This hotel is an Indian hotel, so everything works in a slightly different way to hotels in Europe. Fragrant Nature is billed as a 4-star hotel, but in many ways does not quite meet these standards or its European equivalents. The hotel has some rough edges, but you're in India... so if you are happy to go with the flow then it shouldn't be a problem.
We were met at the airport after a night flight and were too tired to really notice the somewhat scary hour and a quarter journey to the hotel.
Arrival in the middle of the night was smooth and although we were not actually due to check-in until the morning we were given a temporary room for the night and moved to our villa after breakfast.
The setting on the Backwater is superb, with all rooms looking out onto the water. The tranquillity of the Backwater, the variety of birdlife, the occasional passing boat and the sunset makes sitting on the balcony relaxing and enjoyable. Our villa 408 at the far end of the site was one of the new ones. It was very clean and modern, and well air-conditioned. The beds are on the firm side.
The food options are middling. Nothing wrong with the food, but it is not an Indian dining experience and the restaurant is a little soulless. Breakfast was disappointing, and better suited to Indian guests. It still amazes me that Indians can't make a decent cup of tea.
Lunch and dinner are the same menu, with a mix of local and regional Indian dishes and a few non-Indian but done with an Indian interpretation. The food is simple but well cooked, particularly the fresh fish dishes. They will also provide dishes that are not on the menu. Service is slow so a two course meal took, on average, 2 hours. That didn't bother us too much as there is little else to do in the evenings, and it was actually quite nice to relax and talk.
Organisation is not a strong-point, so the times of three out of the six short activities we had booked were changed at the last moment. The complimentary massage is excellent and very cheap if you want subsequent sessions. The cashew nut factory visit comprises of watching women cleaning and sorting cashews in a very hot concrete shed - I wouldn't recommend going.
The one-hour boat trip around the Backwater is very pleasant. The short visit to the Elephant sanctuary is interesting as you get to feed an elephant, although 'sanctuary' is not quite the word to describe the surroundings. We didn't get to do the village tour or cookery as they changed the times to when we were otherwise engaged.
The hotel grounds are quite beautiful, but the immediate surroundings don't offer anywhere to go on foot. Unless you take a taxi, you are stuck there for the duration.
The staff, without exception, could not have been more friendly and welcoming and I do not recognise the negative criticism of some earlier reviewers.
All things considered, we have enjoyed our stay at Fragrant Nature. It's an Indian hotel with all the standards of the region and if you come with that in mind then you ought not to be disappointed. Would we come back again?... very probably.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Fragrant Nature is an exclusive 4 star Luxury Lakeside Resort offering the ultimate in relaxation and seclusion from the hustle and bustle of city life. The natural rural village setting of this Luxury hideaway, gives you the chance to see and experience the authentic Keralean way of life. The Resort is also well located for travelling and exploring the excitingly diverse wildlife, geography and rich culture of Kerala. Price range(per night) : £85 to £315Breakfast is free of charge. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Fragrant Nature Retreat And Resorts Pvt Ltd
- Fragrant Nature Retreat & Resorts Pvt Ltd Hotel Kollam
- Fragrant Nature Backwater Resort & Ayurveda Spa Kollam, Kerala, India