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The Brunton Boatyard
The Brunton Boatyard Hotel was resurrected from the remains of a Victorian shipyard. Today, it gives the modern traveller a unique opportunity to dwell amidst the shadow plays of 19th century history.
The 16th to the 19th centuries were the time of the great sea voyages, an age when civilizations met. Cochin is the product of one of history's great tugs-of-war, as the powers of Europe struggled to dominate the spice trade, and the pepper of Kerala became, gram for gram, as precious as gold.
The Portuguese, the Dutch, the Jews and the English came in turn, and the port of Cochin became a crossroads. Carried on wings of wood and sail, lifestyles and beliefs commingled; new cuisines, art forms and societies were born.
The Brunton Boatyard Hotel is a looking-glass held up to this era. It's our attempt to capture the soul of a colourful and romantic age that remains one of history's most charming conjuring tricks, nurtured by Kerala's tolerant spirit.
For what is essentially a small and intimate city hotel, The Brunton Boatyard possesses a remarkable sense of scale, evident the moment you turn into the tiled forecourt.
The hotel's nautical past seems to follow you around. On one wall, old Dutch maps, on another, a small navigation device, in the courtyard lawns, an ancient anchor. Walk further, turn a corner, and you find yourself outside the Armory Bar. Perhaps later, you could enjoy a sundowner here, with old Portuguese breastplates and musketry for company.
A short saunter down the corridor brings you to a little doorway. Pass through and suddenly, the whole vista of Cochin harbour opens up beyond the pool's inviting waters. This is the spot to read a boring historical novel, work on your tan and watch the ships sail by, so close you can almost reach out and touch them. Crane your neck a bit and you can spot a serried rank of Cochin's famed fishing nets. They first made their appearance in 1350 a.d. and their much-photographed preying-mantis shapes form one of the city's most enduring images.
Also near the pool is the hotel's jetty, and a word at the reception gets you a variety of cruising options to choose from. The heritage of Cochin is most evident around its enormous harbour, and this is a not-to-be-missed experience.