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“Stunning Hotel, Great Location”

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Vivanta by Taj - Green Cove
Ranked #2 of 52 Hotels in Kovalam
Certificate of Excellence
Essex, England
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Stunning Hotel, Great Location”
Reviewed 16 March 2009

The Taj really is a gorgous hotel, and has a great relaxing atmosphere which can make even the most stressful of journeys seem like a distant memory in no time!

We arrived at the Taj at 9am, so had a wait of 3 hours until our room was ready. We were able to use the hotel facilities to change into something more appropriate for the 34 degree heat, and were given drinks and cold towels in the lobby. We were then shown up to the pool area where we were given breakfast while we waited for our room.

The pool area is lovely. The pool itself is inviting and clean (it is covered in little mosaic tiles and some of these were missing, but they did seem to get replaced quickly), and there were always enough sunbeds for everyone who needed them. That said, even though the hotel appeared to be almost full there were never more than around 20 people at the pool, which meant it was always quiet and relaxing. The area surrounding the pool is well kept and was the perfect place to sit back and do pretty much nothing. The view down to the sea is also pretty great.

The main Jasmine Bay restaurant overlooks the pool, and this is where Breakfast and lunch are served. Breakfast was buffet style and was very good, with everything that you would expect to find including lots of Indian delights. My partner and I did not eat at the hotel very much, as the restaurants a short walk away are great, but the 4 lunches we did have at the hotel were lovely. The prices in the hotel are of course more expensive than the local restaurants, with lunch and a drink costing between 1400 & 1800 rupees at the hotel. You can easily get the same within a 5 minute walk for between 600 & 1200 rupees, but as this is one of the best hotels in the area the prices are only to be expected, and is worth the extra if you are feeling too lazy to walk anywhere! Within a 5 minute walk there are 5 or 6 good quality restaurants (The 3rd Rock restaurant is fantasic, especially JJ. It's the only restaurant we found where they freeze their glasses, meaning a nice cold beer, and the food is pretty fantastic as well).

The hotel is around 1.5km from the main centre of Kovalam and Lighthouse Beach, where the majority of the restaurants and shops are located. You can reach this area by walking along the beach path (not recommended in the dark unless you have a torch) in about 20-25 minutes (using the Leela as a landmark), or you can grab a tuk tuk from right outside the hotel for around 100 rupees (you can probably even get this cheaper but we settled on this price with the drivers rather than having to worry about change). The fact that the hotel is away from the main tourist area is great, as it's much more secluded and quiet than to hotels in the main town.

The rooms in the hotel are lovely. Well furnished with all the amenities you would expect, and they are kept very clean. Although the rooms are relatively close together (they sit in block s of 4), you don't notice this and they do seem very private. They are set out so that each block is slightly back from the one next to it, so you ony have 1 balcony next to you. There are bamboo blinds to block the next balcony, so you almost don't notice that there's anyone else there. The gardens also make it feel like you're in your own little private area.

The rooms have a separate bath and shower, and ample space for your holiday wardrobe. One odd thing is a window/hatch between the bathroom & the bedroom, kind of a window with no glass (this does however have shutters for privacy!). Not entirely sure what the purpose of this was but it was quite fun. The bed was comfy and large, and there was a small seating area also.

The staff are, in the most part, incredibly good. The restaurant staff were attentive and friendly, the room boys did a great job, and although a little slow the bar staff eventually make you a great cocktail! A couple of the staff didn't really seem to have a clue what they were doing, and as such we got no coffee or tea one morning, as they were wandering around in a trance, however this is a small gripe as the rest were fantastic and couldn't have been more helpful. I was feeling a little ill one day and couldn't eat my lunch (the illness was noting to do with the food at the Taj I hasten to add!), and the staff were great, bringing me a concoction of ginger and lemon which worked a treat (and was free!). They genuinely seemed concerned and wanted to help, they knew everyone's names and were really friendly and helpful.

The grounds are constantly being looked after by the team of gardeners, and the hotel do seem to employ enough people to keep the hotel looking fantastic - there always seemed to be someone cleaning/gardeining/carrying out maintenance work to make sure everything was perfect.

Now for the only negative point - the beach. the hotel boasts a private beach, but there really isn't a beach to speak of. There are some sundeds and a bar/restaurant on the beach, but this is a small, man made, section of sand. between the beach and the sea are rocks, which you canot get over unless you have some kid of death wish, and the sea is in no way suitable for swimming. This really is a massive shame, as I can image this will put some people off. Had we know about the beach before booking the hotel we may well have looked elsewhere. That said, I am so glad we came to the Taj as the hotel itself more than made up for the lack of beach. From talking to the staff, the rocks have only been there since December. The coastline is very rugged with crashing waves, and this has eroded the beach in this area to such a degree that they have had to bring in large rocks to stop the erosion going any further. The hotel are building a new restaurant and what looks like a small swimming pool down by the beach, which may go some way to help. We also read in a local paper that a man made reef is likely to be constructed to help with the erosion problem, but although the New Zealand company that are supposed to be constructing it are ready to start work, they have not yet been given the go ahead, or the funds, from the Indian Government.

There is however a really nice beach just a 5 - 10 minute walk from the hotel. If you walk down to the Taj beach and turn left, past the restaurants and over the rock, there is a lovely seluded beach which is great for swimming, so although the Taj beach is a disappointment there is a great beach nearby. I sincerely hope this does not put people off, as the hotel is fantastic and it would be a real shame if other holidaymakers missed out on the gorgeous hotel due to the issue with the beach.

I can't really rate this hotel enough, it's in a great location, the rooms are great, the pool is inviting, food is fantastic, and everything aboout our holiday was just perfect.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MLing80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
UK
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 February 2009

We stayed here as a treat for the final two days of our honeymoon. You are spoilt here. We stayed in the cheapest rooms, the garden view rooms but we didn't need any more. The room was amazing with a patio with chairs. The pool has great views and is well looked after. We didn't eat in the hotel but the breakfast were great, buffet style with lots of indian and continental choices. A tuk tuk to Kovalam beach for dinner is easy enough. They will try and rip you off but we haggled down to 50 rupees for one way every day and if you start to walk off they will run after you. A great treat but you won't see the 'real' Kerala, just a resort. Nice for a few days out of a big trip.

Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank TheChannons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Andover, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2009

Having been unceremoniously dumped by the Leela on the day we were departing the UK the Taj came to the rescue and we had an enjoyable week in Kerala. The staff here are delightful and made great strides to make our stay very personable and enjoyable.
We had two upper rooms which were nicely laid out although the satellite TV did not work at all. We didn't want it and did not advise housekeeping about it but others may have been fussed.
We ate at the Jasmine restaurant which had plentiful food at both breakfast and dinner (the latter being a buffet most nights as well although they were happy for you to order off the menu as well). The food was very good. It is open air and next to the pool so occasionally, blackbirds would swoop in to make off with bread rolls/croissants etc.
As with most tropical countries, if you avoid wine/champagne then the drinks are not expensive. We had cocktails averaging about 300 rupees (£4) a pop and between 6 and 8pm there was a 25% Happy Hour discount on top. A bottle of water is supplied free of charge in the rooms and treated drinking waters is served by the staff at dinner which again is free. The fresh fruit juices were great. We thought the drinks charges were reasonable.
Once or twice there were not enough sun loungers for everyone wanting to lounge by the pool. It is a reasonably sized infinity pool with a lovely view over the distant sea and sunsets were very pretty from there.
This terrace area and the the reception area below are the two public areas of the resort which is an intimate size (and the reason with teenagers we had decided to go to the Leela in the first place).
My wife and teenager daughter enjoyed a treatment in the spa which they thought was very good. The gym was quite well equipped for a hotel of the size with 5 joggers/bikes/steppers, some free weights and a multi-gym. It was airconditioned and had free water in bottles in a fridge (cold only occasionally).
There was some confusion booking a houseboat stay at the travel desk caused by language issues and the driver we had to transport us back from Kollom to the hotel at the end of the overnight trip had clearly not slept enough and we had an uncomfortable trip back as a consequence.
We also had a niggle with the bill when leaving and were overcharged but this was reduced after about 30 minutes spent going through the accounts. Never the best way to leave a hotel.
Also we agree that there is no beach as such just rocks holding back the sea.
Overall it was a nice week with lovely weather. The staff were great and the food and drinks fine. The US Ambassador was staying while we were there apparently but I didn't even notice.
It is the staff and the view that make this a nice option in Kovalam.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank UKaussie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 16 February 2009

