We had a great time at the houseboat. The overall hospitality, cleanliness and experience of the whole tour was excellent.
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We had a great time at the houseboat. The overall hospitality, cleanliness and experience of the whole tour was excellent.
11 - 15 of 63 reviews
We booked the whole boat for 13 friends. We were picked up dot on time from Kolkatta and in about 3 hours were at the boat. The boat was neat, tidy and the employees were very friendly. Monty the manager of the boat, was extremely helpful, sporting and made the trip a wonderful experience. Food was very well prepared and the tastiest food we had in our whole 4 days trip. The boat also had board games and fishing rods available.
We saw birds, crocodiles, deers and a tiger. (Pic attached).
Overall the trip was amazing and is highly recommended.
It took 3 1/2 hours to reach Gosava (Godkhali) from Kolkata Airport. It is 3 night 4 day tour on a Sundarban Houseboat. This boat is having 3 AC Cabins which can House 14 people.
All food inclusive from Kolkata Airport pickup is 1.55 lacs for adult team of 9 members.
Cabin no :1 is small for 2 people with difficulty 3 can be accommodated. Balance 2 cabins can accommodate a maximum of 6 adults each.
The upper deck is dining with luxurious searing to watch surroundings while boating.
The bar Music system with disco dance floor is apt for partying.
Mr Palash Mondal the Chef is excellent. The food is homely. Just leave the menu to him. Enjoyed Aloo & Lacha Parathas, Poha, different dals.
The food is excellent and is like a 4 star floating hotel.
Everyday start the journey from 0600 Hrs and go through various islands of Sundarban forest islands. No one can get enter any island as it is forbidden.
These islands are protected by forest department.
We spotted 7 varieties of kingfishers, Jungle Cat, Smooth Coated Otter ( both are rare to spot). Palm oCevit is also a rare spot.
The following are also spotted
White bellied Sea Eagle
World largest Mangrove Forest is Sundarban spreading 30% in India and 70% in Bangladesh.
The Royal Bengal Tiger 3 M long 300 Kg weighing is a magnificent animal can be spotted here only. It drinks sea water also and a man eater. No revenge killing by Civilians as here they treat this tiger as God
Improvements needed for this tour
Pickup by Winger for 9 is horrible. AC is not working. You could have arranged two vehicles instead.
We paid 1.6 lacs and could have paid another 10000 more for transport.
Power supply is erratic in the boat ♂️. Inverter trips.
Fan fell in one room and luckily no one injured.
Rest all is perfect
The good things: 1. Top comes the food which was tasty & excellent
2. The Sunderbans is an interesting place
The bad things: 1. As said in the previous review - it is NOT ok to be picked up and then taken to wait while ‘shopping for the trip’ is done which entailed is waiting 45 minutes on the side of the road.
2. The boat is not ‘luxury’ by western standards. It was clean but rather tired. There was only room on the outside deck for two chairs.
3. The tour ‘manager’ gave us no briefings or info as to where we were going each day. There was no proper map available. He did not interact with us unless we sought him out.
4. We chose a four nighter, but rather than following the original itinerary deeper into the Sunderban, we were shunted back & forth to the pick up/drop off points, so elected to leave a day early as it became repetitive.
5. Hot water was not always available.
6. The ‘library’ consisted of a few tatty/grimy books, some relevant to the area, on the bottom shelf of a broken cabinet.
7. Instead of looking after us, we were obliged to request that our needs be taken care of. Ask for hot water, ask for ‘bed tea’, ask for info regarding the day’s plan etc....
8. Despite the website’s emphasis on safety - we were not given a safety briefing. No idea if they even had life jackets on board.
With some care, thought & attention this could have been a lovely experience. It is pricey by Indian standards & not worth the cost. Better stay in a resort and take day trips out into The Sunderban.
Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate it and deem it as a constructive input that will help us make your future stay at our Sundarban Houseboat a memorable one.
We think there were some minor facts which were not included in your review and it is important for us to highlight those facts here:
1. We inform our schedule and plan to our guests prior to the commencement of their journey. The same was communicated to you via email before your journey and then in person when you started your trip with us.
2. "The inconvenience of waiting for 45 minutes at the Metro Cash and Carry store."
