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“A beach symphony...”
Review of A Beach Symphony

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A Beach Symphony
Certificate of Excellence
Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“A beach symphony...”
Reviewed December 7, 2013

ABS was the first stop on our Kerala trip and it helped us instantly to wind down after a hectic couple of weeks before our departure. The property only has four cottages, we stayed at the Violin cottage with our own private plunge pool - what a luxury!

The property has a very laid back feel to it, it is not meant to be like one of the larger resorts with reception, restaurants etc. However, staff are always available if you need anything, serving food, snacks, drinks etc. throughout the day. Food and timing is discussed with you according to your individual preference. We loved having our meals served on our terrace and enjoying the privacy. And the quality of the food was outstanding!

The ayurvedic treatments in the little treatment hut on the property are great and as some others have already said, great value for money.

Some other reviewers have complained about the beach. Basically, this is still a fairly untouristic stretch with fishermen working on the beach and "normal Indian life" taking place. This is not a manicured, gated beach which forms part of a resort. This is what we particularly liked about it but we are rather prefer walking than lying on the beach (which is not a familiar concept for Indian people anyway!).

I would like to point out that Jan, Deepu and everybody else went above and beyond to make our stay as pleasant and relaxing as possible. While we were there, there was a general strike in Kerala and Jan and Deepu rejigged our itinerary so that we do not run into any trouble, arranging everything from changing the accommodation, re-arranging with the drivers etc.

We would very much recommend this place for people looking for a more personal experience away from the big touristic resorts, spending a couple of relaxing days by the seaside.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank sw972
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Bedford, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 4, 2013

Our 3 night stay here was meant to be our bit of luxury after a hard two weeks touring Kerala. The bungalow itself was very attractive, but after the first day I removed my rose tinted glasses. The beach was filthy - in the paperwork at the bungalow they say they do their "level best" to keep the working beach clean but I never saw anyone even attempt to clean it. There was litter and what I hope was dog mess all over the place, I smelt it before I saw it; (we did find a clean area of beach further along, but were moved off this as it was a private beach belonging to the next door beach resort, where they obviously did make the effort to keep the beach clean) so we spent our time around the pool back at the beach symphony only to realise just how filthy the pool was too. There were mosquito larvae and bird droppings in the pool, broken glass by the sun bed and bits of fishes guts dropped by the crows scattered about the place. We complained about the pool but were told that the filter had broken. Still, it would not have taken much effort to keep it clean (if it was filled to its correct level or even skimmed, that would have helped). To top it all, the bill for the 3 days was incorrect, in spite of us reminding them numerous times that we were on half board. The first night we were asked what time we would like dinner and breakfast but this was just lip service; the meals arrived whenever. And as for getting a coffee in the morning ... If we'd just stayed one night, we might have been raving about the place but after our 3rd night we couldn't wait to get away.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank 72JaneP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
janmarari, Owner at A Beach Symphony, responded to this review, December 8, 2013
Dear Guest,
Thank you for staying and first of all apologies if it was not what you were expecting. This is not how a holiday should end. To avoid that we would have loved to our utmost but you need events that you can control for that. So let’s explain it all point by point as in previous reviews so it becomes clear for our future guests nothing is wrong at a Beach Symphony.
About the beach I can swear that our stretch of beach is cleaned on a regular basis from morning till evening but we only have like 60 meter of beach front....the rest beyond our fencing limits is public beach and the local society hasn't reached that stage to auto-clean that or have the environmental awareness. But it’s all slowly changing and we’re trying to setup a cleaning program with other hospitality partners. We have tried before to clean outside our premises boundaries but with little result and the cost become unbearable for a small property (4 cottages only) like us. You also refer to our colleagues further down but they have a 250 to 300 meter beach stretch....and also no direct road access to their beach and fortunately for them more financial resources.
Of course after your reaction we will even lift the effort by us and try to speed up the creation of the program.
And that’s one of the reasons why we created a nice big granite pool with mainly buffalo grass surroundings, in which we have created recently nice platforms for the loungers. And here Murphy ’s Law comes around the corner. When a poolmotor is broken (and not the filter) we can unfortunately not filter or skim (actually we don't have skimmers but a natural overflow. Here also you realize we’re in India…simple repairs can be done locally but as said when the motor is completely gone and not repairable none of this works and a new motor has to come from Bangalore (600 km) if not ordered from abroad.... (no water flow, lower level is because of the evaporation (in tropics for a surface like our pool that may rise up to 700-1000 l a day which is about 3 cm of level)
and after putting a spare motor it takes up to 2-3 days to get it clean again...and that works better with a lower level to start with as well.

It's also logic than that we can't remove any insects with no filtration that is following (it were no mosquito larvae but some other water insect that survives - even with a correct filtration & chlorination sometimes so we're aware of that and chase them very regularly) but which is harmless) or bird droppings as they just break up when you touch them. Our manager has also explained this issue directly to you and every other guest and informed them about the severity of the matter. He had also put up a notice explaining that. Actually it would have been better to simply close the pool area..we’ve been too nice.

About the waste around the pool....the glass pieces, it's clear that shouldn't have been there...so we will absolutely pay more attention. Ourselves we don't serve anything around the pool in glass. And if it happens by accident a broken glass (that guests bring without notice) should be cleared & cleaned at any time...so something is not clear what has happened there. Maybe with the creation of those lounger platforms some glass has come up from below...sounds strange but it’s about the only thing I can think about.

About the billing, Deepu was aware that you were on half board but there has been a communication gap with the stewards.
1 evening you just took a pasta with tomato sauce as dinner instead of the regular dinner. They hadn't mentioned this in the order book and Deepu took it for a lunch... basically that's all that happened for your 'not' correct bill. Things like this can happen....we're human after all.

Moments like this we realize that perfection is not of this world so once more I would like to apologize for the events that occurred and troubled your last days of holiday but many of the issues were/are difficult or uncontrollable. Events like this also made us decide to give a telephone to every cottage with useful management & service numbers so when something is not clear you can contact anyone at anytime.
I'm also confident that the biggest majority of our guests are right about us so we will improve where we can, promised.
Hoping to welcome you again to give us another chance !
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 10, 2013

Unlike most other experiences of staying at this hotel, we did not enjoy it at all. It was u ncomfortable, the sheets on our double bed were single sheets laid across the bed, we felt like prisoners trapped on our terrace waiting for promised visits from the staff and for meals that were bland and rather mingy. Altogether there was a feel of penny pinching and lack of good management. We had a power-cut one night and lost all electricity. No-one came to let us know what was happening, The only person I could find to ask was the security person. All in all, a very disappointing stay in a place ill designed and poorly managed and over-priced. Be warned!

Room Tip: Avoid first cottage at back
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank Lookout2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
janmarari, Owner at A Beach Symphony, responded to this review, December 8, 2013
Dear Guest,
Thank you for staying with us as a walk in guest. And this just for 1 day which is always kind of difficult for a concept like ours and especially in your case as you didn’t give us any advance notice. But of course this doesn’t mean that you should feel unhappy after a stay….but I do think there have been a few misunderstandings..so let’s explain point by point so we don’t mislead our future guests :
You stayed in the Sitar cottage which is normally a twin bedded room but which we often also make as a double bed. To stabilize the mattress on this traditional Kerala bed we use different ‘layers’ : an anti-slip under the mattress, a single and double mattress protector and then to tighten the mattresses even more we first put 2 single sheets horizontally and on top of that we put a double sheet and this is only for the ‘bottom’. Of course after that the top sheet and bed cover comes. I really don’t understand where the problem comes from ? Except maybe that we play it very safe on your comfort & hygiene level !
Our concept indeed has a very high level of service where we come to you basically but we never ask a guest to stay on his veranda to wait for our stewards or manager. On check in you get the concept explained by our manager Deepu, unless he’s on leave, but for he has done it. So no need at all to ‘feel like a prisoner’. Unless other places we encourage everyone to go out and discover…but little hard if your’e only there for 20 hrs…Also you have a complete directory repeating or adding the rest of what you should know.
About meals, all tastes are personal…and we do have a sous-chef who’s sometimes a little too careful in spicing his meals (and we’re working on that continuously)…but you would be surprised how many guests eat very low spiced. So our chefs automatically become careful…especially on a first night. Unfortunately we were fully booked the next day so you and we couldn’t get a 2nd chance to correct. And if there’s one comment we never get : you serve too small portions…it more tends in the other direction. But you need a first for everything ! But to be complete : an overview of what a normal dinner exists of at ‘a Beach Symphony’ : 3 different vegetable preparations (1 curry, 1 ‘dry’, 1 thoran), fish or chicken or seafood, per week 5 different rice preparations , 2 chapatthi per person & dessert. This all served on your veranda and after our stewards have served there’s still for a 2nd serve in the shafing dish on your veranda…so you can even wait and eat at your own pace. In total we have a 12 different standard menu’s which can still be changed by our guests if they don’t like something. Who gives this service at this rate ?
Unfortunately power cuts do happen in India…that’s why we have a very powerful generator to run the full property without any problem. Now if you had the main fuse of the room blown it’s much more difficult for our security man to observe (few people sleep with the lights on). It’s correct that at night he’s the man to contact, if he’s not capable to solve the problem he will then wake up one of our staff members that stay on site, all the time. Of course we always search to become better when things come to our attention. So we decided to give a phone to every cottage with the useful contact numbers in case of unexpected events/emergencies.
Overpriced you say ? I think the above replies to that on it’s own. We’re also keen travelers and each year I search at our destinations somehow what we do….well I’ve never found it in our price range. It’s also not because you can’t get a direct sea view cottage on a walk in the property is ill designed..I dare say this to respect the 98% of our previous reviewers & the many more that told us personally the great job we have done.
Poorly managed…normally Christel or me we meet every guest at the beginning of their stay. Apparently Christel didn’t meet you, sorry for that. It does happen that even after checking with Deepu it does happen guests are not on their veranda at the time Christel comes to Beach Symphony…and we respect your privacy in & outside the cottage. On top of that, a residential manager, 2 staff for F&B only and 8 more staff to serve all your needs…not counting security & beach cleaning jobs.
I knew a big feedback and I will even explain why : we (my wife & me, our team with Deepu leading them, refuse that a single guest tries to discredit us based on a single night stay !! Too much energy has been put to set up one of the best places in Kerala, where a lot of thinking has gone into to create a place which comes closest to a ‘responsible’ luxury. It’s a pity Tripadvisor doesn’t allow us to post the personal comments from guests you would see that in 3-5cm thick guestbooks you would be a ‘rare occasion’ and good for that.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hitchin
Level Contributor
55 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed October 22, 2013

