“ City: Cochin / Country: India / World Region: Asia „
Having just returned from a trip to S India I felt compelled to write a review of our stay at the Taj Malabar, Cochin.
We opted to splash out, and on our first night, before we flew out to the Lakshadweep islands, we chose to stay in the Executive suite. It was not cheap, the room was 17,500 rupees ( approx £250.00), but it was worth every penny.
Our flight arrives in at 4am, and we arranged for collection at the airport (about 1 hrs dive away). We were met at arrivals by James, our chaffeur, who loaded our cay, gave us cool flannels, and cold water for the trip. He then put his chaffeurs hat on and drove us to the hotel. Well worth the £20.00. We were at the hotel by 6am, and although check in isn't till 2pm, they took us to a spare room to rest, until our room was available- which was 10am.
Our suite had a large bedroom, with huge 4 poster bed, plus flat screen tv and dvd player. The bedlinen was the softest I have ever felt. While you were at dinner, the staff came and cleaned your room again, and turned your bed down.
The lounge also had TV/DVD, sofa and chairs, mini bar, all the newspapers and complimentary fruit bowl.
The bathroom was out of this world with huge double person bath, rain shower, double sinks. And plenty of extras, as well as the normal soap(which was sugar soap and fantastic)shampoo and bath stuff, also toothbrushes and toothpaste, razor and shaving foam, flannels, loofah, moisturiser, slippers, shower cap, and big fluffy bathrobes.
For the second part of our stauy their we stayed in a deluxe sunset heritage room, which was very elegant, and dates back to to 1930's.
All the same facilities as suite, but bathroom slightly less impressive, and only a bedroom. No balcony either. However, you would still feel very comfortable staying there.
The whole place gives an air of understated elegance, without being showy. The staff cannot do enough to help, and are charming.
The travel concierge is really helpful too. They arranged a trip for us on the keralan backwaters, on a riceboat, but as their main one was in use, we got the luxury delux riceboat. It had 3 bedrooms, a lounge, shower room, and upstairs deck with dining facilites, and a day bed. They also arranged a driver to take us there an bring us back. The meal on board was all made fresh, and we had 3 servants, for 2 of us. Again, not cheap, but fantastic trip- cost about £200 for the 2 of us.
The infinity pool at the Taj merges with the arabian sea, and is beautifully clean, but would say, slightly chilly.
The Jiva Spa was outstanding, my hubbie and i had a relaxing aromatherapy massage, for 2, including oil foot bath. The therapists were very professional and me had a steam bath before the massage. For an hour for 2 of us £70.00.
We ate in the outside restaurant which did an indian bbq, and N Indian dishes, which we had to wash down with some champagne !.
We also ate at Peppers restaurant, which slightly lacked atmosphere, and I didn't enjoy food quite so much.
The pool bar also did nice snack lunches, club sandwiches/wraps etc
Room service was great and we ate on our balcony once.
The Mattencherry bar, is full of dark wood and comfie sofas, very atmospheric.
Every evening they do a free cruise of cochin harbour at sunset, with tea and biscuits before you go.
There is also an exhibtion of cultural Kathkali dancing at 7.30pm in the garden.
All in all this really is a first class hotel, which is now having to have extreme security, following the attack in Mumbai. It doesn't however detract from a wonderful experience in a classy hotel, which knows how to treat a client.
We will certainly go back
When we visited Kochi (Cochin) in May, we decided to spend a weekend at the Taj Malabar hotel.We had won some vouchers which we could redeem at the Taj group of hotels and that's what made us stay at this very pricey classy hotel.It was well worth the price though...the double room cost us Rs 12,380/-(approximately 160 pounds).There are more expensive deluxe rooms and suites..
Taj Malabar is ideally located overlooking the Cochin harbor and the Waterfront, a view of the Mattancheery river beyond as it joins the sea at Cochin.The views are magnificent both during the day and at sunset and at night with all those glittering lights .The Hotel is 8 kms away from Cochin situated on the Willingdon man made island.
I was thoroughly impressed the moment we set foot into the reception area, which was very elegantly furnished with ethnic cane furniture,Plush sofas and lots of flowers in vases ,floating in huge water filled urns, and some really nice paintings and wall hangings.We were given a traditional welcome with flowers and Kumkum(Vemillion) .The checking in was very quick and efficiently done by the staff.As we were waiting we were offered a refreshing drink which was complementary.The interiors of the Hotel was very attractive, with lovely earthy shades and had an old world charm....It was built in 1935 i was told, and has undergone several renovations and upgradations.The end product as it is now leaves you thoroughly impressed, i definitely was !!
