We arrived by bus - our entire family of 35 from within India, North America, and China - around mid-afternoon, on a gorgeous day. Our registration had been handled remotely, and the keys to our assigned cabins were waiting, along with a friendly staff, including the manager, Hemant.
We walked through winding, tiled trails amidst the fragrance of tropical flowers, gorgeous plants, and manicured grounds to our beautifully appointed and clean cabin. The bed and pillows were wonderfully comfortable.
Overall ambience - I would rate as being outstanding. Great location, right next to tributaries of Kaveri river. Lots of fun, rock climbing, river wading.
We even had a guide lead us on a trek, which we enjoyed. Note: for people not used to walking barefoot - the trek is treacherously painful; the guide says to go barefoot because the rocks in the river may be slippery. Ignore his suggestion, carry your footwear - you'll need them; when in the water, you can take your footwear off; if you have sneakers, they might work even in the water, because the rocks are sometimes painfully sharp.
Incidentally, there are no islands, per se. Just a bunch of rocks.
The food, which is served buffet style, was average at best and poor at worst. It was greasy, you could taste the raw chili powder because the spices had not gotten cooked in. I even found the local delicacy, Pandi Curry (pork curry) to be atrocious. You would think that the most perfect land for coffee means that we would have great coffee. Unfortunately, we were disappointed. Service at the dining area is painfully slow. We would ask for rotis, and it would take at least 10-15 minutes for those to be served. Coffee took at least 15 minutes to be served and a couple of times, much longer.
Service - very slow. By far, we found the staff to obsequiously wanting to please you, but took for ever to get things done -- whether in the dining area or otherwise.
We were never informed when being shown to our room by our attendant that we should turn on the hot water geyser (geezer, as they refer to in Karnataka) -- so we had cold water showers the first day; only because some of our family is from India, we were clued in on the need to turn the switch on for the geyser/geezer. I informed the front desk that a bulb was out and the lever to turn the shower on (for the hand held shower) was broken. They made note, but no one showed up to fix it.
There is a spa and a pool, and the river by the edge of the property - all of which can be and are fun; but in general this is a pretty boring place. Incidentally, the "hot tub" has cold water!
Allegedly this is an all inclusive place - and we paid a pretty significant amount, in line with what one pays internationally at resorts in Puerta Vallarta or Cabo San Lucas; but we got nickled and dimed for everything beyond the buffet. Bottled water, tender coconut, extra coffee, toast, etc., etc., was all extra. Booze was incredibly expensive.
If you carry your own booze and wish to drink beyond the confines of your cabin, be prepared to pay a pretty steep corkage fee of Rs. 1,000.
Overall: Poor. Amanvana pretends to be a super exclusive resort, but I think at best it's a two-star place in a great setting.
I was disappointed to say the least -- now maybe my expectations are based on having traveled around the world, and I have seen top notch, high service, all inclusive resorts, and paid a lot less. Amanvana does not compare. The price to value is not good. The customers deserve better. We will not be returning to Amanvana any time soon.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC