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“Good place, inconsistent service. ”

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Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra
Ranked #1 of 53 Hotels in Kovalam
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 1, 2013 via mobile

We stayed for a week which was perfect to unwind. Staying in the rock gardens was nice, big rooms with massive outside bathrooms!

You can't fault the rooms, but the service in the restaurant and reception was hit and miss. We had some 'fun' with bills that had added items and some bills that we didn't sign for on our final bill. I strongly recommend sorting your bill the night before you leave and going through all the slips from the restaurant to make sure there are no added extras.

That said, some of the staff are amazing and welcoming, Anoop deserves a name check. More staff training is needed.

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank Peter R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Niraamaya R, General Manager at Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra, responded to this reviewResponded December 2, 2013

Dear Mr.Peter,

We are grateful to you for your positive and constructive feedback about our property. We are delighted by your praises of our room and facilities inside the same.

We understand that a confusion has happened in your breakfast billing on account of a communication gap on plan you have chosen. We have taken all remedial steps to ensure that no such miscommunication happens in future.

The entire team of Niraamaya look forward to welcoming back you in future.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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834 - 840 of 1,131 reviews

Reviewed November 30, 2013

We have bee traveling around India for 8 days. And after that, booked 7days in Samudra Niamaaya spa resort.
It was like comming to another World. Build on a cliff top overlooking to clean and nearly privat beaches.
Bungalows build in terrasses with seewiev and privacy. The area is clean and the staff is wery helpeful and service minded. The bungalows are wery differend. The one we stayed in called " Beach cottage north" had a great wiev to the South Beach. Nearly eventyr morning we could sitt and watch the fishermen trowing there fishingnets up at the Beach. Wery intertaining to see. The infinitypool was great and so was the restaurants. Althoug a little expensive compared With Indian standard restaurent prises. We have hed 7 fabules days in this hidden place. Only out of the resort one time to go to Kovalam. We went back after one hour. Couldent stand the crowdness and the dirt and rubish in the streets. Back to the resort With the clean beaches and quietness.

  • Stayed: November 2013
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1  Thank Steenfischer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Niraamaya R, General Manager at Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra, responded to this reviewResponded December 2, 2013

Dear Mr.Fischer,

Thank you for your encouraging comments about our property and our services. This will definitely stimulate our efforts to ensure a memorable service to our guests.

We appreciate your liking of our rooms, facilities and services.

The entire team of Niraamaya look forward to welcoming back you in future and hopeful of exceeding all your expectations.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2013

This resort, 6km or so south of busy Kovalam, occupies a stunning setting perched high above two pristine and empty white sand beaches.
The rooms (we stayed in Polygon) are beautifully decorated with huge four-poster beds, outdoor tub and shower, massive flat screen tbs, outdoor seating etc. A large amount of effort has gone in to designing this resort, trying to make the rooms as integrated into the high side as they can be. Wonderful sculptures a dotted throughout the resort, which really comes into its own at night as the lights come on.
The pool area is stunning, with a lovely infinity pool, relaxed deck area, overlooked by the main restaurant area with outside seating - all this overlooking the (rough) sea, palm trees and white sand.
Breakfast is a highlight, with extensive a la carte menu from Indian to european dishes. Coffee is freshly brewed, the fruit mainly fresh, the spicy omelettes are fantastic.
So, why not five stars?
Service can be inconsistent, with staff at breakfast having to constantly come back as they get the order wrong - all done with a smile, but not great when this hotel constantly charges the highest prices i've ever seen in India. As an example, two single gin and tonics were about 1000R, (£10), more than i pay here in London (maybe fortunately the entire resort hadn't got its booze licence sorted for our stay, except the last night - saved us a lot of money, but very poor organisation from a high end resort that caters mainly for foreigners - apology provided but no compensation, e.g. a free massage or even airport drop off). Cars to the airport (25 mins) are 1500R, or 700R if you walk 2 minutes outside the resort and pick up a local taxi - why the constant rip off?
We had no hotel tour when we arrived, so worked everything out for ourselves, but no welcome drink or warm welcome to the hotel - considering we were paying around 17000R a night, this is poor.
Recommended, but has potential to become a great hotel if they were less greedy, less focussed on charging top end for everything and step on their customer service, especially at the front desk which is inefficient and lacks charm

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Rich_and_Sarah7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Niraamaya R, General Manager at Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra, responded to this reviewResponded December 2, 2013

Dear Guest,

Many thanks for your appreciation of room and facilities we provide in our resort. We are grateful to you for ratifying the quality of food we provide. Your appreciation will motive our team to excel more on quality.

We regret the inconveniences caused to you on account of incorrect taking of order. We did speak to our Restaurant Manager and has taken all steps to ensure that these sort of mistakes are not repeated.

We observed dry days during your stay with us to comply with Government regulations.

We value your constructive feedback and will take every possible step to ensure an experiential service in Niraamaya Retreats.

The entire team of Niraamaya look forward to welcoming back you in future.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2013 via mobile

I have seen many hundred hotels. But I discovered one that you can't describe with words. It's a paradise. Wonderful gardens. Nice rooms although I had a room aside. Not seaview. Wonderful quiet room. And sooo clean. With safe. Best internet. Ventilator. AC. Two showers. Open air and indoor.
A good pool. A great beach. A fascinating panorama. Delicious foods and a staff that makes you feel really welcome. Sure it sounds like a fairytale but you should let this dream come true. Even if I search for a reason to complain....nothing. All is like it should be. I talked to guests from Europe. They all agree with me.
It's hard to find a better. Sure there will be more hotel with great 5 stars. But this hotel has the typical touch of something that you must experience by being here. 4 days I was here. I will be back. I felt safe here. Welcome. I felt like at home.
A great hotel but never forget. The soul of a hotel is the staff. From the garden boys to the room girls, from the waiters to the reception, from the security to the pool boy, from the workers to the forgotten important persons in the background.... The management can be proud about this staff. They make you feel comfortable. 5 star staff!!
Come. Stay. Go....but you will be back for sure.
Just an information....The hotel still applies for alcoholic drinks to serve. The license is under process. But government decisions and licenses in India are a long process. But everybody will help you to find a beer or wine. ;-)


Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank mibra123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Niraamaya R, General Manager at Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra, responded to this reviewResponded November 29, 2013

Dear Guest,

We are delighted by the feedback you shared about your stay with us. We are glad that we could provide you an experiential holiday. We feel honoured to know that you felt safe with us and felt like your home.

We consider our staff as our soul and encouraged by your praises. These positive statements will further fuel up our quest to provide exemplary services to our guests.

We have applied for change of name in our beer and wine licence and expect to receive the same soon.

The entire team of Niraamaya look forward to welcoming back you in future and hopeful of exceeding all your expectations.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2013

This resort has an awful lot going for it. I think one of the marks of a great hotel or resort is how comfortable and carefree they make you feel without appearing doing so. As I reflect on my experience at this resort it is easy to identify what qualities really stand out for me: the service, the people, the accommodations and the grounds.

My 6-night sojourn here began under difficult circumstances. My luggage was lost somewhere along the way to India from New York. Several members of the staff made it their personal responsibility to help me recover my luggage, including Athulya at the front desk, John Maliakal, the general manager, and others from the restaurant, all working their connections. Their many, many hours of help over the 3 days that it took went well beyond what one would expect from any hotel or resort staff.

They were just as attentive to other needs that I informed them about. When I had a problem with the A/C in my cottage two people were at my doorstep within minutes to get it sorted. When I was needing water or mosquito repellent they where there in jiffy.

The heritage cottages there have the distinction of possessing wonderful character alongside very comfortable accommodations. While each seems to have their own front patio and outdoor bathroom no two appear to be the same in all the other ways. The layout, the design and the materials used for each cottage and the way they are situated differs in such a way that the you don't feel any part of the typical cookie-cutter resort. I stayed in the Papaya cottage which is back away from the ocean. While it would have been nice to have had an ocean view at times, I can honestly say that I didn't feel like I was missing out in any way. I had both the sounds of being in among the trees as well as hearing the ocean waves crash against the surf in the background. Coming from New York City, where sounds and noises come at you from nearly all turns, it was nice to have this tranquil balance of sounds from ocean and land. So if you have concerns about not sleeping well due to crashing waves I suggest something a little further back from the ocean front cottages.

