A Brief History

The Old Lighthouse mast along with the bungalow that was called the Bristow House came up in 1927-28. Sir Robert Bristow, a member of the Royal Society of Arts, left his indelible mark in the construction and architecture of this British-style heritage building where he lived during his stay in Fort Kochi, Cochin. After the British left India, the Indian Government converted the Bristow House into the official residence for port officials and personnel of the Indian Navy and Air Force. During 1980s, the Government of India moved out of the building and it was reduced to a faint shadow of its former grandeur due to lack of maintenance.

In December 2006, the Bristow House was given on lease to Suvira Energy following a fierce bidding war. Vikram Ghorpade, the owner of Suvira Energy who has a keen interest in restoration of heritage properties, put in a lot of effort to revive the lost glory of the Old Lighthouse and the Bristow House. Today, the Bristow House stands as one of the finest properties in Fort Kochi, Kerala and has been rechristened as the Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel. The centuries-old trees and the lighthouse mast bear witness to beautiful ships that sail past the property and add to the staying experience of our esteemed guests who make this property their home away from home while vacationing in Cochin, only to return later to recapture the holiday magic.

About Sir Robert Bristow

Born on December 13, 1880 to Alfred Bristow and Laura Web, Sir Robert Bristow completed his education from the Technical Institute in London. He joined the Civil Engineering Service in 1903 and was employed in a number of renowned harbors across the world for the next sixteen years. He worked in various locations including ports such as Malta and Portsmouth and was involved in the maintenance of the Suez Canal as well.

He joined the services of the Madras government at the age of thirty-nine and came to Kochi on April 13, 1920 under the direction of Lord Willingdon, then Governor of Madras. For the next twenty-one years, he was involved with the construction of the port and succeeded in transforming Kochi into one of the safest harbors in the peninsula, where ships berthed alongside the newly reclaimed inner harbor equipped with a long array of steam cranes.

The steam ship Padma, sailing from Bombay on 26 May, 1928, was the first major ship to enter the newly constructed inner harbor of Kochi. Bristow returned to England on April 13, 1941. Thereafter, he served at the Manchester University for some time. He died in September 1966 at the age of eight-five.

Sir Bristow used to say that he loved the reply of a French Minister to a queen of long ago,

“Madame, if it is only difficult, it is already done; if it is impossible, it shall be done.”

This very philosophy guides the staff at The Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel when it comes to serving our esteemed guests while staying true to our commitment to “Responsible Luxury”.