Exclusive Kerala is the ultimate way to experience this beautiful slice of south Indian tropical paradise, with accommodation in some of Kerala’s finest boutique retreats – some with just a handful of rooms – including an award-winning luxury boat on the backwaters.

The private chauffeured tour begins in Cochin, with two nights at  Chittoor Kottaram – a 300-year-old former royal residence of the Raja of Cochin.

The property has been restored and converted into a delightful boutique hotel with just three bedrooms.  From the wooden ceiling to the original floor tiles and the stained-glass painting, the stately residence has been renovated under the personal supervision of Lady Helen Hamlyn and the descendants of the former royals.

Next, head into the stunning Kerala backwaters where you will board the luxurious Oberoi MV Vrinda, a motor-vessel regarded as the Queen of the Backwaters, for two days and nights cruising in style slowly through this idyllic picturesque network of palm-fringed lakes and canals.

Chittoor Kottaram
Chittoor Kottaram

The next two nights are spent at Vismaya – a private, two-bedroom villa that enjoys a magical setting on the edge of tranquil Lake Vembanad.  Built in traditional Keralan style, the property is set on the edge of a peninsula and is surrounded on three sides by the lake.

Offered on an exclusive basis, Vismaya was built using wooden columns and carved doors that once adorned a 400-year-old mansion, and superbly weaves together Kerala’s minimalist architecture with modern conveniences. Both the individually decorated rooms overlook the expansive lake.

The next stage of the journey takes you to Kovalam, close to the southern-most point of India, with three lazy nights on the shores of the Indian Ocean at the Relais & Châteaux Niraamaya Surya Samudra, the perfect way to wrap up this unique luxury Kerala holiday.

At the end of the holiday, there is the option of extending the trip with two nights at  Kovalam.

The holiday costs from £3195 per person (two sharing) which includes private chauffeured transport, accommodation as described on a B&B basis (plus two lunches and two dinners), activities/sightseeing and a local guide in Cochin and Kumarakom. International flights not included (bookable through Corinthian Travel).

Corinthian Travel (020 3583 6089, www.corinthiantravel.co.uk)