The Leela Kovalam:
  Kovalam, India
Check-in
26 May, 2017 (Fri)
Check-out
27 May, 2017 (Sat)
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01
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01
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01 Adult(s)
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TripAdvisor Reviews (539 reviews, 5/5)

  • Overall Hotel Rating:
  • Very Good smile

  • 5/5 (Based on 539 reviews)

Leela ,Kovalam is by far one of the best properties of the Leela group. A perfect place to enjoy a peacful holiday and soak in the true spirit of Kerala! The hotel is best placed and surrounded by the sea on most sides. The Infinity pools are the biggest attraction of the property. The spa offers reasonable and yet the best facilties. The resort owns its own private beach and the beauty is that it is constructed in a manner that keeps the natural souurdings intact. Actually, during my 3 days stay, I did not feel the the need to get out the resort at all ! if it is kovalam, it has to be the Leela's forever!! One can enjoy the sunset while swimming along the sea in the infinity pool ! The food is pre dominantaly a south indian cuisine and for someone who does not have a taste for the same may find it a little challenging, However the breakfast spread is huge and can cater to most. All in all, my stay was a meorable one and the property is par excellence!!

55

Rating

  By Traveller... on Nov 11, 2011

I had an opportunity to stay in Leela, Kovalam twice. We stayed here as part of our annual off-site. The hotel has excellent location with a great view of the Kovalam beach. The cottages with sea view are simply amazing. It would be unfair if I dont mention about excellent cuisines. I stayed in a villa which was excellent. The ride along the hotel on the buggy is also a great experience. The staff is exceptionally well behaved.

55

Rating

  By Dhaval_Zo... on Nov 11, 2011

Stayed with our little daughter, just 8months at this time, and could not have made a better choice. The team was so extremely helpful and supportive with our little one. They pampered us very well with an complimnetary upgrade and very personal service. My wife liked the fried bananas so much that they prepared a small cooking class for her. Wow! The breakfast can get crowed, so keep the timing in mind in case you have to rush out. We had dinner in the club house which was very god and quite. The property is gorgeous and you can wander around as there is much to see. The Spa is phenomenal, had other ayurveda treatments before, but here it was outstanding! The beaches in walking distance are ok, but would not compete with Goa.

55

Rating

  By BackPackn... on Nov 11, 2011

Leela Kovalam is one of the most romantic Hotel in the South. A fine blend of nature and heritage makes it special in the most harmonious state in India. The experience was beyond explanation at the Sky bar watching the romance of the sky and sea at night. That really kicked my moods. Relaxation at Tides - the beach side restaurant was another wonderful experience.

55

Rating

  By mthampi on Nov 11, 2011

Positives
1) The Room bed was very-very comfortable & room was exceptionally clean. Rooms were infact cleaned on daily basis by the housekeeping team.
2) Infinity pool amazing and the Arabian Sea view was just superb.
3) Salon was great, I would recommend a pedicure a must while staying at hotel.
4) Staff is too polite.
5) Room was spacious and in-expensive luxurious with all services!
6) Facilities of a 5 star in a 4 star hotel
7) Lots of foreigner’s around. So you feel like if you are in Bahamas. It’s perfect for Honeymooners.

Negatives
1) Garden pavilion have bad bathroom & lack of sufficient lighting in the room.
2) Buffet was limited & poor in menu and expensive too.
3) Vegetarians might have an issue with the food

55

Rating

  By Akshay-Am... on Oct 10, 2011

We spent one night here, and it was all too short, in October 2011. Main area is on a bluff overlooking the ocean. There is a somewhat older section at the bottom of the hill and across a small road, which is where we stayed. Walking down to them gave a beautiful view along the coast, but the buggies are worth using for the uphill trip. It was not high season so very quiet. Facilites are all very good, rooms very well presented, there are scheduled activities to participate in if you feel the need to do more than simply relax, and the food is excellent. Overall a very good hotel made outstanding by the staff. They were happy to work together, and they included the guests as part of their community. We felt at home and completely welcomed. We are already planning to return as soon as we can.

55

Rating

  By friday_do... on Oct 10, 2011

I visited Kovalam in 2010. The Leela Kovalam is a superb property and we really enjoyed the stay. The infinity swimming pool is really lovely ....the food was excellent and we really enjoyed the stay...

55

Rating

  By timainrak... on Oct 10, 2011

We arrived at The Leela amid heavy rains and how.
We were greeted at the Kochi Airport by the Hotel Bus and the hotel itself was an hour and a half drive from the city airport.
The hotel itself is a grand property situated atop a small hill.
The hotel has different classes and categories of rooms ranging from regular deluxe rooms to cottage rooms which are by the beach and beautifully designed.
The hotel provides hammocks near the cottages to help you enjoy a comfortable siesta on a lazy evening.

55

Rating

  By Karan_Goe... on Oct 10, 2011

It was a great experience from the start and memorable.Warm traditional welcome with tender coconut. The room was perfect facing the arabian ocean.staff friendly and helpful.Lucnch at the pool side restaurent was very nice with the variety from western,Indian and the best of kerala.Must atke a walk down the hill to the garden section and relax in the Hammock with a book.Choice of swiming poll,one over looking the ocean is my choice.Unwind in the bar is a must with a cocktail of your choice.The experience is not complete without a visit to the SPA and have a traditional massage.I want a repeat soon.

55

Rating

  By viswanath... on Sep 09, 2011

We stayed at this property for 4 nights in the beginning of September and its was a surreal experience. This was the first time we were staying in a Leela property. Right from the pick up at the airport to the welcome at the hotel and the service throughout the stay was exceptional. Its pure luxury. Also commendable is the courtesy extended by the staff. Such warmth and hospitality is something we have never experienced before. Not too much to do in the city, but with a hotel like this its hard to even get out. Would recommend the Poovar trip available from the hotel's travel desk.

55

Rating

  By gpodar on Sep 09, 2011

This is a top rate property but I've been to plenty of world class hotels run by the hospitality industry equivalent of public servants. Not the case here. There is a lot of talent and care giving this beautiful hotel the fine reputation it has earned. But if you happen not to be greeted by Mr. Kumar when you arrive, look for him. You'll feel like a king who has been welcomed by the governor, and as a skeptical New Yorker whose radar is up, I can tell you after five days that it is genuine. Forgive the cynicism but hands don't come out of pockets too quickly at this place. I love to tip for exceptional service, but the best way to not get one from me is to expect it. Never got that feeling here. The only thing I would do is look for options other than the hotel's dinner buffet, it is average cruise ship quality and though convenient, you can eat better elsewhere. But this is five stars, and from what I saw of other hotels, the absolute best choice on Kovalam if you are looking for a luxury hotel.

55

Rating

  By Ron K on Sep 09, 2011

We stayed there for two nights. We were happy with the upkeeping and food.The service provided was really excellent. Their beach along Pavallion side is exclusive and excellent.

55

Rating

  By jagdishAh... on Sep 09, 2011

We stayed here over Christmas last year 2010 for 5 Nights. The Service was best I have seen , rooms are amazing & exclusive . We had travelled all over India ranging from Jaipur where we stayed at Rambhag Palace .Great Food at Leela. Swimming pool clean , beds confortable , service great , well tranied people.

55

Rating

  By DipGoel on Sep 09, 2011

Its was an unforgettable day for me i was standing infront of the Leela hotel i never expect these much funs,care,leisure all things which is needed for a human is hided inside that compound.it was an amazing experiance for me.before step into the hotel i was just an tourist but when i cross the gate i thought i am in my own home that the power of leela they are taking special care to gave their customers maximum happinnes.from the entrance itself they start their caring i never got these much happinness from anywhere else.that was an geniune care i feel it..i never compell anybody to go their because i am littile bit jealous that nobody should'nt feel whatever i got from their..in life some good things takes only one times but i am sure in my life the ever good thing should take place whenever i like that's being again visitting LEELA....U ROCK US LEELA..

55

Rating

  By anizalath... on Sep 09, 2011

i cant remember having seen in person or on tv or on the net a more picturesque and more beautifully located hotel than the leela kempinski in kovalam... kudos to the people whose vision this was and the management to give travellers and amazing experience day in and day out... the food quality to very good and there are a lot of options to do things with a family out here... i heard someone describe this as the best located hotel in india... cant agree more..

55

Rating

  By TravelKee... on Sep 09, 2011

The Leela at Kovalam Beach is a wonderful resort at a very high level, if you can affort it. It has endless facilities, you get all "in house" if you wish; of course there is the village and beaches of Kovalam to be explored near by...

There is plenty of super-friendly staff to read your wishes before you even think of them. The infinity pool is in reality as gorgeous as published on the hotel website; the perfect place to hang for a looooooong time and relax your mind, body and soul.
Unfortunately (due to the rainy season) the Sky Bar has not yet been opened; doesn't matter, go and stand there at night and enjoy the fabulous view with hundreds of fishing boats and there little lights, the coast line and the waves hitting the shore.... what can anybody ask more for?
Talking about atmosphere: Every Sunday afternoon there is brunch-time at the Leela with live music at the background. Excellent!

One more thing you HAVE to do: get yourself some individual yoga classes with Divya. She is super-great!!! The best yoga classes I ever had (and that to last year and this year again)! Trust me, you don't have to know anything about yoga, just go and see what are the possibilities of your own body. You will be surprised...

I hope to see you there soon; as I will get back if I can make it. Cheers,
Ursula from Switzerland

55

Rating

  By Ursula M on Sep 09, 2011

Just name Leela is synonymous with quality and almost perfect setting. Everything about this prooperty is just fab. the locations is amzaing and they even have a private beach. But having stayed at the Taj after staying here, i missed the feeling of coziness and the rustic environment that Taj offers. dont get me wrong nothing wrong about this property. Its my personal opinion. This looks little more cement and artifical as compared to the Taj. But on the whole a great property. If the brand that pulls you and you are willing to splurge that extra bit, go for it....

