It may not be surprising that JLR (Jungle Lodges & Resorts) have doubled their tariff in the last 3 years – prices for nearly everything is increasing day by day, inflation and all that. But when you increase prices, you should also know that your property will be compared with the ones that come in the new price range. With my recent experience at River Tern Lodge, I think that they have not thought about, or prepared for, typical expectations at their new price point.
River Tern Lodge is located on two islands in the Bhadra reservoir. Location is amazing. Cottages are spread out nicely around the islands, each one with adequate privacy. Each cottage comes with excellent view to the vast & tranquil reservoir.
If you are driving from Bangalore, it should take you about 5hours to reach there. You can take directions to Lakavalli, Karnataka. Lakavalli is the nearest town to the property and there are clear directions provided from there.
Cottages are spacious. Comes with a nice balcony. As usual with other JLR properties, they do not have TV or phone etc – which is perfect. Bathrooms are big and clean. One thing to note – cottages are spread out on two islands – connected by a nice wooden bridge. Food is provided only at the ‘Golghar’ located on the main island. That means, if your cottage is located on the second island (#s 11 to 25) you will have to walk downhill and then uphill each time for food. Not a big problem if you don’t mind climbing steep steps – in fact the second island gives you more privacy and better views. But this may not suit elderly people and anyone who has problem climbing stairs.
They provide boat safari in the morning as well as evening. You can spot many birds if you are lucky. I would strongly recommend the evening safari – where you can watch the beautiful sunset in the reservoir. There are some water activities – kayaking, canoes, trampolines set in water etc. Kayaking in the reservoir is an amazing experience – not to be missed.
So why did I rate the place only 3 stars?
Well – the place works only according to their schedule, not yours. If you would like your breakfast at 7:30am – sorry – breakfast is served only at 8:30am. That too, if you are lucky – sometimes they finish spreading the items only by 8:45. Lunch is ‘around’ 1:30pm.
On one evening (We stayed for two nights) we wanted to skip the boat safari and spend time at the resort. When we wanted to have a tea at 5:00pm, we were told that tea will be served only at 6:30. We wanted to do kayaking during the sunset – but found that there is no kayaking in the evening.
Food is very mediocre – very spicy for my taste, and the spread is very limited. Absolutely no continental items – e.g.: no cereals for breakfast.
If you travel with young children – please carry adequate quantity of snacks etc. Food – even tea – is served only at the set schedules.
That comes back to the first point I discussed. At the current price point, you do expect services at the level provided by others in the comparable price point – I would request JLR management to see the service levels at places like The Serai etc – because, the current prices comes uncomfortably closer to that of Serai & such places, where the service quality - the food - both spread and quality, training level of employees, infrastructure etc are at much higher level.
Main island - quick to reach food and activities area. Second island - gives more privacy but steep...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC