Family Hotel Review: Dreamz, Cochin, Kerala, India
This private Victorian terraced house is owned and run by the elegant Old Harbour Hotel and is perfect for families wanting their own home in Fort Cochin.
Best For: Families wanting a home away from home; kids of all ages
Reviewed by: Victoria Westmacott
Why You’ll Love It
Owned and run by the elegant Old Harbour Hotel (it’s often sold as their ’14th’ room) is this cosy, Victorian terraced house located on a quiet street around the corner from the hotel.
The exterior looks rather grand – tall white columns and Dutch love seats frame the front door – but the interior is decidedly cosy. The door opens onto a terracotta-tiled living and dining area with a small, semi-open air kitchen at the rear of the property. Upstairs is an open-plan sleeping area, which sleeps four comfortably, and there’s also a private roof terrace. The décor is uncomplicated and homely with fresh flowers, artwork and the odd curio or sculpture tucked into alcoves.
Perhaps the best thing about this family-friendly house however, is that you can still use all the facilities at the Old Harbour Hotel (there’s a phone so that you can contact the hotel whenever you need). It’s your own private home but with five star boutique hotel trimmings.
Why The Kids Will Love It
This family-friendly option will undoubtedly please parents more than children. That said the kids can make as much noise as they like here without disturbing anyone and they won’t have to wait until the restaurant opens for breakfast as you have your own kitchen here.
Kids will have to make their own fun but they do have access to the swimming pool at the Old Harbour Hotel, which is just a short walk away. Also nearby are the Chinese Fishing Nets, ideal for catching the early morning haul. The roof terrace with its stone benches and views over the town is a good escape for teens, although not advisable for younger children owing to the steep staircase.
The entire light-filled first floor of the house has been transformed into one long bedroom with a double bed towards the front windows and one single bed placed near the top of the stairs. A wardrobe and a wooden trunk separate the two sleeping ‘areas’. There is easily room for a baby cot if required and another bed can be accommodated, usually on the ground floor. Again the décor is simple and homely; white sheets are accented with red silk cushions and sunny yellow curtains frame the windows. There is a bathroom on this floor with a shower.
If you’re travelling with younger children then you will need to take care of the open staircase but some clever manoeuvring of furniture (e.g. placing the wooden trunk at the top of the stairs) should do the trick.
Best rooms for families: There is only the one room here and if you don’t like sleeping in the same room as your children (or vice versa!) then look elsewhere. However, if you’re prepared to bunk down together then Dreamz can be a convenient choice. Guests are usually advised to bring their own baby/travel cot if required.
Dreamz does not have a restaurant but there is a semi open-air kitchenette, which sits at the back of the house and opens onto a small, plant-filled courtyard. There’s a small circular dining table with four chairs in the dining area. The kitchen comes furnished with a fridge, kettle and hob/stove (no oven) and pots, pans, plates, glasses and cutlery are provided. It’s unlikely that you’ll whip up a five-course dinner here but it’s the perfect place to get breakfast ready for hungry youngsters or make a simple toddler-friendly meal in the evening.
Guests staying at Dreamz are welcome at the Old Harbour Hotel for breakfast (included in the rates). You may also choose to take all other meals at the hotel or you can talk to the staff about having food delivered.
The breakfast buffet at the 1778 Restaurant at the Old Harbour Hotel offers guests Western and Keralan options, including fresh fruit juices (cucumber and mint, and apple and banana with cinnamon are particularly good) and a range of spiced tea. Eggs, cereals and toast are also offered.
When we visited lunch options at the 1778 Restaurant included tiger prawns with pineapple and beetroot chutney and batter fried cuttlefish with a green chilli sauce for starters. Main dishes included a Keralan dish of semi ripe pumpkin lentils, rich dhal curry, spicy fish fillet crumble and spicy crab stir-fry with rice and buttermilk. For dinner a special seafood menu is also offered with a barbeque in the garden nightly.
For Kids: The 1778 Restaurant doesn’t have a dedicated kids’ menu but there is an all-day dining menu for those children who require feeding outside set meal times, or you can use your own kitchen. Kid-friendly options on the all-dining menu include sandwiches, pakoras, banana fritters and chocolate con churros. The kitchen is also happy to accommodate requests. There are no highchairs.
Activities for Parents
Take part in the complimentary morning yoga sessions held in the gardens of the Old Harbour Hotel from 8am-9am daily (except Sunday).
Wander the delightful streets of Fort Cochin and enjoy the eclectic architecture and old colonial charm.
Visit the Chinese Fishing Nets and bargain for the catch of the day.
Hop into an auto-rickshaw and head to Mattancherry’s Jew Town district, once the centre of the spice trade and now the place for antique shopping.
Make sure to visit the Jewish Cemetery and Paradesi Synagogue; the synagogue dates back to 1568 making it the oldest in the Commonwealth.
Eat, eat and eat some more! Coconut-fuelled Keralan curries are absolutely delicious.
Activities for Kids
Swim, splash and play in the Old Harbour Hotel’s aquamarine swimming pool.
Stroll along to the Chinese Fishing Nets and watch the fishermen manoeuvre these enormous cantilevered contraptions; you might even be able to join in.
Explore the crumbling but charming streets of Fort Cochin stopping by Teapot for cake en route.
Step all aboard for an evening sunset cruise along the waters looking out for dolphins along the way.
Visit the local Kathakali centre and watch the artists apply their colourful and detailed make-up before enjoying a performance of this highly stylised art form. Traditional martial arts demonstrations are also performed here.
Ask the Old Harbour Hotel to organise a trip to the Kodanad elephant training centre north of Cochin that looks after stranded baby elephants from the wild. Here you can watch the elephants have their daily baths and even enjoy an elephant safari.
A/C, living room, cots, doctor on call, nearest hospital is 19km away, 2 extra beds can fit in the sleeping area and 1 on the ground floor, self-catering, laundry, swimming pool at Old Harbour Hotel, WiFi.
At the time of writing Dreamz cost INR 9,250 per night, however rates may have changed. Please contact the hotel directly for an exact quote based on your family’s requirements.
When to go:
Tropical South India is hot year-round but the best time to visit is between October and March when it’s relatively dry and cool(er). During these months temperatures average around 30C. December and January are peak season and this is often reflected in hotel rates. From March the temperatures and humidity increases in the build up to the monsoon, which arrives in June.
Location & Travel:
Dreamz is located in Fort Cochin, Kerala, India.
Cochin International Airport is at Nedumbassery, 42km from the hotel. The drive from the airport to Fort Cochin can take 1 to 1.5 hours owing to the traffic, although this can drop to under an hour if you arrive at night. Dreamz can arrange transfers from the airport for an additional charge. Air India, Jet Airways, Spice Jet, IndiGo and Go Air all fly to Cochin.
There are two train stations in Ernakulam, Ernakulam Town and Ernakulam Junction. Daily trains run to Trivandrum via either Alleppey or Kottayam and there are also services to Thrissur, Calicut and Kannur.
Contact The Hotel
For more information or to make a booking enquiry, visit the hotel’s own website by following the link below:
Reviewer’s Top Tips!
1) Remember that by staying here you have access to the swimming pool at The Old Harbour Hotel.
2) Be aware that the first floor bedroom (and only bedroom) is very bright – light sleepers might wake early.
3) See our Family Guide to Cochin and I Spy Cochin For Kids.
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