We had a fantastic week at the Taj. From the moment we arrived the staff could not have been more welcoming and helpful. After a short wait for our room, during which we had an excellent and reasonably priced lunch we were taken to our room which was beautiful. There was a slight problem with our toilet making a noise but this was quickly rectified. We had a garden view room and the gardens at the Taj really are very beautiful with lush tropical planting.

All the outside areas are beautifully landscaped and the views from the poolside are great, out to the lagoon and the sea beyond.

There is no real beach at the Taj just a strip of sand behind a sea defence but it is a beautiful place to eat in the evening when the flaming torches are lit and the waves crash against the rocks. The fish straight out of the sea and onto the grill is spectacular. Do try and make it clear exactly how much fish you want tho. We ended up with far too much and it was quite expensive.

The food was excellent, with a wide variety of choices at breakfast, lunch and dinner with stunning fish and curries worth a special mention. Alchohol is pretty pricey - beer is not too bad but wine is at London style prices - champagne is expensive.

The main reason why our stay at the Taj was so special though was the unbelievably attentive service from the staff. They seemed to know what I wanted almost before I knew it myself.

Highly recommended.

  • Liked — The service and the beautiful setting
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank travellermc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 February 2009

I booked the Taj Green Cove as a gift for my parents and I was absolutely delighted with my choice. To simplify this review here are my thoughts - 99% positive. I will list the positive points first as they out weigh any minor issues:
Positive Points:
1. The Gardens are second to none, the landscaping is truly magical.
2. The Staff are exceptional - the friendly service, care and attention to detail was excellent. A special mention for Biswas, Shaji, Jessica, Sujeesh, Kali, Minnow, Jay K, Raja & Shinil!
3. The Hotel is totally safe & secure - all the staff were 100% loyal & trustworthy.
4. The food was very good - the chef was always flexible to suit your tastes, the cleanliness and freshness 100%
5. The Jiva Spa offered excellent treatments - thorough & reasonably priced
6. Special Occasion celebration tables by Shaji were gorgeous - truly memorable.
7. We had the pleasure of The Presidential Suite with private infinity pool - if a special occasion I say book room 501.
8. The garden flora & wildlife is amazing - Red Kites, tropical birds but NO nasties, NO snakes and NO Spiders so you can sleep easy!
7. The travel desk will arrange almost anything you wish to see - Jan 28th is the annual Elephant Festival in Kottyam - the largest of its type and a once in a lifetime experience. 8. The Taj Drivers are excellent and more sedate behind the wheel than the average Keralan which is a plus. Outside the hotel gates I recommend you track down Samuel T and his little taxi for a whole day out for less than £20.00 including a tip max and Gopa and Vijay if you want to chance a 'Tut Tut' to Lighthouse Beach.
9. The impressive Poovar & huge Chowara Beach are spectactular and 30 minutes away in Samuel's taxi. The busy Lighthouse, Hawah & Kovalam Beach are smaller bays just a Tut Tut ride away.

Negative Points
1. Constant Temple Music and Hindu Festivals spoiled the peace and tranquility a bit - if you can't stand noise of any sort do NOT go in festival season find out before you book.
2. Do NOT book with Hayes and Jarvis as they were useless. Failed to meet us at the airport and had no contact or support from them at all during our stay.
3. Be prepared for a late check in when you arrive - your room may not be ready as you could arrive in the early hours of the morning and check in is not until the afternoon - find out first if this will be a problem for you.
4. Avoid connecting flight from DOHA to Trivandarum as the Construction Workers who travel to Kerala from QATAR oil refineries make the journey pure hell.
5. Avoid the lower garden rooms at the Taj if possible as these are quite dark & gloomy in the deep shade of the palms, thus mosquito heaven.
6. If you want a beach front location the Taj is not for you as it does not have a beach as such - just a narrow strip of sand with sea defences. The sea is far too rough for swimming and no good for children anywhere along the coast.
7. Alcohol is incredibly expensive and due to religious reasons they do occasionally have 'dry days' if booze is important to you this could be a problem.
8. There are a lot of steps - if you are disabled this could be difficult in the heat.

