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“wonderfully relaxing and a beautiful location” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Soul & Surf

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Soul & Surf
Certificate of Excellence
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“wonderfully relaxing and a beautiful location”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 15, 2013

I stayed here for a week with my wife and two young kids at the start of march and i cannot say enough good things about the place. A real chilled vibe floats round this amazing location on a cliff overlooking a golden sandy beach. It has its own steps down to the beach and the cliff is an amazing spot for sunset watching.
The food at breakfast was healthy and a perfect start for the day with a rotating menu and loads of fresh fruit and juices.
The staff couldn't do enough for you and you got the sense that they were a really good team that enjoyed the place as much as you did, we went surfing in the mornings with some of the kitchen staff before they got back for their breakfast duties.
The surfing was a great start to the day and josh, our instructor was clearly experienced and a lot more helpful with advise and tips than a lot of the surf instructors that i have paid for back in the uk.
The morning surf was pretty early to be honest but once you get in to the timetable it was manageable and did give you the best waves of the day.
My wife loved the yoga lessons whilst watching the sun go down on the roof terrace and considering she isn't a serious yoga fanatic found it all quite manageable.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay on the Varkala coast you couldn't find a better place.
Ed and Sophie were excellent hosts and gave great advise on local food, festivals and generally put them selves out for you if you were stuck for ideas of where to go and explore.
Considering we had a 2 year old and a 5 year old and the whole idea of travelling round india was quite daunting this was the perfect place to start the adventure!

Room Tip: go for a sea view and air conditioning if you are travelling with kids.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Andrew S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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213 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 14, 2013

We stayed for a week with Soul & Surf (a couple with a toddler), and it really did surpass all expectations. My expectations were already pretty high, partly due to excellent reviews here and from friends, and also because of their beautifully designed and well thought-out website.

Beautifully designed and well thought-out must be Ed and Sofie's (our hosts at Soul and Surf) thing, as that was a theme which continued throughout the whole place. Rooms were perfect, simply but stylishly furnished with love, comfortable and spotlessly clean, with nice thoughtful touches throughout. The building itself is gorgeous - grand and traditional in the colonial style, freshly painted, most rooms with balconies and air-conditioning, essential in the sweltering late March heat. I loved that there was filtered water available so you could fill up your water bottle whenever you needed to rather than having to buy yet another plastic bottle of drinking water. The gorgeous garden was the perfect place to hang out - so big you could almost get lost in it, the perfect chill out spot with hammocks and shady places to sit, a stunning sea view - and steps down the cliff to the nearly empty beach.

There is a cafe in the garden which serves up delicious breakfasts every morning (after everyone comes back from dawnie surfing - they provide milk and bananas for hungry toddlers earlier, if you ask) and snacks throughout the day. They don't serve lunch which was a good thing as otherwise we would probably have never left to explore Varkala further, which would have been a shame as this is such a lovely part of India and there are some GREAT places to eat nearby. Some evenings you can dine in the garden - one night it was a delicious barbecue, on another we watched a film on a screen set up in the garden with homemade pizza.

My partner went from being a non-surfer to regularly getting up on his board and staying up nearly every time thanks to Josh's excellent tuition (and a lot of determination), and Laura's sunset yoga sessions on the roof were the perfect end to the day for me - so we were a very happy family indeed. They aren't set up specifically for children but will go out of their way to try to make things as easy as possible for you. Our toddler was literally the happiest she has ever been in her life, marauding around the garden, pointing at dogs, butterflies and eagles and being made a fuss of by the staff.

During our stay it was temple festival season, which meant processions and elephants and fireworks all around the surrounding area. Our hosts went out of their way to make sure we knew what was happening and where to go to witness the magic, which contributed to this being an incredible holiday.

Ed and Sofie put so much love into this place and it really shows. All of the staff are lovely, friendly, patient and helpful, and it was a pleasure to be part of the Soul and Surf family for a week.

