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Reviewed January 30, 2012

It's not often that I stay somewhere which disappoints so greatly and warrants such a negative review, But Wallwood Gardens is one such place. I don't mind staying in basic hotels and this cycling tour of south India has seen many such places. They are reviewed accordingly - not by comparing them to a top flight hotel but alongside other similar locations and prices.

So if Wallwood Gardens were being compared to this sort of standard of hotel it would come out ok. A bit tatty, musty, but adequate for a one-night stop.

But Wallwood Gardens, part of the Neemrana Group, has higher aspirations. it describes itself as a "non hotel,"by which it means it takes buildings that weren't meant to be hotels and adapts them in to hotels, and attempts to preserve the heritage associated with the building.
I could think of other reasons to call it a non-hotel.

I'd just cycled the 15 long, uphill miles to Coonoor, and found the hotel. The tatty hotel sign is an indicator of things to come.

There was no reception as such and no visible staff to provide a welcome. After hunting around for  a little while some staff appeared and took me to my room. There wasn't much by way of a welcome, no drinks, cleansing towels etc.

The main buiilding was cold, and unheated. I don't know what the rooms are like in the main building as I wasn't staying in it. In truth, I didn't get to stay in a 100 year old boutique building. I was staying in a more recently built annex, built much more recently, very utilitarian and screened from the main building by a row of fir trees.
I was shown to my room in this small annex building. it consisted of a small single room with an adjoining double room, and a bathroom. There's a desk and a singularly uncomfortable chair. the room was musty, and at that point cold, as it hadn't been warmed pending my arrival. the decor, although basic, was tired. The small electric heater partially took the chill off.

The room reminded me either of a very basic dorm type room or a utility room that had been pressed in to service as a bedroom by the inclusion of a bed. the red-painted concrete floors did nothing to dispel this impression.

The evening meal was basic - there was a limited choice and it wasn't great. it is an alcohol free hotel. the dining room adjoins one of the guest rooms, which meant that my meal was punctuated by the very loud argument these guests were having in their room. The dining room  was very cold, not least because the window adjacent to my table had been left open until I arrived. This meant that the food cooled very rapidly.

On my second night the only offered choice was Chinese Food; with the whole of the South Indian choices before me and the only offered option is Chinese food. It took a bit of effort and persuasion before another offer was forthcoming. One of the joys of travelling in India should be the food. Not here.

There is TV available, indeed one played incessantly in the dining room and the other, watched mostly by staff, in the Lounge. there is no wifi, nor any literature about coonoor or the surrounding area. There are a couple of poor murals half completed on the walls. The fireplaces were never lit while I stayed there, despite the chill.

There is a lot of publicity material for Neemrana's other non-hotels but based on this experience I won't be hurrying back.

I wanted to get out early first thing to take some pictures in the early morning light but this was difficult as the gates to the building were still locked and again no staff were visible. I resorted to climbing over the wall.

Breakfast was a perfunctory affair, a choice of omelette or fried eggs, toast and jam. again, fine if I am staying at a small homestay but not at 3500Rs per night.

Wallwood gardens is 3km above Coonoor centre; the site is generally peaceful and it's a short 15 minute walk down to Sims Park, where there are stalls, restaurants Autos and Taxis.

It may be that the hotel can help sort out taxis etc,  but they didn't offer and I didn't ask.

Wallwood Gardens is an abysmal place which overcharges and underdelivers on every front. it is not quirky, boutique or in other respects a special place. it is a building ill-designed for accommodating guests, with poor facilities and a lack of customer-facing services. Hugely disappointing and not to be recommended.

Room Tip: be aware that there is the older main building and the newer annex. also be aware that many guest rooms open straight in to lounge or dining areas.
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled solo
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2  Thank MollyZero
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NeemranaHotels, Guest Relations Manager at Neemrana's - Wallwood Garden, responded to this reviewResponded December 17, 2013

Dear Guest,

It is with joy and gratitude that we receive your positive feedback about the Wallwood Garden heritage hotel in Coonoor.

