While hotels are a good choice for the busy business traveler, leisure travelers who prefer to immerse themselves in the culture and flavor of a place and interact with locals are turning to homestays. Most interestingly, if you are a linguaphile – a person who loves language, homestays are the best venues to learn Kochi dialect that is rich with words that you can never find anywhere else in Kerala.
A homestay is simply a part of a home converted into guest accommodation and run by the family who owns the property.
The benefits of choosing a homestay over a hotel are that host families provide personalized service, home-cooked food with local flavor and insights into the local culture that one may not get in travel guides.
Many homestay properties in Kochi are ancestral homes that have been renovated to add modern conveniences but still retain the charm and character of their past.
Choosing from the multitude of homestays in and around Kochi is not easy. Safety and privacy can be a concern for some travelers. Quality of service, food and accommodation can also vary widely. It is important to choose your homestay with care.
That being said, there are a few homestays that are on the top of every travel list.
We present a selection of the 10 best homestays in Kochi and to be precise, Fort Kochi, as we found the best homestays are located in this area.
Centrally located in the heart of Fort Kochi, Sajhome offers 6 AC double rooms with private bathrooms.
Sajhome is run by an ex-employee of Hyatt Regency, Dubai and has been the winner of the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award in recent years.
They provide complimentary Keralan or Continental breakfast, 24-hour security, and free wifi access in public areas and rooms.
Other services include airport or railway station transfers and laundry service at additional charges. They also arrange tickets for Kathakali, Kalari and other Indian Classical dance performances.
Heavenly Homestay is located close to popular attractions like the Vasco da Gama Church, Fort Kochi Beach and the Chinese Fishing Nets.
They have 5 AC double rooms with attached bathrooms and hot water. Each room comes with a desk, a safety deposit box, and a sitting area.
They operate a 24-hour front desk and offer free internet in the rooms. They also provide pick-up and drop facilities for guests and can arrange taxis for city tours.
Other facilities offered at the property include a ticket service, a tour desk, luggage storage and free parking.
Casa Mia is an unassuming homestay close to many Fort Kochi attractions.
The AC rooms at this homestay are modest but spacious and clean. The homely food and gracious hosts add to its charm.
They provide breakfast & dinner on request at an affordable rate.
They organize backwater trips on houseboats or country boats and other sightseeing tours around Kochi and Kerala. They also provide taxi services, airport pickup & drop on request with English speaking drivers.
Located in a quiet residential street in Mattancherry, Adams Wood House is a family-run homestay with 4 AC rooms, 2 non-AC rooms and a large studio apartment.
All rooms have private entrances, private baths and individual keys to ensure total privacy while at the same time providing a homely atmosphere.
The property is within walking distance of Jew Town and the spice market and a five minute ride to Fort Kochi beach and other historical places in Kochi.
They provide airport pick up and drop and can arrange tickets for cultural programs and backwater cruises.
Good Karma Inn is a bright and clean homestay option located away from the bustle of central Fort Kochi but still within walking distance of most tourist sites.
They offer 6 double bedrooms with private bathrooms, AC/fans, mosquito screens and security grills on windows.
Guests at the homestay can avail a complimentary breakfast and free WiFi.
Yoga and Ayurveda treatment are available on the premises along with local cooking classes.
The Fort Bungalow is a tastefully decorated colonial bungalow located in Fort Kochi. The property is within walking distance of many tourist attractions including Santa Cruz Basilica and Fort Kochi Beach.
All their rooms feature clothes racks, safety deposit box and tiled/marble flooring as well as a private bathroom with a shower.
They provide complimentary breakfast and free WiFi access for guests. A shared lounge, a tour desk and luggage storage are the other facilities offered at the homestay.
Bernard Bungalow is a 17th century Dutch heritage property with modern amenities located in Fort Kochi. This Bungalow is the central theme – the disputed property in the famous Mammootty film – Manglish. Even if you are not a Mammootty fan, this movie is a highly recommended one to experience the Kochi-dialect and the everyday life of the local fishermen community of Fortkochi.
The property is a stone’s throw away from Fort Kochi Beach and other nearby attractions. It faces the greenery of the parade ground and the historic St Francis Church.
They offer 6 spacious rooms of different sizes (AC and non AC) with attached private bathrooms and other facilities like wireless internet and writing table and chair.
If you’re looking for a quiet getaway then The Island House may be just for you. It is a charming property overlooking the backwaters in Vallarpadam, close to the mainland Kochi. This place is well connected to the city by waterways and by road. A word of caution though is you may fall in love with the cheapest mode of transport- the boat ride through the backwaters while enjoying the beauty of Kochi.
The Island House has two well-appointed bedrooms and two bathrooms. It also includes a living room with a satellite TV and Blu-ray player, and a kitchen with an oven, microwave and a toaster.
They serve continental breakfast each morning at the property. 24-hour assistance is available at the reception.
The property is close to Vallarpadam Basilica and guests can enjoy cycling and fishing nearby.
Situated on the shores of the Arabian Sea just 3km from Fort Kochi, Sea Hut Homestay offers a unique experience to visitors with its majestic sea views and peaceful environs.
The property is an ancestral home that has been refurbished to meet modern standards and is surrounded by sand and greenery.
The homestay has a total of 4 AC and non-AC rooms, each with a seating area. The bathrooms feature a shower. They have free wi-fi in rooms and safety lockers.
The restaurant serves Indian and local cuisines and provides 24-hour room service.
They provide other facilities like car/bike rentals, cooking classes, houseboat tours and Ayurvedic massages on request.
Walton’s Homestay is located on Princess Street, one of the oldest streets in Fort Kochi, close to the quaint shops, cozy cafes and restaurants nearby.
This serene homestay has 6 double rooms spread over two floors and a garden cottage. All rooms have attached bathrooms with solar powered hot water showers. The complimentary Continental breakfast is served in the communal dining room.
The reception area houses a library and a second-hand bookstore with rare books on Kerala history and culture.
The homestay has received acclaim in many travel magazines including Outlook Traveller which named it the best budget homestay in Fort Kochi.
So, the next time you’re in Kochi, avoid the sterile hotels, and instead, book a homestay to experience the warmth and hospitality of local residents and to imbibe the multifaceted culture of the city.
Do you agree with our selection? Send us your comments and recommendations for the best homestays in Kochi.