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“Backwaters And Spa” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Vivanta by Taj Bekal

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Vivanta by Taj Bekal
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Kappil Beach, Bekal 671319, India   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 4 hotels in Bekal
Singapore, Singapore
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Backwaters And Spa”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013 via mobile

Last year in October, we stayed at this resort with family. Overall we enjoyed our stay amidst backwaters, birds, nature, sunset, sea and backwaters union. Resort stay was relaxing with the very best and outstanding spa services we could ever enjoy anywhere in India, while they efficiently baby-sit our toddler. Day trips to bekal fort and houseboat ride over tejasvini river and food and other services were satisfactory!

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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317 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (180)
Date | Rating
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English first
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

This is perhaps the smallest Taj property I have been to but with possibly the most thoughtful service. We went as a belated anniversary celebration and from day we reached, the staff made our stay super special. The staff sent us a cake and a present for our anniversary. One of the evenings we couldn't make it in time for the dinner and infact reached almost at restaurant closing time. Inspite of this, the staff at the restaurant made us dinner and had it served to us. We opted for the couple spa which was out of the world fabulous. I happened to mention to one of the staff that the freshly made pickle they were serving at the restaurant was amazing. While checking out they had a little surprise for me, a jar full of that pickle. Taj is known for its service and its sort of expected of them but inspite of such high expectations they still manage to surprise me every time. We had a fabulous stay at Bekal. The rooms/Villas are gorgeous, private and serene. A must visit if luxury is on your mind.

Room Tip: Get a one with a private plunge pool
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2013 via mobile

Its one of the extremely beautiful Taj properties ideally located next to the lovely sea with a river dividing the property. Excellent service, beautiful and clean rooms with a jhoola and a scenic view of the river...it is just a 2 hour ride from the Mangalore airport.
Recommended for a long weekend stay with a day trip to the nearby fort.

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Bangalore, India
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

This resort is the best one in Bekal with beautiful architecture. Has nice rooms with sit-outs, Soaking tub in the spacious bathroom and the facilities at the Resort. We even had a very good experience in the SPA, which made our vacation even better.
Special thanks to the F&B Manager to accommodate our special diet request through-out our stay.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Goa
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2013

One of the Best Taj Property at Bekal. Very friendly and helpful staff. We were given a Room Upgrade. There was no Buffet for Lunch or Dinner. Very quite place to stay with a River flowing through the property.Boating is also provided by the Hotel for in house Guest. Getting to the Hotel is a pain as roads are full of pot holes. Other than the road condition I recommend to stay in this property for a family holiday. Kids will like the Place.

Room Tip: Premium Indulgence Villa with Plunge Pool
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Plymouth, Minnesota
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2013

What a fabulous place for a vacation! Everything was wonderful. We went with our 2 boys, 4 and 9, and they had a blast. The rooms were very well done, clean and neat, plunge pool was a huge plus. The food was fantastic, and very good value for money. We strongly recommend the resort, and will definitely come here again.
The only negative: a long and very very bumpy drive from Mangalore to the resort, took us 2.5 hours.

Room Tip: Take a room with a plunge pool, you will love it.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Finland
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2013

I struggled writing this review since I couldn’t decide whether giving the hotel one or five stars.

My husband and I stayed at the Vivanta by Taj in Bekal for seven nights in August 2013 in a deluxe delight villa with a plunge pool. The stay was supposed to be a relaxing end to our month-long holiday travelling around India. What we were looking forward to, and expecting, was a beach holiday.

Now, for us, a beach holiday equals a good, sandy beach with sun loungers, beach service with cocktails, and obviously, the sea. In addition, it means long lazy lunches with a bottle of crisp white wine, followed by some cocktails, good food and red wine for dinner. Kerala has a tax of around 175% (if I remember correctly, this might also include the taxes that the hotel levies) on all imported wine. Yes, you read correctly. Not wanting to pay 100 euros for a bottle that we at home get a for under a tenner, we were forced to forgo ALL European and New World wines. That was the first massive disappointment. We ended up having Indian wine instead, and the Sula is surprisingly okay, but the cheapest of these bottles also cost around 50 euros. If we’d realized this, we would have packed our suitcases full with wine when flying over to India, and then enjoyed them in our room with food from room service. There was also a ‘dry day’ while we were staying at the hotel. I appreciate the fact that local customs, traditions and law should and need to be respected and adhered to as a foreign tourist, but what I fail to understand is why the hotel couldn’t give us a warning the day before that the next day there would be no alcohol what so ever. We were told that we’d still be able to use our minibar alcohol (wohoo…), but since the minibar only included beer (which I hate) and two minibottles of imported vodka and gin each (which cost a whopping 10 euros each!), I was pretty annoyed. As a sidenote, we stayed at another hotel in India during another dry day, and they were very discreet and smart about this, serving alcohol to the Western tourists in their rooms instead.

