We had three nights on a recent pilgrimage visit to the Taj Malabar – Vivanta by Taj now. There was a mix up with the flights, as ours from Mumbai got rescheduled to the evening and by the time we landed at Kochi, it was pretty dark in the evening. We thought and we had been told earlier that the ride would take an hour or less. But our driver – the driver of my vehicle – had a different idea. Rather he had no idea at all, where was the Taj Malabar or for that matter Willingdon Island itself. I had the number of the Gateway, Kochi and its chef Shibhiraj Saha. I talked to him and no sooner than I disconnected, we had the Taj Malabar Front Office Manager Rupesh Sarode online and he guided us through the rest of our way until we reached the hotel at about 1100 pm.
At the hotel, we had a nice reception and we were taken to room 114, the sea-facing room in the heritage wing. We had a huge rectangular room, ornate in appearance and utilitarian in approach. A plasma TV, a writing table, WIFI, flowers for our deity worship, fruit basket, cookies, a bottle of Indian wine and the works. Newspapers and magazines of my choice. Only the Pepper, the 24 hours coffee house was open when we came down after our worship and it was just rice and Alleppey fish curry for the night. Sumptuous and delicious. But after eight hours of peaceful – they had perfected the art of pillow mantra – we had a invigorating breakfast. We had to rush to Chottanikkara on our pilgrimage. The darshan was not very great as we hardly had a few seconds of it before the gates closed.
The lunch was not very great but the dinner at the Riceboat was great. It is an exclusive seafood restaurant. WYSIWIG. You select a fish or crab and they make it to order. We had a fish fry and Alleppey fish curry. Both were great. A word about the hotel house keeping – superb. Every corner was squeaky clean. Generous replacement of cookies, water, fruits and tea sachets of your choice. The staff are extra complaint. Never grumbling even at the most eccentric requests. We had ours too. The hotel arranges an evening boat ride on a motorized boat up to Vypeen Islands. We had availed it when we stayed at the Gateway Ernakulam the last time. Moreover it was raining. So we skipped out. But the Jiva Spa was one thing we couldn't afford to miss. The spa, Jacuzzi and the pool are as great as those of any Taj hotel. The best thing about the hotel is its staff. Always with a captivating smile. Not one could we find disgruntled or indifferent. There was Jayant Das, the F&B Manager who went out of way when my wife demanded rice kheer, jaggery payas and raw milk all the three days our stay for our worship. Even the security staff guided you through your driving directions.
The checkout was smooth too. I had an American Express Gift certificate for ten grand and the rest by credit card. The staff accompanied by Jayant Das, Abhiram Menon and Rupesh Sarode saw us off at the porch. They bellboys kept our luggage in the boot and we drove off to our next destination. In all, a memorable stay. A special thanks to Mudit Mathur who led our culinary journey in the all-day restaurant, complying all the whimsical needs of my wife. A special thanks to Mathew and Prabhakar from the house keeping. A special thanks to Ms. Jasmine Luiz, the Accommodations Manager at the Taj Kovalam, who made our stay the Taj Malabar a memorable one. A big thank you tp Jagat Singh, Gateway, Ramgarh Lodge, who recommended me to tho this hotel. Like a good coffee, the memories of a Taj stay lingers in the mind till you get a better experience when some other Taj hospitality catches up with you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated on Willingdon Island with a magnificent view of Cochin harbour, Vivanta by Taj - Malabar is a fine balance between yesterday and tomorrow. Our lobby is a unique mix of chic and classic. The heritage wing, built in 1935, reflect the inherent beauty of Cochin. And the tower wing houses newly renovated guestroom suites, each a delicate mix of the classic with the contemporary. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vivanta By Taj - Malabar Hotel Kochi (Cochin)
- Taj Malabar Cochin Kochi
- Taj Malabar Cochin Hotel Kochi
- Vivanta By Taj - Malabar Kochi (Cochin), India - Kerala