Great location, the hotel is set on a raised point of land and is surrounded by vegetation and palm trees(typical Kerala). Not far from the beach, which has a large life guard patrolled area and is cleaned every day by a team of local tourist dept cleaners. The sea was wonderful. But be aware, this hotel has two very distinct halves, something which some other reviewers probably never realised. The wing with rooms beginning with a number 1, eg 102, 103 etc are all newly refurbished and are very nice with all modern decor, huge super kingsize beds, flat screen TV, great bathroom etc. The other wing with rooms beginning with a number 2 are old, shabby and have dated decor, old style dodgy TV and electrics, and tatty old bathrooms. This wing also has the huge noisy kitchen extractor, and the closer the room is to the central block , the greater the noise. Also the refurbished wing looks over trees and foliage and the other wing faces the hotel utilities site (screened by a green mesh sheet stretched in front). So like we did, unless you get a 'new room' on arrival, insist on being moved. The hotel should give a priority to getting all rooms up to standard. The manager is very pleasant and the staff are also pretty good and friendly with just the one glum face that we saw (a young lad at reception who never smiled). The pool looks out over the surrounding greenery and is fairly good but suffers from lack of sunbeds/sunshades. This is such a fundamental requirement yet we saw people arrive who couldn't get a bed as there are so few, and some beds had to go without shade as there are just a handful of shades. I felt sorry for Mathew the pool attendant who struggled to appease disgruntled guests. I told him the management should get this sorted and it wasn't his fault, he is very good and has excellent customer service skills. There is plenty of space for more beds but the management mustn't rate this as important. We went to the beach a lot so it didn't trouble us too much. On one occassion, after a complaint by a group of guests, some old fashioned metal folding beds were brought out, we joked with some other guests that these looked like old military hospital beds. The food is fine and no complaints but it's always difficult to please all of the people all of the time as it's such a personal thing, we had no complaints and were always filled but still ate out sometimes as you always get a bit tired of the hotel grub. Also it's worth noting that you can go out and get a really nice meal with drinks for the price of drinks alone in the hotel. Get a Tuk Tuk up to the cliff top restaurants for just 50 rupees, great!! (try ABBA restaurant, nice clean kitchen and you can see them cooking). Don't worry too much about paying extra for a 'sea view' room as this is misleading, the lower rooms are nice and have there own little front gardens, the most important thing is to insist on one of the 'new' rooms. We would consider staying here again...........but of course only in the nice rooms!! I suppose in a year's time it may be all up-graded. I assume the Taj Group owners are keen to keep there reputation for good hotels. They have a little work to do at the Gateway Varkala.
- 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