When thinking of beaches in India, Goa usually comes to mind. However, for a relaxing getaway head further south and you'll find undeveloped pristine locations where you can stay in a secluded beach house or cottage right by the water's edge. Here are 10 top picks for all budgets. The rates stated are the lowest rates throughout the year (during summer and the monsoon season from April to September) and may increase significantly during peak season (mid December to mid January).
01 of 10
Situated on the coast between Bekal and Nileshwar beaches in northern Kerala, Kanan Beach Resort has atmospheric Kerala-style cottages with separate living areas. Ayurvedic treatments are offered, as well as a range of activities including yoga, beach volleyball, backwater cruises (the tranquil Kottappuram backwaters of Karasgod district are nearby), plantation visits, and cycling.
- Rooms: 14, including large family cottages.
- Cost: From 6,500 rupees per night for a double. Breakfast is included.
02 of 10
Neemrana's Bungalow on the Beach will delight history lovers! This 18th century Danish colonial house once belonged to the Governor of Danish India. On one side is an early 14th century Pandya temple, and on the other a 17th century Danish fort (Fort Dansborg). The bungalow's interior is complemented with Colonial style furnishings and will transport you back to a bygone era. Tranquebar (now called Tharangambadi) lies on Tamil Nadu's Coromandel Coast around 5 hours south of Chennai, and was a Danish colony from 1620 to 1845.
- Rooms: 8. The ones on the top floor have sea views.
- Cost: Expect to pay about 6,000 rupees upwards per night for a double, with breakfast included.
03 of 10
This lovely new luxury beach house combines traditional Kerala influences with modern design. As its name suggests, there are 36 palms growing on the property. It also has an Ayurvedic spa, infinity swimming pool, ambient poolside terrace restaurant, and free wireless Internet. Yoga and meditation sessions are held, and it's possible to go on local excursions to visit temples and other attractions. If you don't want to simply laze around and enjoy the spectacular view, you'll never be bored! The location is north of Fort Kochi and about 45 minutes drive from Kochi airport.
- Rooms: 7. The expansive sea view rooms are gorgeous!
- Cost: From 4,500 rupees per night for a double. Breakfast is included.
04 of 10
Marari Sea Lap Villas is situated on the seashore at little-known Marari beach near Alleppey. It's a friendly family homestay and the sandy beach just steps in front of it is almost deserted. The property is spacious, with plenty of room to relax in hammocks in the garden or go for beach walks. Apart from the beachfront, the delicious fresh home-cooked Kerala cuisine is a highlight, with seafood caught by local fishermen. Host Anoop is a great cook, and he's also super efficient at taking care of travel arrangements for guests.
Continue to 5 of 10 below.
- Rooms: 4, all with a sea view and air-conditioning. No TVs though (but free wireless Internet is provided).
- Cost: From around 3,800 rupees per night for a double. Breakfast is included.
05 of 10
Chera Rock Beach House has a private position on Thottada beach in the Kannur district of northern Kerala. Only a few local fishermen, who are used to tourists, are around. Seafood and candlelight dinners are a specialty, making it ideal for romance! The hospitality is superb, with staff who do an outstanding job of looking after guests. Kannur is renowned for its intriguing ritualistic theyyam performances, and it's likely that you'll be able to catch one somewhere in the district if you visit from late October to April.
- Rooms: 9. The best ones have sea views. Air-conditioning has been newly fitted.
- Cost: Expect to pay about 3,000 rupees upwards per night for a double, with breakfast included.
06 of 10
Situated in the same area, Kizhunnarocks Beach Resort is essentially a homestay rather than a resort in the true sense of the word and will appeal to anyone looking for personalized service, simple accommodations, solitude, and tasty home-cooked food. It's set in a compound with landscaped garden and has direct beach access. Choose from separate cottage accommodations or upstairs room with balcony and sea view.
- Rooms: 3, all with TVs.
- Cost: From 2,500 rupees per night for a double with breakfast included.
07 of 10
The extremely popular Kannur Beach House is another homestay option close to Thottada beach. It's a century-old Kerala house that the hosts live in, set alongside a small river and lagoon a couple of minutes walk from the beach. An annex has been added to make space for more guests. Activities include bird watching, canoeing along the river, and visits to local attractions such as theyyam and a handloom weaving center. The hosts are welcoming and engaging, and communal breakfasts and dinners are held with the other guests, making it a memorable place to stay. Read reviews on Tripadvisor.
- Rooms: Can accommodate 25 guests in total. All rooms have sea views.
- Cost: From 3,400 rupees per night for a double (or 2,400 rupees for a single), including two meals. A minimum two night stay is required.
08 of 10
If you'd prefer to stay away from the crowds at Kovalam, Kerala's most developed beach, try Karikkathi Beach House. This simple but stunning property has two sea-facing rustic cottages situated close to each other. The cottages are isolated and can only be reached by a 5 minute walk through the palm grove, although the beach is also accessible by the neighboring Niraamaya Surya Samudra hotel. Guests can use the hotel's facilities, such as swimming pool and restaurant, at a discounted rate. Otherwise, meals are cooked by the property's in-house chef. Karikkathi Beach House also offers guests yoga and full Ayurvedic treatment programs, including special Ayurvedic diet.
Continue to 9 of 10 below.
- Rooms: 4 (two in each cottage, separated by a living room). They do not have TVs or air-conditioning.
- Cost: From 60 Euros/$67/4,500 rupees per room or 120 Euros/$135/9,000 rupees per cottage, including breakfast. Pay 15 Euros/$17/1,110 rupees extra per person to have all meals provided. The cottages are best booked as a whole. Otherwise, you might end up sharing the living space with strangers.
09 of 10
A well-kept secret (but maybe not for much longer), The Blue Matsya is a self-catering beach house on Karnataka's untouched coast, in the Udupi district about an hour north of Mangalore. It gets its curious name from its blue shutters and doors, and abundance of fish (matsya). Inside, bright colors creatively contrast with white-washed walls. If you don't fancy cooking, the caretakers will bring fresh home-cooked local cuisine (featuring plenty of fish, of course). There's a 100+ year old lighthouse only 10 minutes walk away that can be climbed for a panoramic vista.
- Rooms: 2 (one upstairs with its own private terrace and one on the ground floor). The living room can also sleep four people.
- Cost: 1,900-2,500 rupees per person, per night. The entire house costs 9,000-14,000 rupees per night, depending on the number of guests. A minimum two night stay is required.
10 of 10
Brighton Beach House is a cheaper option on Cherai beach, located near 36 Palms. It's an old property that's been revamped, and is well-maintained by the helpful husband and wife owners. Rooms are basic but clean and comfortable. Don't expect many facilities. However, it has a homely feel, and mouthwatering food is made to order and served in the restaurant overlooking the sea. Dolphins can be frequently spotted, which is a highlight.
- Rooms: 5, some with air-conditioning. None have TVs.
- Cost: From 1,800 rupees per night. It's great value!