We stop at Metro Cash and Carry for two important reasons: 1) Since Sundarbans is a remote area, inaccessible to major amenities and consumable items, we use our stop at Kolkata to stock up fresh produce. We do not store the consumable products beforehand because we strive to maintain the quality of products and ensure they are as fresh as possible. Hence, we stock up the items on the go. 2) We choose Metro Cash and Carry since there are coffee shops and clean restrooms that guests can use. Once we depart from Kolkata, there isn’t any stopping point for refreshments until we house our Houseboat or a specific jetty that has an arranged restroom and refreshment establishment. Unfortunately, instead of the 15 - 20 minutes wait time at the Metro Cash and Carry, the duration was extended to 10 minutes. Inconvenience caused is regretted.
You will be happy to know that we changed our procurement process, so now we don’t have to stop at Metro Cash & Carry and start our journey right away.
3. "The boat is not ‘Luxury’ as per western standards."
‘Luxury’ is subjective. We do not compete or compare our houseboat that to any ‘western cruise’. We host guests who want to experience Sundarbans and its magnificence. We are an adventure tour service provider and keeping in stride with the rustic nature, we provide as much comfort and satisfying accommodation resources as possible. We take pride in citing that our houseboat in comparison to other Sundarban Adventure tour is exceptional. Our prices are unique, like our houseboat. We do not compromise our standards nor we compare it that to the western boats. We continue to work and enhance our establishment to offer the best experience to our guests.
4. "Tour manager gave no ‘briefing’."
We have the tour manager, as well as, other staff members involved in interacting and engaging with our guests, as we have more than one family or couple travelling with us. Also, unfortunately during your visit, West Bengal Government officials were making arrangements. Thus, every resort and accommodation in and around the area were asked to cancel their plans for security and safety protocols. However, since ours is not a brick and mortar hotel or building establishment but a houseboat, we were not asked to cancel the tour. But we had to take a detour instead.
5. "Moving back and forth and a repetitive stay."
As mentioned above, due the government intervention and arrival of our Chief Minister, we had to take a detour. As a result, we sailed through the same route to arrive at a jetty that we recognise and establish to be safe and secure. We follow a strict protocol when it comes to ours and our guests’ safety and security. Thus, we had to locate a jetty that had all the provisions that meet our standards and requirements.
6. "Hot water availability."
We strive and are committed to conserving the biosphere and rustic ecosystem of Sundarbans. And by no means use any energy source that will further harm the environment. Thus, we make full-fledged use of Solar Energy. The availability of hot water is only present when the water speed is normal. When the pressure pump is used it retrieves and makes it difficult for the flow of hot water. Though we have a legitimate signage put up for an additional source of information, following your comments we will make it more prominent, visible and comprehensible.
7. "The ‘library’ consisted of a few tatty/grimy books."
At Sundarban Houseboat, we learn, enhance and make our guests’ experience better via their shared experience. And according to our previous guests, we came to this understanding that many preferred books and journals related to Sundarbans, since they are sailing through the dense mangrove and would want accessibility to every information about the same. However, we have kept a few books for children and guests who are love reading. Most of our guests are interested in sightseeing and exploring the Sundarbans, and since we are limited by the space in our houseboat, keeping a fully stocked library is not possible.
8. "Instead of looking after us, we were obliged to request that our needs be taken care of."
We respect guest privacy to the core, especially, in our kind of tour agenda. Our employees are always nearby and ready to assist you with your requests. We also provide timely services as per the itinerary.
9. "Despite the website’s emphasis on safety - we were not given a safety briefing. No idea if they even had life jackets on board."
At Sundarban Houseboat, the safety and security of our guests our topmost priority. Each of our crew members is trained to manage and handle various situations and safety of our guests. We provide minute details and core-briefing to our guests via emails, so that they too come prepared according to their requirements. As per lifejackets - they are available in every cabinet in each cabin. Attached are the images. We also mention every safety protocol through signs and visual info. We encourage our guests to communicate their need and concerns as and when required to our tour manager and crew members.
We are currently working to implement a few video slideshows, when our guest boards our houseboat.
Please visit us again to create better experiences. I hope we were able to compensate for the inconvenience caused by the refund that we made. Please feel free to share your opinions. We will be happy to help you.