The other very serious problem was the beach. Yes, we knew when booking that it was Monsoon season, but we still imagined that we’d be able to enjoy the beach. During our seven day stay, it did rain every day. But it didn’t rain straight for the entire day once. In fact, it was completely sunny from morning till evening on at least two of the days we were there and on the other days there were some heavy passing downpours that didn't last for more than an hour. However, monsoon season for the hotel apparently equaled a closed beach. There were no sun loungers, no service, absolutely nothing, on the beach, except for an annoying hotel guard who kept following us and wanting to make smalltalk while we tried to go for a romantic stroll. I do realize that the sea was too rough to swim in, and having loungers on the beach might induce people to hang out on the beach or even venture into the sea, which when you looked at the massive crashing waves, would definitely not be a good idea. However, it is supposed to be a beach resort WITH A BEACH, the sun was out and there was even a guard there, so it was absolutely infuriating that there were absolutely no amenities at the actual beach and it went utterly unused.

These two issues pretty much completely ruined what we had expected to be our beach holiday and we even contemplated leaving early due to them. In the end we stayed and decided to make the best of it.

There were some small other issues as well; the food isn’t perfect (but it’s okay and perfectly eatable for even a week as long as you stay away from the European foods which were awful), there was only one restaurant open (instead of three) and it served very little seafood (which we'd been looking forward to), there were MASSIVE bugs in our bathroom (and the hotel, we were told, does not have any Raid or other insect repellent spray to provide in room. The mosquito thingies that you stick in an outlet don’t really help and there's nowhere you can purchase any Raid yourself), the wifi is not complimentary (which it should be in this modern day and age and in a hotel of this price class), the road to the hotel from Mangalore airport is a very, very bumpy and slow road (so if you tend to get even remotely carsick, I would go somewhere else) and there were loads of screaming kids around whose voices carried into our villa courtyard, thus detracting from the romance.

There are good things to say about the hotel as well, as long as you don’t go there expecting the sort of holiday that we were expecting (described above). Firstly, the deluxe delight room with a private pool (and it's an okay size, much more than just a 'plunge' pool), swinging day bed and bathtub that we had was absolutely lovely and would have been perfect except for the bugs, the noisy children and the towels which quite often had stains on them. Having, after many tears, had to give up on the beach holiday that we’d been expecting (and saving for) for the past year, we tried to reconcile ourselves to instead hanging out on our daybed (which was very convenient during rain) and taking dips in our pool. This was very relaxing and nice, but again, not what we’d looked forward to and saved our money for.

Also, as previous comments state, there is absolutely NOTHING outside, or even close, to the hotel. So you won't get the alleys of stalls selling tourist trinkets and beach apparell as well as the seafood restaurants that you might associate with a resort beach holiday. We did go to the Bekal fort on an excursion, but there wasn’t really that much to see. Getting slightly claustrophobic, we ended up borrowing the hotels’ bicycles one day and cycled to the nearby LaLit Resort&Spa for lunch. It was a great excursion, which I would recommend doing on your own if you want to see something outside the hotel and eat somewhere else.

The staff in the hotel was very polite and helpful although service at dinner could be quite hit and miss (but they did try their best). The staff – especially Vikram (a big thank you!) – went out of their way to come up with inventive private dining experiences for us. They arranged a BBQ for our courtyard one evening, which was just out of this world. Another day we had dinner in the gazebo, which was also very nice. The spa was okay and the complimentary yoga session (at 7.30 in the morning!) was so good that I didn’t even regret getting up at that hour on my holiday. The surroundings are serene, beautiful and relaxing.

We pre-arranged the airport pick-up and drop-off through the hotel in advance, and this worked out very well. It cost just under 4000 INR per way. Our driver from the airport was very good and drove safely (in relative terms considering you're in India....) but the other guy we had to take us back to the airport drove like a maniac and I had to close my eyes quite a few times. Not pleasant.

Would I recommend the hotel? It depends on what you’re looking for. If, like us, you want a beach holiday with the cocktails, wine, food and the actual BEACH as well as the beachy ambience that goes along with all of this, I would definitely go somewhere else. The state of Kerala’s tax decisions are clearly not the hotel’s fault but I would not recommend anyone who likes cocktails and wine during their holidays to go to Kerala. Go to Goa instead, which I’ve understood has a more lenient tax policy. Or bring lots of wine with you. If, however, you’re perfectly happy with water and juices, doing yoga and hanging out by the pool in a beautiful hotel with nice service and okay food, then this could be your place.

Room Tip: The only way to go is the deluxe delight villa with a plunge pool. It is private (the common pool wa...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Vivanta by Taj Bekal

Address: Kappil Beach, Bekal 671319, India
Location: India > Kerala > Bekal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 hotels in Bekal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Vivanta by Taj Bekal 5*
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