Finding art and soul at The Postcard Mandalay Hall in Kochi

Packed with 200 years of history as well as some fantastic contemporary art, this hotel is a dream come true for anyone with a yen for the creative.

History winds its way through the bylanes of Kochi. And nowhere is its influence more resplendent than in Mattanchery, once the city’s prosperous Jewish quarter, and filled with centuries of homegrown as well as global culture and religion.

For a traveller who likes to live and breathe the atmosphere of a place rather than simply dip into it casually on a day tour, the The Postcard Mandalay Hall seems like the perfect base from which to start a Kochi exploration, with its proximity to Mattancherry and Fort Kochi’s many landmarks, markets, spice vendors, boutiques, art galleries, and cafes.

The postcard mandalay hall, mattancherry, kochi, heritage, art, luxury, hotels, luxury hotels, heritage hotels, kerala
The leafy courtyard is a lovely space where you can relax and hobnob after a day out. Image: Courtesy The Postcard Mandalay Hall.

The 200-year-old heritage structure has been rejuvenated by architect Tony Joseph and his family in a way that celebrates its timeless spirit. The boutique property, which has art curated by artist Bose Krishnamachari running through its arteries, offers a storied setting that spans public areas such as a gorgeous library, a heritage jewellery store, a restaurant, pretty courtyard, and five rooms, which they like to call galleries.

The postcard mandalay hall, mattancherry, kochi, heritage, art, luxury, hotels, luxury hotels, heritage hotels, kerala
The library seems like it was fashioned out of a beautiful folk tale. Image: Courtesy The Postcard Mandalay Hall.
The postcard mandalay hall, mattancherry, kochi, heritage, art, luxury, hotels, luxury hotels, heritage hotels, kerala
Sift through heirloom jewellery at Pancholam. Image: Courtesy The Postcard Mandalay Hall.
The postcard mandalay hall, mattancherry, kochi, heritage, art, luxury, hotels, luxury hotels, heritage hotels, kerala
A typical Kerala-style pool with modern trappings to cool off in. Image: Courtesy The Postcard Mandalay Hall.

Each of the galleries are inspired by the space as well as the work of a particular artist whose work you can cohabit with during your stay. In Gallery 1, with its windows overlooking the historic Synagogue Lane, you’ll have artist Sushanta Maharana exploring the idea of heaven co-existing alongside the realities of earth. Its large windows and discreet furnishings make it the perfect setting for a creative person to find inspiration.

The postcard mandalay hall, mattancherry, kochi, heritage, art, luxury, hotels, luxury hotels, heritage hotels, kerala
Across 800 sq ft, Maharana Jacob’s brings alive the concept of the Judaeo-Christian allegory of a ladder symbolising ascension of consciousness, connecting heaven and earth. For the less creatively inclined, it’s still a stunning and spacious room! Image: Courtesy The Postcard Mandalay Hall.

Gallery 2 bridges the past and present, with a modernist aesthetic and artist Anju Acharya’s artworks which explore the concept of birth.

The postcard mandalay hall, mattancherry, kochi, heritage, art, luxury, hotels, luxury hotels, heritage hotels, kerala
Acharya brings her own tryst with the miracle of birth into focus with her work titled ‘The little Bumps and Nudges | Pricks and Pinches | Mother and Child’ across this pleasing 750 sq ft space. Image: Courtesy The Postcard Mandalay Hall.

Gallery 3 features artist Dibin Thilakan’s multi-media series titled ‘Ode to Home’, which bring home the point that the twin beds and a bathtub make this a comfortable home away from home.

The postcard mandalay hall, mattancherry, kochi, heritage, art, luxury, hotels, luxury hotels, heritage hotels, kerala
Making the best use of its sprawling 730 sq ft, Thilakan hammers home a positive image of home throughout this gallery/room. Image: Courtesy The Postcard Mandalay Hall.

Gallery 4 offers the privacy of your own courtyard and extra space where artist Jigesh Kumar gives you the feel of an archeological museum.

The postcard mandalay hall, mattancherry, kochi, heritage, art, luxury, hotels, luxury hotels, heritage hotels, kerala
Don’t be a spectator to your life but when you’re holiday here, you can experience spectatorship through the surreal museum created by Kumar in this 605 sq ft gallery/room. Image: Courtesy The Postcard Mandalay Hall.

Go up a floor and Gallery 5 is a modern and luxe double room with a picture window. The strong lines of artist Guiseppe Stampone’s artworks, drawn with blue and black BIC pens on the walls, will let your imagination soar.

The postcard mandalay hall, mattancherry, kochi, heritage, art, luxury, hotels, luxury hotels, heritage hotels, kerala
The 605 sq ft upstairs gallery/room boasts a view as well as beautiful interiors. Image: Courtesy The Postcard Mandalay Hall.
The postcard mandalay hall, mattancherry, kochi, heritage, art, luxury, hotels, luxury hotels, heritage hotels, kerala
Art is the new resistance. Image: Courtesy The Postcard Mandalay Hall.

And while the bedrooms will certainly give you food for thought, their kitchen too will wow you with its culinary offerings. The experimental fare at their fine dining restaurant is all about contemporary Kerala cuisine, adding finesse to local and traditional flavours with global techniques and ideas. We loved its name — അ, or Aah — said to be a nod to the first letter and sound in Malayalam, but which, we think is also the sound of satisfaction after a meal at the restaurant, and also at the overall experience of a stay at this historic hotel.

The postcard mandalay hall, mattancherry, kochi, heritage, art, luxury, hotels, luxury hotels, heritage hotels, kerala
The decor and food at Aah are certainly ooh-worthy! Image: Courtesy The Postcard Mandalay Hall.
The postcard mandalay hall, mattancherry, kochi, heritage, art, luxury, hotels, luxury hotels, heritage hotels, kerala
അ, or Aah, is the first letter in Malayalam and arguably the last word in progressive Kerala cuisine in Kochi. Image: Courtesy The Postcard Mandalay Hall.

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