We have recently returned from our first trip to India. We were a bit worried about what company to use for our private tour. There are many scare stories or posts about companies not doing a good job or providing a service. After reading reviews on Tripadvisor we eventually decided on TRAVEL SPIRIT INTERNATIONAL TSI for our Northern India / Golden Triangle and THE TRAVEL PLANNERS for our South India / Kerela Tour.
Both companies were excellent. They were excellent from start to finish. From my first e mails about our plans and itinerary, to the tours, guides, drivers, cars, itinerary and hotels.
With The Travel Planners we chose the Luxury Southern India Tours. They have lots of different tours. These are just suggestions, you can add destinations or cut things short.
We thought it was a very good and varied itinerary. Hopefully in the next few days i will be able to review all the hotels separately but i have a few comments and suggestions if you use The Travel Planners for this tour.
Lalith Mahal Heritage Hotel in Mysore. We did not like this hotel. Yes it is a grand old building but it is like staying in a museum. It is not a luxury hotel. They are making so much money from the Bollywood movies they have no intention of upgrading or re decorating the rooms. There should be a new Ramada hotel opening soon and i would use this.
The Jungle Retreat Mudumali The accommodation, food, staff and owners is all very good. Unfortunately the wildlife park has been closed. We were there in November 2012. This meant they could only offer jeep safaris on the main road (lorries, busses, horns, fumes, etc) and no wildlife treks on foot in the morning. They say they “might” be able to organize walking treks but i suspect there have not been any. Please correct me if you have been on one. If you wish they try and book you on a jeep or open bus safari in the park next door that is open. There were 100’s of people all trying to get on jeeps or open window buses. They were charging over 2250 rupees per person to sit in a bus with now windows and “hope” you might spot a few elephants or deer. I think the animals would stay well away from the tracks with all the noise and vehicles. So Jungle Retreat is a place to relax and spend time in the jungle but dont go there for wildlife.
Swiss County Munnar. This is just a Bed & Breakfast. They have 5 rooms open at the moment but hope to open more soon. They have spent a lot of money on the rooms / bathrooms and fixtures and fittings. Most rooms have amazing views. The food is very poor. It takes 30 minutes to arrive and you can eat in your room or on the roof terrace. If you eat in the room there is no proper table to sit at. They also served undercooked Chicken. It is 20 minutes or more along a winding road from Munnar. There are no other hotels or places to eat near it. You pre order breakfast from a menu and it is served in your room. All in all a strange place, it seems trying to be something its not. I recommend a proper hotel in Munnar.
Lake Palace Alleppy. Loved the location, right in the backwaters and you have to take a boat to the hotel. Great views of all the Houseboats going up and down. The room was ok but the bathrooms needed updating. The worst part was the staff. After staying in some loverly hotels it was hard to accept staff that did not know what they were doing and had some attitude problems. It was the same at reception and in the restaurant. The food was very poor. Even if you were the only people in the restaurant and you ordered a burger and chips it took over 30 minutes. All the staff in all areas were poor. A Ramada hotel is being built nearby. Not sure when it will open but use it when it does. I expect hotel accommodation is limited in the area so possibly this is the best you can do at the moment.
Our driver was Sangeeth. He was an excellent driver and always willing to help and would do what we asked. You felt he was always trying to do the best for you. His English is limited but it was only a minor point.
All in all we had a great holiday. I highly recommend using THE TRAVEL PLANNERS for all your South India Holidays www.keralatourpackages.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to Santosh and all the staff for helping with a great trip.