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All reviewsfresh flowersevery morningnorth cliffdelightful gardenbeautifully presented and delicioushis teamprivate balconyroof terraceplace to stayarabian seatop floorpalm treeshomemade breadboutique hotelfew minutes walkstayed longerayurvedic massage
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Reviewed January 1, 2010

I did do a lot of research before traveling to Varkala and was already recommended Villa Jacaranda by other Indian Hotel owners in Goa, India earlier may 2009.
I was happy with what was recommended and loved the attentive,caring nature Ajay and his team gave me. Nothing was a problem and all my questions were answered thoroughly making my stay in the area much easier and restful...you dont always get a straight answer in India or a sometimes " faux" answer to questions when asked.
The room was pleasant, quite and no air conditioning is needed, it has direct sea breezes and a wonderful cooling garden that shades most areas. Loved the detailed bowls of water placed around the Villa with flower petal patterns. The breakfast was healthy and delicious, I had read another review which stated no Indian breakfast was offered? I actually asked for a southern Indian breakfast and it was no problem, actually I recommend it. I can always get a western beakfast but never a southern Indian breakfast back home.
Easy acess Wifi was handy as I own a business and "easy" internet access is crucial to it.
The taxi and driver that was arranged for me I traveled with up to Cochin and further, I did pay a little more but the vechile was "modern", very comfortable unlike the characteristic "older" vechiles of the area, which are no where near as comfortable on longer road trips. The driver was at my beck'n'call when ever I needed to go somewhere, which made my trip SO easy.
Beach access was easy....all acomodation in Varkala is placed on top of cliffs, so a walk down and back up is always needed when staying in this town, but its totally worth it!
Ask Ajay on his recommendations for local shops selling Indian arts and crafts as you will get better priced goods (I did shop around to compare).
Its not the cheapest placet stay in Varkala but you only get what you pay for...India can be hard traveling so staying here helped me relax so much. I just didn't experience the same thing anywhere else, I would say its because Ajay has lived abroad for many years and understand westerners very well.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled solo
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2  Thank liddlesneak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2009

We chose Villa Jacaranda after reading the reviews on TripAdvisor and in Lonely Planet. We were so glad we stayed here. The guest house is located in a quiet part of Varkala, ten minute walk to the beach and about 10 min to the main strip, it is up a hill from the beach but anyone who complains about this should probably hit the gym a little harder, it is not bad. We stayed in room two which had a view of the Arabian Sea and was nice and breezy. Other reviewers mentioned that there was not air conditioning but it is truly not needed. The location on the top of the cliffs gives it constant sea breezes, we actually switched off our ceiling fan because it was too cold. Every morning breakfast was served on our varanda. We started with fresh banana shakes, delicious home made bread and eggs cooked to order. Our host, Ajay, was a pleasure to talk to and he had great recommendations of things to see and do. Not if but when we return to Varkala, we will absolutely stay there again. Some of the other reviews mention that there are more affordable options closer to town but from what we saw nothing compared to Villa Jacaranda and the hospitality of the staff. Ajay keeps lovely gardens carefully manicured, there is free wifi available and he made us welcome even after we checked out and were waiting for our train providing us with shower facilities before we headed out.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Gordon S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2009

After travelling in Kerala for 10 days I was so happy to end my trip with a few days in Villa Jacaranda. It wasn't my first stay. I seem to come back to this little slice of quiet and beauty time after time. Ajay, the owner has now become like a friend and he is so helpful arranging massages for me, suggesting restaurants and also helping me to find places to shop in town. His staff are friendly and always willing to bring tea, lime water or whatever else I might ask for. I love the large bathrooms, the great breakfasts, and the small touches like fresh flowers in the rooms. It is truely a place to go and calm yourself after all the chaos of India.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled solo
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4  Thank shellina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2009

After reading all the incredibly positive reviews here on TA, my wife and I were very excited for our stay at Villa Jacaranda. We had been traveling through India for 6 weeks staying in mostly mediocre accommodations and decided to splurge with an expensive boutique experience as a finale to our journey. We were both eager and curious what made this place so well reviewed and expensive, it had to be all the extra service and details, right? Could so many other content traveler reviews really be misleading? In years of reading reviews, it has not been often that a Trip Advisor rating has deceived us. Until now...

