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“Decent star hotel in Varkala with a great pool”

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The Gateway Hotel Janardhanapuram Varkala
Ranked #3 of 52 Hotels in Varkala
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 15 January 2011

This is part of the taj group but not as luxurius as the vivanta taj series of hotels, but still worth 4 stars. The rooms in the middle are nice, to the right and left wing of the hotel they have no views at all. The service in the hotel is good, in the restaurant very bad- if you stay here dont eat here. The food on the menu, apart from the breakfast and buffets they offer, is overpriced and tasteless. the pool is very nice, but get up early to get one of the 8 sunbeds...if the hotel is full it is a bit overpopulated. It is 5 minutes walk from the beach. It is quite far though from Varkala's beach strip with restaurants etc- you will need a taxi.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank fwigger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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672 - 678 of 761 reviews

Reviewed 2 January 2011

In all we enjoyed our stay at the Gateway and will go back but perhaps not for two weeks. It was just right for the break we wanted - a relaxed couple of weeks in a familiar area, in a small 3/4* hotel geared for couples (rather than families) which had a swimming pool, a restaurant and served alcohol.

We were concerned by some of the reviews about the Taj Gateway before we went on holiday and even checked with the agents whether we had other options in Varkala: but in the end we stuck with it. We were there at the end of November 2010 and this was our second visit – the first was 10 years ago when the hotel was a Taj Garden Retreat. Although the refurbishment talked about in other reviews was coming to an end, the restaurant was not open until our second week. There was evidence of continuing work in other places around the hotel but it generally wasn’t noisy or a problem. It has probably finished now.

We had a Garden Room which was lovely and pretty much what we expected – updated since our last visit with a great bathroom and very large and comfortable bed and kept very clean. The room had air conditioning and a fan – as well as a fridge and tea and coffee making equipment. Any small things that were not quite right were dealt with quickly and efficiently.

We were on a full-board deal. In the evenings we alternated between the new al a carte ‘modern’ menu and buffets. Breakfast was OK but was much the same every day: fruit, toast, eggs, Indian option etc. The chefs were very flexible and would serve off the menu or prepare things specially for you – they even prepared a special Bengali supper for just the two of us. Fish and seafood were extra and we didn’t try them at the hotel but the food is really good quality and less rich than in the former Taj. We even had an impromptu cookery lesson learning to make breads and the tamarind dipping sauce they serve with samosas. I also had a birthday when we were away and we found a surprise birthday cake in our room which had also been specially decorated.

The hotel isn’t big but we were very glad that it wasn’t busy while we were there. The restaurant is small and the inside area which was newly refurbished really lacked atmosphere – nicer to sit outside if you can get a table. It’s a shame they don’t make more use of the large reception/foyer which has a great view and was where we ate before the restaurant reopened. It would be a lovely place to sit and have snacks and a drink and watch the sun go down.

The swimming pool is a bit dated but the surrounding area was kept clean. There really were not enough sun-beds when we were there – as it wasn’t busy this was OK but our last few days we had to be quick after breakfast to get a bed. The pool was murky the first few days (and we swam in it anyway) but it did clear and the team who looked after the swimming pool certainly worked hard – we were told it was because there had been so much rain that it was like that. There is a good path down to the beach (much improved on 10 years ago) although the beaches in this area are not as good as in Goa. We were stunned at how developed the cliff top had become but still enjoyed a daily walk along the top and a beer at sunset.

I tried the massage at the hotel which was OK but the setting is very ‘clinical’ which I guess isn’t surprising for a Ayurvedic cente. But it’s worth also trying the Eden Garden down the path which was a great setting and is a bit cheaper.

Staff at the Taj Gateway are absolutely charming, very accommodating and helpful. We only have one grumble and that was the wi-fi which is very expensive and very slow. We ended up going to a shack on the cliff where you could get free wi-fi which was also much faster.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank RandDtravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2010

Stayed at the Gateway Hotel for 10 days, after a 7-day tour of Kerala. The hotel is located on a hill with easy access to the beach through the hotel grounds (5 minutes). We found the hotel to exceed our expectations. We were full-board and found the food excellent, plenty of choice from the a la carte menu - both Indian and European. A couple of days into
the stay we had to modify our eating habits, as the portions were very large. The accommodation was excellent, clean, roomy, comfortable and very quiet. We had a garden
room rather than the sea-view (extra cost) and found this ideal as each bedroom had its own private garden. Tea & coffee-making in the room was a welcome addition, as was the .two free bottles of water each day. Also free newpaper each morning which kept up-to-date.
Very friendly staff - nothing was too much bother. Local bus into Varkala (six pence each way) good. Lovely 3-km. walk back down-hill very interesting. Local train station in Varkala - wish we had tried this - gives access to many places. Nice swimming-pool with attentive life-guard. No problems with sun-loungers and towels. Lovely walk along the cliffs above the beach. Would recommend walking past the Black Beach to the small fish-village -
where you might be lucky enough to see them landing their catch (about 12 noon).
Not really the place for people looking for night-life. Plenty of cafes and shops along the cliffs.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank barneyandnan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 December 2010

I stayed at the Gateway Hotel in Varkala India at December 2010.
I reserved by Expedia a room wth sea view.You can see in the picture if it is a really sea view or not...
Before leaving they asked me to pay a different amount of that one that Expedia send me by email when I booked.
They took the amount that they asked from my credit card.
I writed to expedia customer service for telling everything.And I hope to have refund what thay took .
It would be better to avoid this hotel

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled solo
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Thank Valled
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 December 2010

This is a great hotel which gives you ample amount of peace and relaxed environment. I stayed there for 3 nights and have no complaints whatsoever for this hotel other than the travel desk. Varkala beach is very near by at a walking distance though I did not go there too often.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank ptanay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 November 2010

Booked this hotel for my family during summer vacation and the experience was quite nice. The hotel is not so well known even within Kerala but I am sure it will make a good name for itself.

The rooms are spacious, the food is of high quality, the gym, swimming and other sports facilities are what are exactly needed to encourage children for a relaxing week end get away. The access to the Beach is quite easy the beach itself is world class with low crowds.

The only thing that needs improvement is room service by the staff.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank mohanjay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2010

Our stay at varakala at Gateway Hotel was not as we thought ...Since we thought its an Taj group of Hotel so must be the best choice on that location but regret to say that room was not at all upto the mark.I stay for 2 days and second day without informing us they have cancel buffet Dinner and that cause great inconv.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled with family
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Thank Worldindia999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Gateway Hotel Janardhanapuram Varkala

Address: Near Government Guest House | Janardhanapuram, Varkala 695141, India
Phone Number:
Region: India > Kerala > Thiruvananthapuram District > Varkala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Varkala
#2 Family Hotel in Varkala
#4 Romantic Hotel in Varkala
Price Range: £71 - £179 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Gateway Hotel Janardhanapuram Varkala 4*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
It is set amidst tall, swaying palms and is 60 ft high on a cliff, Varkala is located 55 kms (1 hr 15 m drive) from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. The railway station is a 5 minute drive from the hotel. The hotel offers a choice of 30 elegant rooms including 2 suites. A multi-cuisine restaurant and 2 bars, meeting room, Ayurvedic center, WiFi and indoor/outdoor sports facilities makes the hotel an ideal getaway for the discerning leisure traveler. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Gateway Hotel Janardhanapuram Varkala Kerala

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