I liked the pool side and thepanoramic view it offers of the Arabian sea...Check out the pic

55

Rating

  By Tortter on Sep 09, 2011

Friends, We a family of 4 went to Leela - Kovalam and stayed in Club room their.
Property - The best their and the room was great.
Hospitality - We were touched with the Hospitality of Leela staff as I still remember names of some . The occassion was to staty together and also enjoy 1st bday of my son .
Leela staff has made occassion unforgetable that we as family that finalized that next holiday will be not based on city, place rather based on wether place has Leela hotel.
Food - great in all resturants but still I will prefer The Cafe is better than other resturants.

55

Rating

  By Vikas U on Sep 09, 2011

Leela, Kovalam is an experience. It is set up beautifully on one side of a hill gentry sloping down to the beach. Though the rooms at the foot of the hill are closer to the beach the ones on the slope offer a breathtaking view.

The infinity pool is beautiful and offers a lovely view of the sea. The hotel is spread over a huge area and sometimes you may need to take a 'buggey' to travel between different parts. It has a famous spa within the premises.

Food was good but it was the experience of having a nice meal while watching the sea stretch out before you was the best. Service was good. Will definitely try and go back some time.

55

Rating

  By guamit on Aug 08, 2011

Beautiful location, amazing view, excellent hospitality

The property is worth a visit. Its spacious and full of almost all the amenities one can think of at the beach resort. The food is excellent, specially variety of South Indian. Spa, swimming pools (yes, more than one pool), staff hospitality is excellent.

The hotel is divided in two parts. One is the main hotel with rooms, lobby, restaurants, convention center, spa, gym, beach, library etc and two pools facing the sea. In second part, it has villa rooms with a swimming pool in the center and indoor games. Both main building hotel rooms and villa rooms are spacious and comfortable. However, the villa rooms are still having old box TVs whereas main building rooms are having large LCD screens. I hope they are in process of changing villa room TV sets. There are about 65 channels and a good mix of Indian and International channels.

The Spa is very good providing tradition Indian, Ayurvedic, Aroma and many other type of treatments. The taxi stand is just outside the hotel which shall take you for sight seeing at much lesser cost than what the hotel shall charge.

In spite of these excellent features, there are few things which surprised me. I could not find environment initiatives in the property. It still uses good amount of bulbs. Though there are two bulbs at the wash basin, you shall still have to struggle to set your french beard. I do not know why wash basin is outside the room (in villa room as well as main building rooms) The phone handset in the toilet is atleast 5 inches away from your hand even if you have long hands. So if you are on sitting, you have to get up a bit to take the call. :)

Sometimes it takes tool long to get the golf car to move from your villa room to restaurant. Walk is about 10 minutes where you need to climb through good walkway.

Inside room, the tea kettle with cups, spoons, tea bags etc are near the wash basin in the villa rooms. While you wash your hands when you are out of toilet, you can not avoid little water splash on these cups. This is not good. :(

Though there is no bath tub in regular rooms, its spacious and good.

Another surprise was the public road dividing main building with villa rooms. The golf car carrying guests has to cross this road which has sort of blind turns and I saw many vehicles moving at high speed on this road. There is no speed breaker. Isnt it dangerous? Though there are security guards moving around, there was no gate or security post at the area where they have villa rooms. This again increases insecurity.

Overall a very good experience.

55

Rating

  By VinodVyas on Aug 08, 2011

This is my hotel of choice when visiting Trivandrum. It's about 20 minutes from the airport, and 30 minutes from the Technology Park.
Rooms at the Club are of a very high standard indeed and service is discrete and personal. Nothing is too much trouble. Only negative (and it's being picky) is that staff do tend to shoo away rather forcibly the residents of the main hotel - even though it's pretty much of a similar standard.
On site restaurants (including the Beach-side 'Tides') are okay but a bit formulaic. I'd recommend taking a sharp left hand turn outside the main gates and (in the evening lit by fireflies) make your way to Lighthouse Beach.
There's a great number of restaurants here that charge very little for the freshest of foods, and the variety is brilliant. And the quality high!

55

Rating

  By PCBristol on Jul 07, 2011

Breathtaking views of the beach from every room; and the view from the club rooms was exceptional. Waking up to the sound of the sound of the ocean waves made the entire trip memorable, inspite of it being a business event. The rooms are lavish and the decor is super. Good food, excellent spa and great service. The location is absolutely worth the money spent.

55

Rating

  By Archana74 on Jul 07, 2011

One would definitely come back to and recommend it to friends. Thank you very much for making our stay so pleasant!!!

The room we had was spacious and pretty, the breakfast is good and the distance to the beach is limited. The view from the room across the garden was splendid!!!

55

Rating

  By Bhavesh_j... on Jul 07, 2011

The hotel was my second visit, but unlike last time, for me it was not a pure business visit as I was accompanying my husband.
The hotel has the most amazing property I have seen so far and the view is spellbinding. It is very cleverly made, staying as close to nature as it can, while providing every luxury a five star can give.

The food at the restaurant is amazing and my kudos to the chef for managing a unique and well balanced menu at every meal, for the three days I spent there. The staff is extremely helpful, polite and soft spoken. In fact, we asked one housekeeping staff the direction of the spa. Upon our return an hour later, we met him in the corridor and he not only greeted us, but also enquired upon us finding the spa and reaching it - extremely helpful.

The rooms as mentioned above had wonderful viewws. The villas are around a garden, with a pool in the middle and innumerable hammocks to relax in. So, even if you do not prefer a room in the main building, the (premier) villas are beautiful to stay in. Though we initially got a villa, we traded it in for a room in the building because we are fond of looking at the sea. The only hitch in any of the rooms was the bathroom. There are no bathtubs, and the only sink is outside, not inside the bathroom doors. It can be a little uncomfortable.

The swimming pool was amazing. Its an infinity pool which is next to the 'Terrace' restaurant where the lunch buffets are served. And the view from the pool is just too amazing. A swim there is unlike any other.

The hotel offers a play room with table tennis, WII, Carrom board, and some more video games. There is a small room for toddlers as well and a small library. And the staff in the playroom are happy to give you company for any game you are willing to play.

The conference rooms were like any other conference room, providing good acoustics and seating. It is located close to the beach, so those seeking a break from conferences can step out from the room onto the beach restaurant. A cultural program of regional dances and martial arts was held near the conference facility and was extremely well done.

The most unforgettable bit of the hotel is the private beach, enconsed between a rocky mountain-hotel on one side and coconut tree groves on the other. The sea here is unlike any I have ever seen, and much more beautiful than any foreign location. And half the reason is the service and solitude at The Leela. The extremely well kept hotel is low-key to not obtrude on your senses, and has the sophistication of high class, which can make any experience there worth a million memories. A place I will recommend to anyone!

55

Rating

  By dipta_ck on Jul 07, 2011

the hotel has the best location in kovalam. the property is vastly spread. the beach is very easily accessible by the hotels buggy service or by walk. we had booked the beach view superior room & were luckily upgraded to the club room. the room is very luxurious. club rooms have an astounding view of the Arabian Sea. Stand on the balcony of your room and gaze for hours at the ocean.
it has multi-cuisine buffet restaurant that offers Oriental, Continental and Indian cuisine round the clock. you can sit indoors, outdoors or by the pool. the food is good
it also has a sky bar which is an open lounge that offers unmatched view of the Arabian sea while you sip on some rare combination modern cocktail.
overall the the experience at the leela was very comfortable n relaxing

55

Rating

  By raj25918 on Jul 07, 2011

We had stayed at Leela and it was a bagfull of risks.You will grow so fond of the sea facing,located atop a hillock property,you'll wish to spend weeks here.While enjoying our short stay in a sea facing room,we grew accustomed to the high level of service standards-it was sad- leaving it.We picked the main wing of the hotel,it being divided in 3 wings,other than the main wing,you have an exclusive club wing for those looking for a splurge,and the other wing was non sea facing rooms-better to be avoided.It is really tough to find faults-the service is impeccable,the staff always smiling,the unbeatable location and on top the lavish food spread is sure to add pounds to your waist.
.Its a good idea to go in for an all inclusive meals package-you'll simply love the food,plus you don't have much options nearby the hotel.Be ready to feel like a star by the amount of attention you'll get by dipping in the pool,located bang beside the main restaurant-which hosts all the 3 meals.If looking for a enjoyable dip,opt for club wing-with its attached pool.

55

Rating

  By Sladdha on Jul 07, 2011

"I have just come back from our two day stay at Leela Kovalam resort and I thought of sharing my experience with all the Tripadvisor members. We reached the hotel by 0830hrs which was well before the normal check-in time of 1400hrs; but the hotel staff made all efforts to ensure we had a early checkin & we were in our rooms by 0930 hrs. To my surprise, i got the same room which I had got during my stay 2 years back... what a coincidence.
The room had all the amenities which you expect from a 5 star resort...all bathroom amenities, LCD TV etc.
The food at both, TERRACE & TIDES restaurant's was awesome. The guests have the luxury to choose from a variety of options... the spread at breakfast and buffet is wide catering to all tastes.
The infinity pool at the hotel catches your eye as soon as you are at the reception... you can have a great view of the arabian sea.

I would recommend to anyone who just want to relax and enjoi at a resort in Kovalam.. this is the place to be...

55

Rating

  By Rahulonth... on Jul 07, 2011

Leela Kovalam lives upto the status of 5 star hotels. The service was flawless and prompt. We had booked a superior sea view room and the room was spacious and provided an excellent view of the sea. Food was good and they have a kid's menu which is good for family with kids. Loads of activities to do in the resort.
Word of advice for travelers with kids or toddlers. Book the superior sea view room instead of club rooms. Club rooms might have more personalized services but the rooms are smaller than sea view rooms. The room also has concrete/marble slabs with sharp edges on which the side tables are kept. We found the room to be bit dangerous for our kid. The balcony here has a better view of the sea but the balcony is much smaller than the sea view room's balcony. Overall we felt that the sea view rooms is much better for kids/toddlers than the club room

55

Rating

  By ritwick on Jul 07, 2011

Went there for our honeymoon. We booked a deluxe room. When we entered the room, a wooden panel fell from top. On seeing this mishap, the hotel upgraded us to a club room which was good on their part especially after the scare we received. The new room had an excellent view. The room service was non fussy and up to the mark.

