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“Pathetic Services”

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Thekkady - Woods n Spice, A Sterling Holidays Resort
Ranked #20 of 43 Hotels in Thekkady
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 3, 2012

1) The totally wooden room concept was nice
2) Food was OK to Good

But the services are really poor:

1) No hot water comes, even after requesting multiple times, they finally (after 1 hour) agreed that there is some problem with boiler and said they will send hot water in buckets; that never came. I finally took facewash and then went to reception, I came to know that the person who took all my calls shift ended at 9 AM .....
2) During check out, nobody came to take the luggage after waiting for 10 minutes...I had to take my luggage by myself.

I was feeling headache when I left this hotel....spoiled my holiday mood..

I should have read comments here before travelling.... because I thought hot water problem was sometime one off case....but other people have also complained about the same.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ranjan_NCR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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380 - 386 of 397 reviews

Reviewed February 19, 2012

Being a member of the Sterling group, we stayed at the Sterling property for 2 nights during our trip to Thekkady recently. Although, the reviews presented here were not very encouraging, we still thought of going ahead with our plan. And I would term my stay as quite a nice one, but there are a lot of ways in which they could improve.

Let's loook at the pros once: 1. Not a very big property, but once you enter it, its cute in its own way with cottages and rooms on either side with the swimming pool in the middle. 2. The staff at the recption was excellent and made sure that all our requests were promptly answered. On learning that it was a trip for our first anniversary, they made splendid decoration in ourr room which was very touching. 3. The room with wooden furniture was neatly done and had an old world charm about it. 4. The travel desk was helpful and candidly resolved all our queries on places to visit etc. as per our interests.

Now the cons: 1. The biggest let down was the bathroom. Although the room was nice, the bathroom looked straight from some old "Dharamshala" due to its very basic fittings and decor. The taps had a mind of their own and hot/cold water came as per its own whims and fancies. 2. There was no A/C in the which was ok for us in Februrary, but will definitely be a problem in the hotter months of April/May. 3. Although, a staff was constantly working on the pool, it looked mostly unusable due to the constant leaves and twigs falling on it. 4. I personally found the use of internet very costly, so didnt try it.

Neutral points: Food was ok, though service in restaurant was very slow. In comparison, the room service was much faster.

As i said...In the end, quite a decent stay, but there are also some ares of improvement.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Amit K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 11, 2012

We went to this resort for lunch and had a look at the property. This is a pretty small place with small rooms. The visit to the restaurant was the biggest mistake. It does not have more than half the items on the menu to serve. The food quality is poor and service is like a slow moving elephant.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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Thank Harshkrg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2012

One of the worst hotel experience I had. The service is horrible. The staff are least bothered about what the customers want. They were playing volleyball in the swimming pool meant for customers use in the afternoon. There were monkeys everywhere. One even entered my room. The staff don't care to shoo them off. Leaves floating in swimming pool. Restaurant was dark and one had to negotiate a group of 10 monkeys to get to it. No AC. Can't open the windows. Ceiling fan was ineffective. Mosquitoes at night in room. Suite room is small.

Overall the worst Sterling property I have stayed in. Avoid. There are cheaper hotels with much better amenities available in Thekkady. Choose those.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank VAman_80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 25, 2011

We recently stayed at Sterling Resorts in Thekkady (20th-23rd Dec, 2011) and had one of the worst experiences we’ve ever had staying at a hotel either in India or elsewhere. I would give this resort a rating of zero stars if I could but for the presence of very nice, personable staff who tried tirelessly and with a game face, but with seemingly both hands tied behind their backs. The resort itself has the potential to be so much more especially given that it is located in a very special site in Thekkady. However, I can’t imagine this happening unless the poor management team (starting with the manager on site, Mr. Vinay Chathurvedi, and his presumed higher up, Mr. Imran Khan – more on them later) is replaced with someone with a modicum of competence and if the staff received the training that they deserve. This resort was a complete rip off in my view and if you want to share in our experience, read on.

