by Neelima Agrawal
Sky framed by palm fronds , a sea of green, rolling acres spotted with exotic plants and foliage, water bodies with gently tinkling fountains, wooden over- bridges, gazebo suspended over the pond, meandering walkways, artwork in stone sculptures – we have arrived at the Lalit Resort & Spa, Bekal in North Kerala’s Kasargod District.
The drive from Mangalore airport was quickly forgotten as we stepped into the wide open expanse of the arrival lounge. A cheery welcome by Surinder Singh, Assistant Manager of the resort, set the tone of a feeling of home-coming. Yes, he receives all his guests personally, and we had already connected over email regarding my pick up, food preferences, allergies, even the choice of pillow!Sipping coconut water I take in the serene ambiance of the reception area, with its tall wooden pillars, the high tile roof with a lattice work of wooden beams, overlooking the pool, a pond, more greenery.
Next was the introduction to Joyce, my personal host/butler who would be the one-point contact, available 24×7, for all queries and requirements during my stay. Joyce gave me a tour of the property on one of the golf carts parked in the drive way.
“This here was the perfect spot to slow down….” The thought came easy as we rolled down curving narrow tree-lined trails disappearing into the yonder. The pathways, lined with discreet lighting for a late evening walk, lead on to wider vistas of more shades of green, onto the banks of the river Nombili that circles the Lalit Resort & Spa on three sides before it merges with the Arabian Sea.
Bobbing in the back waters of the River Nombili is a traditional Kerala boat or Kettuvallom (tethered boat), which actually is a well appointed suit fully fitted out for luxurious days and nights, all of 915 sqft, with separate living and dining spaces, complete with sun deck, and room service!
Further alongside the river at the periphery of the resort lie the golden sand banks, the glistening blue waters of the river, the sea, little children frolicking in the safe depths, rolling serf beyond, a fisherman gathering his net, the golden orb sliding slowly into the waters that are already ablaze in all the shades of yellow and red –idyllic setting to spend the next few days, or weeks even, to write poetry, or work on my book, or just heal from the stress of life itself, to renew and heal the body, to lose weight and get more fit, to let lazy days slip into slumberous nights…yes, this is it.
A part of the Lalit Suri Group of Hotels, Lalit Resort & Spa Bekal is laid out over a sprawling 26 lush green acres. Set up three years ago, the resort is the labour of love of Dr Jyotsna Suri, the CMD Lalit Suri Hospitality Group. She has been closely associated with the conceptualisation and implementation processes, and the effect is visible, right from the carefully selected art installations and sculptures that dot the acreage.
Only 40% of the property of Lalit Resort & Spa Bekal is covered by built up area, while the remaining 60% is wide open spaces. Each of the 37 rooms is fitted out for high comfort, and overlook the river or some water body. Covered private sit-outs are perfect for the tea session or mulling over a drink. The real treat is the sunken Jacuzzi that incorporates the outdoors while still remaining private. There is also aPresidential Villa, which provides accommodation for an attendant and has its own little plunge pool.
Overlooking the swimming pool sits the Nombili Restaurant that takes care of all dining at the resort. A team of chefs, lead by the very capable Executive Sous Chef Biju V Krishnan, take care of all the special needs of the guests. Chef Bijou pointed out that a guest’s personal preferences are given serious thought and customised menus prepared as required. So while the menu is pretty extensive, the Guest can yet request for anything not on it. Health foods, as required by those undergoing the Spa treatments are prepared along the dietician’s guidelines. Chef Bijou rustled up a delicious spread along a diabetic diet, dessert and all. He also laid out an out-of-this-world spread of the traditional Kerala celebration meal ‘Sadya’ where all the resident guests sat down together to enjoy.
The Nombili Bar is set overlooking the pond, but in keeping with the policy of the Resort, no alcoholic beverage is served there. A well appointed gym with state-of-the-art equipment and trainers, and yoga sessions morning and evening, are available for all. Other recreational facilities available are billiards, boating, kayaking, rowing, cycling, swimming, beach volleyball, nature treks in the organic herb gardens. Besides, the resort arranges for treks in the Western Ghats or trips to nearby hot spots such as the Bekal Fort, and even showcases traditional Kerala art forms like Theyyam, Kathakali and Mohiniattam.
The 2900 sqft echo-proof conference/ ball room Utsav can seat 200 people. Lalit Resort & Spa Bekal also has a helipad for guests flying in direct.
The Rejuve Spa is the highlight of the Lalit Resort & Spa Bekal. Headed by the very capable Dr Renju Rapheal, along with his team of other doctors trained in Ayurveda, beauty treatments, international therapies. The 20,000 sqft spa is equipped with 13 multifunctional treatment rooms high on the luxury quotient. While three of the rooms are dedicated to the medi spa sections, the other 10 rooms take care of the regular spa treatments.
Rejuve Spa is Green Leaf certified by the Kerala Government for Ayurvedic treatments. It is the winner of the World Luxury Spa Award 2013, Best Wellness Resort by CNBC awaazz Travel Award 2012, Asia Spa India Award for Best Eco Spa 2011, and Best New Spa (Resort) 2010.
The Spa offers a wide range of Ayurvedic and Western Therapies, Beauty Therapies, Body treatments, weight loss programs and curative packages for lifestyle diseases. The Spa also features a library and an herbal garden.
The Lalit Resort & Spa Bekal is one of a kind destination that gently combines healing with relaxation for the entire family.