My girlfriend and I stayed at the Isola Di Cocco for a week at the end of March, travelling with Manos (Going Places) on a last minute holiday which was a very good deal. It was our first time in India, although we are both very frequent travellers for both work and leisure.
We arrived fairly fresh after a good flight into Trivandrum airport and braved the heat and the rich aromas(!) as we moved our luggage the 100 yds or so to where the coaches were waiting for us. Everything was well organised and our rep Paul was waiting for us on the bus. The transfer was around 45 mins and was most memorable for Paul's introduction to India which did the sensible job of setting our expectation about the environment, the people, the money, and (particularly for my other half) the potential for small crawly things to introduce themselves to your various bodily appendages as some point during the stay! As it turned out we didn't have a single experience of anything with more than two legs which was a pity as I was hoping to get a photo of something to take back to work with me ;-)
The Isola Di Cocco is a lovely place, and exactly as the other reviewers had described. We were hoping for a relaxing and quiet holiday, and that is exactly what we got. The pool was superb and the grounds were very well kept, clean, and well presented. The staff were delightful, but you have to keep in mind the fact that they sometimes do not completely understand you if you have a pronounced accent or speak quickly; but try speaking their language - it isn't easy. If they bring you the wrong drink or confuse the order a little then I would just go with it, you never know you may find a new tipple you like. The hotel does not encourage tipping the staff directly, but there is a tip box in reception and another in the restaurant if you want to make a contribution.
In common with the last reviewer, we also stayed in a heritage room. These were absolutely beautiful, built in a similar style to the Wooden Palace to promote a natural air flow through the structure, with the much commented on outdoor bathroom. Very odd to start with, and a little disconcerting for my girlfriend who was expecting to find a six inch killer spider waiting for her on every trip outside, but again we saw nothing in terms of unwanted crawling things and we both grew to really like the outdoor room. Mind you, not sure it would work back in South London though.
Our plan was to try to break the world record for doing nothing all week, with the essential ingredients being the Pool, a sunbed, a parasol, and cold drinks. Mission accomplished in part, but be aware that on some days during the week it was tricky getting a sunbed after breakfast in the morning. You also have the choice of using the hammocks down on the edge of the lagoon by the boat jetty. This area is sandy and beach like; it is less busy and a lovely spot to relax and listen to the boats go by or the water lapping against the edge of the jetty.
On day three we decided to venture outside of the confines of the resort and go into Kovalam - there were plenty of taxi's outside the main gate which would take you there for around 600 - 700 rs, and this price includes the driver waiting for you for a few hours and bringing you back to the hotel. I must that say we felt rather guilty knowing that someone was waiting around for us whilst we got some sun or ate at one of the restaurants on Lighthouse beach, but the driver was insistent that this was normal practice. We did however have one afternoon and evening planned at Kovalam when we weren't sure what time we would be returning so secured a one way price and got a taxi back to the hotel at ten o clock ish from Hawa beach with no problems.
On one trip to Kovalam we went to the Leela Hotel on the hilltop. We walked in and ordered some drinks and took in some of the great views, and enjoyed some of the luxury 5 star feel the hotel has. From there we walked down to Lobster pot beach which was our favourite haunt - the lads there were great at sorting you out with a sunbed and looked after you on the beach for drinks. Watch out for the sea though as it can be very rough, but this also means exhilarating if you brave the shallows and let the surf break over you - just be very aware of the strong currents. If you are not brave enough to venture out into the water yourself then try getting a spot on the balcony of Fusion restaurant to watch the locals playing in the surf on Hawa beach. It seemed to be a local sport with sometimes 50 or more people all crowded around at the water line during the late afternoon. Restaurant wise our favourite had to be Fusion, a lovely balcony and a good feel for cleanliness and quality of food. If you are around in the afternoon then you can pop in to have a drink and maybe book one of the tables right on the edge of the balcony overlooking the beach.
On day five we decided to venture further south towards Lands End. On the way we dropped in to the Wooden Palace, which actually turned out to be the highlight of our day out. I found fascinating learning about the rich history and discovering more about the building itself. Interestingly we saw a lot in common with our heritage cottage at the Isola Di Cocco - the outdoor bathroom and the airflow through the structure due to its design, providing a natural air conditioning. Oh dear, I've just read the last sentence again and realised that I sound just like my dad. Damn, time is catching me up - bring back the Ibiza days someone please. Seriously, we would both recommend this as a place to visit.
With hindsight we would skip Lands End - The Ghandi memorial is thought provoking (particularly in terms of the Tsunami) and as our rep said, it is very like Land End in the UK - it does what is says on the tin but in terms of something spiritual or special we didn't feel the earth move so to speak. The architecture of the Hindu temple was also breathtaking, but be aware that this opens at 4pm so get your timing right as it is a little hot to be hanging around! (We speak from personal experience). We didn't have time to do the backwater trip but will do so on our next visit for sure.
Other than that, we agree with most of the other reviewers opinions below. We preferred Stephens floating restaurant to the Kurakakki (sp?) which felt more like a café experience. Both have good food though and do a lunch and dinner service for most of the week, but more of our money found it's way into Stephens pocket. They serve Indian wine at both restaurants which is quite drinkable, and of course a fantastic array of food and other drinks. Neither myself or my other half suffered any ill effects during our stay, but caveat emptor and all that! Take a torch with you to signal the restaurant if there isn't a boat there - they are along about 200 yds on the left as you stand on the edge of the jetty - and also for signalling the boats. There seemed to be one boat for Stephens and one boat for Kurakakki.
I wouldn't be tempted to eat at the Isola's seafood restaurant located on the jetty - again the staff were delightful but we felt Stephens offered significantly better value and dare we say it better food. We feel bad for saying that because the staff were so nice which was the main reason we gave it a try. Most of the other food at the hotel was buffet style, although you could order a la carte.
As for cars and driving, if you are a very nervous passenger then you may not feel comfortable using the cabs or tut tuts, particularly if you want to go take the 30 min or so trip into Kovolam. We were both OK and to be fair we didn’t see a single accident whilst we were there, but being a passenger in the back of an air conditioned Austin Ambassador can be quite an eye opener. They drive at low speeds (10-25 mph) on the same side of the road as us (well mostly anyway) but there is a lot of traffic and it seems the main rule is that the bigger your vehicle is - the more you have right of way. We enjoyed the experience on the whole, so no complaints from us.
Lastly, I wanted to mention Hari the tailor at the hotel entrance. Hari's haute couture empire may at first glance appear somewhat agricultural, but do not be deceived. I trusted the earlier reviews about Hari's work and took a favourite suit in to be copied. He did a great job and I got two new suits back which I am very pleased with and at a great price.
We very much enjoyed the hotel and the holiday, thanks to all the Isola staff for making the trip so memorable.
Mike and Kate
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Isola Di Cocco ( Island of Coconuts ) is a Complete resort by all means with its exotic location ( a breath taking combo of Backwater & Beach), it has one of the best Ayurvedic Center offering all Panchakarma Packages , Yoga & Meditation on a tranquil & peaceful location. COME & REJUVENATE with us. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Tingo, MakeMyTrip, Venere and Otel so you can book your Isola Di Cocco Beach Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Isola Di Cocco Beach Hotel Puvar
- Isola Di Cocco Beach Resort Kerala/Puvar, India