Food was awesome, especially the desserts. We had to call for the pastry chef and thank him. Ours was a 3 night trip and i wish i had one more night here instead of kumarakom. You should visit kanyakumari from here.

The private beach isn't so private. It is just a marked stretch that no one else can visit. But locals can see u in ur swimwear if u thought that could be avoided.

the property is beautiful.

55

Rating

  By luckyady on Jun 06, 2011

We were 9 paxs and we enjoyed at the fullest.No need to book upgraded rooms as I found the club rooms very comfortable, clean and the large sea facing balcony is a bonus. The hotel sits on a cliff and has its own small private beach area. There are golf buggies available to take you to and from the beach and these are readily available at the front entrance of the hotel. The Lighthouse beach is walking distance down a slope on the left as you leave the main entrance. The hotel serves super breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet. After seeing other hotels in the area I think the Leela is the best choice.We wish to visit soon.

55

Rating

  By shaival on Jun 06, 2011

This is a very good hotel located on a cliff and is perfect for a relaxing vacation. It has two infinity pools which offer an excellent view of the ocean. The hotel does not have a private beach but the beach nearby is not very crowded. Also the garden area offers some activities like beach volleyball. The fitness center is small but okay. You get excellent local food which is a must try for all visitors. An excellent hotel if it fits your budget.

55

Rating

  By RGT18 on Jun 06, 2011

We spent 2 nights at Leela, Kovalam and it was truly a great experience ! The property is excellent and very well maintained. This must be the only star resort at Kovalam which is directly on the beach !

We stayed at a Beach View Superior room and the views were superb, It rained in the mornings while we were there and so it was quite pleasant during the daytime. The rooms were comfortable and clean and the housekeeping was good in keeping it that way throughout.

The staff are very professional and well-trained right from the chauffeurs who drove us
to and from the resort to the housekeeping and the restaurant staff. The private beach is down the hillock / cliff on which the resort is perched. There are golf-carts to take you anywhere you wish to go and so you needn't walk if you wished so.

The food at the restaurants were excellent but equally expensive and so was the wine.

Overall, we had a great time !!

55

Rating

  By Kurien on Jun 06, 2011

We decided to stay here as part of a honeymoon package. We stayed in the club section which was alot better then the standard side of the hotel. The rooms where smaller then we had anticipated, but the surrounding the the hotel was amazing. you could take a buggy cart down to the private beach and also to the entrance of the hotel. Food was amazing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Seafood was amazing.

55

Rating

  By nbedi on Jun 06, 2011

the leela is on a hill overlooking the sea, in a corner so there are 2 views of the sea. the proprty is set in more than 40 acres of land, and is unparalleled in India. there are 3 types of rooom - club, sea view and garden view.

55

Rating

  By shailik on Jun 06, 2011

Our 7 member family enjoyed a super vacation between 4th and 8th June 2011 at the Leela Kempinski Kovalam, Kerala India.
Views from rooms were breathtaking.
The service was impeccable, property world class, recreation facilties fully provided for, food range, quality and taste, at par with any. Spa, is one of the best.
From toddlers to retired senior citizens, the Leela has something of interest for everyone.
We found the Staff willing to stretch to make guests comfortable without losing charm or composure.
Do keep up the good work folks.

55

Rating

  By Deepak-Sh... on Jun 06, 2011

I write this review whilst lounging on the sunbed and sipping on a kingfisher beer. For a view, the infinity pool which seamlessly blends into the Arabian sea and a sky constantly changing colors as the sun sets.

This is the last evening of our 5 day stay at the leela, which has been all about excellent service, great food and a fantastic property. Getting to the point…

Pros
1. Service, service, service - Attentive staff without being obtrusive. Not for a moment, I felt that service was being provided in expectation of something in return… Overall, very genuine and hospitable staff. A special thanks to Rahul at the terrace restaurant for going out of his way and arranging for a local desert (not on the menu and at very short notice) for the 7 of us; Deep Alok, the manager, for taking great care of us and recommending some local food joints at the lighthouse beach; Shaji, the gym instructor for helping me adapt my workout schedule; Radhika at central reservations for patiently tailoring our trip in accordance with our requirements and being crisp in her communications, Kannan and Rakhi at the front desk for sorting out a miscommunication.

2. Food – exceptionally high quality foodwith a lavish spread for breakfast/lunch/dinner – both Indian (north and local/south Indian) and continental food. The terrace restaurant by the poolside is the main restaurant and all buffets are served here. Should you prefer pan Asian food, (not typically served at the terrace), the Tides restaurant by the beach tosses up some great food. A word of caution, tides does not serve the typical Indian Chinese (thankfully) and if you expect ‘chilly chicken and haka noodles’, you will be disappointed cause that’s not what tides is about. During our stay, the dishes we freaked out on: hyderabadi biryani, galauti kebabs (grilled food in general was good), dosas along with all the chutneys, eggs Benedict, payasum (local desert), pizzas (thin crust). Loved the local deserts but the other deserts were average.

3. Rooms – spacious rooms and bathrooms that were spotlessly clean. The overall cleanliness of the resort was great. (We took the beach-facing rooms.)

4. The infinity pool at the ‘club’ section – see it to believe it. Although the main infinity pool was great, its location next to the terrace restaurant was odd.

5. Location – 10 to 15 mins walk to the lighthouse beach – did not see much of a beach but that’s the main beach with all local restaurants. We did have a meal at the coconut grove restaurant at the lighthouse beach which was forgettable.

Cons

1. Very small beach – not the hotels fault, just the landscape of the place.

2. The main pool area can get noisy in the evenings with all the kids swimming…but then, it’s a resort and kids will be kids.

I have not seen the Taj but have no complaints about the Leela and would return to this property without thinking twice….

55

Rating

  By JDS9 on Jun 06, 2011

I dont know where to start from for reviewing this hotel. Its best in just everything, be it the location, the ambience, the service, the food or the comfort.
It makes you feel like a King during your stay !
Though I have been on several International trips and visited several hotels, this one was really a delight !
Starting from the welcome drink , the hotel provided spa, modern amnities, along with handful of nature including private beach , sea side and plush green lawns.
There were spacious auditorioums to accomodate 300-400 people. It was a perfect site for a business deal.
The architectecture of the rooms is worth mentioning.Constructed in shape of a pyramid,One could sit comfortably in the balcony and view the sealine,along with Sun-basking and delicious breakfast.
It was spread out on a large area, thus battery operated car was provided to commute.
All in all, it felt like heaven on earth. Would make a next stay soon , this time with my wife on vacation.

55

Rating

  By baljinder... on Jun 06, 2011

breath taking views, great service, amazing food, hospitality par excellence. super spacious rooms and villas. just perfect for a getaway. u would not like to come back for sure. the hotel is located on a cliff and is divided i two halves. you can choose to stay either in modern rooms or ethnic villas. the infinity pool is the highlight of this hotel. the convention centre is ideal for any conference making it a perfect choice for corporate get togethers.

55

Rating

  By caravan04 on Jun 06, 2011

Fabulous location, warm staff, extra efficient service, gracious hosts and wonderful food. You pay top dollar for Kovalam but it is worth it. The sea looks majestic right and you can almost touch it from the wonderful balconies of each room! Highly Highly reccomended!

55

Rating

  By rahhul on May 05, 2011

I cannot believe after visiting this hotel that the negative reviews i have read correspond to this same hotel.It is evident lots of time and money has been invested in the training of the staff of which i can honestly say ,nothing was to much trouble.I could talk all day about how wonderful this hotel is i have travelled a fair amount,so i will give you pros and cons !!!


:service overall outstanding
:immaculatly clean especially the rooms
:extreemly well trained and mannered staff
:breath taking views
:cuisine amazing
:pools immaculate and beautiful
:private beach area quiet and staff attentive
If i was to put any negatives,or areas to improve i would say!!
One of the nights there was a conference where the music was extreemly loud until 11.30pm(to the extent where you could feel it vibrating) a pre warning of this the day before would be courteous and perhaps lower volume for the guests sleeping.
Perhaps the pool attendents could ask if you wanted any drinks etc,as they were looking for things to do and you did have to go and ask yourself,although not far sometimes you cant be bothered to cover up etc.
I must stress this is me being picky and this is one of the nicest hotels i have ever visited.
I would say we visited lighthouse beach several times in the evening and this is where you get amazing value ! fusion and the german bakery overated average food not great service.
Palm beachand kingfisher was my absolute favourite , sea food amazing one meal we had calamari jumbo prawns,several drinks £20.00 .also at sandura hotel there is a little restaraunt called ocean breeze also very good .these 3 the service was second to none.dont be put of by the basic tables ect .
A visit to the elephant sanctary is a must .

55

Rating

  By lauramay2... on May 05, 2011

Great location with the sea on 3 sides. Great service as well. The food is good but I've had better!

Was here organizing an offsite. The hotel management was very helpful and co-operative with all the arrangements.

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Rating

  By Mufaddal... on May 05, 2011

Stayed at the Leela for 10 days with my Wife and 8 year old daughter. We opted for the Superior beach facing room and this proved to be excellent and rustic in appearance. The room was extremely comfortable and luxuriously fitted out.
The Hotel pool was very clean and chilled.
Hotel staff were probably the most friendliest and helpful of anywhere we have stayed previously.
We had a full board buffet every day, the food was top rate and catered for all tastes. The restaurant staff were unbelievably helpful and the overall service was first class.
My Wife and Daughter both had birthdays during our stay and the staff provided special cake and drinks to mark both occasions.
The kids club was excellent and again the staff working there were fantastic.
Overall this would rate as the nicest, friendliest and most helpful hotels we have experienced throughout our travels around the world.
Thanks again to all at the Leela.