To start with, if we had paid 50 USD per night (in retrospect, an appropriate sum in my opinion), I/we would have taken the lumps and rolled especially cause the rest of our trip to Thekkady was fantastic (a boat ride and viewing animals, a superb Kalaripayattu demonstration, and an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime hike in elephant country – the one thing that Sterling Resorts got right perhaps because it was outsourced!). Instead, we were pre-paid to stay there for 3 nights at ~160 USD a night and had two rooms (for us and our family friends visiting us in India from Seattle - a first time experience for them).

We got to the resort to find the outside structure impressive, but upon check in, we were told that our card reader does not work (due to some technical troubles on their end). Their ‘world-class’ (Mr. Vinay appears to think of his organization thus) solution was to not inform guests prior to arrival but to drill holes in the wooden doors and have someone running around with a screwdriver, which they then worked through the holes to let you in to the rooms! When I was more than a bit nonplussed and suggested that this was a serious security and privacy issue (and that I could get a screw driver in town and do the same), the manager assured me that they have someone doing rounds 24/7 and this was not an issue (when I requested help getting into my room late a couple of nights into our stay, the screwdriver guy barged into a neighbor’s two doors down, despite me waiting right in front of mine!).

We walk into the room allotted to us on the first day and were struck by the strong smell of mildew (my allergies flared horribly each of our nights there) and the small size of the room itself. On getting into bed, we noticed that the sheets only covered half the bed – when we tried to call, we then realized that our phone does not work. When we ultimately reached the in-house ‘junior’ manager, he was clearly embarrassed and claimed that this was the first time in his life that he had seen a bed made up this way and had the sheets changed rapidly (good on him, but his second time was shortly to follow in my friends room!). Apparently, the political issue at the Tamilnadu-Kerala border was wrecking havoc on the resorts laundry and was the reason for the ‘bed’ ineptitude as well as us going days on one towel per room! However, I was quite upset with this explanation because I had emailed their contact person (Mr. Imran Khan) 4 days prior to our trip specifically asking if there was any problem related to the ongoing political troubles and got no response to my query from him. Perhaps I should have suspected the coming lack of professionalism/incompetence/neglect or was it simply fraud (class action anyone?).

Furthermore, hot water was unavailable on demand and when we needed it and this was again a big production to have it turned on (one would think that the lack of hot water would be noticed with minor levels of competence). Similarly, getting someone to supposedly manually switch on the generator when the power went off also required complaining (power failure is a common occurrence in these parts that they should at least be prepared for!). While the food was good (not excellent or spectacular as pretty much everything else we tried in Thekkady), the service was snail paced and haphazard. My buddy goes for a swim in the pool and almost cuts his feet getting out cause the pool ladder (one of two ladders) was broken in multiple places. When we told the management about this being a serious concern esp. cause we had three kids in tow, they were again apologetic (as they were every time our list of complaints grew longer). When I complained to the presumably ‘senior’ manager, Mr Vinay, about all of these, he was bizarrely patronizing suggesting that “You can feel this way” to which my response was “Don’t tell me how I should feel”. In an ode to incompetence, NOTHING really was done about any of our problems however (the sheets continued to be half size, one towel per room, and they didn’t even bother taping up/removing the broken plastic steps in the pool). And when the entire plug socket came off the wall when I tried to get my cell phone cord out, I simply had to just laugh about it (to their credit, they screwed it in properly the next morning despite me not complaining for once).

