I booked two nights at KLVR based on the 2nd tier choices offered by a travel agent, the website and TA's other reviews( two at the time I booked and the same as I write my review). The travel agent has some issues with quotes and double priced all of the options, and thus sent us looking for sub $800/ night rooms. Based on the webpage and the other reviews, it didn't look too bad. Web pages can be deceiving. If you are seriously considering staying at KLVR, please read the entire review before booking.
1) I believe the other TA reviews to be bogus. They can't be for the same place and be honest. Also, the posted photos by travelers, are identical to the website.
2) The "program" for your visit is a stretch of the truth, and happens to be a near identical copy of the River Lodges program as per "http://www.kabiniriverlodge.com/programme.html", with only slight word changes.
To summarize our visit:
When my wife and I arrived arrived (~2:00 PM) at 'Kabini Lake View Resort' we were greeted by the manager- a Mr. Barbosa or something like that- I didn't quite get his name, and our bags were transferred into a room. While the surroundings were less than "resort" we were not overly put off. I asked the manager if we had missed the Buffet lunch, and he told us that we had not and the cook could fix us lunch. We sat down at the outside dinning area for a soft drink- the manager asked if we would like Coca Cola, orange soda or water, and we asked for cola and water. He brought us two orange Fanta drinks. I asked about cola, he said he didn't have any cola anymore, maybe tomorrow. He asked us what we would like to eat, mutton or chicken. My wife doesn't eat much spicy food and she asked for mutton, and I chicken. We informed him that we didn't eat spicy and he said that the cook would not spice the food for us. Normally at a buffet, even Indian, we can find something to eat that is to our liking, and not overly spicy. My wife and I retired to our room to look around and freshen up after the trip. I noticed that the bathroom had a window that did not close properly, and had a serious bug problem- including a bunch of ants.
When we returned to the dinning area there was another couple (young Indian couple on their honey moon) eating. The lunch wasn't a buffet, as advertised, but more of a fixed menu served by an overly attentive non English speaking assistant of the manager. By overly attentive I mean hovering. The staff brought out a few plates and some food for my wife and I, and gave us some mutton and chicken and a fresh vegetable salad. Both meat dishes were very hot and spicy. My wife lost her appetite and I ate just a little of the chicken and some of the salad. There was no rice, or other "sides" offered to us, but the other couple clearly had side dishes of rice, vegetables etc. There was a dessert, which we passed on after loosing our appetite.
I asked the manager about the spicy food, and he said that it was asked for on short notice and they did the best they could, which apparently was to say that they will give us something that we could eat, and then just give what ever is already made.
I asked the manager about getting a different room, due to the bug problem, and he said that it was no problem to change rooms. I showed him the problem and later he told me that all the windows were the same, and he would have the window sealed up and the bugs cleaned up, but not change our room.
We retired to our room, and thought about whether to go on that evening’s safari at 4:00 PM, which we ended up going on.
During the time after lunch and before 4:00 PM (the Safari time) the manager’s assistant came to fix the bug problem and put toilet paper around the window to "seal" the window. See photos. The photos of the ants on the toilet tank are from the following morning. The "fix" was not what I would expect from a professional resort, but didn't even meet the expectations of the lowest class of commercial hotels.
My wife and I went on the safari - which I believe was run by the government, and was OK, but done at a very low standard. When we returned, the manager asked us and the other couple when we would like to eat dinner. The four of us agreed to 8:30 PM, as it was already around 7:00 PM when we were back at the resort. The manager asked us if we would like a bonfire (advertised in their program), and we all agreed to one after dinner. We did have some concerns about mosquitoes but the manager said that there wasn't a bug problem there due to the constant breeze. We retired to our room to rest. Just prior to 8:30 PM, the manager knocked on our door, to tell us that there were too many bugs in the outside dinning area, and they would bring our meals to our room. He asked if I would like something to drink, and I asked if he had beer, he said he would get some. A while later ~ 9:15 PM they brought a beer and some French fries (which we ate though they weren’t especially appetizing, but having not really had lunch…) to our room, saying dinner would be there soon. Dinner finally arrived at 10:00 PM. The meal was OK- a few dishes were not spiced, but 10:00 PM was quite a bit later than 8:30 PM. I was about to tell them to forget about dinner, and we were tired and wanted to sleep, when the arrived with the meal. My wife and I had packed some snacks with us, which we were grateful to have been able to eat during the long wait.
