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“Not up to Taj Expectations”

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Vivanta by Taj - Kumarakom
Ranked #5 of 26 Hotels in Kumarakom
Certificate of Excellence
Virginia
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Not up to Taj Expectations”
Reviewed 25 July 2012

The property itself was above average, but no way near what you expect from Taj. Part of it is because this is the Vivanta line and not the flagship Taj line. We were debating between this hotel and the Lake Resort. We stayed 3 nights, 1 of which we ended staying a night at Spice Village in Thekkady. We stayed at one of their whirpool infinity pool villas which was a delight and the actual room was well equipped and furnished. The let downs begin to occur when it comes to their facilities. Their gym is absolutely sub par for a Taj. Their spa looks unwelcoming. Their lake area smells too strong which is a turn off during their evening classical dance performances. Additionally, their breakfast was very sloppy. There are many areas which Taj Vivanta Kumarakom can improve to justify its 4-5 star price and live up to the Taj brand. I would recommend this hotel solely for its room accommodations and helpful staff, not for the facilities itself.

Room Tip: Infinity Pool Villa
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank redskins2971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sibi_Mathew, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj - Kumarakom, responded to this review, 15 September 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your review of the property.We are sorry that we could not match upto your expectations in certain areas.
As you would have experienced ,we have converted a 140 year existing structure and the surroundings into a hotel thereby bringing in some limitations.
However ,we are going in for a progressive renovation and shall endevour to further improve upon the existing facilities.
We do look forward to welcoming you back whenever you plan a visit to this destination

Thanks and regards
Sibi Mathew
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English first
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2012 via mobile

I visited this beautiful lake side property with my wife and 1 year daughter and it was exactly as expected.. "perfect relaxation destination". On my four day visit it did rain for most of the time (it was peak rainy season) but the true wonder of Kerala is the rain, lush green and pristine. We were booked in the Allure villa facing the Lilly pond, which is bigger in size and advisable if kid along. Good pretty comfy room. Staff were all courteous n helpfull. The food was good but I would strongly recommend the local cuisine. One more thing to must do is an early morning canal boat cruise (which the hotel will help you in arranging) which would take you to the paddy fields and villages nearby. Pls have the very speacial local drink toddy (coconut liquer) on the boat ride and yes early morning. Life is good here.

Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
6 Thank nagorii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sibi_Mathew, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj - Kumarakom, responded to this review, 15 September 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your review of the property.We are glad you did enjoy the Kerala rains with us thoroughly.The property with its wide extent of greenery becomes even more plush during the rains.
We are glad you enjoyed the local cuisine in particular.The local cuisine has wide offerings both in vegetarian food options as also the non- vegetarian food options,especially the fish.
As you rightly mentioned,the resort is perfectly suited for 'Complete Relaxation'
We look forward to welcoming you back for another vacation whenever you are in the need of a break

Thanks and regards
Sibi Mathew
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangalore
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 July 2012

This year we decided to vacation in Kerala and chose Kumarakom because of its backwaters and proximity to the Beach (Marari Beach Allepey). Taj is always our favourite place as we always get excellent service in most all Taj Resorts and this time was no different.

We were initially given the room in the main building above the dining however it did not have any view (heritage Room) we were boxed in. But as soon as we complained we were moved to one of the cottages which was great.

As the main theme of our Holiday was to relax this was a great place to do that the kayal rides(backwaters), the cycling around the property, the chai kada concept that they have every evening and the lamp lighting and dance after dark all added wonderfully to the whole experience.

If there is one shortfall then I would say that one does not have a view of the backwaters from any of the rooms, the property faces the waterfront at one end.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank VinodMathews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sibi_Mathew, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj - Kumarakom, responded to this review, 15 September 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your feedback.We are glad to have given you a memorable holiday experience considering that you are a regular patron of the Taj.
Thank you for mentioning the Diya lighting ceremony because it is a very unique ceremony wherein ladies from the locality light up more than 700 lamps every evening around the lagoon bringing a different aura to the whole hotel.
We are also happy to note that you enjoyed the service and the other recreational activities.
We look forward to welcome you back to the resort yet again very soon

Thanks and regards
Sibi Mathew
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangalore
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 July 2012

As per our annual custom, wife and I zeroed in on Taj Kumarakom amongst 3 Taj properties (Udaipur, Bentota being others) for celebrating our wedding anniversary. The reasons that tipped the balance in Taj Kumarakom's way was the Kerala monsoon and easy accessibility from Bangalore where we are settled. A short (90 -120 min) journey from the Cochin international airport brought us to the beautifull Taj property nestled on the banks of Vembanad lake (the 2nd biggest in India). The property consisted of a victorian era 2 storey bunglow built by the Baker family, a beautiful small man-made lake, a walkway through a bird nesting zone filled with the local varieties and a sprawling resort filled with the amazing greenery of Kerala. There is something about monsoon and the overcast skies that brings out the lush "green"ness to Kerala- the nervousness of the impending rains, the paddyfields and ponds brimming with water, the houseboats meandering through the expansive reach of the vembanad lake--overall a treat and pleasure for the aching soul!!
We were greeted by the cheerful Taj staff with tender coconut and post the usual "checking in" procedure accompanied to our room by a courteous staff member. The room was big with traditional furniture, lead oxide flooring (I think!) an outdoor bath filled with the regular Taj toileteries, a small veranda opening to the outdoor. Once we settled in, we ventured out for lunch and by then a small drizzle had set in. On requesting for umberellas, a Taj staff member got umberellas that refused to open up without considerable struggle by two people. On opening, 1/3rd of the umberella was flapping in the wind like my grand dad's beard- and the staff member informed me that they didnt have any other umberella!!- which was a shocker considering we were in Taj during peak monsoon. Hoping this was just an anamoly, we proceeded to have our lunch. Overall, the food was way below par with items on the menu not being available and the ones that were available being not up to Taj or any other 5 star standard. Over the next three days the food continuously dissappointed us- cheese omlette not having cheese, poached eggs being just boiled to the core, Poha being undercooked, Avial and Ulli Thiyal (Mallu specialities) being undercooked and not authentic-they even managed to spoil the Screwdriver we ordered for cocktail. The biggest dissapointment was when we were served "bad/spoilt" coffee mouse on our wedding anniversary night when we were supposed to have a special dinner. The staff at the restaurant was far from being courteous and polite-they bordered almost on the edge of being rude with some often making lewd comments about guests in the local language which I could understand. We were really pissed off when one of the staff members informed us that Taj will charge us "Extra" for arranging the dinner on our special night in the room with an air of "you cannot afford it!!" Please note at this point that I was absolutely ok to pay for this but somehow the staff assumed that we couldn't afford the same-this was when I was staying in one of the costliest room in Taj and being a Taj previlage member- I wonder why such impudence!!!
By the second day, the bad treatment got the better of us and we voiced our displeasure. This was when Prince (a Taj manager for over 10 years) took our feedback and ensured we had a taste of the famous taj hospitality with the available resources. Here I would also like to mention Suresh (a Taj staff for 18 years) who was our special butler during the last night when Prince arranged a special dinner table for us to mend ways for 2 days of total crap treatment. Overall, we left Taj Kumarakom after 3 days of stay with mixed feelings- somewhere we felt let down by the staff whom I am guessing are new and under trained to show the necessary courteousness and hospitality of a regular Taj property. The place is good, the complimentary boat ride through the vembanad lake is peacefull and calming, the ayurvedic treatments by Dr. Denil and team is really good, the "chaya kada" experience in the evening by the lakeside is enjoyable.But for people who are used to 5 star treatment especially in Taj and other properties in India and abroad- the whole experience here was lacking except for some individual brilliance. I guess the adjoining properties 5 star properties could be a better option with hospitality being the differenciating factor.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank vipivk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 July 2012

We reached Kottayam on a beautiful misty morning from Thekkady. We visited a popular local church and then proceeded towards Taj Kumarakom. The hotel is set in the backdrop of the Vembanad Lake which is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Kerala.

Taj Kumarakom is famous for the Victorian two storied bungalow built by Alfred George Baker in the year 1881, on huge pieces of Teak wood rafters packed in mud as a base. This house on the lake at Kumarakom was the house of four generations of the Baker family, for over a hundred years. The bungalow still remains grand but silent reminder of an age and people whose hard work cannot be erased by time. It is also known as the famous "History House" as mentioned in Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things.

Because of its prominent history, natural beauty, and the neighboring bird Sanctuary; the resort which includes the two storied Bungalow built by Mr.A G Baker on the muddy land is a place of interest for tourists from all over the world and we are glad to have chosen the property for our visit to Kumarakom.

On day 1, we stayed in the Superior Charm room facing the beautiful lagoon, which houses a beautiful waterfall and a small island. From the sitout, you can watch birds across the lagoon, catching fish, swimming and nesting on the trees. The resort has many ducks which flock together and walk in front of the rooms quacking away to glory every morning.

Breakfast is served at the "Open" restaurant and is a good spread of Continental, South Indian and north Indian cuisine.

The hotel has loads of activities to keep you occupied, one can learn pottery, play badminton, enjoy fishing & peddle boating at the lagoon, feed rabbits and learn some recipes from the inhouse chefs ! We also took bicycles from the resort and went about exploring the local area. In the evening we enjoyed the complimentary Taj sunset cruise along the backwaters. The 30 minute cruise is the best way to enjoy the calm and tranquil backwaters.

Once you are back from the cruise you can enjoy special tea and snacks on the banks of the lake as you watch the sun go down. As the night falls local women light diyas across the lagoon, which glimmer away through the night casting their reflection on the waters. It is then time to enjoy candle light dinner with local musicians spinning their magic and special dancers performing Mohiniattam. There is no better way to spend a day than enjoying such an amazing hospitality of Taj !

We thought we had already had the best time of the trip until day 2 ! On day 2 we were upgraded to the Luxury Villa facing the lily ponds at Taj. The villa has been built like a traditional Kerala house, with huge four poster beds, open air bathrooms, classic study table and chair and large glass doors that open to a veranda with a chaise lounge. From the beautiful paintings to the traditional furniture, from the brightly colored walls to bathing in the garden every moment spent there was a memorable experience for us (me and my wife).

We enjoyed swimming in the morning and went for a relaxing Head & Shoulder massage in the afternoon. Evening was serene with clear skys and the best sunset of the season ! At night Taj had organised a surprise candlelight dinner for us, with a secluded table decorated with flowers. As we enjoyed the local delicacy of appam and coconut based vegetables, the local musicians and dancers made the evening more special.

We would love to come back to the resort again, and would highly recommend it to all those travelling to Kumarakom!

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Highseas_11_DGehani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sibi_Mathew, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj - Kumarakom, responded to this review, 17 July 2012
Dear Guest,

We are delighted to note that you had an exceptional experience with us.Thank you for writing such a detailed review both about the history of the property as also about the services of the hotel.
The hotel is seeped in so much of history and natural beauty that the experience seeps into you .
We try and enrich the experience by trying to delight you in our own small ways.
We hope it will stay etched in your memory for long.
We look forward to welcome you back to the resort for another enchanting experience very soon.

Thanks and regards
Sibi Mathew
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Delhi, India
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2012

When you start searching for a top end property in a popular tourist destination like Kumarakom, you get numerous options. We had shortlisted the Kumarakom Lake Resort and the Coconut Lagoon alongwith the Taj, but finally chose the Taj simply because it was the familair "Taj" brand (and ofcourse because we got a good deal!)

And we were not disappointed... The property has limited no. of rooms so it kinda gives it an exclusive feel. As you enter through the main gate, you reach an 'open' reception area where you get a traditional welcome. The first sights that you soak in are of the lagoon within the property and the Superior Charm rooms overlooking it. Serene!

The reception area is in the 140 year old hertitage building which also houses the restaurant and bar on the ground floor and a few rooms on the 1st floor for those who want to get the feel of staying in an old colonial bungalow.... i'd prefer the villas, thank you!

Right next to it is the open restaurant which is were the breakfast buffet is served. The property is right next to a bird sanctuary so one does get to hear birds chirping away. There are then the walk-ways and cycle tracks (complimentary cycles provided) along the length of the resort. Little away from the lagoon is the pool and Spa, beyond which are the Villas - Allure Villas with open bathrooms, a concept we had heard and seen in many places but tried out here, interesting experiences to have a shower under the stars!!. The higher end villas are the Temptation Villas which come with private pools.

We stayed at the Allure Villa, lovely large rooms with walls painted in bright colours. Huge bathroom with tub and shower in the open. A private sit out - the lagoon facing it is smaller and unless the lillies are blooming, its large leaves make the lagoon look a bit untidy!

From what i have heard from others, this may not be the best looking property in the city in terms of landscaping etc but what really sets this place apart is the SERVICE. The Staff are friendly and like any top end resort, they can anticipate your needs and preferences. Kudos to the entire team there.

After you have had your prolonged 'Garfield' moments there - Kumarakom is all about doing nothing but enjoying the serenity of the Vembanad lake and the beautiful sunsets - the staff do try and make your evenings interesting. There is complimentary evening snacks everyday at the edge of the lake and they also get you together for some games. Refreshing!

The other highlight of the evening is the diya lighting all along with logoon which is a feast for the eyes at night as you enjoy a live classical music/ dance performance everyday. For the food enthusiasts, do savour the local delicacies - the Chef will be more than happy to help you decide your dish!

We also took the hour long complimentary ride on the Vembanad lake in the traditional boat which was good enough to enjoy the beauty of the vast and seemingly endless lake and hence we skipped the paid day long ride on the house boats.

We did take the dinky speed boat ride along the real backwaters of the town which was neat. And then we took the boat for a spin on the main lake which was exhiliarating! We also took the walk to the bird sanctuary but were disappointed. Guess you need to be a real bird watching enthusiast to enjoy it.

The only shortcoming of the resort - the weed growth at the edge of the property steals away the feeling of being right 'on-the-lake' that some of the other properties have. And the breakfast buffet, though yummy, is not as sumptuous as one expects of a Top end resort.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank seejay04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj - Kumarakom, responded to this review, 16 July 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your kind review and thoughtful note about your experience with us.
We are glad the family had a memorable time with us.
You are absolutely right.The small inventory gives an exclusive feel to the resort unlike what any other resort in the detaination offers.We have also chosen to keep a small inventory though we have a huge expanse of land because we had already been blessed with a huge cover of flora and fauna when we had taken over this resort .
We do hope the small touches by our associates has made your vacation even more special.
We do look forward to welcome you back to the resort very soon

Thanks and regards
Sibi Mathew
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gloucestershire
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 July 2012

Stayed here for two nights in March. Had travelled from Alleppey on the public ferry to Kottayam and then on to Kumarakom via a rickshaw. The ferry boat ride was awesome...a 3hr journey through the beautiful backwaters. We saw Keralan village life laid bare, paddy fields, flocks of white egrets sitting in the water hyacinth and even a kingfisher. The trip cost us about 25p for the two of us and it was so worth it. We were greeted warmly at The Vivanta and shown our "Superior Lake View Room", a short walk from reception at the Baker House. (bikes are provided) The bungalow style accommodation overlooked the small man-made lake at the heart of the resort and had its own private verandah with comfortable seating. Very spacious,comfortable and spotlessly clean room with huge glass doors looking out on to verandah. Restaurant a short walk or bike ride away. Super friendly and attentive staff and superb food. We were very lucky to be offered an upgrade on our second night... to a luxury villa with private pool etc. It was beyond our wildest dreams with palatial accommodation and beautiful decor. We felt like royalty and with the impeccable service too we made the most of it, we just relaxed. The resort ends at the edge of Vembanad Lake, from here you can sit under a thatch canopy and watch the sunset. There is a lawned area here too with hammocks and other seating with a coffee shop at the far end. The resort grounds are attractive with trees and greenery all around and with water courses here and there attracting the inevitable mosquitos. We enjoyed our few days of luxury here before our next stop up in the hills.

Room Tip: Luxury villa with private pool if your budget allows!!
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank SUSEYG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj - Kumarakom, responded to this review, 16 July 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your review.We are indeed glad that the stay with us will be ethched in your memory for long.That is exactly what we intend as well.We would like for each guest to be treated as an individual and his/her needs be customised as much as possible.
We do whatever possible at our end to make the stay memorable.
We look forward to welcome you back to our resort again very soon

Thanks and regards
Sibi Mathew
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Vivanta by Taj - Kumarakom

Property: Vivanta by Taj - Kumarakom
Address: 1/404 Kumarakom, Kumarakom 686563, India (Formerly Taj Garden Retreat)
Region: India > Kerala > Kottayam District > Kumarakom
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) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Kumarakom
#2 Romantic Hotel in Kumarakom
#3 Family Hotel in Kumarakom
#4 Luxury Hotel in Kumarakom
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Vivanta by Taj - Kumarakom 5*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kumarakom is a popular tourist destination in the Kottayam district of Kerala. Located on the picturesque Vembanad Lake, Vivanta by Taj - Kumarakom, Kerala, is a 30-minute drive from the Kottayam railway station or an hour's drive from Cochin city. Kerala's backwaters surround the 140-year old colonial bungalow which houses this resort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vivanta By Taj - Kumarakom Hotel Kumarakom
Taj Garden Retreat Hotel Kumarakom
Kumarakom Taj Garden Retreat
Vivanta By Taj - Kumarakom Kerala

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