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“Friendliest boutique hotel”

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Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel
Ranked #183 of 210 Hotels in Kochi (Cochin)
Oxford, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Friendliest boutique hotel”
Reviewed January 3, 2013

Bearing in mind that this review is starting at 5 stars, here are few tips for those for whom it probably isn't the right place. If you want very luxurious rooms, these might not be for you: our room was simply furnished, with plain wooden floorboards, but comfortable and a good size. If you want a pristine beach with perfect views, it certainly isn't- the beach is not clean as it is constantly having weed and general wrack washing up on it. But then you are probably in the wrong country. Try Northumberland.

So why 5 stars? Well, we stayed a week in December and received quite simply the best service we have ever come across in any hotel anywhere. Service is not really the right word: we were looked after as if we were family. We arrived not in the best of health after a week in Chennai. My wife has a severely restricted diet. All the staff went out of their way to help us, to make us as comfortable as possible, to see that we had everything we needed. I am bewildered by some of the comments by some reviewers- although perhaps I should not be, given the rudeness shown by certain guests towards staff during our stay. I could see the dismay on the faces of staff, and if some guests thought the service fell short, perhaps they brought it on themselves. It is true that some staff had very limited English, and some of the waiters were being trained. But they were all willing and friendly- I can't fault anyone on that score- and everyone has to learn at some time. Everyone asked after us.

If I were to single out any individuals for thanks, I should mention Chef Jeya Paul, who undertook to cook individually for my wife, catering for her coeliac-plus-other-restrictions diet, and produced the plain and simple meals she needed which still managed to taste great. He also took control of the wretched business of ensuring the half-cooked gluten-free bread rolls were toasted in an appropriate environment. Coeliacs (all right- Celiacs to some of you) will know what a pain it usually is trying to get fed away from home. Here they were more than willing to do what was necessary to get it right.

I must also mention Mr Suraj Rajkumar, Vice President, who was unfailingly courteous, friendly, knowledgeable, and (when other duties permitted) a delightful conversationalist. He also waived the half-day's charge due because we needed the room until 11pm (checkout having been at midday), for which we were particularly grateful.

Other aspects of the hotel for comment:
The en-suite bathroom was spacious, clean and well equipped, with a good shower and plentiful hot water (never an issue).
Air-con worked fine throughout.
I found the bistro very good (when able to make use of it)- excellent Keralan curries in particular.
The swimming pool was in good order (although the pool bar wasn't functioning, this was hardly a problem as staff brought you anything you wanted anyway). The water was clean, and the inevitable leaves fallen onto it were skimmed off within 10 minutes on request. Some of the paintwork is perhaps looking a bit tired.
I can't comment on the fitness centre as I didn't use it.
I can recommend the foot and head massages.
And while the beach might not be on a par with something out of the Bahamas, and the view out to sea does include a refinery, you shouldn't underestimate just how pleasant and relaxing it is to sit out on the comfortable sofas in front of the building, shaded by umbrellas and trees, being brought drinks while you watch the sun sinking into the sea. The refinery is to the right, and easily ignored anyway.
They put out mosquito-repelling coils at sunset, but use of bugspray is plain common sense. We stank of deet, but didn't get bitten except when we forgot.

Location of the hotel is well away from the town centre, in a quiet location. It's a 10-minute walk to shops, after spending 5 minutes waving away offers of lifts from the ubiquitous tuk-tuks, who all want you to 'do them a favour' by letting them take you to various shops for which they get a reward (and you get to spend a great deal if you don't watch it). There's plenty of wildlife to entertain if interested- kites and eagles overhead, a kingfisher, a bittern and long-billed sunbird a few yards away.

There is live music some nights- a local band played at the weekend, but, unlike the Taj we stayed in where the disco went on at full volume until 02.30, here it finished at 10.30 sharp. There was also a fusion band one evening who were quite remarkable.

We were given a lovely present when we left, and we left feeling more like family than guests.

In summary, this is a quiet, elegant hotel in pleasant gardens staffed by people who are clearly working hard to provide their guests with the highest standards of service and care. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nickturnill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Zürich
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2012 via mobile

The only warm welcome was from a room full of moskitos. Very basic room and surroundings.

Reception was not able to do anything. We had to ask everything 4times.

For the approx 340$ we pay per night this is absolutely way below whats worth that much money. Offcourse we are in december but just the 150$ normal price is too much.