  • Stayed January 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Sharkiegrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2009

The Pluses:

The property: Fantastic park and lagoon beautifully cared for by a very dedicated and friendly team of gardeners.

Room: Absolutely perfect with a special mention to exceptionally quiet fans and air-con which enabled us to sleep well without suffering from the heat.

The swimming pool: Beautiful infinity pool with fantastic view onto the lagoon and the sea.

The food: Great breakfast with fantastic choice of fresh products.
Great menu with european food and curries of very good quality and very decently priced for a 5 star hotel.

The Minuses:

The catering team: Very nice and friendly team at Jasmine Bay, the main restaurant. However, it seems quite clear that the team is not organized at all. Not allocated specific area of the restaurant and as a result the waiters are all over the place. You need to ask about three times for basic things such as napkins or salt and pepper to be put on your table. I know one should chill out on holiday and not feel like everything has to be rushed but when everyday your glass of water takes up to 20 mins to be served on off peak time and by 36 degrees, you cannot help to end up being seriously pissed off.

The Private Beach; Building work was carried out of the beach plot. Sunbathing on the sea shore with building work noise in the background and avoiding rubble is not idyllic. I wish I had known this before booking with them, especially since my stay at Taj was the only beach opportunity during our tour.

Checking out: took us forever because a check up of our mini bar consumption had not been done. Reception knew full well at what time we were being picked up by our taxi and could have proceeded to a check up and an update of our bill to insure a swift and trouble free check out. Instead we had to wait for countless phone calls to be made to check the state of our fridge as to top it up mistakes had been made in the daily report so we had to argue a few thing on our bill. No 5 star service on that one.

  • Liked — Great room - Fantastic Pool View
  • Disliked — Catering team - Hassle encountered on Check out
  • Stayed February 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Lucipoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Suffolk, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
202 reviews
95 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2009

Check in is from 12noon so we arrived at 14:30 to find room not ready. Then taken to room 221 to find that Air Conditioning was not functioning correctly and no information given about the complicated Electronic control mechanism in the room. Also not given a key card for the lights.
Moved to room 303 which was very good, but things like this should not happen at higher class places like this.
It is a long walk from the poor private beach, but the pool area is very good.
Buffet breakfast was fine, good selection and quality.
Other food and drinks were expensive.

  • Liked — The setting
  • Disliked — Poor private beach
  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank EastofEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Vivanta by Taj - Green Cove

Property: Vivanta by Taj - Green Cove
Address: G V Raja Vattappara Road | Trivandrum, Kovalam 695527, India
Phone Number:
Region: India > Kerala > Thiruvananthapuram District > Kovalam
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Kovalam
#2 Luxury Hotel in Kovalam
#2 Spa Hotel in Kovalam
#2 Romantic Hotel in Kovalam
#2 Family Hotel in Kovalam
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Vivanta by Taj - Green Cove 5*
Number of rooms: 59
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Vivanta by Taj - Green Cove, Kovalam, is delightful in many ways. While to some it is one of the finest beach resorts in Kerala, to others it is an amazing backwater retreat. And there are those that love it for its hill resort layout. Now it's all that and more. There's a nice new buzz all over. In the renewed cottages and villas, the nouvelle restaurants, the high energy bar, and the spa where you'll go Ah! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vivanta By Taj - Kovalam Hotel Kovalam
Taj Green Cove Hotel
Taj Green Cove Kovalam
Taj Green Cove Resort
Vivanta By Taj - Green Cove Kovalam, Kerala

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