Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel & Spa
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Historical Traveler Reviews Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel & Spa Kovalam
Oh what a good stay! Will go back again!!!
We stayed at the Uday Samudra hotel in Kovalam in the month of January of 2006. We reached at around 3AM and found the lobby to be dark and quite. I was already regretting spending so much money on this dark deserted hotel. Much to my surprise when we were taken to our rooms we realised how luxurious the hotel was! The rooms were well appointed and clean. They looked very new. They were very spacious and the bathrooms were very clean.
In the morning we went for our huge hot and yummy breakfast. The staff was warm and very well mannered. The hotel in daylight looked totally different. It was right on Kovalam beach with its private strip of beach. It had 2 swimming pools and a tiki bar kind of 24 hour coffee shop with good coffee. The evening entertainment was very good with 2 hours of traditional dance performances over dinner. I would say anyone who wants to soak up some sun and get a piece of what traditional India is, this is a perfect combination of the two. I would stay in the hotel again on my next trip to India.
The Real UDS Story
Before I talk about my holiday experience I would just like the reader to know that I am well travelled and have stayed in a diverse range of hotels from opulent hotels to basic allocation on arrival in many different countries and resorts. I am fairly laid back about things and like many English people take things in my stride with out much fuss and bother. So you would have thought by reading the previous reviews of UDS hotel that this is an exceptional hotel in every way. Whilst it does have some qualities it is by no means a hotel that I would regard as exceptional, but certainly does have the potential to be.
The First Choice flight was fairly unremarkable, the interactive games and TV kept us entertained for hours. On flight food was ok and seats were comfortable but the only downside was the need for more toilets, outgoing we were unable to use them for the last hour because of blockages and on return only 2 were working for the last 3 hours because of over use and blockages.
On arrival to the UDS we had 2 rooms (we are a small family) .The previous occupants use the rooms up to 2 hours before new arrivals. Consequently the rooms are not cleaned properly before the new arrivals and to our observations only the beds had been made. The floors were dirty, there was hair on the bathroom floor, sink and toilet not cleaned, mirrors smeared door, door chain broken (later our door handle came off and we were unable to get into our room) and the refit had a shabby but adequate feel. Not a good start im sure you will agree. Other guests complained of dampness and leaking fridges.
By far the most farcical event, which it appears all the guests complained about was the failure of the hotel staff to activate the room safes despite asking at the reception at least 4 times over the following 3 days. We were told that one man was responsible for reactivating all the safes and he would be with us at 10am that same day which later became 4pm, which later became never. You may not put security on your priority list but given that a mobile phone was allegedly stolen from another guest's room we would have thought the hotel management would have considered this a priority, instead they were apathetic at best and despite assurances that this would be done it never was and we gave up trying. I lost count at the amount of times I saw guests approach reception regarding the safe situation only to be told 'the man' would be round shortly. Fortunately we used a hotel safe in the lobby to secure important documents. I wonder what other guests did when these limited safe boxes run out?
Regrettably the poor service didn't end there, and was at its worse in the restaurants. I know it was the end of the season but this is not an excuse and I feel that the fault is with the senior management. In other restaurants hotel staff are proactive enough to go around the poolside guests seeking orders for food and drink. However the opposite seems the case here, we waited 50 minutes for a simple order of chips, sandwich and pizza by an apathetic waiter. The chips were cold and the waiter came back 15 minutes later with chips burnt at the corners having been put under a grill. Try getting a drink at the pool bar, that's a joke, the chef who was cooking there couldn't have been any more disinterested if he had tried. Another incident involved being told by a waiter to sit in Charlie's restaurant away from my family during an evening meal as I had ordered toast, which was not on the main restaurant evening menu. I tried to explain that I had a severe stomach upset resulting in medication, but this seemed to have an unconcerned reaction until I asked to see the manager!
I appreciate I was in India and the culture demands a slower pace of life but I don't think its unreasonable to expect a hotel that claims to want to "beat the best" to provide a good standard of care and service. With attentive and helpful staff it would certainly make for a far more pleasurable experience given the beautiful surroundings and atmosphere and I wouldn't have to tell you about these annoyances which could easily be rectified. The exception was the cleaners who always met us with a smile and a kind word. Watching the fishermen pull in the catch outside the hotel; is certainly a must and is a charming reminder of the past with a modern present side by side.
We do however highly recommend the 3rd Rock restaurant. It may not be as cheap as restaurants on the Lighthouse Beach but it certainly makes up for it in service and food quality. We booked a fantastic backwater boat trip through a man called JJ (3rd Rock), which made our holiday very special. As with many other surrounding restaurants all the staff are friendly and helpful and really make you feel at home, unlike the UDS. They are also very honest (my son left an expensive mobile phone that they went out of their way to return to us). Other restaurants that deserve a mention are Lonely Planet, Garzier and Santana all on Lighthouse Beach 10 minutes away (ask for directions to the Lonely Planet for gorgeous vegetarian food that's really cheap). Its also worth a trip up to the main town Trivandrum where you can expect to pay a third of UK prices for clothes and can easily get a tailor to make up or copy any item of clothing very cheaply. Again we used a tailor through our contact JJ next to the 3rd Rock and he made some wonderful shirts for us. So overall India has some wonderful sights and places to visit, even in the limited parts of the country that we visited. Another time I might only consider the UDS as a base to explore Kerala.
First Taste of India
We have had a fantastic stay at this hotel, clean and friendly the food was excellent, yes the service was a bit slow, but its the same everywhere as the food is cooked fresh. The only noise you can hear in the rooms is the sound of the waves crashing on the wall as there is no beach to talk of. We went First Choice and had a good flight we did not pay for extra leg room. Not realy a place to take children as there is not a lot to do.
A really memorable holiday...
Having never been to India before we didn't know what to expect but the UDS was absolutely brilliant- the staff were helpful and friendly and the room was cleaned daily to a really high standard. The food was really good tho more expensive than at the local restaurants on the beach which were fabulous. The beach is not really suitable for swimming but honestly the pools are so great it doesn't matter- the concrete "deck" in front of the beach is basic,yes,but great for sitting out in the evenings and having your meals brought to you while watching the sunset and the little lights of the fishing boats. Its a working beach and every day lots of people from the hotel were out watching the fishermen- a real education and fascinating.If you want a sanitised holiday where actually you could be in any hotel anywhere in the world then maybe this isn't the place. Yes there were hawkers but they were so polite and if you say no its not a problem and they are really interesting to talk to. We went First Choice and they were good(getting extra leg room on the flight was well worth it but didn't feel paying the extra for Premier would have given us a better flight)but its better to get any trips organised with local taxi drivers- Vijay was great! We went on a houseboat for a night and it was the highlight-ask the hotel and they will give you a couple of sheets to take also towels- a tip we got from other people who had been. One thing that you need to check before going is when they have the Hindu festival in January- its a really big thing that actually is incredibly noisy and if you are staying anywhere near the reception area its hard to get any sleep! Honestly the last couple of days of it would give Live 8 a run for its money. I agree with other reviews re the "reserving the sunbeds"- why do people have to do this???AND they are Brits! The Ayurvedic centre was fab and very good value. For £1 you can get a tuk tuk (taxi) to Lighthouse Beach and a)eat wonderful food and b) buy loads of great things ranging from leather bags to beaded cushions etc etc. The tailor's by the hotel is brilliant and my husband had a suit made in 36 hours and I had trousers made in 12 hours. All brilliant value. One other thing was that when we were there at the end of January there were no children there which(for us)was a real bonus. We've had them and got the t shirts so it was great not to be somewhere with wall to wall Mini Clubs. Would we go back? Absolutely!
Horrible place to stay!
Please stay anywhere in Kovalam, but don't go in this hotel.
I booked this hotel for 15 & 16 Feb 2006 and am repenting till now.
Biggest problem: They have built a new wing. There is some drainage problem in that wing and so there is sewage smell in all the rooms. Despite complaining again and again, they couldn't provide any solution.
Other Problems: The hotel is too crowded after the new wing and it looks like a fish market and not a hotel. Even their restaurants are full always, all tables are unclean during lunch/dinner hours because the hotel is grossly under-staffed. The staff is never serious about a guest's problems and to top it all their director Mr Raj Gopal Iyer, thinks that he can fool anyone and turns a deaf ear to customers' problems.