The most obvious characteristic of Villa Jacaranda is that it is a nice, clean place that has a pleasant understated style. However, we also felt that it is very overpriced and overrated, especially considering what they offer and several alternative lodging choices. Varkala is full of other pleasant and more reasonable options at much better values, shop around. (See interesting reviews of the Sea Shore Resort. Notice that it comes recommended by Villa Jacaranda). We stayed here also and actually preferred the value.

The positive element at VJ (which many others seemed to also enjoy) is the fact that there are some nice design/atmospheric style details which are not common in most other Indian lodgings. These are mostly imported touches, probably from the UK , like nice sheets, modern soap dishes and large tea pots with cozies and an English speaking owner. Secondly, the traditional European breakfast is large and enjoyable with eggs, porridge and toast, but sadly no Indian option was offered.

The negatives are more plentiful and not mentioned in many other TA reviews.

1. The building is located up a steep road far from most restaurants and has no beach view or access (min. 15 minute walk). It is set back far from the cliffs and has a somewhat busy road that wraps around 2 sides so that every passing/honking (they ALL honk in India) vehicle is heard from any of the rooms; not so nice if you are here for tranquility.

2. The ambiance is more similar to a guest house experience, where one is a visitor in someone's home. It sort of felt like our payment was funding the owner's Indian vacation retreat from the winters of Europe. Additionally, there is no common indoor area to lounge in and several areas are marked "private" since it is a residence.

3. We had sporadic hot water in our spacious bathroom, and no wi-fi in our room -- only in the hallway and even that rarely worked. This is a far-cry from what's advertised on the VJ website.

4. This was the first accommodation in all of our Indian adventures that did not provide a few of the following: glass windows, mosquito screens, bed nets, nor A/C in the room(at quadruple the price!). This was also the only one that required a rather restrictive "full, non-refundable deposit with minimum 2 night stay" agreement.

5. During our visit, no one really checked in on us to see whether we were enjoying our stay or if we needed anything. When we approached the staff about resolving the wi-fi and hot water issues, the owner was too busy getting a massage to assist us and his workers did not speak enough English to help us.

6. We usually expect the management of our hotels to be working for us, to make appropriate recommendations in our best interest -- especially in a place like India where things can be more difficult to figure out. However, when we inquired about a taxi to the airport the owner offered "his" driver for 1500 Rs. and suggested that most other operators have poor vehicles and drive dangerously. We decided to take care of this arrangement on our own and found an educated, well traveled, English speaking driver who had a new (5 day old) Ambassador car and who drove us there safely for 850 Rs. We later learned that Villa Jacaranda does not actually have its own designated driver and that many of the better taxi drivers won't even work for them because they mark up the fee so much. Obviously, the extra 750 Rs goes directly into Villa Jacaranda's pocket. Was the owner really assisting us, or just trying to make a few more rupees?!

I am sure there will be others who will have pleasant visits to Villa Jacaranda, but my review is not the only one to be critical of it's value. Sometimes the Trip Advisor system fails to paint an accurate image of the product being offered. Maybe this review will help compensate for the inflated standings.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank savvyreviews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2009

We stayed at Villa Jacaranda in early December 2009 in Room 3. This is the room which doesn't have a balcony directly attached to it- however there is a large balcony just outside of the bedroom door which we didn't have to share with other guests. It has glimpses of the sea and is a lovely quiet spot, at tree level, to eat your breakfast, read your book or just gaze out to the sea. We spent quite a few hours on the balcony. Be warned though -at dusk it is best to stay in doors until the sun has truly set as I was bitten alive by the blackest mosquito's! That's probably our only complaint- it would have been good to have mosquito coils available so that the balcony can be enjoyed whenever you like! (Mosquito's disappear during the day!)
Room 3 is elegantly and thoughtfully decorated, the bed is comfortable and the fan provides relief when the nights are hotter than usual. (Note- no air con) The whole place is very well maintained and clean and tidy. The breakfasts are wonderful as is the service that comes with it. Coffee was good!
It was exactly what we needed after many weeks of travelling around India: quiet, away from main tourist areas, walking distance to the beach and attractions. Yes there is a steep hill but honestly- you get used to it and it's good to burn off all that yummy fresh fish you can eat in the local restaurants. There isn't a lot of touristy things to do and see in Varkala so a 2-4 days visit is just perfect.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank CarolynDV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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