55

Rating

  By MuscatAnd... on May 05, 2011

I stayed at the Leela, Kovalam for 3 nights from 26th to 29th April, 2011. It was truly an out of the world experience. We availed their 'summer getaway' package.
The location of the resort, just overlooking the sea, is simply mindblowing. They have their own private beach and moreover the larger 'lighthouse beach' is just a 5 minute walk from the resort. The sea facing room which we got had 'class' written all over it - every little detail had been attended to, it was clean and cosy, had a small portico overlooking the sea, the lighting arrangements were just right. The food menu (all meals were included in the package) was excellent.
But what stood out way above the rest was the quality of staff which the resort has. Right from the driver who had come over to pick up up, to the lady who checked us in, to the guy who escorted us to our room and attended to us for room service, etc., (Nitin), to all the security gaurds at the 'Club' - all of them were courteous, efficient and extremely sensitive to the guests needs - ALWAYS. All of us - my 3.5 year old kid, wife and myself had a fabulous time.
If I have to give one reason (I have easily more than 10) why I would like to go back to Leela forever, I would say that it is because of the quality of their staff. They truly make you feel at home !

55

Rating

  By Sujoy-201... on May 05, 2011

We stayed 5 nights at the Leela in March and had great time. Our flight arrived at 3am, and since it was our first time to India, we were skeptical if our pre-arranged driver from the Leela would actually be there. Spot-on, he was waiting for us outside the airport and took us directly to the resort.

We found the rooms to be quite quaint and cozy, the beds were not as luxurious as we would have expected with the Kempinski name, but everything else about the resort was terrific.

Instead of eating dinners at the resort, which was quite expensive, we walked to the beach next door (Lighthouse Beach) and had some of the best food and most amazing dinners. Highly recommend the German Bakery--hardly German and certainly not close to a bakery. But being seated in the second floor open air balcony overlooking the ocean was memorable and the food was delicious and reasonable.

Back to the Leela, we used their car service for a couple of day trips and were very satisfied with our entire experience. "Two thumbs up!"

55

Rating

  By dcwildman on May 05, 2011

This was my first time staying at a Leela property. I've alway heard good things about them and the few times we've had meals at their Mumbai restaurants have always been a good experience. So it was no surprise that the quality of service was excellent at Kovalam too. The property's location is fantastic. Our rooms were very nice. The service standards really stood out. The quality of the staff is great and one can see there is a great deal of effort put in by the management in this.
The beach is a little small but we thought it was nice enough. The hotel pool was very nice and there was no shortage of towels or smiles from the staff.
If you are looking for a quiet holiday this is a very good hotel to have it in.

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Rating

  By immigrant... on May 05, 2011

Got upgraded to the club rooms so cant really comment on the other rooms. The club area is separate from the main buidling with its own reception and staff and pool. Rooms were big and well maintained overlooking the arabian sea.
Pool area was good and not too busy since only the club guests are allowed there. The hotel is on a cliff with a 5-10 min walk down to the public beach although there is a condorned off area for the hotel guests. The public beach was quite busy since we were there on a weekend so we did spend most of the time in the quiet pool area.
We were on half board and the food was buffet with excellent food with a combination of indian and western food all at the Terace. There is also afternoon tea in the club which is included.
Staff were excellent from presenting us with a birthday cake for my wife and also a picture when we checked out.
Overall can thoroughly recommend it. Good well maintained hotel with excellent staff.

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Rating

  By dselvan on May 05, 2011

Room clean light airy and well equiped in a comfortable modern minimalist style which we liked. Whilst accepting that the rooms are not very big and are smaller than the (oversized) standard ones in the main hotel, they are not small, and two normal sized individuals would not have a problem with them.
they provide golf buggies to take you down to the beach area and to the front entrance gate

The swimming pool ...and the sea ..everything was mesmerising. We could hear the sound of the waves and the music which was being played live. The buffet was excellent, the choice of food was good.

Conferene facilities are awesome , huge hall with ready stage,prefunction area and a pandal ( kerala hertiage looks ) provides for a ideal venue for a corporate conferences.

Beach is a public one..with a limited water sports facilities..but u enjoy the same especially durng sunrise.

55

Rating

  By vintafe on May 05, 2011

We booked the Leela Kovalam for a long weekend getaway from Bangalore and really enjoyed our stay there.

The hotel is located on cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea and has excellent facilities. The beach is very small (the region is very rocky) and is shared with the public. The hotel staff however try to keep the public out of a very small portion that can be used by the guests. The sun was out for most of our stay and it started raining the day we checked out.

The hotel has an excellent Breakfast spread which will please the most ardent foodie and the restaurants serve Indian and Italian fare. Nothing to complain here.

The rooms are excellent and have balconies overlooking the see. Do try the Club Suites as they are brilliant and are located a bit away from the main building.

The hotel has an infinity pool overlooking the sea which is just great.

The staff were very polite but we felt a bit let down by their service. We had to repeatedly ask for towels and stuff and these were delivered after some time.

Despite that one niggle, we enjoyed the entire stay and will certainly go back again.

55

Rating

  By alpanth on Apr 04, 2011

I went to the Leela Kempinski Kovalam for my honeymoon. The hotel/resort is sprawling, sitting neatly porched on a cliff.... and with it's own private beach down the cliff.

Since I was out for the first time with my newly married wife, I was looking forward to a calm holiday. This resort gave me exactly what I wanted. There was minimal interference from crowd due to the rooms spread across the vast campus. Luckily, my package included breakfast, lunch and dinner, due to which I lived my time here at my own pace.

I suggest that one should certainly go for the seafood in their beachside restaurant.

Travelled to the Poover bachwaters, via arrangement with the hotel travel desk. Did the same for a daylong trip to Kanyakumari.

Overall, amazing place for catching up with the nature in 5 Star luxury.

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Rating

  By Chandrach... on Apr 04, 2011

Is just the prettiest property in the country. On a cliff, overlooking the sea, the view just takes your breath away. stayed in one of the club rooms, waking up to the amazing expanse of the ocean, feels like your room is in the sea itself... the infinity pool, agin by virtue of being on a cliff, has this incredible feel to it, you look down from the edge of the pool straight into the sea.. they have little golf carts to ferry you from the room to the meeting center- which definitely needs sprucing up. the staff are very well trained, helpful and polite. A section of the beach that they sort of hav emarked off as leela's, has lounge chairs, umbrellas, which the staff comes and adjusts discreetly as the sun shifts to make sure you are comfortable. across the rooms, on the other side of the corridor, there is shallow water flowing, with flowers in it, and in the evening they even light these mashals in it. Is all really really pretty :)

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Rating

  By Monolouge... on Apr 04, 2011

We checked in the hotel on 31st july 10 and check-out on 3RD aug 10.

Excellent service for the full period...best part was when theu make you wear a garland at arrival..

we were upgraded to the lake view room ffrom garden view . THE Bathroom door was some ancient style which added to the beauty.
They should have lcd's---

THE location of the resort is great ..keeps you calm and the lake view is superb..amenties are equivakent to a 5 star resort

the best part was taking the archery ----- really looks easy on tv .. but when u try---it takes real strength

food was good. but club mahindra is superb

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Rating

  By RIMJHIMRE... on Mar 03, 2011

2 Nights stay in GOD's own Country, Yes at Leela Kovalam.
We had been there to celebrate our parents 30th marriage anniversary. Perched on a rock between the two sweeping beaches lies this majestic property.
Rooms are very well structured facing the arabian sea. The staff was very friendly, speaking english in typical keralite accent :-)
We relished the keralite cuisine and were dumbstruck at the spread of dishes that was offered. A morning/ evening walk is something that should not be missed at the property. Experience at the SPA was a BLISS.
Overall a good stay in an absolutely amazing property !

55

Rating

  By GouthamSh... on Mar 03, 2011

it was a very good stay, we enjoyed their a lot, specially the buffet breakfast. their senior person also gave personalisezed service.our room was very romantic.they hav got an excellent property. overall i was a romantic stay

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Rating

  By arvind19 on Mar 03, 2011

This hotel is fantastic, stayed in Club suite and the service is excellent, stayed at many hotels but found the staff to be very friendly and helpful at this hotel. Would love to go back and stay at this hotel again.

55

Rating

  By BatiLondo... on Mar 03, 2011

My stay at the Leela was awesome.. the view, the food, the spa.. it was all just simply great for a business traveler like me and my spouse... the arrangements at the summit though were made by an agency but the hotel made them all successful..

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Rating

  By triplover... on Mar 03, 2011

We spent ten nights at the Leela and did not regret our choice. Yes it is expensive , and no it isn't the 5 star luxury of Oberoi or Four Seasons, but it is the best in Kerala. The service from all the staff is outstanding. The rooms are very clean and comfortable with towels and linen changed daily. The buffet is standard for breakfast in this class of hotel but the buffet suppers are exceptional with every taste and cuisine catered for and the chefs on hand to explain the Indian dishes. The site is beautiful with easy access to beaches and has both excellent yoga and ayurvedic treatments on site.

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Rating

  By BettyStog... on Mar 03, 2011

Date: 17 feb 2011
We booked this hotel for our vication stay in kovalam mainly based on its #1 rating on TripAdvisor. And it is a unique little gem, really.

We have stayed at many hotels over the years, often luxury ones with impeccable details and fantastic designs. and the exp with leela was the same.

It is the location and the view that makes it worthwhile staying in this hotel In the afternoon, the staff would bring out snacks and coffee for guests who had opted to spend the day in the shade of the palm trees in the little garden. At no charge.


This said, there is nothing wrong with the facilities. The room we had was spacious and pretty, the breakfast is good and the distance to the beach is limited. The garden may be small, but it’s a relaxing and quiet place – one where you really don’t mind spending an afternoon or two with a good book.

And as many people have written before. leela is a place you would definitely come back to and recommend to your friends. Thank you very much for making our stay so pleasant!!!



enjoy the view great property and do watch out dinner bufet too good

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Rating

  By vaibhav27... on Feb 02, 2011

Leela Kovalam is simply awesome. The sea facing rooms were nice and quiet. The infinity pool was brilliant. The food was great and offered good variety. The beach is ok. The property is simply beautiful and an ideal place for a short holiday with the family.

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Rating

  By ritumitta... on Feb 02, 2011

The hotel is at an elevation and the view from there is very good.
The infinity pool was very nice.
the food was very good in taste and the staff was very courteous .
The rooms were very well located and provided a really unique view which made the stay even better and the property even more wounder full.

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Rating

  By PareshMar... on Feb 02, 2011

We spent 14 nights in a club room which had an amazing view across the Arabian Sea. Room was clean with a fantastic shower. Breakfast at the club was excellent with very attentive staff and chipmunks who were partial to sharing pistachios and toast. Infinity pool at the club is amazing. Beverages were very expensives, £40 for a bottle of wine that you'd pay £14 in a restaurant in UK. This is not the hotel's fault as there is a 101% government tax on imported alcohol. Food is very very good but compared to restaurants on Lighthouse beach nearby it works out expensive. We paid approximately £6 for 2 course meal with drinks for both of us compared to £20 at hotel. Gym facilities were excellent. Overall you cannot fault this hotel in terms of facilities and service. would definitely go back.

55

Rating

  By Littlerat... on Feb 02, 2011

Stayed for three nights - booked sea view deluxe and requested a Club upgrade if available, which we got free of charge on arrival (thanks!). Beautiful lobby. Surprisingly good buffet offering, though I preferred breakfast and thought it a better deal than lunch or dinner. The restaurant on the beach was great. The Club pool, seaview area and facilities were lovely and was never too crowded while we were there. The main pool seemed more crowded. The Club rooms were beautiful and tranquil - small but made good use of the space. However, the beach is at one end of the public beach and is just not that nice. Service was fairly good by Indian standards. The spa was nice - not sure I'd get the hot oil scalp treatment again but the full body massage was good.

55

Rating

  By drupelet on Jan 01, 2011

I stayed at the Leela at the end of my travels around southwest India and it was fantastic. Our room had a veranda overlooking the beach, an outdoor shower as well as an indoor shower and massive bathtub, a nice big Sony Bravia TV and a nice big comfy bed.

The front of house staff are fantastic and will do all that they can to help you, which in our case included arranging an earlier check-in and also offering us a complimentary meal while we were waiting for our room. The hotel grounds are huge and you could spend most of your trip exploring them. I particularly liked the Club Wing as everything was designed so beautifully. The breakfast spread is really good, but the service can be a little slow in the restaurant, but this seems quite common in South India.

There's a great games room and play room for children and the staff there were really helpful and warm.

There's not one, but two infinity pools...as well as a private bit on the beach which is nice and quiet. It's a great part of the beach too.

The terrace is looking a little bit dated and could be brought up to the same standards as the rest of the communal areas, but that's the only thing I can fault.

Finally, something that impressed me over everything was the great service after you check out! We have a transfer to Trivandrum Station. Not only were we driven there safely and comfortably but at the station there were two gentlemen waiting to take out bags out of the car and carry them straight into the carriage of our train. After having pretty hectic train experiences up until that point, this was the ultimate winner for me.

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Rating

  By tasha1b on Jan 01, 2011

Welcome, check in makes you feel special, rooms fab, spacious, nothing missed out, even had an amazing chocolate cake left in room for hubby birthday. Food was sooo good and excellent choice. Cookery demo good, Indian dancing excellent. Staff very attentive none could be picked out as best as all were good. The beech was good as you could take in the wildlife. Good sunloungers and beach service. The gardens are beautiful and I think are not appreciated and more could be made of them. There's a colony of crows at the hotel, we found them amusing, as were the little squirells, I think they appeal to some but not others. The room was an excellent size and very comfy. We would we stay there again, Lots of honeymoon couples. We had a late checkout (8 at night) which you cannot always get. Office suite was useful and always lots of computer/internet access (free). Nothing was too much trouble

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Rating

  By DaiDragun on Jan 01, 2011

I have stayed in a lot of nice hotels as i travel a lot with business. However the Leela in Kovalam topped them all! I can barely fault the place other than saying that service was slow at times, particularly in the restaurant. It was a beautiful way to end our holiday in India. That was the first i'd stayed at a Leela and it certainly won't be the last, i'm looking into going to one a bit closer to home this year.
The sea was quite active when i was there so i didn't go in for a swim but i was more than happy with the outdoor pool up by the bar. One thing i thought could have made it that little bit better was if there was waiting staff serving cocktails by the pool or down at the beach. The food was delicious but a little expensive. I was overjoyed to see beef on the menu after going 18 days practically veggie whilst touring india.
When we arrived we were given a coconut and a shell necklace then were taken to our rooms in a little golf buggy. The hotel sits right by the Arabian sea and you really couldn't ask for a better location. I can't sing it's praises enough really. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to any of my friends, and i'm dying to go back!
Another thing to mention would be the Aruvedic massages at the spa... it was my first all over body massage and nievely i wasn't expecting to be wearing paper pants and lying on my back for some of it, so i wasn't 100% relaxed really. They offer a head, neck and shoulder one which i'd probably opt for if i returned.

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Rating

  By kathomso on Jan 01, 2011

This was our fourth stay at the Leela. We booked online, knowing Mr Anil George, the genial, general manager, was useful he could offer us an advantageous rate and he made the arrangements for us. We were greeted at Trivandrum airport by a hotel driver and car. We stayed in 'The Club' where we had stayed previously, it is wearing well and maintaining it's luxury feel. Our room, as requested, gave us a view from above the cliffs to the sea facing the sunsets. Beautifully soft, comfortable beds, fresh sheets daily, downstairs for a full buffet breakfast and two double expresso coffees, attentive, friendly and helpful service at all times; reception staff, room staff, waiters everyone so warm and kind. The weather wasn't the usual full on sunshine twelve hours a day, it rained on the first few days although only one day was completely without sunshine. The hotel was busy preparing for two weddings the first of which did include some late night parties which were a little disturbing when guests were knocking on each other's doors in the early hours. When we mentioned this we were offered (and accepted) ayurvedic treatments which were out of this world and quickly restored our relaxed mood. The buffet meals were exactly what we expected and and we were very happy with the standard and variety of the food. There was some noise around the infinity pool from building work, this has probably finished by now, it didn't bother us too much and was avoidable by sunbathing on the other side of the building. To sum up: we knew what to expect and it did not disappoint, this is an amazing hotel for it's location, it's staff and for being in Kerala itself. We had a wonderful holiday and have no hesitation in recommending The Leela Kempinski, Kovalam to anyone who wants a luxury holiday.

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Rating

  By JohnMealy... on Dec 12, 2010

We stayed in a Club Room for 2 weeks and were upgraded to a suite for the last few days at no cost - very nice. The spas are hygenic and although pricey when compared to the local ayurvedic establishments you know that the oil has not been used on someone else! The restaurants are all good but again very pricy when compared to the local restaurants, we tried a dozen or more restaurants on Lighthouse Beach (a 5 min walk away) and ate fresh sea food at a fraction of the cost £10 - £15 per head with drinks. Our favourate was the Kingfisher Restaurant - ask for Ajay he's a gem. The highlight of the hotel apart from its general appointment and furnishing is the staff who are ALL fantastic. If you fancy a rickshaw ride ask for Peter at the hotel gates. We went everywhere with him, he's safe and his English is good.

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Rating

  By Rich_and... on Dec 12, 2010

Stayed one night with my wife just to get away from the bustle of work... Got an exhilarating welcome, with a seashell garland and tender coconut water. Stayed in a cottage-style room without a seaview, try to get one WITH it. Service and staff behaviour are superlative. Food is so-so.. Can you believe that the day I stayed, they didn't have Chinese food for the dinner buffet!!! Excellent sea view from the restaurant along with a captivating dance recital by three young ladies at dusk.

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  By Ravindrak... on Dec 12, 2010

This time I chose to stay at the chic Club Wing. A good choice indeed. The restaurant is just superb overlooking the sea and the pool just awesome. The service top class. It is indeed the only place to stay while in Kovalam.

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Rating

  By Anthony21... on Dec 12, 2010

On arrival they had upgraded us to Club suite as it was our honeymoon. This was a massive room with a large balcony with a wonderful view of arabian sea.
The sound of the sea at night was soothing. Service was outstanding. Staff were very willing to help. We felt everything was wonderful in the club area. In the main hotel it seemed busier and more rushed and staff more stressed. The whole stay in club was wonderful.
It was expensive but we splashed out as it was our honeymoon

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Rating

  By shobey on Dec 12, 2010

Amazing location and a beautiful property. Food is nice, the pool too is excellent. However, a lot of large tourist / corporate groups visit this place often and if you are looking for a private corner in this hotel, i guess it's better avoided. This is a huge property with a more than 100 rooms .. which makes this property bustling with people always.. i wotn recommend this place for couples who want their peice of silence and privacy.
All in all an excellent place with amazing staff and food.

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Rating

  By NishithMu... on Dec 12, 2010

I spent my honeymoon at leela kempinski, kovalam. Of all the places i visited, this is one place i can`t forget. The hotel property is too big and very good. They upgraded me to the The Club so that i have a bit of privacy. The club was too good. The spa was good. The swimming pool was great, and the ambience was very clean. The personal beach was too good. though we had to wait sometimes for the cable car to arrive.

The second day of the stay was not very good as there was a national conference on India tax, so it was very crowded and the beach was occupied by them in the night, so we could not visit it in the night.

The folk dance they arranged in the hotel terrace restaurant was very good.

The complimentary dark choclate cake is one i have never tasted in my life.

Truely amazing and romantic experience. Will love to come back again. No other place can match this property in kovalam. 5 stars from me!!!

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Rating

  By Hitesh888 on Nov 11, 2010

Hailing on the shores of the Arabian Sea, this hotel has all to offer its guest from amazing hospitality to breath taking views of the Kovalam beach. An ideal location to spend time with family and friends.

