I stayed at the Vivanta by Taj in Kumarakom for my birthday weekend (18th-19th Feb 2012), and I must say the experience was fabulous. The only downside is that we were there only 1 night! We'd stayed on a houseboat for 2 nights previously (and were royally conned by a company called Aerotrek - don't use them!) and wish we'd only had 1 night on the houseboat and 2 at the Taj.
The reception staff, especially Deepti, were extremely helpful. We arrived early and were greeted with coconut drinks, our bags were stored at reception and we were invited to spend time using the pool facilities while our room was prepared. We were a group of 3 (but booked into a standard room) and were given a complimentary upgrade to a Heritage room in the main mansion. The room was lovely - really comfortable bed with white cotton linen, 2 bathrooms and a small 'dining' area with free fruit and water.
Overall the resort is peaceful. It's not too big but you can use the complimantary bicylces to cyle around. I am a big fan of swimming pools and this one doesn't disappoint - medium-sized so the water warms up enough to swim in, but still cools you down. There are just about enough sun-loungers, but if you need more the staff will get them for you, and move them out of the shade into the sun if you want to tan. One particularly impressive feature was that the prices in the pool bar menu is the final price AFTER tax (approx 600 INR) - this is unusual in India, as normally you'll order a 200 INR drink and be hit with a bill for 600, so the fact that they give you the final price after the various taxed makes it easier if you're on a budget. The pool also has a swim up bar, which is always good!
There seem to be too restaurants but the one inside the main house was almost always empty, with most guests preferring to sit outside by the lake. The food was excellent and the staff very attentive. Dinner was good value for the quality but the breakfast buffet was expensive by comparison, and due to the location of the hotel you don't have much of a choice of eating elsewhere.
The Keralan backwaters are one of the most stunning places on earth anyway so the hotel doesn't have to work too hard to be special. But I would highly recommend Vivanta by Taj to friends and family and would certainly stay there again. Worth the splurge for a very memorable holiday.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kumarakom is a popular tourist destination in the Kottayam district of Kerala. Located on the picturesque Vembanad Lake, Vivanta by Taj - Kumarakom, Kerala, is a 30-minute drive from the Kottayam railway station or an hour's drive from Cochin city. Kerala's backwaters surround the 140-year old colonial bungalow which houses this resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vivanta By Taj - Kumarakom Hotel Kumarakom
- Taj Garden Retreat Hotel Kumarakom
- Kumarakom Taj Garden Retreat
- Vivanta By Taj - Kumarakom Kerala