It was during this waiting period that my wife and I decided that we should call our travel agent, via our driver, and make other arrangements. We ended up moving to Orange County for our 2nd night in the area, and the difference in everything was spectacular.
Power cut momentarily in the evening. While power cuts are not the responsibility of the hotel, this was more suspicious as it switched off and then on, and the same thing happened the next morning~ 8:30 AM. Overnight the AC would not run, and the ceiling fan would only run at the slowest speed. In the morning we heard some noises next to our cabin when the power switched back on to full power. The "resort" has a power generator and it would not surprise me if this was a power saving trick by the management. In the morning everything worked as normal again.
The cabins are close to the fence with a "village" and the sound of barking dogs lasted late into the night. The dogs sounded as if they were less than 30 to 40 feet away, and despite me and my wife having ear plugs, sleep was difficult.
We needed an explanation from the manager on how to achieve hot water from the shower. Apparently the control taps are reversed (right for hot, left for cold) and it is necessary to wait ~ 5 minutes for the hot water to work. Once the shower was warm, we able to take showers, but only 3 or four holes in the shower sprayer worked, the rest being clogged.
We had to be judicious in the choice of towels, as one of them had large stains/ dirt on them.
For breakfast it a seemed to take an act of god to get a cup of coffee for me and a cup of tea for my wife, I believe we waited for more than 30 minutes once seated in the dinning area, and had been asked more than 5 times what we would like to drink. They did serve omelets, toast with jam and butter. We avoided the butter, as it was chunks in a bowl, with many ends being brown. We were not sure if it was clean or not.
I should note that we had reservations about the hygiene of the waiter, as his fingernails needed a good cleaning. He had black under his nails and along the cuticles.
There are no phones at the resort, and the manager gave me a cell phone in case we needed to contact him- it was his assistants, he called us at 8:00 AM sharp, which woke us up. Upon asking about this the manager said he had forgotten he had given us the phone and had called the number.
After notifying the manager that we were leaving, he said that we wasn't surprised and had repeated (he mentioned something the day before) that if he had known that we were westerners, he would have warned us that this might not be the place for us.
The Indian couple staying there said they were very disappointed as well, but may not have had any other options but to stay a second night. They didn't have bugs, which along with the food was the most serious immediate issues for us.
The short comings of 'Kabini Lake View Resort' are detailed below:
1) Manager is untrustworthy.
Why offer something if you don't have it or do not plan on giving it. Coke, non spicy food, change of room, meal at 8:30 PM. He was very pleasant, but didn't deliver. Other questionable issues were the power, the phone call at 8:00 am etc. The food was a major concern as I told him that my wife doesn't eat spicy food, and he says no problem than gives us very spicy food. Good thing it wasn't a food allergy. There were too many inconsistencies with what was said and done to believe that there was just a misunderstanding on a matter or two.
2) Non professional -bug problem. My wife and I are experienced campers and like the outdoors. We don't mind sleeping rough in the woods, but don't expect to have bugs in a hotel room, and once brought to the attention of the manager the handling was something out off a comic book. Really inexcusable handling of this issue.
3) Hygiene was questionable- waiter, towels etc.
4) False advertising. They advertise buffet lunch and dinner, and they do not have buffets. Their website is quite well done, and it looks reasonable, but it is a serious exaggeration of what they really have and are. Food is an outright lie and the program is an idealized reach for what they offer. There was no "accompanied by our experienced Drivers and Naturalists". The safari was basically some guy driving an old bus (I assume the bus and the driver were from the park service) that needed to be roll started (popping the clutch once it was moving). Even when idling it shook very much. more than 1/2 our photos were blurry due to the bus alone.
The difference at Orange County was astounding. Professional, clean etc. Safaris at OC were a world away from KVLR
Post trip, KBLR refused a full refund, and only refunded 1/2 of one nights stay. My travel agent , as a way of apologizing for listing KLVR as an option, refunded us a full nights price(~8000 rupees), and promised he never would again work this KLBR.
Try another hotel/resort, sleep in Mysore or your car over this dump.
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC