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“Hell of a stay!” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Niraamaya Retreats

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Niraamaya Retreats
Ranked #1 of 51 Hotels in Kovalam
Certificate of Excellence
Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), India
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Hell of a stay!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 11, 2013

Our usual holiday spot in Trivandrum used to be another hotel near Niraamaya retreats called Travancore Heritage.After staying there for 2 days,we decided to change the hotel just for the sake of having a variety and hoping that the stay will be triple as heavenly as it was in TH,considering the fact that the room tariff,cost of food,spa and everything else were triple or more in Niraamaya.
At Niraamaya,a lady at the reception led us to a room which reminded me of old wooden granaries.No one greeted us or served us a welcome drink.It was jam-packed with wooden furniture and kids had no place to move about.The occupant in the adjacent room was a chain smoker too.Upon request,the next day by afternoon we were shifted to another room which was spacious enough.It was in the first floor and the terrain was not friendly for children to play about.The mini roads which connect various rooms(gardens they call) aren't safe enough for an evening stroll and every now and then there is an auto rickshaw or golf car that pass by.There are rocky steps or cobble stone laiden hair pin paths everywhere,but certainly its NOT THE PLACE you feel like having a relaxed walk.The rooms are heavily prized and NOT worth it!!I have traveled all over the world and this is one place were the house keeping staff specifically said they give just 3 milk powders,3 tea bags and 3 coffee powders per day.They give comb,shaving kit and personal care kit only on request it seems.One of them even went to the extent of cross checking with the reception to see if they can provide us an extra bottle of water(considering that we are paying for an additional bed for my older kid).Star rated hotels don't even talk of these petty things.If you ask for water they ask how many we want,not that "I can't give you 4,I can give you only 3).According to them 600 ml water is adequate for sustenance of 2 adults,an 8 year old(whose extra bed is paid for) and an one year old per day.
They say they have a 2 nights' package for some 12,000,but somewhere in a tiny corner,they have mentioned that it is the cost per night.I wonder how it is called a package of 2 nights then!!!It reminded me of an incident where a patient who consumed "strite" drink(a duplicate brand written in the same manner as "sprite")was brought to my hospital with diarrhoea.
All through the 72 hours we were in the hotel,we,especially my kids were reminiscing the wonderful fun filled days we had in the previous hotel.My wife had a spa from there,it was supposed to take 3.5 hours,but wasn't worth the money(For Rs 8000,all they spend is for dry rose and salt body scrub and some olive oil to massage.This is followed by a min facial which uses supplies made in Uttarakhand,which are of the same brand as the soap and lotion provided in the same hotel room.).But the therapist did a good massage and a good job,but they could have provided her some decent quality supplies.
Since the food in the restaurant was delayed,the planned spa was also delayed by half an hour.Hence I informed the reception that I will be checking out only after 30 min from the informed time.A lady at the reception called me up after some time and said its not possible because she wanted to accommodate some other ill fated guest.She also said I am "fortunate" enough to enjoy the beauty of the hotel premises with my kids,but I WILL have to clear my room.She also said that she had informed my wife that we need to check out at 12.30 pm which was later proved to be a big fat lie,about which they later apologized.
The only plus point I can find is the chef Mr Prakash who cooked according to our tastes and the staff at the restaurant.The cuisine was awesome but 2 fish curries and 2 rice with 2 no:s of chappathi can cost as high as 2000 Rs!
It will take me another page to complete,but I am just back from the hotel and if I take the pain to sit here and type this even without getting my dress changed,it just means that the STAY WAS AWFUL!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Drnair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JohnMaliakal, General Manager at Niraamaya Retreats, responded to this review, September 6, 2013
Dear Dr. Nair,

We thank you for having taken the time to give us a detailed and candid feedback on your stay at Niraamaya Retreat, Surya Samudra, Kovalam. We are always troubled, when we learn that certain aspects of our guests stay with us hadn't met their expectations.

We are the first heritage resort in kerala, built by a visionary German professor, who used to teach at IIT Chennai. The Reception area is styled after an authentic, heritage kerala structure and did have as you said a centuries old granary, along with authentic period furniture, painstakingly collected from various sources by Klaus Schleusner, Architect Karl Damschen, and the current promoters. The design of the reception is in keeping with the retreats’ core theme of heritage and is integral to the experience.
We call ourselves a Retreat because the location and views lend itself to truly connecting and escaping into the mystique of nature. Sunsets are a riot of colors and watching the sun slowly sink in to the peaceful Arabian sea, a once in a lifetime experience. The nights here are a veritable symphony of swinging palms, waves crashing over pristine beaches and a profusion of twinkling lights of fishing boats, all out for a late catch. Days are replete with calming breezes, blues of the skies, greens of the coconut groves and the sea washing over rocky promontories. We are blessed with these views because we sit on a cliff and being located on a cliff means that the terrain is slightly more difficult than it would have been if we were on the plains.

We are happy to note that your family enjoyed the services provided at the Spa, and the therapist who served you has been informed of your appreciation. We use only the very best products for our spa and room amenities. "Forest essentials", the leading brand in India, is used by most leading Spas. Their products are exported to most of the European countries and the Americas and they are the market leaders in high end ayurvedic products. The products are made in Utharakhand, where the herbs used are available in their natural environment and cultivated using organic farming methods along with Spring water from the Himalayas which are certified mineral rich and therapeutic. Please refer to the Forest Essentials website for further information.

Your appreciation of the food reiterates our conviction regarding freshly cooked, bespoke food, with an emphasis on health and wellness, while retaining its flavors and authenticity. Our Chef Prakash has been studying and creating all our menus and individual dishes with this as our focus. We assure you that our prices are on par with all other experiential hotels in our category.

We do have electrically operated golf carts on the property, which we use for the convenience of our guests. You find these in most resorts where the terrain might be steep in certain areas. Our pathways, buggies and operating procedures are in keeping with processes that prioritize guest satisfaction.

My most sincere apologies for the inappropriate response by the Housekeeping staff. Due to our commitment to include the local community in the Niraamaya journey and as a part of our social commitment, we provide employment to talented young people from the area. English is a second language for some of them and on occasion there are opportunities for miscommunication with our guest. I thank you for having brought these instances to our notice and assure you that we will spare no effort in continuous training of our staff to ensure that our guests are happy and satisfied.

We often have guests arriving in anticipation of a room after a long journey and just like your family didn’t have to wait while checking in, we are also obligated and required to provide other guests checking in with rooms in a timely manner. Our check-out time is specified as 12 noon and a check in time of 2 pm. On occasion we are able to extend the check out time, but this is done on advance request, so we can anticipate and plan to accommodate our in coming guests with no delays. This again is a very standard policy followed by all hotels, to allow for smooth check-ins and check-outs for all our guests.

Once again let me reiterate our absolute commitment to ensure complete and total guest satisfaction. We do hope that you will give us a chance to serve you again and meet your expectations this time around.

I and my team at Niraamaya Retreat, Kovalam take this opportunity to wish you and your family an auspicious Onam season.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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942 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 11, 2013

We went there for a small vacation and the place was just perfect; serene, tranquil, relaxing and close to nature. We stayed in a heritage cottage which had a traditional feel while offering all the modern amenities. The staff was very helpful and made every possible effort to make our stay comfortable. They upgraded a room for a friend who joined us for a night. Will highly recommend this place for the personalized touch by the staff that makes the stay a truly memorable one!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 Arpit K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JohnMaliakal, General Manager at Niraamaya Retreats, responded to this review, August 18, 2013
Dear Mr. Arpit,
Thank you for having chosen to stay with Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra during your visit to Kovalam, inspite of the numerous choices available We thank you for your review as well as the kind words about our team.
Your comments truly capture the essence of Niraamaya Retreats, which is the living thread of connection which runs through all our retreats, be it in Niraamaya Retreat Cardamom Club, Thekkady, or Niraamaya Retreat in the Backwaters, Kumarakom or The Kanaloa in the Mediterranean.

we look forward to welcoming you back to Niraamaya Retreats in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2013 via mobile

Everything about this resort was first class except the male housekeeping staff who were lazy and aimless. Example: Air conditioning didn't work and it took three days for them to attempt to fix it. Couldn't check in to one of our cabins on our arrival until 5 PM as the room was not made up although my wife and I saw the housekeeping staff doing what appeared to be nothing for over an hour. If you overlook that deficiency, all the other staff were exemplary, especially Jobin who was the go-to person at the resort. He handled everything with a gentle, easy-going professionalism. The resort is an oasis. We never felt crowded. The dining was adequate although not memorable. The east beach cottage was great and we loved the outdoor shower. Even with its shortcomings, I would return in a heartbeat due to the overall memories of embracing comfort, gentle and accommodating staff (swap out the lazy male housekeeping staff), and the quiet setting that left us all entranced with our final stop after two months in India.

Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank DougOnTheRoad67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JohnMaliakal, General Manager at Niraamaya Retreats, responded to this review, August 18, 2013
Dear Guest,
Thank you for having taken the time to write an in-depth review of your experiwnces at Niraamaya Retreat Surya Samudra, Kovalam.

Your candid feedback on the service rendered by the truant staff in Housekeeping has helped us to identify the responsible individuals. We have initiated steps to ensure that the services are faster and proactive and we are also taking the utmost care in recruiting and training new personnel. Though these individuals are no longer employed with us, I sincerely apologize on behalf of Niraamaya Retreats.

However, it has given us immense pleasure to know that you have enjoyed all the other aspects of your sojourn at Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra and we thank you for the candid feedback on your experiences
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rajkot
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 1, 2013

it all started year ago, First time My Wife and I've Stepped in the Property, Location, Views, Heritage feel, Warmth and Smile from Front desk to Housekeeping, Yummiest and specially customised foods including best quality homemade essentials, Rooms Shining and arranged the way we Loved it, Fresh Fragrant Towels, to High Quality Toiletries, and a long list of things we love, We couldn't keep ourselves away from Niraamaya, Sujith, and Manasa on Front desk would bring a huge smile on face by warm welcome and helping attitude with plenty of knowledge about local attractions in effective way with personal touch and Ability to Understand your needs and always ready to help, You'll find your room in Perfect condition with nice Linens, don't get amazed by cute surprises almost everyday.... Foods would make you keep on doing om nom nom!!! yes Yummiest and Quality food, Jams, Pickles, Breads, and Every single dish being prepared with great details and texture, no matter whatever you are looking for and whatever you want to have your meals, Chef Prakash would Take care of em'all, during every meal Prakash came to Us for reviews, made us feel so special, staff in Restaurants are so willing to make your meal special, greetings with smile... from Deepak, Thangaswamy, Ajoy, Reshma, Atulya, Santhosh.... Location and Views from Restaurants and bar are beyond description, View from room was Breathtaking, Thanks to Vineesh, Shreenath and Entire Housekeeping dept to keep our room in perfect shiny condition, during our stay of 7 nights everyday they used to prepare different artistic models from towel, swan couple, a chimp, frog and many more along with decoration with flowers, we both can keep on going with such great experiences we had never before, all these things can't let us stay away from Niraamaya, and that's the reason it was our third visit in 15 months, and for sure we'll keep on coming back in short intervals, Romantic Getaway perfected by Niraamaya, thanks Sujith, Manasa, Prakash, Vineesh, Shreenath, Deepak, Ajoy, Santhosh, Atulya, Reshma, Thangaswamy. Akhil, Nafin, and everyone who've taken care of us and Pampered us. would be in Niraamaya soon enough.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 LoveToRoam10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JohnMaliakal, General Manager at Niraamaya Retreats, responded to this review, August 18, 2013
Dear Guest,

We are honored; and thank you for having taken the time and effort to prepare such an in-depth review of our team and the resort.

This review gives us an opportunity to recognize and reward the people who made your stay at Niraamaya retreats, Surya Samudra, Kovalam memorable.

We spare no effort to make every holiday at Niraamaya Retreats memorable, one which our guests cherish. It gives us great pleasure to know that we have succeeded!!

Bespoke cuisine, focusing on wellness and yet not falling short on indulgence and complete satisfaction, is one of the few efforts that we aspire to offer as a part of the memorable experience. And as you rightly pointed out, Chef Prakash has been the driving force behind this effort; freshly prepared food, made to order and customized to satisfy the individual palate.

We are happy to note that you intend to return and look forward to your visit….
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bangalore
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 30, 2013

Shall never forget the wonderful holiday we had at Niraamaya Retreat. The personalised
service, the excellent food and the beautiful surroundings. must be experienced. The staff treat you like royalty and make you feel so comfortable. The cottages are very pretty. Our entire family enjoyed the stay immensely. This is one place I would love to visit again and again !

Room Tip: The heritage cottages are exquisite !
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank geeban
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JohnMaliakal, General Manager at Niraamaya Retreats, responded to this review, August 18, 2013
Dear Mr. Geeban,
Thank you for your positive review which has greatly encouraged the team. Personalized service is what we aspire for and your experience is a motivation for all of us at Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra, Kovalam.

We are glad that you enjoyed the open tropical atmosphere as well as the unique heritage cottages which are centuries old..

Looking forward to welcoming you again in the near future.

Thanking you,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2013

The property is very special, the cottages and sea views are mind blowing! The staff goes out of their way to pamper you with special chocolates and everything is kept immaculate. This is the place to get away from it all and just chill out. The only downside is that the food is hit or miss. Since the resort is a bit out of the way, you are stuck eating most of your meals at the one restaurant. We had a few good meals, but a few bad ones too.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 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 Conventiontravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JohnMaliakal, General Manager at Niraamaya Retreats, responded to this review, August 18, 2013
Dear Guest,

It’s been a pleasure reading your review of Niraamaya Retreats, Surya Samudra Kovalam as well as your unhesitating recommendation of our property.

Bespoke cuisine, focusing on wellness and yet not falling short on indulgence and complete satisfaction, is one of the few efforts that we aspire to offer as a part of the memorable experience. Chef Prakash has been the driving force behind this effort; freshly prepared food, made to order and customized to satisfy the individual palate. We thank you for your candid feedback and sincerely apologise for falling short on our commitment to you on this count. We would strive harder to ensure that we deliver consistently high quality food to all our patrons. We have also introduced a few new selections which feature artisan cheeses as well as fresh seafood with a pan Asian interpretation and also few unique chef’s special dishes to ensure that wider choices are available.

We thank you again for giving us an opportunity to host you inspite of the choices you have available in Kovalam.
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2013 via mobile

After almost two weeks in Uttar Pradesh and Rajastan, we wanted to spend a few days on the coast to relax. And relaxing it was! Very friendly and professional staff who really try to make their guests feel comfortable, a beautiful setting in a large tree-filled garden with stunning views of the ocean. Good food at the restaurant, with an outstanding breakfast ! Upon arrival here was some misunderstanding about our booking, which the staff quickly helped to resolve. The only thing the hotel couldn't help fix was the weather (monsoon season). One potential drawback (if you are not onlylooking for calmness) is that the hotel is appr. 8 kms away from Kovalam - but autorickshaws are widely available outside the gate.
In short: thank you Niraamaya !

Stayed July 2013
Helpful?
Thank GMD796
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JohnMaliakal, General Manager at Niraamaya Retreats, responded to this review, August 18, 2013
Dear Guest,

It’s been a pleasure reading your review of Niraamaya Retreats, Surya Samudra Kovalam as well as your unhesitating recommendation of our property. It is further proof that the lush tropical gardens become even more beautiful during the monsoons!!!

We are glad that you enjoyed the cuisine and the service. Your feedback inspires us to strive harder to create memorable vacations.

We thank you for choosing Niraamaya Retreats, Surya Samudra Kovalam do look forward to hosting you again in the near future.
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 Niraamaya Retreats

Property: Niraamaya Retreats
Address: Pulinkudi | Mullur, South of Kovalam, Kovalam 695 521, India (Formerly Surya Samudra Private Retreats)
Location: India > Kerala > Kovalam
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Kovalam
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Kovalam
#1 Spa Hotel in Kovalam
#1 Family Hotel in Kovalam
#1 Romantic Hotel in Kovalam
#3 Business Hotel in Kovalam
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Niraamaya Retreats 5*
Number of rooms: 35
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Now re-opened under a new management as Surya Samudra Private Retreats. Relais & Chateaux Luxury heritage beach resort. Adjoining two pristine, unspoilt beaches and completely secluded from the busy tourist areas of Kovalam. Enjoy complete privacy and serenity. Stay in a carefully restored traditional Kerala tharavadu dwelling. At our Spa Niraamaya, highly trained therapists pamper you with herbs, oils, and concoctions that relax your body, revitalise your mind, and renew your spirit. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Surya Samudra Private Retreats Hotel Kovalam
Surya Samudra Beach Garden Hotel
Surya Samudra Beach Garden Spa
Niraamaya Retreats Kovalam, Kerala

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