Finding Choyi’s Hotel

For long I have yearned to find Choyi’s Hotel or whatever it was called as it changed hands several times. My desire was finally met on New Year’s Day of 2017 as I stood outside the ancient wrought iron gate of what is now called Choice Seaside Hotel, in Kannur, Kerala.

In days gone by Choyi’s Hotel was owned and managed by my maternal great grandfather Choyi. I believe it was built for the British in the colonial days and Choyi served at the hotel for several years hence he was popularly called Choyi Butler. His family however refers to him reverentially as Sri Choyi. The hotel was later gifted to Sri Choyi by the British and has been bought and sold several times after his death. Tax litigation in later years has led to the closure of this once proud hotel for decades.

Early on New Year’s Day I took a walk towards the cantonment area of Kannur, the most beautiful and well maintained part of the city. The roads are broad and well maintained like all military cantonments. Choice Hotel is about half a kilometer away from the well known Savoy Hotel. The Military Hospital and the Kannur Lighthouse museum are other nearby landmarks and the popular Payambalam Beach is just about a kilometer away.Jpeg

Talk stately trees stand like sentinels along the long narrow path that leads to the hotel. I couldn’t see the hotel from the locked gate and was tempted to scale the leaf strewn path for a closer look. It didn’t seem appropriate as the gate was locked from the inside with a bright shiny lock. The lock and the relatively new sign board outside mutely announced the impending return of the hotel to its halcyon days as a luxury hotel.Jpeg

The roads around the Choice Seaside Hotel are dotted with beautiful houses. Many of them old and dilapidated from the good old days and many rebuilt on modern lines yet bearing  vestiges of ancient Kerala architecture. This has got to be an ideal spot for a luxury hotel. If and when it does reopen I hope it retains at least in part its proud heritage from the past.

Author: hari008

Business Leader , Mentor and Executive Coach with a long track record of achievement , developing high performance teams and mentoring team members who now hold responsible positions in several leading companies

5 thoughts on “Finding Choyi’s Hotel”

  1. Hi Hari008,

    I made contact with you in 2008 after 5 of us brothers and sisters travelled from Perth Western Australia to India. All of them ,except myself, were born in the Nilgarri Hills .

    My older brother and sister remember holidaying at Choyi’s Hotel when they were very little.

    We spent hours trying to find the hotel on this visit, but with no luck.

    I am fascinated and so pleased to read your blog. Loved the pictures.

    My sister remembers a set of stairs that ran from the Hotel down through the rock on to the beach below.

    Did you see these stairs or the beach?

    Thanks for your great news and find. Would love to hear anything else on it.

    Kind Regards

    Mary Lambert

    1. Hi Mary, Glad you liked the blog post on Choyi’s Hotel or Choice Hotel as it is now called. I didn’t see the path way leading to the beach as I couldn’t get into the premises of the Hotel but I came to know from a relative that there is a path the leads to a private beach. In the days gone by it was used by the English ladies.
      I am currently researching and doing the pre-work for a book on the Anglo Indian community. While in Kannur ( Cannanore of old ) I came across a township called Burnacherry or Burnshire as it used to be know earlier. This was an Anglo Indian township which now has just three Anglo Indian families ; the rest have migrated to Australia or other parts of India. I wonder if you have any info on Burnshire and life as it was in the sixties and seventies in this township? I did meet a venerable old teacher who use to teach standard six at St. Michael’s school and had a wonderful meeting with her. It would be great if you could share whatever info you have or connect me with people who may be able to help.
      Did you or your brothers and sisters study at St. George’s Homes , Kettie in the Nilgiris ?
      Best wishes, Hari

      1. HI
        Many years ago my family and i stayed at Choyi’s hotel regularly on holiday, the last time would be ’77 December. We used to drive to Kannur from Mysore where we lived. There was a cottage right on the cliff edge from which the steps mentioned by Mary Lambert were cut in sandstone and led down to a small beach, but on our last visit the cliff had collapsed, along with cottage and steps. We had some amazing holidays there and many happy memories

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