Uday Sumdra Hotel
My boyfriend and I have never been to India before so we didn't know quite what to expect but we had a really great time and loved the place. Uday Sumudra was a lovely hotel, it was heaven having 2 pools to swim in, gorgeous weather and really nice being by the breeze of the sea. The location is great as you aren't near the busier Lighthouse beach, and it's nice to wander down to the little fishing villages nearby and watch the fishermen on the beach in the morning.
The hotel was nice, clean and the food was really great (although it was quite a bit more expensive than other restaurants). The only issue we had with the hotel was the idiot english guests who insisted on reserving sunloungers. It became a little farcical when people would get up at the crack of down reserve all the loungers but not actually use them until about 4pm, hence they were empty all day. Annoys me a lot that people are so anal!
Apart from that slight grudge, everything else was good. Had a couple of facials at the Aruveydic centre which were nice and had a really good buffet dinner one evening at the hotel.
Kerala is a really nice place for a holiday as you have the combination of a luxury beach holiday with the less touristy parts of India. It isn't as poor or dirty as somewhere like Bombay but you do meet a lot of Indian's who live a very poor existence, even though they tried to convince us they were lucky with the food and education in their state
The package with Manos was good value apart from the flight. I have never been on a more uncortable airplane. There was no legroom (and I'm only 5'4), my boyfriend at 6' had a miserable time. The seats felt like they were made of metal and all the people sat near us complained of the same metal piece sticking into their back. Really terrible flight. Stay clear of Manos 'My Travel- airline
Uday Samudra Beach Hotel - we loved it!
I wanted to do a full review of my recent holiday to Kerala as the hotel we stayed at hasn't been reviewed enough yet and the hotel brochures definitely don't sell it enough either!
We stayed at the Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel (known as UDS) in Kovalam from 3-17 March and had the most fabulous time. We were a party of 8 people (4 couples) and travelled to Kerala with First Choice. Our flight from Gatwick was smooth and, now travelling with First Choice long-haul, you have the comfort of extra legroom, choice of meals and your own 'seat-back' tv with remote control. This made the 9/10 hour flight so much more enjoyable! We didn't think it was worth paying the extra £229 for the Premier Star Class flight upgrade as apart from the complimentary drinks, an extra snack and the apparent 3" extra leg room, we didn't think we'd miss out on anything by staying in Star Class.
Anyway, back to the lovely UDS and Kerala itself. The staff at the UDS were so wonderful. They clearly take pride in their work and the service they provide to others. All of them greet you with a genuine smile and nothing you ask for appears to be too much trouble. We had many conversations with the General Manager and Corporate Director and it's so refreshing to see them walk around the complex, personally ensuring that all the guests are well looked after.
We stayed in rooms 605, 616, 715 and 517 - Room 517 was ground floor, rooms 605 and 616 were 2nd and 715 on top floor. 605 was nearer to the beach than the others, incase you wanted to request a certain room number.
The food at the hotel was very very good too. The main restaurant is called Oottupura, where you can have breakfast lunch and dinner. The menu is fairly extensive and lists traditional Keralan food (both veg & non-veg), plus Chinese & Continental cuisine too, all of which are reasonably priced. An example of one of my favourite dishes on the menu was the Murgh Kadai (Chicken Kadai) at Rs.150 which I ate along with coconut rice and Kashmiri Nan - YUM! Breakfasts here were also wonderful - I enjoyed eating Puri, Potato Bhaji & Sambar for breakfast, along with fried eggs or omelettes - there are also a selection of cereals, Danish pastries & fruit on offer.
There is also the Aqua-Marine (seafood) restaurant which we never got round to trying out but you could also have breakfast, lunch & dinner here too and I know the seafood at the hotel is amazing too - try the Pomfret or Kingfish in garlic butter, it's lovely!
Café Charlie is the 24-hour coffee shop located towards the beach end of the hotel and this mainly serves continental cuisine, although they do have the Oottupura and Room Service menus behind the desk if you'd rather order something from those menus. During the day you have a nice view of the sea from here, particularly if you get a table on the upper level.
