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“An enjoyable stay”

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The Leela Kovalam Beach
Ranked #3 of 52 Hotels in Kovalam
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 15, 2013

This was the only chain hotel on an itinerary booked for us by Imagine India. Having read the reviews over the last few months I was getting a little bit worried that the Leela might not live up to 5 star expectations. There were a few niggles but overall very positive.
Check-in. They gave us coconut water and shell garlands as a welcome, but the actual welcome from the front-desk reps was otherwise quite dry and unsmiling. We were taken by buggy to our rooms which were in the "garden pavilion" area of the hotel. This is outside the main property over a road leading to the local mosque and local beach.
For our taste we were very glad to be in the Garden Pavilion rooms. Might not be for everyone I understand. There is a small pool and sun bed area with lovely garden featuring hammocks. It felt very private and I was happy not to be in the main block. No rooms above you and just one immediately ajoining neighbour. You have your own little garden at the back and good terrace facing the pool. I walked up to breakfast/reception etc but others would prefer a buggy. Usually these came within 5 minutes of requesting, though a friend did have to wait 20 mins on one occasion. Room was large and nicely laid out - high ceilings and spacious with good furnishings. Air-con was reasonably quiet and best of all - total-black out shutters! The main downside here is arguably the proximity to the mosque - enjoy the 5 am call to prayer. I didn't. That said, I think the main block will easily be within hearing of this delight as well...
I didn't get the feeling (per other reviewers) that these rooms were in any need of renovation. In fact I found those comments quite surprising given the quality of our room/bathroom. Possibly these rooms are newer than the main block? I don't know.
Private Beach - towards the end of the season so possibly a bit quieter than usual. I got bed/umbrella at the beach front every day with no problem at all. Guards are constantly moving any non-hotel guests off this area of the beach. I didn't experience any hassle at all in this area - nobody tried to sell me anything. Equally nobody tried to serve me any drinks either! I had to go up to the Tides Restaurant to ask for drinks, which they then happily brought to my bed. On one occasion they had no towels.. but that was rectified within about 10 minutes.
Sea - this is a major issue... at some points during the day there was a lot of litter in the sea (plastic bags, paper, vegetable matter!). If you went a bit further out it looked cleaner. But seriously off-putting. I did go in a few times but felt nasty. Its better late in the afternoon - I guess the tide plays a part. I felt like getting a net and fishing the worst of it out - I don't think it would be impossible to make a positive impact here. Obviously the hotel alone can't solve this issue, but I think they could improve the situation somewhat.
Breakfast - Terrace Restaurant. Buffet style - plentiful and very varied. One of the best I have ever had. Easy to get a table (apart from 2 days when they had a conference on and then I felt a bit uncomfortable in my holiday gear surrounded by men in business attire). Area is surrounded by netting to make sure no crows can get near the food (crows are abundant in Kerala it seems, and they can be quite agressive). Loved all the fresh fruit and different lassi's etc. Really looked forward to breakfast every day. We did have lunch there a couple of times but found it to be small portions with high prices (a haloumi cheese and roast vegetable salad featured a triangle of cheese no bigger than 3 cm). I wouldn't bother.
Tides Restaurant - AWFUL. Thai "specialities" were either too garlicky, too full of chilli or too salty to properly taste. There is no proper spicing here. We complained and they had to take 3 dishes off our bill. The "Sula" wine index is interesting too. You can buy it for 650 Rps in a government off-licence. In the nearby Taj hotel they were offloading it for 1900 but in Tides... 2490! Anyway, its the food I really have an issue with. I ordered lunch here one day - a cheese and vegetable sandwich was advertised. What I got was 2 slices of white sliced loaf, barely toasted, with liquid cream cheese stuff and cucumber with a couple of slices of tomato! Amazing! That is "salad" not "vegetables". Poor value and poor food. Couldn't do worse if they tried!
Evening room service - we had dinner on our terrace on one night. That was because on the first of every month you cannot buy alcohol anywhere in Kerala. So we got wine/beer for our mini-bar instead and ate "in". This came from the Terrace Restaurant and I have to say it was very good indeed. The shame is that the Terrace is both buffet AND a-la-carte in the evening. Other than Tides there is no other a-la-carte evening option. And it seems annoying that you could be paying for waiter service whilst everyone around you is bobbing up and down and weaving around tables on their multiple trips to the buffet. I want either one experience or the other.
Bar - the main bar (I think it is called the Sky Bar) was really nice. Good cocktails, great views out to sea.
Pool - lovely. The main pool was delightful. The small pool near the garden pavillion side was very private but not so nice to swim in (it is up to 9 ft deep but I couldn't see the bottom - so the water must have been a bit murky!)
Gym - well equipped and decent effort at air-con. The gym instructor was there most of the time if you needed any guidance. 2 treadmills, 2 crosstrainers, several bikes and plenty of weights.
Spa - not quite London prices for their most basic massage. But the rest of the menu is quite eclectic and interesting, but pretty much London prices I would say. My friend did enjoy her experience there though. They also offer free 1/2 hour yoga sessions every day - but I think that is more to get you to buy in to one of their yoga packages.
We did not opt for the "club" level at the Leela and I was a bit worried about that decision before we left. In the end we were glad that we hadn't bothered. I think the Leela main hotel is doing a decent 4/5 star job without that upgrade. You are there for the sun and the sights after all, and everybody gets to enjoy the same experience on that front. Restaurant may be better there (could not be worse than Tides) but part of the pleasure of a holidy is eating out, and there are some decent options for this a short tuk-tuk ride/walk away.

Check-out. Slow. I got a learner. My friend was checked out within 5 mins but for some reason it took nearly 15 minutes for me.
I would go back as I think this is the best hotel in Kovalam.

