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“Awful Service and Awful Homestay!”

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Backwater Heritage Homestay
Ranked #1 of 14 Kumarakom B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Awful Service and Awful Homestay!”
Reviewed February 25, 2013

My partner and I were travelling through India for the Christmas holidays. For the most part our trip has been wonderful until we came to Kumarakom. We chose this homestay because it had the highest rating on Tripadvisor under the BnB category. We expected it to be simple but clean and picturesque. We chose the package on their website for 9,000 INR which included one night stay in the homestay (A/C) and one night stay on the houseboat (A/C) including breakfast, lunch and dinner. When we reached out to Xavier (the owner) he said that prices had increased to 14,000 INR from 9,000 INR because it’s the holiday season. Xavier told us that we had to deposit 10,000 INR into his account before this could be booked. This should have raised a red flag because there was no way we would be able to get the money back if quality, service and hygiene were lacking.


To begin with the homestay is very difficult to find and our driver had to call Xavier multiple times to get there. When we finally got to our room the bathroom floor had mud on it. We asked to have it cleaned and the cleaner went in but the mud was still there when he came back out so we didn’t bother asking again and just made do. There were also cobwebs on the ceiling as well as on the ceiling fan. Moreover, the ceiling fan looked like it hadn't been dusted in years. I was expecting it to at least be cleaned before we got there but it appears as if they barely made an effort. When we asked for lunch because it was part of our package Xavier looked at us quizzically and said "let me check first to see if this was confirmed in our email exchange." We were a little confounded by this as he should already know this beforehand but it looks like preparation is not his forte. We waited until he got back to us to say that yes, indeed we had paid for breakfast, lunch and dinner and would be receiving it. The food is prepared by Xavier's wife and it is quite tasty. That was the only positive aspect of our stay there. When it was finally time to go to bed after dinner we caught sight of about 3 spiders and 2 tiny cockroaches in the bedroom. I understand that this was the backwaters and insects are to be expected but this just made my skin crawl on top of everything else.

We just wanted the morning to come so we could finally leave the homestay and head to the houseboat. When we asked Xavier if he would accompany us to the houseboat to do a quality check before we boarded he said that he would but then backed out at the last minute and ordered an auto rickshaw to take us there without him. He had also told us that the houseboat belonged to him but when we got to the boat the driver of the boat told us that the boat actually belongs to Xavier's friend. At this point we were not surprised to hear that either. I guess we should have known that the boat did not belong to Xavier because it was clean and looked nice. The food prepared on the boat was quite delicious but after the meal the driver of the boat took a nap and we had to wake him up so we could get going. He ended up sending the second in line/the cook to man the boat while he continued to sleep . The boat cruised from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm with a one hour break in between for lunch. We asked if we could watch the sunset on the lake before it was docked for the night but the driver said that he had to dock it outside the owner's home and so we couldn't watch the sunset. This put a real damper on the evening as the sunset is quite spectacular on the lake. The boat is basically docked from 5:30 pm to 9:00 am so you don’t get much time to cruise the lake or the backwaters. Overall it just felt like a rip off.


If you are going to book the homestay my advice to you would be to not pay a deposit beforehand. There are lots of homestays and houseboats that you can book without paying a deposit up front. If we had not already given Xavier the 10,000 INR we would have left the place as soon as we saw our room. Xavier and his friend who owns the houseboat are only out for a cash grab. Shame on them!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Michelle P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
backwaterheritage, Owner at Backwater Heritage Homestay, responded to this review, February 26, 2013
This gust was a girl from Tamil Nadu who stayed with her partner from U.K in the most peak time just before the X'mas eve. Every where this is the peak time and shall charge a little hike in tariff. Our normal cottage(A.C) tariff is only INR 2000/- and INR 2500 for the peak time days on December last week.It was including all X'mas special meals(Lunch, Dinner &B/fast for 2 adults) INR 4000/- we charged. The house boat tariff was INR 10,000/- for an over night stay and the taxi cost of Cochin air port was INR 2000/- (190 running k.m.) The total amount comes to be INR 16,000/- . This was well informed her 2 months back before transferring the advance amount INR 10,000/-
At the time of checking out she demanded an off-seasonal rate and argued for the package of INR 9000/- of one night stay in A.C cottage and one night stay in A.C house boat including all meals . This package is not available at the peak time days and i told her this is shown in my website very clearly as "this package is not applicable in the peak season" due to hike in prices.This package cost is only INR 9000/- only but after agreeing all terms she transferred INR 10,000/- as an advance 2 months back and wrote me the balance would pay at the time of arrival.
She stayed in a very new air conditioned cottage . Those who stayed there just before and after her had done 'excellent' reviews on Trip adviser A calling bell has fixed just in front of her room. She did n't tell anything about the cockroach or cobweb at that time. this is only from her review i got this information.. We keep every where clean and hygienic always.
Being the peak time , i was busy with other gusts in all six rooms . That is why i couldn't go with her in the house boat . The staff of the house boat told me it was at 6.30 p.m. after enjoying the sun set they came back as every body do. She tells lies all about these things to protect her to make the package get realize in peak time.
This girl was very money minded and is clearly a revenge against me in not getting an off-seasonal benefits just before the X'mas eve.
Here iam enclosing the evidence for the same : the email she sent after transfering the acvance amount INR 10,000/-
Flag this message

> Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 9:45 PM
>
>
> Hi Xavier, We have paid 10,000 INR into your account. The payment
> confirmation is on the bottom of this email. The remaining 6,000 INR will
> be paid in cash upon check out.
> Homestay: 4,000 INR (inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner)Houseboat:
> 10,000 INR (inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner)Taxi from Houseboat to
> Kochi Airport on Dec. 23: 2,000 INRTotal: 16,000 INR
> Deposit made on 16/10/2012: 10,000 INRAmount remaining: 6,000 INR Looking
> forward to seeing you in December! Warm Regards,
> Michelle
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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246 reviews from our community

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English first
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2013

I stayed here with a local friend who is a tour guide and knows a number of Homestays in the area - and he was really impressed. I just wish that I could have stayed longer - it was so peaceful and in beautiful surroundings. The hanging day-beds and hammocks in various places, in both sun and shade, made it such a relaxing place to stay. The food, cooked by Lovely, Xavier's wife was really delicious, fresh and local to the area.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Anna M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirkcaldy
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2013

Arrived late at night after a stressful journey.
Only in the morning did we see the backwater, beautiful gardens and fully appreciate the serenity of the setting and the owners.
Although we could only stay for one night, it would have been nice to have a few nights chilling here. Super breakfast !

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank roseKirkcaldy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), India
1 review
Reviewed February 17, 2013

I have traveled with my two friends to kumarakom and had a chance to stay in this beautiful homestay. This is a very attractive place with plenty of birds and butterflies.I could see more birds than I saw in the Kumarakom bird sanctuary here.Mr Xavier arranged a boat trip to kumarakom which covered Bird sanctuary and Pathiramanal Island.I will never forget such a beautiful boat trip.We have also get the real home made kerala food by Xavier's wife. Dont miss the Idali and chutney prepared here.

Xavier is a very kind person and arranged Taxy for our return Journey. We stayed one night in this beautiful place and will come again next year for sure.

Room Tip: Take the last room in the cottage which is bigger than other rooms.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank krishnan10kr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
Reviewed February 15, 2013

Thank you very much for the experience. You have created a true heaven of tranquility & warmth in Kerala. This was my first visit to Kerala and it is an unforgettable experience.

The wonderful food, carefully thought out activity and beautiful garden are unforgettable. Don't miss the boat ride to the bird sanctuary, which is the highlight of the stay.

Xavier's wife cooked very delicious food, which is the most delicious one I had in Kerala.
Never miss this place.

Room Tip: Take the rooms on the cottage
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank sasha m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lincoln NE
Level Contributor
91 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed February 7, 2013

We had an excellent homestay here, shortened by a sudden medical need. Xavier and his wife were very responsive to our requests and offered opportunities to find local temple festivals. He ran to get us when the local snakeboat operators were getting out the boat so we could hustle over to watch the process. We were concerned that we were ignoring THEM too much as we had business to attend to via internet. He was vigilent about wifi service. Only a thunderstorm did not cooperate with us one eve!! Our host took us to town, showed us local areas of interest and was very responsive. The meals were delicious - only a couple too spicy for me. Mrs. Joseph showed my husband how to make a couple dishes.

Now, when we had to urgently go to a hospital, cutting short our visit, he did not charge us for the remaining days. We offered to pay and he wouldn't take it. Surprising? Sure, but not really, given the spirit of exchange and conversation we and another couple had with him and his family. He arranged immediate, comfortable transport for our appendicitis patient. Beautiful garden, lovely walks and the small canal and village was welcome post 3 days on a houseboat.

Room Tip: Pick either the end room or the first room in the adjacent building - middle room is smaller. I did...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank AbuelitaSuzy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gurgaon
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 29, 2013

A beautiful and remote location away from the maddening crowd , that would summarize my experience there.The setting of the home stay makes you blend with nature and relax to the utmost . The service and personal touch provided my Mr. Xavier was a class apart.You would not get this kind of service anywhere. The food was very home made and we enjoyed the food very much . We also enjoyed the lazy canoe ride on the Minachal river and boat ride to kayal. For these services we just need to intimate Mr. Xavier in about hour or 2 advance. The swings and the hammocs allow us to enjoy nature there. We were there only for 2 nights and a day and did not feel like leaving the place. I Would recommend this place for people who just want to come and relax in this tranquil environment.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank anupn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Backwater Heritage Homestay

Property: Backwater Heritage Homestay
Address: Kumarakom, Kumarakom 686015, India
Location: India > Kerala > Kottayam District > Kumarakom
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 14 B&Bs / Inns in Kumarakom
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
Backwater Heritage Homestay Kumarakom, Kerala

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