The problem with the Taj group of hotels is that they have set a such a high standard for themselves that people tend to expect a exceptional quality of service from them...... at least I do !! I guess it has something to do with the Taj branding their Vivantas and Palaces as ultra luxe or thereabouts. (And hence justifying those kind of prices)
Vivanta by Taj Malabar probably has the best location for a hotel in Kochi, right besides the shipping channel on Willingdon Island. What this means is, amazing views of the Kochi port, the ever green Chinese fishing nets, local fishermen, fabulous sunrises and sunsets. And the occasional sightings of harbor porpoises, if you are into that sort of things.
The service at Taj Malabar, as in all other Tajs is simply outstanding. The staff goes out of the way to be of service to you and they do so with a smile. You really do feel well treated here. The little touches they do, like putting bottles of drinking water in your car before you head out for a long journey and the entire lobby staff coming out to wave goodbye as you checkout of the hotel are well thought of gestures that tend to leave a lasting impression on you.
So how come only 3 stars? Well then now on to the not so good parts of my stay. Once again these are minor faults that come up, simply because this is the Taj we are talking about and I would have overlooked these if it were some other hotel.
Firstly. it took me nearly half an hour to check in, and this after having a confirmed reservation, then calling in the morning, then again thirty minutes before coming in too. The check in staff just seemed to go on and on. And this is an issue I have experienced with other Vivantas too. So I wonder if it’s a glitch in the system. Granted, to while away my time they gave me marigold garland and a welcome drink, but being an Indian, I’ve been there done that and bought the t-shirt……when I was 6 years old. After driving for 5 hrs I just want to check into my room ok.
And then to make up for making me wait for so long they say they have upgraded my room, which I thought was a nice touch….until I found out that my room with a view, had and un obstructive view of the car park!! So I miss out on the main USP of the hotel during my stay which was fantastic views of the port and sea beyond!!
My second gripe about the place was that the food was way beyond par. I had the buffet breakfast on three days and it was standard 5 star hotel fare. There was nothing there that made you want to go for seconds. And I have had tastier food in smaller hotels. Even the specialty Kerala Sea food restaurant Rice Bowl failed to impress. Granted that ambience wise it is rather suave, the food sadly didn’t match up. Just to try how good they were, I asked for a Kerala fish curry and rice (The litmus test for a Kerala sea food dish) and, though the fish was reasonable fresh, the curry was all wrong. In fact I had serious doubts whether they had made it specifically for me or grabbed a plate of fish curry from the buffet lunch that was going on in the adjoining restaurant.
So to sum it up Taj Malabar is a great place to stay but you are paying a price to stay there. So when you expect everything to be 100% spot on they were only 78.9% on the mark !!
- 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