It is clean but the overall standart is just poor.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank wiroe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berry
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2012 via mobile

Lovely outlook and access to the beach in the morning.Nice sunsets and we got to know the kitchen staff really well. they cooked us a special meal and the rooms were memorable and spacious.
Limited fare for breakfast and limited Wi fi and TV. Caring manager , who personally helped one of our unwell children.
Nice pool and access to Fort Cochin. Ready for an upgrade in some areas. lovely bathroom facilities.
Once again in India, paid for an extra person but only received rudimentary bedding.
Thanks for a warm friendly stay

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank Neil D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vickram99, Owner at Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, responded to this review, December 29, 2012
Dear Guest,

We are extremely pleased that your stay at the old lighthouse bristow hotel was meeting your expectations. We are also delighted that our chef has prepared some lovely food that you enjoyed at our spectactular beach frontage Al Fresco dining areas like the Bristows Bistro and Lighthouse Lounge. We did not have TV access as we wanted our guests to truly enjoy their holiday. We have provided cable TV and hence you do need to really browse through the channels to get to the one of your choice. The Wifi is a challenge as we are close to the sea and we have added amplifiers to attenuate any noise. We do hope this will serve you and our future guests well. We have tried our best to make your stay memorable and we do hope that we exceed your expectation. If you do feel appropriate please do recommend our hotel to your friends and family. We would be delighted in helping them for their travel plans in Kerala.

Thanks & Best Regards,
Vikram Ghorpade
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed December 20, 2012

It was a nice impression when we checked in, but the reality set in once we arrived in our room. The room was hot and dirty. It seems that no one had lived in this room for a long time. They checked us in this large room and they called it a Suite, but it is just a large room with lots of black ants crawling on the bathroom counter. I got lots of mosquito bites while sleeping at night. The air conditioner was loud and we had to wear ear plugs. The linen was dirty and we spotted lots of dead bugs, we also found a bug crawling inside our bed sheets when we checked in. Thankfully, It wasn't bed bugs!

The restaurant staff can't really speak english and a simple order had to be repeated several times. We found the meals to be average. Upon our check out, the staff was emotionless and didn't care one way or the other. The funny part was I had to borrow the extension cord from the reception during our visit and they had asked me to bring back the cord from the room. I told them to do it themselves.

We carried several ants and bugs with us and we had to l washed and dry cleaned most our clothes in our next hotel. We had over 40 bites in one night of stay and continued to have several more in our next step. Horrific is too kind of word, downright pissed is more like it.

Room Tip: Don't even try!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank B_Lam0910
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vickram99, Owner at Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, responded to this review, December 27, 2012
Dear Guest,

We are extremely honored by you choosing to stay with us. We are also more disappointed with the issues faced by you regarding the ants. I personally have stayed in the same room as a surprise check two days after your review and have rectified the problems personally. We had outsourced our housekeeping agency that had basically fallen of the cliff in terms of the service and cleanliness. We have terminated the services of the agency concerned. In this world of outsourcing this was nasty surprise that none of us wanted. We want to make sure your impression becomes a realty in terms of service which it has become after the problems have been rectified. We genuinely care.

Thanks & Best Regards,
Vikram Ghorpade
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed December 16, 2012

This is by far the best place in Fort Kochi. Amazing views of the restored Lighthouse mast with great write up about the history. The swimming pool with the bar and the surrounding gazebos make for an absolute tranquil setting.Your are overlooking about 500 ft of water frontage and you are literally 100 ft away. I did not want to leave the place. It was that good. The service is done with a lot of sincerity though the staff lack total command of English. The commitment is amazing. They went the extra mile in guiding us through the walking tour which they have in the hotel. In fact the staff personally accompanied us to the nearest ATM. Service at the restaurants and the indoor lounge overlooking the sea is prompt but at the same time people do not bother you unless you request so. The room quality is superior, clean sheets, good bathrooms that is extremely important for me. The pool villa where we stayed had a four poster bed with elegant arrangements that did not hit you in the face. Extremely classy and luxurious. When I did look at the reviews at the hotel and I did do a physical inspection of the properties in the area, this is one hotel which is definitely that is definitely a hidden gem.. I really do hope it stays that way before it becomes really expensive like its peers. The icing on the cake is the sunset which is something to die for followed by a wonderful evening of white wine and great sea food that was prepared live for us at the "tandoor" in the Bistro. We definitely are coming back.

Room Tip: Please try to get the poolside villas or the suites they have a great view of the ocean
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank victorfern F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vickram99, Owner at Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, responded to this review, December 27, 2012
Dear Guest,

We are extremely pleased that the hotel lived up to its expectation in terms of service and recaptured the heritage character that truly makes it one of Fort Kochi's only Heritage Boutique Hotel by the beach. I genuinely hoped that you enjoyed our complimentary foot masage on check in. We also truly enjoy hosting people at our Al Fresco dining facility Bristows Bistro. We hope that you recommend our hotel to your friends and family. Please do call on us for anything.

