Besides the historical monuments, the age-old buildings are repositories of numerous unheard tales about Fort Kochi. Some heritage structures still remain in their original glory but others have been taken over by international agencies and converted into centers of hospitality. No matter how much you refurbish, these edifices are a vital part of the cultural heritage of Fort Kochi.
Fort Kochi’s ‘Sky Blue’
The heritage hotel of Azora can be described as one that reflects the heritage and tradition of Fort Kochi. In Spanish, Azora mean ‘sky blue’ and the heritage hotel invites tourists to enjoy the blue tinge of the sky and the Arabian Sea in equal measure. As the travellers step into the retreat, they would be transported to a bygone era as the building is nearly two centuries old. The palatial building was constructed 200 years ago during the reign of the Portuguese and was one of the main centers of the Grindlays Bank, a prominent overseas bank, in the 1970s. After India gained independence, the edifice was converted into a court complex and the local residents still refer the building as the ‘old courthouse’.
Now a heritage hotel
Azora by Ayatana, which is an international hospitality group, is all decked up with superlative amenities to receive both domestic and foreign tourists. Ayatana decided to take over the building and convert it into a heritage hotel in 2021, and the group renovated the building without tampering with its originality. You might be surprised to see the floor tiles that were used in the Tripunithura and Thiruvananthapuram palaces, in the old courthouse. It is said that the shine and sparkle of the floor tiles increase with age. While refurbishing the building, similar type of tiles was paved on the floors. The hospitality group was particular of retaining the heritage values of Fort Kochi and bringing back the pride of the Dutch and French aesthetics during renovation works.
Presently, 16 rooms are all ready to receive guests. Earnest efforts had been made to give a touch of luxury to every nook and corner of the rooms. The exquisite paintings on the walls portray Kerala’s rich culture and characters of folk tales. The premium suites and executive rooms give more importance to the privacy of guests and one could see ships gliding past and the hustle and bustle of the town from the grand rooms. People checking in with their families can have a great time in the swimming pool on the top floor of the hotel.