Your appreciation about the cuisine and the service has been conveyed to the Chef and the service team.

We have noted your concern about the quilts and shall certainly improve the same at the earliest.

While we are grateful that you complete the viability cycle for any heritage ruin to be restored and then maintained for future generations, we urge you to continue on this less-travelled path.

Warm Regards,
Team Neemrana
friendofneemrana@neemranahotels.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2011

This 100 year old house has lots of atmosphere and is run by some excellent staff. The food and service is of a very high standard. Our party of ten had a nice large table in a dining area with colonial style.
The bedrooms were a bit damp in places and the building itself could with some TLC but don't let this put you off. The experience is worth a couple of nights as Coonoor is a great spot to stay.

Room Tip: Ask for the main building
  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Kenny M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NeemranaHotels, Guest Relations Manager at Neemrana's - Wallwood Garden, responded to this reviewResponded January 17, 2014

Dear Guest,

We are sorry to learn that your visit to Wallwood Garden did not work out as expected.

As you may be aware, at Neemrana we try and keep a balance between old-world charm and modern amenities so that the past is not completely obliterated. Further, every effort has been made to retain the original structure of the bungalow, which dates back to the 19th century.

We are disappointed to read your feedback and have pulled up the service team. They have been given the necessary training and instructions to ensure that the same does not recur in the future. This should never have been the case and we are extremely sorry about the same.

We do hope that you will give us a chance to overlay your past experience with a fresh and memorable one.

Warm Regards,
Team Neemrana
friendofneemrana@neemranahotels.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2011

We spent one night in Wall Wood Garden in December and found out, that this is not the perfect time for this place. It was very cold and rainy outside and the radiator in the room could not make the room very warm so that it was all the time very cool and damp.
Besides this, the room was very nice decorated with old colonial furniture and we had tea/coffee-facilities and a TV. The bathroom was also very nice, clean and good equipped.
In the main building, breakfast and dinner was served - which was good. There they also had a large room, where you can sit in front of the chimney.
In the summer time this place must be great.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Melodiex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2011

I like the Neemrana concept, so after having stayed at the Neemrana Fort Palace for New Year we decided to spend 3 nights at this little hill station out in the countryside. There were no problems getting rooms - and we were promised a suite where our daughter could stay in one room, we in the other. Calling the rooms a suite may be a bit of an exaggeration. They were located outside the main house and in a fairly poor condition.
The weather was cold and the provided heater (1 for 2 rooms) could not heat the rooms at all. The rooms were damp and musty - and filthy. Something like blood spots on the wall, dirty carpets and grubby floor. We mentioned this to one of the employees, who ensured that the floors would be cleaned while we were out. The floor was still wet when we got back, carpets hadn't been vacumed / shaken and still 'blood' on the wall.. The staff was curtious, but not very professional. A fire in the living room with logs sticking 1 m outside the fireplace meant that an employee had to stand to watch the fire.
Breakfast and dinner were good. Staff helpful regarding getting a car. We left after 2 nights as we were cold and there wasn't much to do in the area besides visiting the tea plantation nearby and a romantic park.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Birgit61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2010

Reading the reviews on this site, I honestly can't believe we stayed at the same hotel. The hotel was bitterly cold, with damp bed linen, with no attempt by staff to warm the place up (offers to light a fire in the fireplace "when the wood had dried out" were not followed up). There were problems with hot water. Staff appeared unwilling to offer advice on trips out, even when asked specific questions about hiking in the area. Service was abysmally slow - 40 mins wait for a cup of coffee, two days for laundry - and then I had to wait for it for another half an hour before being able to check out as they hadn't bothered to iron it. And I was only informed right at the end that the hotel doesn't take debit cards - necessitating a trip into town, in the rain, just to be able to pay the hotel bill. Overall, an utterly depressing experience, poor value for money, and not at all what I've been led to expect from previous stays at Neemrana hotels. On a plus side, the food was delicious.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled solo
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6  Thank AndreacinIndia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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