Thanks & Best Regards,
Vikram Ghorpade
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed December 15, 2012

We booked this hotel for our final night in Kerala as our visit coincided with their first Biennale and all the other hotels I tried were booked. This should have been the first sign. Anyway, we were impressed when our taxi first pulled into the driveway. It is a lovely colonial building almost directly on the sea. We were checked in and went to the room. I've never seen such old bedsheets and towels even in India. The sheets had old blood and other stains on them and the extra bed we requested for our son had mold or rust stains near the foot of the bed. The room was also infested with mozzies, and they seemed to come from the bathroom. As we spent a lot of the evening killing mozzies, we found out how the sheets became so stained with blood. The bath room was alright otherwise. Since we were there for one night only, we didn't want to make a big fuss.
What really spoilt our experience there though, were the staff. Except for the really nice lady who checked us in, we felt that everyone else just wanted to rip us off. They didn't have a buffet for breakfast so we just ordered stuff off the menu. As we didn't have the energy for a proper dinner the night before, we ordered quite a bit for us 2 adults, whereas my kid just had a cereal with milk. However we were made to feel like we were ordering too much by the waiter, and he tried to compensate by selling us a bottle of water at 66 rupees when my son asked for a glass of water. It normally costs 15 rupees. To be fair, when we complained about this, they waived the cost of the bottle, but it already left a bad taste in our mouth. The staff also didn't speak much english.
Also we requested for a later checkout as our flight was almost at midnight. We wanted to pay for half a day so that we could leave the room at about 8pm. They wanted to work this off the rack-rate without telling us first. I presumed that we would be getting the same rate as when I booked online. The difference was 1000 rupees (i expected to pay 3000 while they wanted 4000). It is a good thing we checked in the morning otherwise they would have just charged us. The staff who handled our request came up with every permutation of calculation to show why we had to pay this amount (some of them pretty ridiculous, like we have an extra bed in the room--they could have just taken it away). They only relented when we wanted to move to another hotel (3000 rupees is a full-day rate at many other places.)
So there you have it, it's sad that such a lovely property is so poorly managed and so obviously cutting corners.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 7. Quite basic for the price.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank bonbuben
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vickram99, Owner at Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, responded to this review, December 27, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for our review. I have been given to understand that we went to great lengths to accommodate you. You wanted to stay till late in the evening and early parts of the night and did not want to be charged. You also did not want to be charged for the extra bed. I believe you were not charged for the extra bed as a special courtesy. I sincerely apologize if our staff have not been courteous with you but I hope you understand that we are a business that does not cut corners, but really goes the extra mile to work with you, unfortunately I apologize if we have not met your standards and hope to meet them the next time you visit Fort Kochi. We definitely do compare as a very good value for money compared to our peers who are in the same vicinity when compared to location, services, heritage value- being a part of a historical building with the lighthouse mast, a full size swimming pool, amazing restaurants with one of the widest selections on the menu.

Thanks & Best Regards.
Vikram Ghorpade
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed November 26, 2012

The only hotel located right at the beachfront in Fort Kochi, this property charges you for the location but is very nice and comfortable. Staff were friendly and helpful. There was confusion about our airport pick-up, which may or may not have been their fault, or our travel agent's, not sure. The food is delicious. Pool was a welcome respite during the hot parts of the day. The sunset views are amazing. Short walk to the Chinese fishing nets, Kerala Kathakali Center, ATM, Dutch cemetary, and more. Service at the restaurant was slow compared to Western standards, but good by Indian standards. Good selection.

Room Tip: Gardenview rooms are across a hall from the ocean views.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gooserino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vickram99, Owner at Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, responded to this review, December 27, 2012
Dear Guest,

We are deeply honored that you chose to stay at our hotel which is the only heritage boutique hotel by the beach. We thank you for your understanding regarding the service. Our staff really try their best to make your stay that more comfortable. We apologize if there have been delays that would have been inadvertent and not intentional. We do have the heritage style bells that could be used to expedite service I apologize if you were not made aware of this. Our property definitely boasts of about 500 ft beach frontage, true heritage value housing the lighthouse mast and being the bungalow of founder of Cochin port trust Sir Robert Bristow, one of the largest swimming pools in Fort Kochi and three stunning dining areas. We do try our best to provide a value for money and we price very competitively to our peers . Please do recommend us to friends and family if you deem appropriate.

Thanks & Best Regards,
Vikram Ghorpade
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel

Property: Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel
Address: Beach Road, | next to INS Dronacharya, Kochi (Cochin) 682001, India
Location: India > Kerala > Kochi (Cochin)
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#19 On the Beach Hotel in Kochi (Cochin)
#35 Luxury Hotel in Kochi (Cochin)
#53 Spa Hotel in Kochi (Cochin)
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chic luxury heritage boutique hotel in Fort Kochi. This is the latest treasure that has been created with great outdoor dining by the sea, one of the only spas that offers both western and traditional treatments in the area, and an infinity pool with great views of the sea and the English style garden. The indoor lounge is fantastic for a relaxing evening. The lighthouse bears witness to many a ship passing by and the ships that sail by seem to walk into the property. The hotel was the residence of the founder of Cochin port Sir Robert Bristow and has been receiving great reviews from all its guests. The hotel is a true sanctuary to relax and rediscover yourself. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel Kochi (Cochin), India - Kerala

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