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“Unfriendly and Hotter than Hell!”
Review of Niraamaya Retreats

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Niraamaya Retreats
Ranked #1 of 52 Hotels in Kovalam
Certificate of Excellence
New York City
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Unfriendly and Hotter than Hell!”
Reviewed 16 July 2006

Well, we were very excited about the prospect of staying at this hotel. We have been on a trip for some time and this was one of our last hotels in Southern India.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, make sure that your "BUNGALOW" has airconditioning. Our bungalow faced away from any breeze, even though we were right on the beach and there was no air conditioning. We paid more to stay on the beach site and not up in the hills where cabins did have airconditioning (but no view)The mosquitos were everywhere and the net over the bed left quite a bit to be desired. Belive me, the lonely old oscillating fan could not dry the swaet on us as we slept. The most uncomfortable supposedly nice hotel I have ever stayed in.

The staff at the hotel were very, very unfriendly to both us and our guides, something that was a real turnoff to witness.

The pool is a nice color of green and we got to witness a young local boy diving in to clean the rocks beneath. Believe me the pool was never as clean as the picture on their website.

Food was disappointing and believe me this is a 2 1/2 star hotel, with the best location in India. Crows also hover over the area and brazenly stole butter from our breakfast table to the shock of our next door table...turn your head and they are on it like vultures!!!!

A few positives for your evaluation:

The Spa is EXCELLENT!
The seclution is wonderful, if that is what you are looking for.
The adjacent beach is quite beautiful and unpopulated, however the dogs on the beach might bite you.

My suggestion, please look at other hotels before booking here. Our guide said that they do not recommend that their trvellers stay there because they are so rude and the facilities are not as good as other comparably priced hotel in this area.

Also, note that there is really no real reception or front desk. To check out you have to go to the restaurant clerk in another uncomfortable room with no airconditioning and write in their book and pay...I was polite and just said "Hotter than Hell Hotel Stay!!!!"

Best of luck!

  • Stayed April 2006
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank jteel11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 3 May 2006

We spent 4 heavenly days here and didnt leave once! It was without a doubt the most beautiful chilled and blissful place we stayed during our trip to Kerala - i couldnt recommend it more! Really romantic. Incredibly high standards and well worth it the the trip south to Trivandrum. Highlights included the wow-factor sea views you get whilst sitting on your sunlounger by the pool, our room (we were in a rock garden cottage), the waiters just appearing with fresh fruit just when you were feeling that tiny bit peckish, the half open-air bathrooms (so amazing) oh and of course...the incredible food - without a doubt the best squid i've ever eaten! We couldnt have been looked after better (all the staff were so nice) and although things like alcohol are nearing on Europe prices, if you are able, i would definitely recommend this place as one to splash out at.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
46 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2006

We arrived at the Surya Samudra after having been on the go for the past 2 weeks and in need of a few days relaxing in one place. I was unsure about going, because all the testimonials on the hotel website are rather old, and I thought it might be a bit run down.

My worries were unfounded though – from the moment we arrived here, we slipped into relaxed mode and loved this place. Surya Samudra has lots of things going for it – first and foremost is its location – away from the built-up developments of Kovalam, down a private road and on a glorious hillside covered in palm trees and flanked by private beaches on either side. A fantastic sea breeze blows all day – which was very welcome in humid Kerala in March.

We'd booked an AC garden room, but changed on arrival to a sea view cottage – a lovely semi-detached big room built from Keralan hardwood, with a porch and hammock in front, and a view to die for. The bed was large with crisp white sheets and huge pillows. For the first time in India we were provided with robes and slippers. All the bathrooms at Surya Samudra are outdoor garden bathrooms, but don’t think of this as a downpoint – it’s quite the opposite – they are still luxurious, and similar to outdoor bathrooms in places like the Maldives. Showering under the sun and stars, in the shade of palm trees in your own walled garden is an experience not to be forgotten.

The pool here is a real selling point. It has been hollowed out of the natural rock in the hillside, so on one side is like swimming in a private cove. Turn around though, and it becomes an infinity pool with incredible sea views from its prominent position on the hillside.