55

Rating

  By sarfraz_0... on Nov 11, 2010

Stayed at Leela for two days on a business trip in Oct 10.Everything about this hotel was first class The nearest airport is that of Trivandrum (Thivananthapuram) which is situated just 13 kilometers from this property. We were picked up by a vehicle of this hotel. The food was good in all of the restaurants and they all had good views of the beach, sea or pool. We found the prices quite reasonable and appreciated the free transfer we had to the airport. The gardens were lovely and there were many places you could watch the local fisherman bring in their catch.The rooms are huge and very comfortable offering the best amenities one could expect. The buffets for all the meals were excellent with a very big variety of local and international cuisine. Service by the staff is second to none and in general a great experience. the location of the hotel. The service by its staff, the food they offer etc.,etc

55

Rating

  By renuarun6... on Nov 11, 2010

We can get the same quality of stay in any other five star hotel anywhere . but what make it distinct is the attitude of staff which is very helpful and takes care of the minutest neccesity .I am overwhelmed by the attitude specially In room dining lady . I want to go there once again

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Rating

  By jains on Nov 11, 2010

Leela Kempinsky certainly has one of the best location for any resort in India. It is located on the edge of cliff facing Arabian Sea. The courtesy with which hotel staff received us was unmatched. They welcome with coconut water and sandal 'tilak' each of their guests. Many of the guests from outside India, get floored at that very moment.

The rooms are large with wooden flooring. Each room has view facing the sea which makes it a visual spectacle. The hotel is decorated with beautiful pictures from Raja Ravi Varma.

The food is excellent. Breakfast in particular is brilliant. I have never seen such a huge spread anywhere else. The location of the food area is amazing. There is a swimming pool beside it and ocean in front of the seating area. The gym also faces the sea and working out while looking at the open ocean is just surreal.

The beach is some 200 meters sloping walk from the hotel lobby. Hotel has golf carts for dropping and picking from the beach. Beach itself is nothing great. Its kind of sticky black sand. However, its relatively very peaceful and soothing.

My favourite part of the resort though was swimming pool. There are two swimming pools; one of which is just adjacent to the rocks. Sometimes the water from strong waves after striking rocks, comes in the swimming pool too.

For any one going to Kerala, this is the best place to stay. However, you may like it so much that you may decide not to move out of this beautiful resort.

55

Rating

  By anshuliim... on Nov 11, 2010

For a traveler who is looking for a getaway from the normal hustle and bustle of a chaotic life from cities like Mumbai and Delhi, the Leela is truly paradise on earth. The warmth of the staff, cleanliness of the property, the pristine beauty from the pool overlooking the sea and the excellent spa sessions and the relaxing buggy ride all around the property is worth every penny you spend. Me and my wife had stayed over for around 3 nights and inspite of being such avid travelers around the world, I got to admit that this is one of the best hotel properties we have have ever come about.

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Rating

  By Naveen13 on Nov 11, 2010

The Leela Kovalam's biggest advantage is its location - perched long a short cliff face and leading down to the beach, with crashing waves and the cry of seagulls forming the backdrop to an idyllic setting.

The cottages by the beach are roomy and very welcoming. The easy access to the beach is a major plus point. Taps are thoughtfully provided outside each room so one can wash one's feet before entering.

The hotel does not have a private beach, so be prepared to share the closest beach with the local populace (which can be a fair bit of fun). The larger Kovalam beach is about five minutes walk away, as is the lovely promenade all along the shore - great for souvenir shopping or a simple evening/morning stroll.

The 'Infinity pool' is often highlighted as one of the draws of the hotel, overlooking the sea. While the pool itself is great (and is one of several), I experienced a little slice of bliss one evening in/by the pool, with the resident flautist playing classical South Indian music and waves crashing in the background.

The restaurants are great - particularly the Southern fare.

All in all, a great property - ideal for a quiet getaway.

55

Rating

  By Wanderer... on Nov 11, 2010

The hotel is simply amazing. Best located throwing the amazing view of Kovalam Sea. Rooms Interior is classy, modern & full of privasy in All aspects. Food is great, specially to enjoy at dinner time.

However the best part of the hotel is Club Suites. Amazing sea view, total privacy, relaxing & romantic.

Overall its a B-E-A-Utiful paradise for Honeymooner, Couples & Families too.

55

Rating

  By GlyNil192... on Nov 11, 2010

Me and my wife has taken a oath.
We will come back to The Leela Kempski Kovalam,again and again and again and again and...............................................................................

To all the lovers---come to The leela
To all honeymooner------you don't have any option but The leela
To all family holidayers---The leela is the place which you,your spouse,your kids and even your parents would love it.
To everyone else---do visit The leela Kovalam,onece before you leave this world.

Awsome location,great food,most beautiful rooms you can dream,great pool with lovely Indian ocean in your view,warm staff and an awsome private beach.

i am coming back again here, soon,very soon..

55

Rating

  By beenudada on Nov 11, 2010

Everything about this hotel was first class except for our room which was slightly shabby and dated, although well equipped. The food was good in all of the restaurants and they all had good views of the beach, sea or pool. We found the prices quite reasonable and appreciated the free transfer we had to the airport. The gardens were lovely and there were many places you could watch the local fisherman bring in their catch. The main pool was a liitle public but there is a very quiet pool next to the garden pavillions where we stayed.

55

Rating

  By NorthLond... on Oct 10, 2010

The Leela is an incredible resort located in Kovalam beach, about 30 minutes from Trivandrum airport in Kerala. The view from our sea side room was incredible. We even had a private patio where you could relax and watch the waves roll in.

We ate at Tides restaurant one night. It is right in the private Leela beach and both the food and the service were top notch. I would recommend going for lunch since they were out of the fresh fish by the time we got there for a late dinner.

The spa offers some very interesting Ayurvedic treatments which Kerala is known for. The spa also has an invertible open air Yoga studio overlooking the ocean. Sign up for an early Yoga session and you may have a private instructor!

We also signed up for a tour of the nacwaters of Poovar. This was all arranged bybthe Leela travel desk and I believe it is their staff who runs these tours, it was worth the couple of hours to see some wildlife and cruise around on a boat that we had to ourselves.

Everyone at the Leela was very helpful and incredibly nice. I would definitely go back if I could and would highly recommend it if you are in the area.

55

Rating

  By fwells on Oct 10, 2010

We had gone here for a business trip and this place is well equipped to handle a large group. Food quality is excellent, they have a very good staff to take care. The only drawback is the size of the room and toilet. That is a huge let down for a Leela property, rest is great !!

55

Rating

  By ujjwalb on Oct 10, 2010

Its locations on a cliff overlooking the sea means an unparalleled view of the sea. The infinity pool (accessible if you are staying in one of the 'Club' rooms) is a great place to watch the sunset from.
The rooms - if you're staying in one of the cabins at the base of the cliff, you're missing out on the view of the ocean. So would recommend either the club rooms or the those on the wing which overlooks the sea.
The buffets are brilliant - the kerala cuisine on offer in authentic and prepared just right.
The service leaves a lot to be desired though - if you ask for something to be delivered to your table, you may either not receive it at all or it might come after ages. This might not be true during non-peak hours though.

55

Rating

  By Yuco21 on Oct 10, 2010

We were greeted by the smiling face of one of the very smart hotel drivers which is fabulous after a long flight. As he drove the 14 or so kms to Kovalam he chatted to us and answered our questions, stopping at sights for us to take photos.
We had a wonderful welcome at the hotel as soon as we disembarked, small hot towels, shell necklaces and coconuts to drink from. Then we were driven by 'buggy' down to our spacious apartment very close to the beach, surrounded by coconut palms. We were shown around the rooms and a big book on the desk explained about the complex and its various areas, bars, pools, gym and menus. We would have benefited from a map though because is a large complex fairly spread out. Air conditioning the whole time which was wonderful to come into after the humidity outside, large wet room, huge comfy bed and everything clean and in working order.
Fantastic buffet breakfast included in our package every morning with a huge choice ranging from curry to cereal, cake, toast to a full english style brekkie.
All of the staff were wonderful, courteous, cheerful and always able to answer our numerous questions, we were made to feel so welcome.
There were also organised events, my partner and our friends took part in the archery which they thoroughly enjoyed & we also spent a lovely evening on the private beach watching a keralan dance troop perform. So if the hotel pools,bars, jog track, gym, courts, beach weren't enough there were trips and events too.
We felt very safe as there was 24hr security around the site. A walk down the drive or ride in a buggy took you straight into Kovalam town & the beach.
If you were not wanting to see the sights of India (we did want to) and just wanted to stay on the hotel grounds I think you would have enough there to have a fantastic holiday in such a beautiful location!

55

Rating

  By sunshine1... on Oct 10, 2010

This year, at the end of a trip to India, we have spent 2 nights at the Leela, and we were overwhelmed by the sheer luxury offered there. It began an ended with the chauffeur limousine service to and from the airport, for all short trips on the vast estate on which the hotel is situated, it was available as well, which sometimes was a good choice given the tropical climate.
The room was designed in a modern fashion, it could also have been in Europe or the USA, it had a sideward view of the sea.
In the afternoon, they served a High Tea in the afternoon which was free in our part of the hotel.
The breakfast was supmtuous, although if you sat outside, it was necessary for a guardian armed with an airgun to make use of his weapon from time to time in order to keep greedy crows at bay.
From most parts of the premises you have a magnificent view of the sea.

55

Rating

  By maguham on Oct 10, 2010

I was amazed the moment is stepped into Leela at Kovalam beach. The breathtaking views and the beauy of the resort are unparralelled. I have been to many 5 star resorts, both within and outside India, but this one tops my list in terms of beauty, service, warmth and hospitality. Everything was just perfect.
They have their own beach and even the other beaches are close-by, so is the main city. So it's not a secluded resort from where you'd need to tarvel a long distance to go to the city.
I had booked a beach view superior room, but was given a complimentary upgrade. I had originally planned to stay there for two nights, but extended my stay back for another night. Would have stayed longer if I didn't have a flight booked for my return.

55

Rating

  By vincentDe... on Sep 09, 2010

We stayed at the Club rooms at the Leela, and had the most wonderful experience. The club wing is a whole experience in itself- there is a separate infinity pool, lounge and cafe for club guests. And you are treated like royalty! The service is fantastic- your preferences, favourites etc are remembered and you dont have to lift a finger!! Extremely friendly and helpful hotel staff. The restaurants are excellent, especially Tides, the seafood restaurant by the beach, and do try the thin crust pizzas in the main coffee shop. The only possible drawback is that the rooms are a little on the smaller side, but the amenities and standards of service more than make up for it. Overall, a lovely experience, and the best in Kovalam!

