My wife and I just spent 3 nights/ 4 days at the Chariot Beach hotel in Mahalabipuram (also formerly known as Mamalipuram) in the Tamil Nadu region of India. We had a great time.
The Good: The outstanding feature was the staff. They were attentive, friendly and helpful. For example, on the last day we checked out at noon and then did some sight-seeing. The manager offered without hesitation - in fact, insisted - to allow us the complimentary use of a room at 6 pm so that we could shower and change clothes before the 1.5 hour cab ride to the airport and 20 hour trip home.
We stayed in a cottage which had a large bed with clean sheets, an exceptionally clean bathroom and a very nice outdoor shower. AC worked fine. The pool is huge and the pool and surrounding area clean.
I did not bring a laptop so cannot comment on wireless service, but we were able to buy an hour on their lobby computer for about 110 rupees (about $2.50 US.).
The cost of the buffet was a bit high considering that it was a buffet. The Indian food was excellent but the western food not so good - although it was decent compared to what we had elsewhere in India.
A cyclone 3 weeks earlier had destroyed their ocean-front restaurant and fitness center so these were not available during our stay, although dozens of laborers were working daily to rebuild them.
It may have been the time of year (early February), but almost all the guests were older adults. We are in our early 50s and only one other couple and one family with two small children seemed much younger than us. So compared to our experiences at Caribbean resorts closer to home, there was ZERO night life or party atmosphere. No beach parties with rum punch, no limbo dancing, no night club, no snorkeling, no surfing, no nothing. Pretty much just sight-seeing in the town and surrounding areas and making your own fun. While I call this a negative, for lots of folks it will be a positive.
For first time travelers to India, be aware: at least in Tamil Nadu, everything closes down at 11 pm. Even in the big city of Chennai where we spent the prior ten days, last call is at 10:30pm. After 11 the hotel is allowed only to send alcohol to the room, not serve it in the bar. And a "bar" means a place where men gather to chat and drink. Women are allowed but are not present, except for westerners. There really is no place like a disco or club as there is in the US or western Europe. This is not only at this hotel but all over the area.
The ugly: Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING closes down at 11 pm. We had dinner at an ocean-front restaurant in town one evening, and got stuck walking home 2-3 km at 11:15 pm. There was not one taxi on the road, no lights were lit anywhere (there was a half-moon, at least), and a pedestrian or vehicle only once every 300 meters or so. And there are a LOT of stray dogs that roam the streets in groups of 2-5. (And, yes, there is rabies in India.) It was a very fast, very dark and very scary walk home. This is in no way a reflection on the hotel, but on life in India. Do NOT walk outside after 11 pm in this town!! Call whatever hotel you are staying at to arrange a cab. The next day we could laugh at this misadventure, but trust me, it was pretty damn scary at the time.
At the tourist attractions and while walking in general, expect to be approached by beggars and vendors; they can be fairly persistent. Again, this is not a reflection on the resort itself but life in India, or any country in which there are rich tourists in poor areas.
Overall highly recommended, just remember that you are in India and not the Caribbean or French Riviera.
The cottage was great.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC