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Brunton Boatyard

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Geo Brunton and Sons was once among the most respected ship builders 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.

Moored on a historic stretch of Cochin’s famed harbour, the Brunton Boatyard Hotel is our tribute to another age. Resurrected from the remains of a Victorian shipbuilding yard, it gives the modern traveller a unique opportunity to dwell amidst the shadow-plays of 19th century history.

The recreated period building blends in perfectly with its colonial era surroundings: once-great trading houses from the high era of commerce, when the pepper of Kerala was as precious as gold. Like the cultures they celebrate, the hotel’s interiors too, are an eclectic blend of English, Portuguese and Dutch influences. Soaring ceilings, hanging fans, and everywhere, artefacts and curios from the great age of steam and sail.

Like everything else, the cuisine too is a melting pot of cultures.  The Portuguese came to trade in spice, but left behind the ‘Indian’ red chili. The Syrian Christians cooked up a variety of Pork dishes that co-incidentally, tasted fabulous with the local string hoppers. The Jews found coriander both Kosher and delicious, so into the cook pot it went. And Dutch puddings were found to benefit greatly from a smidgen of fresh cinnamon.

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