We chose the Tower House because of our wonderful experience with the Hotel de l'Orient, another Neemrana Hotel property in Pondicherry, a few years ago. The Tower House starts with the same idea -- a more-or-less restored historic building in an even more historic neighborhood, antique furniture in the rooms and common areas -- but it doesn't seem to have been implemented as well.
Part of our problem with the Tower House might be that we had a ground-floor room ("Albuquerque"). The stone floors make for more moisture and therefore for a somewhat musty or even moldy smell. We did take a look at the common areas upstairs, whose wood floors helped to create a warm and clean ambience that was missing in our room. But there were other problems as well: ostensibly in order to be "green", the hotel relies on a solar hot water heating system that doesn't work at night or when it's cloudy. So we had to call the front desk eight or ten times during our four-day stay to ask them to turn on the real hot water heater. Once this was done there was always enough hot water, but it was irritating and made the hotel seem not as classy or customer-friendly as Neemrana hotels aspire to be -- and as the room prices at the Tower House suggest it should be. And the towels in the bathroom were old, rough, and a bit grey rather than soft, plush, and appealing.
We found the Indian breakfasts tasty and filling although not particularly imaginative. The Western breakfast was unimpressive, consisting mostly of toast and a few sad-looking muffins. And Neemrana's signature line of coffees and teas, served at all their hotels, is not nearly as good as it ought to be.
Despite these problems, it's a beautiful hotel in a great location with an extraordinarily courteous and well-meaning staff. The free wireless internet worked well and the swimming pool is beautiful. We have not ruled out staying there again if we return to Cochin.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Tower House sits facing the Chinese fishing nets, marking the spot of a 17th century light house which has given it the name. Cannon balls once fired out from its thick bastion-walls. This scallop-walled twin-house looks rather like a ship and indeed, boats were brought in on high tide and parked downstairs in its stable and dry dock! Since 1982, it is owned by Peirce Leslie. The character of The Tower House lies in its unpretentious yet proud bearing, almost grandfather like, it sits looking out over the sea, a spirit of adventure surrounds it even today, taking one back to stories of high seas told and retold over centuries. Stately colonial pillars hold up its vast, high-ceilinged halls. The generous arched doors welcoming one to step in to another world where time stretches, pauses to watch the sun set, and then moves ever so lightly towards dawn. Yes it’s the magic of spaces that have seen more history than we will ever see, spaces that we know will still be there to delight those who come long after us. The furniture is an eclectic mix with no attempt to recreate rooms of any one era or type because the residential structure was added on to. It’s the light pouring in through the windows, skylights and the vastness of the indoor spaces that make for an unforgettable experience. Most of the rooms have large four poster beds, and bathrooms that happily accommodate large tubs. The windows have views of the trees or the sea depending on where they are located. Restored to be compatible with present-day needs while maintaining its structural integrity, it reflects different periods rather than artificially being faithful to any single one. It takes you back in time, as moods and memories woven together create a fabric that is strong but sits ever so lightly. The above uncompromising principles of practical use of material and form dictated The Tower House renovation too and its adherence to these very values of being honest to the time we live in while respecting the past that has set new standards in heritage tourism. Discover the old world charm where, sailors, travellers, traders, planters feasted and danced under chandeliers, suspended from high wooden ceilings. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Neemrana's Tower House Kochi (Cochin), Kerala