An amalgamation of the architectural splendour of Fort Kochi’s colonial past. Brunton Boatyard at Fort Kochi is inspired by colonial history. A former shipyard in British times, this historical plot of land that once housed a famous boatyard now has another landmark, the Brunton Boatyard.
Built by us to faithfully reflect the symbols and signs of a historical period known for its stately grandeur and good taste as expressed through its ambiance, amenities, service, and food.
This restored period building that is our hotel sits well with its colonial era surroundings and counterparts – the great trading houses of British India when pepper from Kerala was considered as precious as gold.
Like the cultures they celebrate and display, Brunton Boatyard is a five star hotel whose interiors reflect an eclectic but tasteful blend of English, Portuguese and Dutch influences as seen in its high ceilings, hanging fans and a plethora of artifacts and curios from a great mercantile age known for its pomp and glamour.
The scent of colonial history is all around you as you take a tour of the historic Fort Cochin area where the hotel stands. Though little remains of the fort itself there are legacies of its proud history to be seen everywhere.
Dining at the tellingly titled ‘History Restaurant’ at Brunton Boatyard is a gateway to experience culinary history at its best. Every dish we serve reflects the culture of a different community.
Chuttuly Meen speak of a Jewish heritage, while fish lovers savouring a Samak Bil Harder Asful sense the looming presence of Arabia. The Fish Moilee comes to you with its distinctive Syrian Christian aura, and The Vindaloo is sure to set you reminiscing about Vasco da Gama and the coming of the Portuguese to India.
All the 22 rooms of the Brunton Boatyard overlook the sea as do all their en-suite bathrooms. There are few pleasures to rival that of watching lazy ships and fishing boats or gamboling dolphins while going about your ablutions.
You will also catch some stunning sunsets over the palm fringed shores of Vypin Island close by and hear the cry of cormorants and gulls from your room, drawing you into a different world.
In the Jew town, the four-century-old synagogue still stands testimony to the tolerant, multi-cultural nature of Kerala society. Looming protectively over the synagogue is the Mattancherry Palace, erstwhile home to the Verma kings and today a fine museum. The old Jewish homes, the bustling Spice market and the Antique Market make Mattancherry a favourite for visitors.
The rooms of Brunton Boatyard overlook the sea as do their en-suite bathrooms, the others have quaint views of the pier and Fort Kochi town. There are few pleasures to rival that of watching lazy ships and fishing boats or gamboling dolphins while going about your ablutions.
You will also catch some stunning sunsets over the palm-fringed shores of Vypin Island close by and hear the cry of cormorants and gulls from your room, drawing you into a different world.
The wooden high ceiling, the terracotta floors, lime plastered walls and old teak wood furniture tell the story of Fort Kochi’s colonial heritage. The old portraits, photographs and maps add to the charm of this vintage hotel.
George Brunton and Sons were once among the most respected shipbuilders in Kochi. The location of their old boatyard was perfect, on a quiet harbour-front deep in the heart of Fort Cochin, where every by-lane could whisper tales from the city’s colourful past. Here, we set about recreating the world of 19th century Malabar, using the precise building materials of the time – brick, lime, wood and terracotta.
A sunny afternoon spent soaking in a tub, watching life go by at the harbour is one of the many alternative ways to see Fort Kochi’s many shades.
The Portuguese came to trade in spices but left behind the ‘Indian’ red chilli for us to innovate with. The Syrian Christian community cooked up a variety of pork and other dishes that went very well with our own native idiappams, or string hoppers.
The Jews of Cochin found coriander both Kosher and delicious and used it in a variety of their preparations, while the Dutch noticed that their puddings took on a whole new flavour with a pinch of fresh cinnamon.
Dine at the promenade The pier overlooking Kochi’s historic harbor, is the perfect place for a romantic meal. Enjoy great food at dusk with a view of the Arabian Sea.
Surf and Turf Open during dinner-time only, enjoy the fresh catch of the day, grilled and served the way you like it. Meals Watch Fort Kochi light up every night as you enjoy your seafood spread.
Dine with Arms Armoury restaurant derives its name from the way the interior walls are adorned with guns and various weaponry. Stop by in the evening for a quick snack, and sit at the waterfront watching the day end.
