Just down the road from David Hall is The Brunton Boatyard Hotel. When you walk onto this beautiful, sprawling property, you walk right back in time and into a Victorian Shipyard. Its open-air reception is almost deck-reminiscent, and it is always home to a cool sea breeze. In its main courtyard you’ll find a giant restored anchor, around which the hotel is built. The hotel might be a relatively new structure, but it is so in sync with its surrounds that it melds effortlessly with Kochi’s other, more-historic facades.
Even if you’re not staying with them (although their food and hospitality are top-notch, and we recommend you do), give the property a visit, and amble through their corridors and out to the back where the pool and the harbour beside it both bask in sunshine. Brunton is one of the few hotels in Fort Kochi that serves alcohol (plus a good wine list that will keep you amused), and you can get a great cocktail right up until around 10.30pm at their inviting bar, blocked with wood, terracotta floors, and lime-washed walls. We also recommend the breakfast that’s served out by the waterfront, where you’ll feast on a mix of South Indian and European fare (we loved the sambar and dosa). Linger here for a bit, dipping into Salman Rushdie’s prize-winning novel, The Moor’s Last Sigh, the first few chapters of which are based on Kochi and life in it.
Explore Fort Kochi from Brunton on bicycles, which the staff happily lends out along with a map, or head out for a little cruise along the harbour in their boat which sails at 5.30pm on most days (it’s best to check once and confirm). This is a property we’d visit over and over, not only for all the bits we mentioned, but also for its thriving relationship with its surrounds and nature. A gorgeous old tree makes their lush, grassy courtyard everything it is, and we love how it’s an integral part of the structure. Plus, they treat their wastewater and recycle where possible, use solar panels to power parts of the property, and have an entirely gas-free kitchen, making it a wonderfully eco-friendly place to stay at. Brunton Boatyard is, by their own admission, their most audacious effort at restoring heritage.