An impressive line-up of 21 antique granite sculptures of lions welcomes every visitor into the reception area of Surya Samudra. They are positioned against the backdrop of an unpolished granite wall. A pathway laid with rectangular granite slabs, reminiscent of the outer courtyard of traditional Kerala temples, ends in front of a pair of carved granite pillars. From there, steps lead towards houses so positioned, that each house offers an unrestricted view of the sea and the beaches. Further, sand paths couched in rich foliage, link the houses. The land is terraced to prevent erosion and the cottages are placed at different levels hidden from each other by vegetation.
Surya Samudra began as a
single octagonal stone house thirty miles from the tip of India
and just a few minutes from the historic Vizhinjam Harbour
(pronounced as Virinyam). Today, it has grown into an eco-friendly
beach resort with 23 houses spread over nearly one-third of an
acre of private space and each house comes with a luxuriant
foliage of coconut, palm, bamboo, banana, wild shrubs, flowers and
the chirping of birds. "Surya Samudra projects a new trend in eco-friendly beach resorts" - Tourism India, April 1999.
Individual cottages or houses make up the resort, call bells at the door have been avoided since the sound is jarring and each house has a granite-topped table and stools cut from granite pillars where one can sit and watch the waves lash against the cliff throwing little water beads against the azure sky.
"Waves lash against the shores, the wind murmurs as it rustles the bamboo clusters and caresses the rustic wooden walls of the houses which are a hundred or more years old. Surya Samudra, the first heritage hotel in Kerala, stretches out across two beaches facing the Arabian Sea with a cliff anchored in between." - Tourism India, April 1999.
"Guests are accommodated, not in mere rooms or suites but a choice of modern or traditional houses, the former built of stone with soaring roofs…the others are traditional Kerala wooden residences, transplanted from their original sites." - The Western Australian, 25-04-1998.
Whole Tharavadu (traditional Kerala houses) have been purchased and reassembled here as cottages. They have been converted into elevated structures, keeping in mind the need for free flow of space to facilitate unhindered movement and natural ventilation. Windows serve as doors while writing desks face the sea. Bathroom-cum-toilets or 'bath gardens' are open air, protected by the slopes on all sides and each house has an open-air cafeteria.
"More than 100 years old, with intricate carvings and heavy shutters…these cottages have outdoor garden showers, wide verandas and, like all the accommodation, are surrounded by terraced tropical gardens. Bliss. Recommended: the Ibis or Myna rooms furnished with squatter chairs, bamboo beds and mind-blowing views of the ocean." - Jill
Mullens, The Western Australian, 25-04-1998.