Inside the cottages the rooms are comfortable and well appointed. The bed and linens are soft and high quality. The cottage could have had a sofa so that more than one person could sit together. The open air bathroom was particularly special, in that it was well laid out, spacious, allowed plenty of outside light in, and still maintained full privacy if one choose, even from a traveling companion. (It seems like the trend now in top hotels is to have see-through or translucent shower and bathroom walls. It's a nice idea of sorts, but is almost always poorly executed from my experience. When traveling as a couple who really wants to have full and constant view of bathroom and shower from all the other parts of your room? Hopefully this trend will subside real soon, and just leave it to the Niraamaya's of the world to have them tastefully done.)

The food here is generally great. I did eat my first night at the seafood restaurant. It was tasty but didn't rock me. Most of the other days were following an Ayurveda cleanse diet. So I had my own menu prescribed by the spa for that. There was variety on my special menu and many tasty dishes among the choices, though sometimes what I had was bland due to my prescribed diet. But after hearing other guests rave about things they had ordered from the regular menu I broke the diet and joined in my last night. That last meal was quite fantastic. And now I wish I had only broken my diet a few days earlier since I am a serious foodie and feel like I missed out.

I participated in daily ayurvedic spa treatments and yoga. Beforehand I had only had a couple of ayurvedic massages in my entire life and so knew very little of the practice. While I felt enhanced by and benefited from the ayurvedic treatments I feel in the end that I went a little overboard with it. They take their practice there very seriously and have beautiful and good facilities to perform the treatments. Don't hesitate ever to let them know if something is too much for you. They will adjust according to your preference. As far as the yoga goes this was really my original reason for choosing this place. The yoga platform is insane. Bordered by the ocean practically on 3 sides the beautiful platform sports classic columns at each corner. I had my own personal instructor every day at sunset. She really helped me to understand what I was doing with yoga instead just trying to follow strict form as is generally the norm in the West. I am basically at intermediate level, so I came away from this experience with a much richer understanding and respect for yoga. In the end I only wish I had done yoga twice a day.

All in all this was a big highlight of my adventures and experiences in India. The resort does a great job of offering luxury and refinement within heritage accommodations. I have visited a couple of other 5-star Heritage palace hotels in Rajasthan and this easily exceeded those. While I cannot compare it with the numerous resorts that seem to dot the coast in Kovalam I do think this is an exceptional choice that most people will come away from as having had a wonderful and memorable experience.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank Robert M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2013

A secluded piece of heaven. Private villas with stunning views. Friendly and helpful staff. Wonderful authentic food. Fantastic spa treatments available. I would go back in a heartbeat. This holiday will always hold very special memories.

  • Stayed: November 2013
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Thank JosieHa1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2013

The hotel provides a very good service, excellent and clean rooms. The service is great and the friendly staff is always ready to help you out. The resort is perfect for couples who want to escape from the busy everyday life. The ocean/beach is unfortunately very rough and could be a little dangerous for not professional swimmers. So if you are looking for a perfect beach you would find better places in India. However, all in all really recommendable.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Niklas1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra

Address: Pulinkudi | Mullur, South of Kovalam, Kovalam 695521, India (Formerly Surya Samudra Private Retreats)
Phone Number:
Location: India > Kerala > Thiruvananthapuram District > 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 Romantic Hotel in Kovalam
#1 Spa Hotel in Kovalam
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Kovalam
#3 Business Hotel in Kovalam
Price Range: $240 - $565 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra 5*
Number of rooms: 31
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Submerged in the luxury of secluded beaches, wellness immersions and epicurean delights, the Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra - a Relais & Chateaux property is a sanctuary for your senses. Nestled in a verdant cliff-top coconut grove, the retreat is dotted with traditional cottages that celebrate Kerala’s heritage and culture. Life by the coast with breathtaking views of the Arabian sea, the infinity pool for your indulgence, private sit-outs to watch glorious sunsets, the charm of swaying palms and the sound of crashing waves . ... 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 Surya Samudra Kovalam, Kerala

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