Room Tip: The really nice rooms are really, really nice. AC is very much worth it in super hot season (March o...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank BettyFlorence
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2013

we had heard about soul surf from friends and all only had great things to say but nothing really prepared us for the fantastic setting; great vibes and incredible surfing. we were travelling with a two year old who has had the holiday of a lifetime. daddy enjoyed the morning surfing - its a very early kick off of 6.30am but that soon makes sense in the heat of the kerala sun - with sublime beaches and rolling, even waves that made this the best surfing i've ever had.

mum mainly took it easy at the resort but enjoyed the yoga sessions on the roof of the beautiful hotel. the wee man got in on the act with some special yoga sessions arranged for kids which took them on a metaphorical journey through the jungle where they met all kinds of animals which required them to strike the appropriate pose.

the resort is a charming old colonial house brought up to date and european standards of cleanliness with charming breakfasts served every morning on the terrace. masala dosas were my favourite but we stuffed our faces every day before heading off to the beach or into town. worth mentioning that sleeping was easy despite the heat of the night as our room had both a fan and an a/c unit - invaluable with a jet lagged toddler.

we were lucky enough to have our trip coincide with an elephant festival which meant we got to watch all kinds of parades; night and beach ceremonies with six very spectacular elephants and thousands of locals.

all in all one of the best holidays of our life made super special by ed and sofie the best hosts you could hope for with their limitless patience; excellent taste and non-stop good ideas for what to do next. in a nutshell if you are thinking of surfing in india or indeed just visiting varkala this is the place to go.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank hassinator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2013 via mobile

We spent 3 days here and had a great time learning to surf. It is quite expensive compared to other places we stayed in India (as on a travelling budget) but it is a really unique place and the staff are brilliant, often taking guests out with them to their local haunts. The breakfast was really tasty and the rooftop yoga at sunset beautiful.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank RosalynFenwick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pal, Andorra
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 24, 2013 via mobile

After backpacking India for 3 weeks, we finished our trip with an absolute gem hidden away in Varkala. If you surf or do yoga, come here. If you are not interested in either, still come here. The cliff top setting is just breath taking at sunset. The staff are great and you feel like part of the "family" in no time. If there is one thing I no for sure, it's that I'll be back before the year is out. Thank you Soul & Surf for a magical 3 days...

Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank MaxRichard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
32 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 18, 2013

I have just returned from my stay with Soul & Surf and just wish I could have stayed longer.
It is a lovely oasis of peace and calm on the south cliff of Varkala and has a very homely and happy family feel about the place.
All the staff are very welcoming and friendly and you are constantly greeted by a smiling face.
I stayed in one of their really nice rooms and it definitely lived up to its name as it was spacious and comfortable and with a balcony looking out to the sea which just presented stunning sunsets night after night.
Both the surf and the yoga were a real pleasure and the instructors top class, friendly and very helpful.
So if you want a mix of peace and tranquillity with some fun and laughter then I would definitely recommend a stay here.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Al450
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 7, 2013

I gotta say i loved the place, the people who work there are really cool and nice, feels like family. And the combination with surf and yoga is genius. Also the location, its close to everything but still by itself. And you can watch the beautiful sunset every day! The rooms are really good to be india, the only thing i i have to say something thats not perfekt, is that the beds are a little bit hard, but hey, if you been up doing activities all day you eill have a great beauty sleep anyway!

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Cillthegrill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edward039, Owner at Soul & Surf, responded to this review, March 8, 2013
Hi Cillthegrill,
Thanks for the great review, glad you had a good stay with us.
Also, thanks for your honesty. It's been noted about the hardness of the beds, we've had another review mention it too, so we're measuring up and getting 10cm mattress toppers for all the beds to ensure a decent, hard-earned, sleep for all our guests.
Cheers,
Ed
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 Soul & Surf

Property: Soul & Surf
Address: South Cliff | Janardhanapuram, Varkala, India
Location: India > Kerala > Thiruvananthapuram District > Varkala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 93 Specialty Lodging in Varkala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Join us at our new cliff-top, sea-gazing venue in Varkala, Kerala where our team will make you as welcome and comfortable as possible. Come alone, with friends or make it a romantic getaway as a couple. We welcome guests from all over the world to surf and practice yoga in India.We love the combination of surfing and yoga, they compliment one another on both a physical and mental level which is why we try to do both every day, so we’ll drive you to the surf, give you surf lessons if you want, teach you yoga, advise you on how best to experience this wonderful part of the world and organise a few special evenings during your stay. It's really much more than your usual surf camp holiday! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Soul & Surf Varkala, Kerala

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