The other thing we appreciated was the service, which is top notch by Indian standards (don’t expect Western standards anywhere in India – you’ll rarely get it). From the chilled towels and coconut drinks on arrival to the helpful waiting and pool staff and the daily visit at dusk by a man bringing fragrant insect repellent to the room, we felt well looked after. The food is good – especially the fresh seafood. (Don’t entirely believe the menu though – the chef only seems to cook what he wants when he wants!)

There is also an Ayurvedic Spa here – they are everywhere in Kerala, but this one is very nice, with flowing water features full of fresh flowers. Be prepared though if you go for an Ayurvedic massage – they are very full-on as I discovered. Yes, you will be naked, and yes, they will leave no area of the body untouched. Leave your dignity at the door – but definitely an experience.

This resort is not for everyone – if you want an upmarket sterile hotel, go to the Taj Green Cove in Kovalam (which is very nice but impersonal). Bear in mind that the whole of Surya Samudra is set in gardens, so if you don’t want to walk around outdoors to get everywhere then it’s not for you. If you want marble floors, glass atriums and interior design, go to the Taj. But Surya Samudra is more beautiful, more relaxing, and you’ll definitely know you’re in Kerala.

  • Stayed March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
20 Thank sweetiepie79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Co Dublin
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2006

We were looking for somewhere to relax for a few days after a holiday that had involved a good deal of travel and sightseeing. In spite of its high prices and forbidding cancellation policy (a nonrefundable 50% on booking and the rest six weeks before) we decided to splurge on one of the more expensive cottages. We were not disappointed. The room was large, and comfortable, if surprisingly short of clothes-storage capacity. We did not miss air-conditioning and loved the open-air shower. The food was very good, though it would have been nice to have had a decent white wine to go with the excellent fish—we have certainly had better Indian wine than the Grover which was all that was served. The pool is among the best of any hotel anywhere—which is a good thing because although there are two clean, very accessible beaches, sea swimming is only for strong swimmers—the breaking waves are formidable, and there is a considerable undertow. The hotel will provide a lifeguard, if one insists, but they clearly do not encourage it. The Ayurvedic spa facilities are excellent. The hammocks were unsatisfactory--the firmest and narrowest I have ever encountered. The half-day trip to the Padmanabhapuram Palace is worthwhile.

  • Stayed February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank timki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norfolk UK
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 February 2006

My wife and I stayed 10 days at the Surya Sumadra and enjoyed it.
The plusses are:
location
beach
food
friendly (but not quick) service
space
a strong Kerelan feel with the cottages
a distinct lack of western style package tourism and sameness
pool
The minuses are:
prices
furniture in the cottages - real minus this.
Provided guests do not expect a modern tourist type hotel and are prepared to pay over the top for the plusses I would recommend it

  • Stayed January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Th0mastank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Niraamaya Retreats

Property: Niraamaya Retreats
Address: Pulinkudi | Mullur, South of Kovalam, Kovalam 695 521, India (Formerly Surya Samudra Private Retreats)
Region: India > Kerala > Thiruvananthapuram District > Kovalam
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Kovalam
#1 Romantic Hotel in Kovalam
#1 Luxury Hotel in Kovalam
#1 Family Hotel in Kovalam
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Kovalam
#3 Business Hotel in Kovalam
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Niraamaya Retreats 5*
Number of rooms: 35
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Now re-opened under a new management as Surya Samudra Private Retreats. Relais & Chateaux Luxury heritage beach resort. Adjoining two pristine, unspoilt beaches and completely secluded from the busy tourist areas of Kovalam. Enjoy complete privacy and serenity. Stay in a carefully restored traditional Kerala tharavadu dwelling. At our Spa Niraamaya, highly trained therapists pamper you with herbs, oils, and concoctions that relax your body, revitalise your mind, and renew your spirit. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Surya Samudra Private Retreats Hotel Kovalam
Surya Samudra Beach Garden Hotel
Surya Samudra Beach Garden Spa
Niraamaya Retreats Kovalam, Kerala

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