The much-awaited Kochi-Muziris Biennale returns this year after a pandemic-induced hiatus. The 5th edition is scheduled from December 12, 2022 to April 10, 2023, and is curated by Singaporean artist and writer Shubigi Rao. Titled “In Our Veins Flow Ink and Fire”, the exhibition will showcase 80 artists and collectives — both Indian and international — with more than 45 new commissions. Exhibition venues are spread all over Fort Kochi with free public tours twice daily at Aspinwall House (the main venue). If you’re planning to head over for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and are wondering where to stay, here’s the AD edit of boutique stays in and around Fort Kochi.
The Postcard Mandalay Hall
Ideally located in Fort Kochi’s Jew Town, The Postcard Mandalay Hall is literally steeped in art. Housed in a 200-year-old former Jewish home, the space has been expertly refurbished into a boutique luxury hotel that opened earlier this year. It retains the original structure with beautifully aged walls, large windows, and high ceilings while adding modernist design touches, sumptuous beds, and free-standing bathtubs. The five rooms (called galleries) have been put together by Stapati founder Tony Joseph and curated by Biennale director Bose Krishnamachari to showcase works by handpicked artists such as Dibin Thilakan’s mixed media works and Anju Acharya’s artworks that explore the concept of birth. The experimental fine-dining restaurant Aah offers contemporary Kerala cuisine (and a mean sadya).
A Relais & Châteaux member, The Malabar House is Fort Kochi’s first boutique heritage hotel, which is housed in an 18th century building that was variously owned by spice traders, tea traders, and bankers. This art hotel is strewn with a carefully curated collection of Indian antiques and contemporary art, highlighting Kerala’s composite culture. The 11 rooms are clustered around a central courtyard (and pool) and come with four-poster beds and antique furniture; splurge on the Malabar Suite, a charming two-level maisonette with a private terrace. The hotel offers a day cruise on the Vembanad Lake and backwaters on-board their eco-friendly houseboat, complete with lunch and a high tea experience.