The beach is almost non-existent outside the Uday Samudra as most of the sand was sadly lost due to the terrible Tsunami - the current was affected too and has made it too dangerous for swimming at the front of the hotel. Further up the beach though the sea isn't quite so rough so it may be ok, but best to check with the locals first. My husband took a quick dip on the beach just up from the hotel, when the sea appeared calmer and the tide was out somewhat and, although he is a very strong swimmer, he said that he had to use a lot of strength to keep his balance and get back safely to the shore. Here's a link to a picture I found of the beach before the Tsunami struck (although Kerala wasn't directly hit apparently) and you will see from the photos I posted that the tide comes in a lot further and doesn't appear to move away much. http://community.webshots.com/photo/184714088/1185145455059264758YeeUYl
Please don't let this stop you staying at the hotel though - it still is lovely to sit out on the sun loungers and listen to the waves, plus if you want to swim, there are Hawah and Lighthouse beaches only a 10 minute walk or 4 minute Tuk-Tuk ride away! Not forgetting to mention the 2 swimming pools that the hotel has (soon to have 3 pools) which are lovely and naturally warm to dip into! They have a really good gym/beauty parlour/Auyurvedic Centre too so be sure to try all out like I did!
Despite the fact that Kerala is meant to be a dry state alcohol is served in most places in Kovalam, even if it's served up to you in a mug to avoid heavy fines from police! At the hotel though they are licensed and you can ask for cocktails, beers, wines and spirits. Be warned though that the wine served in Kerala (not just at the UDS) is mainly the Grover Vineyards wine in both Red & White (produced in India) and it's way way overpriced in India terms. The wine is 'ok', not great though yet they charge around Rs.950 which is £12.20 - the average price of a good house white wine in the UK!!! Mind you, I didn't go to Kerala for wine tasting or to get 'drunk' so we only ended up buying a few bottles during our stay; Kingfisher was Rs.100, vodka was Rs.75 for a double shot.
Other restaurants we tried whilst in Kovalam were the Waters Edge, 3rd Rock from the Sea (fantastic - Joseph there really looks after you!), Samudra Sands and Molly's - all of which were right by the UDS. At Lighthouse Beach we tried See Bee (which even does Mojito cocktails - Daz worked here), Garzia (yummy chicken Kadai here), Coconut Grove, Café de la Mere, Spice Garden, Rock Garden,. We didn't get to try Fusion though it did look very trendy, not sure what the prices were like though. You must also try the Lobster Place restaurant on the top of the cliff at Hawah beach - great food and a fantastic view! Didn't have enough days in our trip to try everywhere, though I know there are lots of wonderful restaurants out there - trust me you won't be disappointed!
We did quite a few excursions including an overnight backwater cruise from Alappuzha which we arranged with our taxi driver 'Thambi' who is based just outside the hotel. It cost £39 per person for a 4-bedroom houseboat which was great considering the size of the boat (see my photo!)!! The food/staff on board were wonderful, as was the wonderful scenery and sunset/sunrise. Please remember to take your insect repellent and ask for an A/C boat unless you want to sweat all night and get bitten! I was fairly lucky though, I only managed to get bitten twice during the whole of our holiday, most unusual for me!
We also arranged through Thambi's friend a trip to Cape Comorin - Also known as Kanyakumari, literally meaning "the virgin". At Cape Comorin, where the three oceans, the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet is located in the Southern most tip of the Indian sub-continent, in the state of Tamil Nadu. We left the hotel at 10:30am and was back at 17:30 and had such a fantastic time. There were many things to see along the way. Our driver charged us Rs.2500 for the day (well we ended up giving him Rs.3000 as he was great) and this was because we didn't need the A/C in the 4x4 as we had the windows down which was adequate. To use the A/C would have cost us Rs.3000 for the whole trip.
Take a trip into Trivandrum too to have a look around the shops, temple, museums etc. but don't pay more than Rs.300 for your taxi. Tuk Tuks are a lot cheaper but the ride is more hairy - though this was part of the excitement that India has to offer so make sure you take a Tuk-Tuk somewhere, even if it's just to Lighthouse beach (get off at Hawah Beach end and walk around to the left to reach Lighthouse beach - it only costs Rs.50-70 one way or Rs.100 max for a return).