We were given roms in the Tower wing ...The rooms were extremely comfortable and came with all the amenities that one can expect in a hotel of this class....TV,fridge,telephone,a complementary bottle of wine , a large bowl of flowers,fruit basket, cookies, a kettle with tea and coffee making materials, some soft drinks in the fridge..The bathroom had shampoos, soap, toothpaste, 2 tooth brushes, shaver,an assortment of creams...Fantastic.The best part was the view from the room.It was breathtaking.we could see the entire stretch of Cochin harbor, the River and the fishing boats and the Cochin town on the other side with its tile roofed houses and buildings , the lush swaying palms..honestly one could spend hours standing by that window.
The room service was again excellent .The room meticulously cleaned sheets changed and finally sprayed with a room freshener and the bathrooms shining , squeaky clean and fragrant..
The hotel has a lush garden and i spent quite a lot of time exploring the grounds which were very well kept..neat and beautiful with lots of varieties of flowering plants, orchids and the like..There is a large swimming pool, which looked absolutely divine, just that it was nearly full.It was a very hot day at the height of summer and everyone seemed to be cooling off..
There are Five restaurants in the Hotel and all of them serve excellent food, very tasty and beautifully presented..it is expensive though...The Rice Boat was our favorite with its awesome location.It stretches on to the sea... it had some amazing Sea food specialities.I loved the local preparation of Prawns , stirfried with Garlic, Red chilly powder and plenty of fragrant curry leaves.It was yummy to have with chilled Lime juice.
They have a lot of local dishes on the menu at Rice Boat.We tried the traditional Kerala dish the Avial , a gravy made with ground coconut, green chillies and cummin seeds, mixed with a rare combination of vegetables like Raw Bananas, Yam,Drum sticks,Pumpkin,French Beans and Carrots.This was served with Aappams a pancake or Dosa made with Rice flour mixed with Local palm toddy and the batter fermented for a few hours...It was perfect and very tasty.
There is a Thai restaurant which is very good again.We had the Thai chicken curry with root ginger and lemon grass and chilly paste and Steamed rice with a traditional mixed salad with shredded Carrots, Shredded Cabbage and Sliced Cucumber, all excellent..
There is a coffee shop which is open 24 hours and one can grab some quick bites with Coffee. and they have a lovely selection of Sandwiches, Samosas, Kebabs, Grills etc;
There is a Health spa which looked very inviting and the other guests who had used it said that it was great, though i din't try it..
The Hotel Staff are very well trained and are very courteous and helpful.They make that extra effort to make you feel comfortable without being overbearing..In fact this was one of the things that made our stay here memorable.They gave us details about other restaurants that we could try while we took a tour around Cochin and other such helpful travel suggestions.
We were taken on a Sunset ferry ride which was complementary to all the guests ..We were taken to see the famous Chinese fishing nets and as far as the backwaters and back to the hotel .It was a great experience.We were also served some snacks and a drink on the ferry which was very welcome, as it was a very warm day.There was a traditional 'Kathakali' dance by the local artistes at night which was very well presented..
in fact the very next day, the day we were leaving, the skies opened up and the monsoon rains hit Cochin. It was the most magnificent sight ever, to see the rain lashing on to the boats and the trees and just about everything.From our room on the sixth floor we could feel the fury of the rain as it hit the window panes and the hotel building..it was scary and at the same time humbling...one felt so small against the mighty Nature.
All good things come to an end, i am hoping that we will be able to have another super stay there again.
I really enjoyed my stay at Taj Malabar and highly recommend it to everyone.It is a little far from the city but one can easily get taxis to take you.
I recommend not taking the Taxis provided by the Hotel as they charge a lot .A trip to Cochin was at Rs 800/-(10 pounds).The cheaper alternative is to request the desk staff to call a taxi ..they charge anywhere between Rs 250 - Rs 300/-(3-4 pounds).
Some Useful details
Taj Malabar, Cochin
Cochin - 682 009
Tel: (91- 484) 2666811 / 2668010
Fax: (91- 484) 2668297
96 Rooms including nine suites which include Tower wing rooms,Heritage wing rooms,Executive suites and deluxe suites
Guest Amenities in all rooms:
Include Wireless Internet connectivity, international direct dialing facility, electronic safe, mini bar, hair dryer and television with satellite programs. All rooms also offer mineral water, tea/coffee maker, and a fruit platter.
Three banquet halls seat from 30 to 300 persons auditorium style or 25 to 250 persons for cocktails/receptions. 10000 sq ft space of Lawns facing the backwaters...
Address: Willingdon Island / Cochin - 682 009 / Kerala / India