Room Tip: We enjoyed the privacy of the Garden Pavillion rooms. Opt for the main block if you don't fancy...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank OverworkedUnderpaid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,861 - 1,867 of 2,930 reviews

Reviewed April 14, 2013

Excellent is the word . Amazing location , ambience was fantastic, sea beach well maintained, staff very helpful, rooms are colonial types , a different experience , overall my advice to everyone is if you go to kovalam stay at leela else please don't go, it would be wastage of time.

  • Stayed: March 2013
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1  Thank Mkkasat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013

From the reviews of this hotel, it seems to have a split personality.

We have nothing but praise for the staff and the services; whilst I appreciate the slightly tired decor of the main rooms, whenever we had a question, or an issue, it was resolved in a friendly and professional manner. The pool and beach were excellent, though the sea was incredibly dirty (a local told me the rubbish came from a village at the end of the Southern backwaters who use the river as their own personal dump). The breakfast had a wide variety of western and Indian choices, and the evening buffet, which we tried, was delicious in its range and quality. Interestingly, it does seem to cater more to corporate bookings than tourists, and this affects the nature of the hotel, with big (and sometimes noisy) groups and functions going on around the place, such as beach disco/buffets whilst people are trying to eat a peaceful dinner at the Tides restaurant.

I just think this is a potentially amazing hotel, which suffers from inconsistency and a lack of thought at times.

Room Tip: Much like Apartheid, the 'Club Room' guests have their own reception, pool, restaurant, bios...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Slartibartfarst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2013

We stayed at this hotel 2years ago and were looking forward to our holiday, what a change has taken place!! So many things are wrong with this hotel it's hard to know where to begin. Food is poor except for breakfast, buffet is limited with no European dishes, the Tides restaurant is Asian food with a very limited choice and you have to book at the same time every night which is 7.30 pm, you cannot book later!! Our room was in the annexe and the buggys up to the main hotel were infrequent, I left the room at 6.30pm to catch a buggy up for Happy Hour, waited 20 mins for a buggy and got to the bar at guess what 7.01 and was refused a 2 for 1. I was not a happy bunny to say the least. The hotel is in a fantastic position the only good thing going for it, the beach is a disgrace, litter, nappies, all manor of things floating in the sea and nobody clearing up the beach as they were when we were last there, after complaining they did get two boys raking the debris only to dig a small hole in the beach and bury it ! Needless to say we will not be returning to this hotel and we feel cheated to have paid 5star prices for a 3star hotel.

Room Tip: Stay in the main building not the overspill.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Dianaduckmantonconde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

When I traveled to India last year in November for the first time.

I was nervous because I was traveling alone. I decide to stay at The leela Kovalam because it was the only good quality chain hotel in Kovalam and I arrived very late, so I didn't want to travel too far at night.

Leela Kovalam is right next to the kovalam beach and has amazing view.

very clean, and spacious rooms, and over roll a huge place.

I like the swimming pool area where you can over look the beach and cliff.

Great place to start if you go to Kerala. I would like to go back.

Room Tip: club room seems like the best option although you pay almost double. has amazing view.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank YJ0504
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Its was ok, nothing great. Rooms were small...food was average...service was not bad. The pool was nice. Had a tooth problem, and the hotel recommended the "hotel" dentist in the city, who did more filling than were needed. Kerala is beautiful, will definitely visit again...but will go to a better hotel not this one!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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Thank zabee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Well what a disappointment for a 5 star hotel. I won't even begin to talk about the mix up with the booking and the rooms offered, just totally wrong. We were 2 friends and a couple both of us paid extra to upgrade or get a room that was what we thought we had paid for.
Our upgrade to a room in the main hotel block as against a room out of th main property and one that would require a buggy ride to the main area was ok but room needed lots of work. Have you ever waited 15 hours to get someone to sort the plug in the bathroom basin. We cleaned our teeth in the bath. The cleaners had been in but I guess this means they don't clean the basin. also the shower curtain covered only haldf the bath so water everywhere.
Service in the restaurant was the worst experienced in a 5 star hotel, nobody followed through.
Public areas wonderful, pool great, but that is not the most important thing in a hotel.
A real disappointment

Room Tip: Don't take a room away from the main area or you will be outside the main hotel area and need a...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank carltonCanberra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Leela Kovalam Beach

Address: Kovalam Beach Road, Kovalam 695527, India
Phone Number:
Location: India > Kerala > Thiruvananthapuram District > Kovalam
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Kovalam
#3 Luxury Hotel in Kovalam
#3 Spa Hotel in Kovalam
#4 Family Hotel in Kovalam
#6 Romantic Hotel in Kovalam
Price Range: $150 - $453 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Leela Kovalam Beach 5*
Number of rooms: 183
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Leela Raviz Kovalam - Indulgence is an art you will perfect at The Leela Raviz Kovalam while staying in any of our 183 rooms and suites. With a seamless blend of modern technology and traditional grandeur, the soothing décor of each room whispers warm aesthetics. Each room opens out to a breath-taking view of either the ocean or garden. All rooms are provided with luxury amenities to cater to discerning tastes. Unwind with exquisite facilities like an HD LCD television and a broadband connection for hi-speed internet. The Club rooms offer valet services, a gourmet corner with a fine selection of spirits, softdrinks and snacks and have luxurious bathrooms with a walk-in shower and a private infinity pool. Awake to auburn sunrises in the horizon or soak in the sun under azure skies at the infinity pools. Get a taste of the vacation of your dreams at The Leela Raviz Kovalam. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Leela Kovalam Beach Hotel Kovalam
The Leela Kempinski Hotel Kovalam
Hotel Leela Trivandrum
The Leela Kovalam Beach Kerala

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