One of my most memorable trips though happened on our last day - we had brought 40 pens with us from the UK as we have travelled to India many times before and know that the local kids go crazy for pens. We learned that one of the local schools "St. Mary's Lower Primary School" has 900 kids there so ended up buying the entire pen stock from all the shops nearby to take there! Anyway when we got there, we were totally captivated by the lovely children who were approximately aged between 5-9 years old - they were so wonderful and all over us! The school principal welcomed us and let us watch their morning assembly which choked me up while watching, it was so lovely. We then gave our pens out to the kids in their respective classrooms and they were all so grateful. If you can take any pens with you (get them from the poundshops or something), you'll always find some lovely kids who'll ask you for some!
Shopping-wise, the hotel has a really good shop that sells lots of little trinkets, pashminas and lovely jewellery - none of which is over-priced. I bought lots there, plus lots from the many shops/stalls along the way to Lighthouse beach, not forgetting Trivandrum. There is a really good Tailor just to the right of the beach next to the Waters Edge Restaurant called "Body Fit" - they made me a linen trouser suit and a raw silk halter-neck dress which were both fantastic. My husband and his dad both had suits made at Ram's tailors just up the hill from Hawah beach (opposite Jasmine Palace hotel) - the suits are so well made, I was very impressed!
Anyway, I think I've covered most things in my review. If there is anything else you'd like to ask me, please don't hesitate to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org - I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.
If you're going to Kerala/UDS soon - you're so lucky!! Wish I was coming with you!! :o)
My wife and I stayed at UDS during the last leg of our India trip in Feb 2006. We loved it there and wished we could stay there longer. The rooms were excellent, the staff were attentive and quite helful. The seafood was awesome. It's fresh and you could even see the fishermen in the morning pulling in their catch. Their General Manager walks around and makes sure you stay there is comfortable.
We tried the restaurants just outside the resort facing the beach and they were great. While in UDS we took a three wheeler ride to "Light House". It's an area filled with shops and restaurants. If you are there, you have to check this place out.
UDS offers back water rides and other excursions. We tried the back water ride and loved it.
We will definitely be returning to UDS.
Our fam trip in Kerala
We choosed Uday Samudra under suggestion of our agent "Indian Holiday" as a final stay after 8 days tour in Kerala. Due some strange problems of our flight, our juorney in Kerala started with an overnightstay at Uday Samudra. Anthony and an other guy (can't remember the name, sorry) very friendly welcomed us . This was really the beginning of a magnificent holiday. As this was our first time in India, we were quite worring about the food (we are italian !!), but found the great choise of the buffet dinner exactly fitting our gourmet needs. Rooms assigned were very large and comfortable for the 3 girl of us, beds very comfortables with 3 pillows each, just to say "have a good sleep"; bathroom shower can accomodate up to 3 people in one time.
After our first night, we started our tour to Kerala and came back to our beloved UDS on January 30th for our relaxation week. More discovering during this week. The gymn is a must if you don't want to go back home with some pound too much due to the really wonderful food that they serve at breakfast and dinner. Ayurveda massage center is a perfect pitch to understand kerala culture, and I really needed the beauty parlor... well nothing I say can explain
how we really enjoyed our stay at Uday Samudra. The location is fantastic even if the sea is not what we expected,but there are two pools that are well served by Cafe Charlie and night amusement is the only "noise" - but very pleasant - that we could hear that week. A plus, the restaurant tables by the sea....
An other plus... bedlinen changed everyday
An other plus... so attentive waiter in the restaurant
An oher plus ... perfect managers who personally supervise all services offered.
I had the chance to talk with the General Manager one night, he is a very attentive man, and his staff is proud to work at UDS. This probably makes the difference.
While there, do not miss to try also the local restaurants at lunch time. There are 3 or 4 near by and we tried all. People of this part of the world is very nice and welcoming. We had great food and servcie in all these and I do suggest you. In the same area there's also a smal clinic for ayurveda massages (Dr. Sunitra) try also a massage there. Just try all the opportunity you find, you will get great and fond memories.
Just to say, I'm process to book an other week next march...
S. Carrano & fam
uday samudra is the best hotel in kerala very friendly staff. rooms very clean food and drinks are very cheap at the hotel. kingfisher '1.00 a bottle go to the sea gull resturant and see lawrence it is on the beach . best holiday i have had. well worth the long fligt
TripAdvisor Reviews Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel & Spa Kovalam
Travel Blogs from Kovalam
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Final Indian Experience
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