55

Rating

  By RoopaDelh... on Sep 09, 2010

Stayed here for one week in August towards the end of our 4 week trip round India. The stay was a welcome chillout after some heavy duty travelling and just what we wanted. Stayed in the garden rooms which were fabulous - roomy, clean, comfortable and well appointed. The breakfast buffet was good - didn't eat here in the evening as it was a bit pricey - used the restaurants on Lighthouse beach instead. Staff were extremely helpful, polite and friendly, although not overly so. Views from the hotel are fabulous and the buggies are great for getting around this large hotel, especially when staying in the garden rooms. Would definitely stay here again - can't wait for our next trip!

55

Rating

  By CaroleCUk on Sep 09, 2010

Beautiful location, great food, friendly staff and wonderful rooms, the only slight niggle was the cheesy house band that played 80's covers at high volume every night during dinner.

55

Rating

  By produceme... on Sep 09, 2010

This is an awesome hotel with a great view of the sea. Compared to the facilities on offer the prices are reasonable especially in the off-season (July-Sept). Has a wonderful infinity pool overlooking the sea. Early morning dip in the pool followed by brakfast in the adjacent restaurant is a great way to start the day. Has a play-room for children. The staff is polite and courteous. Their habit of greeting all the guests with a tarditional Namaste is very appealing. They went out of their way to help us out with shopping tips and info on where to find the good deals. The internet connectivity is really bad though

55

Rating

  By Shagun27 on Sep 09, 2010

I needed to find a relaxing, yet entertaining place to keep my workaholic husband and kids happy. Leela Kovalam turned out to be the perfect weekend getaway from Bangalore. Between the pool, beach, and chidren's activity center - we had plenty to do.

Aside from the check-in/out staff, everyone else was awesome!

Our beach deluxe room had an awesome view! Beds (including extra bed) were very comfortable. Lovely decor.

The beach was not good for swimming, but great for everything else like making sand castles, watching locals, or just lounging by the waves.

Tides restaurant by the beach is AWESOME!

Terrace buffet was good, and we ended up there both nights for dinner. Really enjoyed the Retro Band entertainment.

The Poovar river cruise arranged by the hotel was a great experience.

Our family came away from this short vacation filled with great memories and lots and lots of pics! Forgot to mention that the views from this Hotel are marvelous.

55

Rating

  By fmb52 on Sep 09, 2010

No better way to end our 1 week trip than to stay at the most amazing hotel, Leela Kovalam. The property is located at a superb location, right on top of a cliff, with excellent rooms which offer a beautiful view of the sea. We were few among the lucky ones to get a room upgrade to a Club Suite, which made our trip the most memorable. The view from these rooms is amazing and the sound of the waves makes you feel all the more relaxed. The Infinity Pool is one of the best things about the hotel and it gives you a feeling that the pool continues to merge into the sea. My husband and I were totally rejuvenated after our stay here. Right from the special check-in with the special shell necklace, to the Private pool, and private dining area, and the Sky bar which is definitely worth a mention, and the huge rooms, the hotel has it all.. The staff was very courteous too. The beach however was small but a very clean one as compared to other beaches in India.

55

Rating

  By deepaapar on Sep 09, 2010

Awesome hotel, with a beautiful private beach. Was there for 3 days, and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. If you are going to Kovalam, please do not even bother checking other hotels. this is the best there.

55

Rating

  By TusharM on Sep 09, 2010

Stayed in a club room. This is worth the extra for the upgrade. Wonderful to see the coming and goings of the local fishermen in their small boats from your balcony. Take binoculars. Staff are friendly and attentive.

55

Rating

  By meandwots... on Sep 09, 2010

We stayed at the Leela Kovalam at the Club Floor..It was paradise! the rooms are perfect and the staff is great! the view from the rooms at the club floor is superb!
The private beach is small but the beachside restuarant is nice. I think i can safely say that the best grilled chicken i have ever had has been at the leela kovalam :)

55

Rating

  By AnmolGupt... on Sep 09, 2010

If I could spend every holiday until my dying day in the Leela in Kerala then I would. It is absolutely amazing. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to a club room which was outstanding. We had a private pool and our own cafe for breakfast. The bathroom and shower were incredible and the views and the infinity pool were to die for! The beds are by far the most comfortable I have ever encountered and there is a menu for pillows. The air-conditioning was perfect and totally natural.
I have only taken off 1 point for the service as it is still India and you have to get used to it! It is not always useful but always well intentioned!

My recommendation would be to have one drink in the rooftop bar but enjoy the rest of your meals and drinks at the nearby lighthouse beach were you can taste the most delicous and fresh seafood I have ever had. You can eat and drink there all night for a fraction of the cost of the hotel. It is really safe too and you will see plenty of westeners. Also you can't get wine or champagne in India (you can but it is extortionate!) so if you want to enjoy a glss or two on the balcony then get some in duty free.

The beaches are not amazing compared to Thailand etc but having paid for the hotel and club if you're feeling like treating yourself then you will not be missing out if you laze by the pool and just go out to the town for dinner and shopping. A tuk tuk outside the hotel will take you to lighthouse beach for a couple of quid.

If you're reading this review about to jet off to The Leela then go and be merry.. I am so jealous!

55

Rating

  By pseipp on Aug 08, 2010

The moment we entered the hotel - it seemed they were expecting us (4 of us) and had five of them welcoming us placing a red dot and garlanding us with a shell necklace ... traditional Indian hospitality in action... the grand reception with flower patels in a hugh water containers with lamps - oh I can go on and on ....
The rest was even better - the food, the scene, the rooms - with garden bathroom, the gym, pool, beach, activities, ayurvedic spa-treatment, etc ..- no hesitation on recommending to anyone looking to shed a few years ...

55

Rating

  By keshmorja... on Aug 08, 2010

Superb beach facing rooms, extremely comfortable beds and king size bathrooms. Really comfortable stay, I wish I had more time. The swimming pool is excellent and the views breathtaking. Spend a relaxing weekend here and you'd never want your weekend to end. Must stay in Kerala.

55

Rating

  By abhigopal on Aug 08, 2010

The hotel property is excellently located on the cliff and the view of the ocean is just breathtaking.
Me and my wife booked this property for 4days in a superior sea facing room. Upon arrival we were greeted by the hotel driver and taken to the hotel. The drive from the airport was approx 20mins and quiet picturesque. Upon reaching the hotel we were welcomed and escorted to the club check-in where we found out that we were upgraded to Club room (which is also sea facing).
The room had an amazing view of the ocean from any corner of the room. The room amenities were good, Flat screen TV with DVD player (DVD's available upon request), free WI-FI (only for club room guests). The toilet was rather small and if 2 people stood inside would be a bit claustrophobic. Bath amenities was basic.
The Club lounge had access to The Library, and a Common room. The selection of books is worth appreciating (two thumbs up), there is a butler available to make hot beverages, and sandwich available upon request.
The hotel had 3 restaurants, The Terrace - Which serves buffet and a-la-carte menu. The buffet service has a good spread, but lack of continental menu.
The Cafe - With view of the sea good restaurant but a bit pricey on the menu.
The Tides - Down by the beach, good location but did not try as it was raining and was closed most of the times.
The hotel boasts two spa's. One Ayurveda and other modern therapy (mainly Swedish massage etc). We tried the Ayurveda spa and was one of the best I have tried so far. Its a bit pricey as compared to the options available outside the hotel property, but worth the experience. The therapist are knowledgeable and certified, there is a Doctor available for consultation if required.
The House keeping was good, but there was no pillow menu available till the last day we were checking out. So ask for a pillow menu from day 1 (it has a good selection of pillows).
Do not bother asking the stewards or reception about what to do around the hotel, because every one will direct you back to The Travel Desk. So just go down to the travel desk instead. Good tours and trips available a bit pricey, but again safety and comfort is guaranteed. Private tour operators are available near main gate and the price is more or less the same as the hotel.
Things to do around: Walk to the Light house (walking approx 10-15mins or a tuk tuk ride will cost Rs 40). Check the timings before hand when they let u climb the light house which has a panoramic view of the coast line. Handicrafts and small souvenir shops located along side the promenade.
There is nothing that we disliked, but even if we did the location just made us forget it.

55

Rating

  By advisegur... on Aug 08, 2010

Leela Kovalam's best advantage is it's location. Right at the start of Kovalam Beach, the property is built on a cliff with unrestricted views of the ocean!! It's truly breathtaking and feels like you're on the deck of a ship.

The rooms are impeccable and up to the mark.Clean and beautifully done up, they open up to the mist of the ocean, which is a view one would want every day :)

Our luxury sojourn started at the airport where a Leela Rep greeted us at the baggage claim belt and led us to our luxury pick up Nissan Teana waiting with cold eau de toilette towels and water.Greeted with shell necklaces and coconut water, Miss Ragina helped us get through the check in process very quickly.Considering it was a weekend, we were into our room in flat 15 minutes! Impressive!

We were upgraded to a Beach view Deluxe room which had an outdoor shower and a sunken bathtub which we absolutely loved. The bed was inviting and put us to sleep in 5 minutes flat! I really think Leela should upgrade their TVs from the traditional box sets to LCDs that take lesser space and consume lesser electricity.

Mr.Aman Arora was in charge of my reservation, and I would like to extend my sincere thanks for being really patient and courteous throughout the process!

The infinity pool was awesome with ,again, the views taking my breath away!

We had a full board package, and were not that impressed with the Buffet Spread.I mean the food was good, but not outstanding.I have had better.

Room service & Housekeeping were very prompt and courteous.