The night before our incredible hike, my buddy and I were both sitting on a pool side hammock, having a quite drink talking about our hike and laughing about the resort when the hammock string broke sending us crashing onto the tiles on the pool deck and my scotch onto my friends shirt. We were incredibly fortunate to have not cracked our heads or injured/cut ourselves up (the glasses we were holding survived luckily). Accidents happen but this was a disaster waiting to go down, given that only one end of the hammock was tied on with anything resembling appropriate material. This was a last straw and I was livid at this time and heaping curses on the management team and the owners of this resort and demanding to see the manager, Mr. Vinay, and telling the staff that they were being sold down the river. Mr. Vinay shows up fulminating and acts like I am the problem for abusing his staff, accusing me of being drunk (despite my wasted single malt), claiming that he’s spoken to the esteemed Imran Khan and Makemytrip.com about his problem guest (me) and that I should know that hammocks only take one person’s weight and that we shouldn’t be drinking in public on their property and that he’s going to check me out right away (at 10 pm on the second of our three night stay with my kids and my friends kids fast asleep, and with me having prepaid ~1k USD for two rooms for three nights). I clarified that my ‘praises’ were not directed at his staff, but rather directly at him, Mr. Imran and the owners of the place, who I now believe are perpetrating a fraud. Furthermore, I mentioned to him that I had seen a couple lying on a neighboring hammock earlier in the day as had my wife and two children on the hammock that deposited my buddy and I on to the poolside tiles (yet none of the staff present had enumerated the hammock rules as spewed by Mr Vinay to any of us). I also mentioned that he should put up signs re drinking (every other private property that we went to in Thekkady had no such restrictions) and signs clarifying that the hammocks in his property were only for single person use (and I presume, the sign would also say that if your weight is more that 250 lbs, don’t bother!). My good cop friend ultimately was able to calm things down (also involving a Bollywood style drama of the resort staff lining up beside their puffed up manager and the drivers who accompanied us and their colleagues coming to our aid, livid at the suggestion that a guest was being treated as such in India and including the indignity of being asked to pay for the hammock!). Upon prodding by my friend, Mr. Vinay grudingly decides to offer us a free extra dinner (a 30 USD compensation for 7 people that we never took up) and a free jeep ride (50 USD).

At this point, I/we just decided that we can’t let the incompetency of this man and his higher ups get in the way on enjoying the rest of our stay in Thekkady, although we were bracing for the trip into the forest arranged by this resorts. That, however, turned out to be amazing thanks to our ‘in the back ground’, incredibly keen eyed and knowledgable driver (Shahul Hameed, Jungle Jeep Safari) and the guide he hooked us up with (Mr. Kannan, second name unknown). As did the Kalaripayattu (they have a center in Thekkady/Kumily town) and food/ambiance/experience (including Chrissy’s Café, where we should have stayed for ½ the price of Sterling for a way better experience, and possibly, every other place in Thekkady).

What we would have expected is a pre-journey missive from the resort to guests regarding the problems they were facing to due political issues (e.g., bed sheets and linen; especially considering I emailed prior hand) and a discount for pre-paid travelers of up to 50% (given their serious safety and privacy issues with the key cards and screw drivers – seriously!? never before experienced in all kinds of travel context in all kinds of locales). If the management of the resort had even a modicum of decency, ethics, professionalism, competency (…fill in the blanks), they would have pre-warned and prepared guests coming into the resort. Needless to say, this is the first and last time we would waste our money and more importantly, trust our time and experiences into the hands of Sterling Resorts in general and folks like Mr. Vinay and Imran, in particular.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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6  Thank Sundar S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2011

excellent place with jungle village with tree house and all nice surrounding

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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Thank brijeshct
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2011

We were expecting this resort to be the worst resort during our whole trip to Kerala. Considering the reviews available, we did not had much hope. The resort turned out to be very nice & cosy. The rooms were badly lit, but were beautiful and gave a feeling of living in a tree house. The bathrooms were big disappointment as we didnt get hot water most of the time. Food was okay. Overall the resort is very good considering the price but needs little improvements.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank Ashish D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Thekkady - Woods n Spice, A Sterling Holidays Resort

Address: Near Amalambika School, Mangaladevi Road | Idukki District, Thekkady 685509, India
Location: India > Kerala > Idukki District > Thekkady
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#12 Spa Hotel in Thekkady
Price Range: $66 - $686 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Thekkady - Woods n Spice, A Sterling Holidays Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 51
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Woods n Spice is the latest addition to the Sterling Holidays resort network. An Associate Resort in the Sterling Holidays chain, Woods n Spice is located near the perimeter of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. It is designed to blend into the natural beauty of Thekkady's famed evergreen forests and rolling grasslands and allows guests to truly experience living in the wilderness. ... more   less 
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Thekkady - Woods n Spice, A Sterling Holidays Resort Kerala

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