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Continuing with our Special Places series, here’s a review of our stay at Eden Garden Ayurvedic Resort in Varkala.
Varkala was the first stop on our Kerala adventure and we wanted to begin the holiday with a treat, which is what led us Eden Garden. It’s a peaceful Ayurvedic resort at the south end of Varkala, about 15 minutes away from the party and backpacker-heavy north cliffs. It’s a perfect choice if you’re looking for a quiet retreat in Varkala.
The resort itself is made up of four different types of rooms dotted around lush gardens with pretty ponds and jungle flowers. We booked to stay in the cheapest of the four room tiers – a garden view room, which was clean but very basic and not something I’d include in the Special Places series. However, it was the low season when we visited and upon arrival we were asked if we wanted to upgrade to a luxury cottage for a fraction of the normal price. Initially we said no as we were counting pennies but the staff encouraged us to take a look (clearly knowing what they were doing!). As soon as we saw the cottage we fell in love with it and upgraded on the spot. It was too special to say no to and while slightly pricey for India (£25), we considered it worth it.
From the outside, the cottage looked like a kind of mushroom-inspired spaceship. There were four of them surrounding a little pond.
And inside it was even more special, with handmade, bespoke furniture and an incredible high ceiling.
The ceiling painting was particularly impressive. It must have been quite an endeavor to decorate.
And that was closely followed by the rainwater shower, surrounded by a beaded curtain and falling into a massive oversized blue-tiled bathtub. The tub was so huge that it seemed wasteful to fill it, but we enjoyed using it for showering.
The en-suite bathroom was a cheerful little oasis, especially pretty in the afternoons when golden light streams through the windows.
And the balcony was great for relaxing and watching the world go by, especially after a visit to the spa.
A highlight of Eden Garden was the food. They don’t have a full-on restaurant but you can request Ayurvedic meals, which were some of the best we had in Kerala. Meals are served by candlelight overlooking the pond, which makes for a beautifully romantic setting. They also have a standard breakfast menu, but the Ayurvedic option is of much higher quality.
Ayurvedic treatments in Varakla
It’s also worth visiting Eden Garden for the Ayurvedic treatments alone, which are carried out in the en-site spa and available to non-guests. You can either book single treatments or get a consultation from the in-house doctor and follow a multi-day program with food, yoga, treatments and medicines. We did a two-day program but opted out of the yoga and food as we wanted to try other places in Varkala too (in hindsight, the food at Eden Garden was by far the best so next time we’d go full-board).
Even if you don’t stay at Eden Garden, I’d recommend going there for some treatments. The massages were especially good and the wooden spa surrounded by jungle makes for an authentic and atmospheric Ayurveda experience. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend having a consultation or following a program by the in-house doctor. I’ve seen a few Ayurvedic doctors and have benefited from their treatments, but this doctor’s diagnoses and recommendations seemed a little off-point and at odds with what others have told me. That’s my personal opinion though, and I’m sure others would disagree. Either way, the food and spa treatments were great.
Why visit Varkala
And, of course, Varkala itself is beautiful. Here are some photos to give you a little flavour.
And a couple of Instagram sunsets…
The one above was taken less than a 5-minute walk from Eden Garden.
Have you been to Eden Garden? Or do you recommend somewhere else to stay in Varkala?
Read our Kerala itinerary post for more info on Varkala.