The cuisine is very international and includes a selection of pastas, salads and soups. Armoury Restaurant opens for breakfast and serves a variety of cuisines. There’s something for everyone here. Snack on delicious food in the garden filled with raintrees.
Brunton Boatyard’s master chefs share some of their skills with you at the evening cookery classes. Here you will learn the secrets of traditional Kerala cooking. And of course, you will enter the magical world of Indian spices.
What they are, how to use them, combine them, and savour the special magic they bring to even the most commonplace foods. Best of all, your friends at home will be cardomom green with envy once you return with your new found secrets.
THE SWIMMING POOL
The pool at Brunton Boatyard is an anytime indulgence. You can use it to cool off after a hectic ramble through the historic streets of Fort Kochi or when you feel like some brisk laps to get your sluggish circulation going. Even in the monsoon the pool remains inviting for those who are born water friendly.
You can try massages and treatments for everything from beauty and toning to rejuvenation and stress, all based on India’s ancient healing art of Ayurveda. Unsure of what you need? Our experienced physicians will be happy to give you a free consultation and point you in the right direction.
Our properties are very walker friendly. We believe that there are few substitutes for walking. It helps you observe more and is a wonderful form of exercise that can be enjoyed by everybody.
There is also yoga for those who need something more active. However, for those who equate exercise with power and sweat we have fitness machines to meet this requirement as well. So stay fit in multiple ways while at Brunton Boatyard.
The Brunton Boatyard is a prestigious address in historical Fort Cochin today. Its antecedents are even more captivating. Geo Brunton and Sons were respected ship builders in Kochi.
The location of their old boatyard in was perfect for us to recreate a setting that would bring alive again 19th century Malabar in the heart of Fort Cochin, where every lane still whispers tales from its alluring past.
Since Fort Cochin was under the possession of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British at different points of time, the region still bear the influence of European architecture and heritage. Kochi has been drawing traders, explorers and travellers to its shores for over 600 years.
Nowhere else in India could you find such an intriguing mix: giant fishing nets from China, a 400-year-old synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese houses and the crumbling remains of the British Raj.
The result is an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and an English village grafted onto the tropical Malabar Coast. It’s a delightful place to spend some time and nap in some of India’s finest homestays and heritage accommodation.
Kochi is also a centre for Keralan arts and one of the best places to see Kathakali and kalarippayat. Mainland Ernakulam is the hectic transport and cosmopolitan hub of Kochi, while the historical towns of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry, though well-touristed, remain wonderfully atmospheric – thick with the smell of the past. Other islands, including Willingdon and Vypeen, are linked by a network of ferries and bridges.
Come 6.30 (or thereabouts, depending on the season), the Brunton Boatyard’s trusty craft departs from our private jetty, for a fascinating cruise around Cochin Harbour. Spectacular sunsets, glorious sea air and probably a dolphin or two!
JEW TOWN ANTIQUE MARKET
Home to the native Pardesi Jewish community in Kerala, Jew Town is lined by old Jewish homes on either sides of a narrow street leading up to the historic synagogue. Take a walk along the Jew Town and you can breathe antiquity.
The curio and antique shops along the street are capable of enchanting the visitors with their variety and rarity. A big vaarpu (bronze vessel) almost three metres in diameter is one of the major attractions here.
Mattanchery is a bustling old market of the Kochi’s spice trade. Scores of small stores huddle together in old, dilapidated buildings and the air is filled with the biting aromas of ginger, cardamom, cumin, turmeric and cloves.
CHINESE FISHING NETS
These fishing net are fixed land installations introduced by Chinese explorer, Zheng He from the court of the Kubla Khan. The Chinese fishing net is believed to have been introduced to the Kochi shores as early as 1350 AD. A must see when you are exploring Fort Cochin’s heritage.
ST. FRANCIS CHURCH
St. Francis Church, originally built in 1503, is the oldest European church in India and has great historical significance as a mute witness to the European colonial struggle in the subcontinent. It is said to be the church in which Vasco da Gama was buried first before his remains were moved to Lisbon.
Mattancherry Palace,also known as the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry, Kochi, with its medieval charm, features Kerala murals depicting Hindu temple art, portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi.
Explore historical Fort Kochi from the site of an old boatyard on eco-friendly electric bikes. Take a ride along the beach, tour heritage landmarks, visit old spice markets, and more with Vaan Electric Bicycles, now for hire at Brunton Boatyard.