A private cottage, with a large terrace looking out over a sandy "garden" with scattered coconut palms and exotic plants to Arabian Sea waves crashing on to the beach just beyond. What better place to unwind at the end (almost) of a 4 week trip to India. I agree with all the other comments about the excellent rooms - large, comfortable, well furnished with modern showers opening out on to a walled grass area. The delicious meals were individually discussed, cooked and served on your terrace when you wanted them, drinks too. The ayurvedic massage was very good and very reasonably priced. The sea was pretty rough when we were there, so the decent sized swimming pool was very welcome, as were the large jute hammocks strung from the coconut trees. The staff were unfailingly helpful and friendly, unobtrusive but there when you needed them.There was a small fishing landing place on the edge of the grounds, but we took advantage of the property's tuk tuk and booked an early morning ride to see the fishing boats land and fish auctioned at Thyckal further up the coast. It was well worth the early rise. You could also borrow bikes to cycle around the local area. When we looked at the itinerary our agent planned, we questioned whether 3 nights here was too long. It most certainly wasn't and despite the beach outside being slightly marred by some unfortunate toilet habits (best to walk along the water's edge) if we ever had the opportunity we would stay at this wonderful place again.

Room Tip: I loved our cottage looking straight over to the sea, but cannot remember its name.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Maggie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Hague, Netherlands
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed October 6, 2013

wow. this is the kind of place you only dream of finding...And then never leave again. This beautiful boutique beach resort knows to balance perfect service and retaining privacy for the guest. It feels like the whole resort molds to your whishes: drinks and food on your veranda when you want, after discussing the menu with the chef.
This is no-brainer for (y)our next india trip. Do book in time, because this place is small and - rightly so - very in demand.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank TeesR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 16, 2013

a truly wonderful place to stay in a very quiet and unspoiled part of kerala! only 4 villas on the complex but it still has it's own private pool and in-villa dining, very decadent. staff were very friendly, food very good (tailored to your own requirements) and only 50 metres from the beach! villa is very spacious and well presented. we had an outdoor shower / bathroom experience, very nice.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank alex_and_magda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bengaluru, India
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 15, 2013

Fascinating trip.A fantastic resort with great staff who make you feel at home
Great pool ..beach is just 50 minutes away. excellent food.

A well managed and the at most hospitality from the beginning of reservation thanks to the property owner Jan Arryn. Hats of to the people in the resort for making this vacation a memorable one.Thanks to the entire staff and special mention to "Deepu" ...

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank pvnpavan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about A Beach Symphony

Property: A Beach Symphony
Address: West of Mararikulam Beach Junction, Mararikulam 688549, India
Location: India > Kerala > Alappuzha District > Mararikulam
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 24 Specialty Lodging in Mararikulam
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Escape from work to paradise! Where dreams come true for those looking for a perfect relaxing holiday.Only 4 separate cottages set in a coconut tree beach garden. Hammocks around the property, completely furnished super spacious verandab with relaxing and dining set, all the meals served on your veranda & All cottages have AC (even the extra room in Khombu has a separate one). A common swimming pool (15 x 5 meter) with plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas. We really look after you to guarantee a perfect stay because holidays are precious. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
a Beach Symphony Hotel Alappuzha
A Beach Symphony Kerala/Mararikulam, India

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