then Sundays at the Xandari will not disappoint either your well being or your bank balance.