The Sundarbans are really beautiful. A must visit for anyone who loves nature and rivers. The view is quite spectacular and just floating on the mighty rivers which make up the Ganga estuary is an experience of a lifetime. The houseboat itself is very comfortable and the food is superb. What is lacking is the managements welcoming touch. This is listed as a premier facility. Well, you dont treat your guests lightly in that case! We were first made to hang around at metro cash and carry while the driver picked up provisions. Just not done guys: even if you want to use the same vehicles, atleast have the basic coutsey of picking up the stuff first. Then, when you land at the jetty - which is changed midways - you have to hang around without even a chair to sit on, till the boat appears! After the boat finally appears, the tour manager disappears and we had to wait for 2 hours to get our cabin! in the meanwhile, nobody has a clue about which one is yours. And then they tried to fit you into a six-seater when you've booked a cabin for two! the six seaters are not good, unless you have a family with you and dont mind squeezing in and out of the cabin all the time. The cabin for two is small - to be expected - very nicely appointed and clean and neat. But you have to wait for it. Not a pleasant way to start the trip. And then there is the whole hot water thing. They tour manager glibly tells you its available, when its not, because the solar heater doesnt work without sunlight! He could have just apologised and arranged a bucket of hot water and no one would have said a thing. But to expect hot water in the shower and not get it is not just annoying, but chilling too! The rest of it, as I've said earlier is worth experiencing. Management needs to pull up its socks and take care of these issues. We spent a night on the boat and it was very good. The other two passengers however, both ladies from the UK, decided to cut short their trip since they were just going up and down the same stretch for 3 days, as new passengers were being collected. Bad planning and again, not the way a premier facility, which claims to be as good as a 5 star hotel, treats its guests
Thank you for sharing your feedback. We appreciate your insights and would love to host you again. In regards to your concerns, we would like to share a few details. I hope we will be able to address all the concerns.
In regards to the ‘welcoming touch’ from our management team. We assign our managers and crew members to take care of our guests from the moment they house our houseboat. A driver is assigned only to pick and drop our guests. It is same as other hotels who provide air transfers, etc. We have enlisted our services to be of high-standards and we strive to meet the same on a continual process. Our guests and their requirements are our top priority.
We have a scheduled meetup and break-time for refreshments at Metro Cash and Carry, which is already mentioned to our guests prior to the start of their journey. The wait time is between 15 - 20 minutes, during which we make use of the time to stock up with fresh produce. Since Sundarbans is a secluded and inaccessible location, it is a daunting task to get hold of consumable products that we provide to your guests. And we believe in providing only the freshest consumable items. Thus, we use the 20 minutes duration to purchase the necessary products and don’t stock them up beforehand.
During this period, we encourage our guests to access the available coffee shop and clean washrooms because that’s the only stop to gain refreshment accessibility till you reach our houseboat.
In regards to your next concern about the Jetty and guests had no option to sit. We apologise for the inconvenience, but we are unable to control the jetty situation because the Jetties are managed and handled by the government/local authorities. However, there are a few jetty that we try to opt for that contains a restroom. But unfortunately, we could not access such a jetty during your schedule.
The tour manager and our cabin crew members are proactive and trained professionals. They immediately attend to our guests the moment to house our houseboat. There is always a crew member available whenever needed by our guests. And that is not only restricted to the tour manager.
In regards to your cabin, we provide all the details, information and itinerary to guests prior to their arrival. This is done to give them the opportunity to prepare and make the necessary arrangements and connect with us with their additional requirements. Sorry that you had to wait for your cabin to be ready, we are working on this part.
In respect to our hot water availability, we use solar energy. And it takes time for the hot water to flow and due to a pressure situation, the first gush is of cold water, which eventually transforms into hot water. We have put the necessary signage and visual information for the convenience of our guests. It is also mentioned that you can reach out to our employees in case of any problem.
As you have mentioned that two of your co-passengers from the UK had to cut short their trip, it was because of reasons are known to us. Sundarbans was being visited by West Bengal Government Officials. Due to this, a majority of tourist spots and adjoining resorts were asked to close and cancel their plans. However, since ours was a houseboat, we were able to move from the location and visit other touring sites that were not restricted. Thus, the passengers in question, had to cut short their trip. And we had also compensated for the same.
We have never claimed to be a 5-star establishment. Luxury is a subjective matter and we provide high-standard accommodation and comfort to our guests that is better than other rental boats and houseboat facilities in Sundarbans.
I hope we were able to address all your concerns. And we would love to host you again and ensure that you make the most of your Sundarban Experience with us!