The 2 things I will remember from my trip to Leela Kovalam is the view and the rooms. So good!! A+++

55

Rating

  By prikhye on Aug 08, 2010

The trip is like a whole new experience, its a different class of a 5-star hotel.
The service is marvelous, they actually made you feel special.
We didn't needed to go out of the Hotel premises. My one year old baby enjoyed it the most. Starting from pick-up at the airport to drop us back at the same place, every moment is memorable.
In the food the best is Kerela Paratha and the Cake made by Chef specially for us.
If you really don't mind spending, this is one place you can add to your lifetime memories coz the bills are going to be very high.
Relaxing at Leela in Kovalam is one thing I am missing a lot.

55

Rating

  By travelinf... on Aug 08, 2010

Staff are friendly and really go out of their way to help you. Great views, peaceful and calming environment

55

Rating

  By CarmenN5 on Aug 08, 2010

In terms of location, room quality and the attitude of the staff, this hotel is awesome. Food is good. Great value for money in the off-season with the reduced rates, bit pricey in the peak season. The view of the beach is obstructed by the coconut trees in case you are staying at the Beach view superior or deluxe rooms.
A special word about the staff here. Almost all of them were friendly and willing to help with all the queries we had. The internet connectivity in the rooms was terrible though!!
Overall, well worth a visit for a 5-7 day stay.

55

Rating

  By Sandyadit... on Aug 08, 2010

Rareley does one discover a hotel that has a location as splendid as The Leela Palace Kovalam, it overlooks the Indian Ocean as if the hotel just about floats on it !
The monsoons can get extremely exciting at Kovalam and its just not about the beaches whilst you stay at The Leela Palace
You can smell the sea even before you check in here ! The upkeep, the staff and rooms and the facilities cannot get better, It is without doubt amongst one of the finest hotels to go to.
The hotel staff is absolutely incredibl and makes you extremely cosy and comfortable, you could go around cracking jokes and listen to the tales of monsoon magic at Kovalam from them.
There isn't a room here that would not have the ocean view, the food is awesome, the choices are vast. Breakfast on the terrace and a dinner on their exotic beach side restaurant TIDE, you won;t even worry about how the food tastes !
The Sky bar which is perched on the clifftop, and for the times when it rains you can be at the library, there isn't much that you find missing here. Its one of the best kept secrets that how the ITDC never managed to run this place while it was with them.
The Leela has sure changed it thoroughly and deservingly.
You would not want to order room service here, its would be a shame to do that, but even if one does, the service will match the other aspects here.

55

Rating

  By aduggar on Aug 08, 2010

This is a belated review - don't know why didn't do it earlier but if you are thinking of going to Kerala then this is a place to stay. We had done 3 weeks in India, 2 of which was spent travelling around Kerala (can highly recommend the Kerala Travel Company if you are thinking of going to Kerala, or India in general).

The thing that will stay with me about the Leela was the service, it was impeccable. Every where smiling faces and nothing too much trouble.

We stayed in one of the beach bungalows which I was a bit concerned about at first because of a)the hike back up to the main hotel where the restaurants and bars are situated and b)because there is a public road that runs along the front of this part of the hotel, there is quite a swathe of grass and shrubbery between you and the road but, non the less, it is there. However, we needn't have worried, privacy and security were not an issue and the golf buggies that take you up and down are great fun! There are two infinity pools, one for the Club Rooms and one for the main hotel (the Club rooms are designed more for business travellers and not particularly worth the extra in our view), but we used the private beach which was delightful.

55

Rating

  By BlomSKI on Aug 08, 2010

Kovalam is an excellent five star property owned by leela Kempinski. We stayed 2 nights in the beach view deluxe room and 2 nights at the club room. We had different experiences at both the places. First we take Beach view deluxe rooms Good part they have amazing open air bathroom with sunken bathtub and the terrace was good to sit and relax the service was great. the bad part if you left anu of your door open there were mosquitos all round. Also if you left the terrace door open the A/C wouldnt work. The cooling was really ok. Also privacy was an issue as open air bathrooms are not properly covered. Rest it was great. In the club room the rooms are really smaller and they dont have a bahtub also. Also order ur food well in advance as they take a lot of time in preparing it. The food was really worth the wait but. The staff is very co-operative .The good part is the view from this rooms excellent. The infinity pool at the club is the best. Also the sky bar was excellent the bartender there made good mocktails and cocktails for us.I would surely recommend my friends to be there.

55

Rating

  By neelanjsh... on Aug 08, 2010

Leela is the best back water resort in trivandrum with complete hygiene and a composite of both a cultre as well as modern life style. It had assured me a complete luxury during my stay and had a profound and immense tranquility and peacefullness adobe during my journey. It had provided me a complete wam hearted welcome to a fully satisfactory just i can is everything - from room service to food to everything...... Excellent one and a must stay hotel.....

55

Rating

  By Ronak11 on Aug 08, 2010

I went there for a Official Trip. This is my second trip to Hotel Leelas. This is the first time i am staying in a Beach Resort type. Rooms are spacious and you can view the natural beauty of Sea water from your room.

I enjoyed a lot in the swimming pool, but unfortunately we have got less time to explore the various entertainments offered by the hotel.

Spa is really good, as kerala is very well known that. Starting from the reception till checkout it was a nice experience. we were welcomed traditionally by garlanding and Kerala favorite tender coconut.

Battery operated cabs are there to take you around the hotel. After the visit my friend who got married that time, booked this hotel for his honeymoon.

55

Rating

  By vinothkum... on Aug 08, 2010

My friend and I spent two weeks at this wonderful resort and loved every minute of it. Good service, Good standard rooms with huge balconies overlooking the sea (there are heritage and club rooms also availabel but the standard rooms are so good that there is absolutely no need to pay the extra for the other rooms), great food and great people! what more can one ask for?

The hotel has a private beach area and as the hotel is on a cliftop they provide golf buggies to take you down to the beach area and to the front entrance gate. Beutiful landscaped gardens. The bus stand is just outside the main entrance and you can venture into Trivandrum at a cost of just 8 rupees. Lighthouse Beach & Hawaah Beach are walking distance with many seafood restaurants and shops.

Only 20 minutes drive to the city of Trivandrum and 20 minutes from the airport.

Great lunch/dinner buffets

Many cheaper restaurants and eateries around Lighthouse Beach and next door to the Hotel.

Private beach area

Wonderful service

Clean, fresh rooms

55

Rating

  By vibinsiby on Aug 08, 2010

The hotel is located 30 mins away from the airport. The pickup and drop service is excellent. The best thing about this hotel is its excellent view. One needs to stay in the club rooms to appreciate the location. The food at this hotel is okay. But service is great. Definitely a good spot to relax.

55

Rating

  By AKDHARIA on Jul 07, 2010

The hotel is wonderfully located at the end of the cliff! its what great properies are mad of! the location is fab, the service is top class and the food is sumptous! the pool is one the best i have seen so far..right across the cliff and if you look below, you see the lovely ocean in shades of blue and white! the pristine water hits against the ocean rocks and makes the property look like a beautiful diamond. the leela boasts of its own sweet little beach. small but yet with a beautiful restuarant..stay at the club floor if you want to feel the real leela!

55

Rating

  By NehaGG on Jul 07, 2010

i had been here last december, every thing about leela is great, the service, location, spa,rooms, the hotel, every thing was kind of awesome. the staff is so friendly and welcoming. the whole experience was a helluva. kerala as a place is also amazing for holidaying.

55

Rating

  By shafiyak on Jul 07, 2010

My stay was co-ordinated by Musafir Tours and was only for one night. From the moment we entered till we checked out, the staff took care of our every single need. We had booked a beach view room which was excellent - awesome decor, not a very bif room but the facilities made up for the size. (I would recommend that the hotel upgrade the TVs to flat screens).
The room service was excellent - the menu was one of the biggest and widest selection I have seen. The dinner and breakfast buffet blew us away !! The pool was unfortunately closed - so we cannot comment on that. So was the sky bar (because of rain). The private beach had umbrellas and comfortable lounging chairs - with a restaurant on the beach side which was awesome. The beach itself was not that great. The hotel also has a spa - me and my wife had mixed experiences though. (She loved it and me, not so much).

Overall we wished we stayed longer - we will definitely return when we go back to India !! This place is the definiton of luxury !!

55

Rating

  By Nesan on Jul 07, 2010

This was my first time to Kovalam and the Leela. I travelled for a wedding and with my family consisting of wife, mother and two young children. We had a number of requests prior to the hotel and all were taken care of beautifully and with no fuss. During the stay we had a number of needs for both the wedding and the children and all were taken care or quickly and professionally. My family were treated like friends and the warmth and hospitality we recieved was second to none. I was only able to be there for some two days as work called but we will defintely be coming back for a longer stay. Tip: Pay the extra and get a room at the Club as it is stunning! Private pool, loungfe, cafe and librabry all there for you plus the usual Club Lounge/ Executive Lounge amenities.

55

Rating

  By Solly76 on Jul 07, 2010

Stayed here in January for 5 nights. Started off reasonable price, we extended but had to do it via internet, as they were sold out according to reception, so got our room extended, paid for it though. So book before you go. Our room was separate from main building & was looking out over a large garden to the sea. A large room, comfy big bed all facilities you expect ( we had been staying in B/B's so it felt like luxury) very rustic, loved the step in sunken shower & nice toiletries, swimming pool for this area was nice and under-used. Enjoyed swimming in the warm sea & we found staff friendly & helpful. Kovalam has lots of good fish restaurants, service is painfully slow, as it is all over Kerala. We hired a motorbike & found lots of secluded spots, happy friendly kids wanting to chat, there is so much to see if you wander out of Town, in 10 minutes not a tourist to be found. P.S. We looked round the Taj resort & although nice, it felt very stuck up & not as relaxed as The Leela.

55

Rating

  By Taylortow... on Jul 07, 2010

This hotel is just amazing!
Our flight landed at Trivandrum around 4.30am on 13/06/2010. Having experienced such a terrible time at the airport (long immigration queues, dirty airport), we had thought we made a mistake going to kerala. However this was far from the truth!
When we left the airport finally, the driver was already waiting for us and had been for around 2 hours! He made us very comfortable.
When we arrived at Leela, it was around 6.30am and we thought we would have to wait till around 11 to check in, however we got checked in straight away (well, after our lovely refreshing cocunut drink) and got to our club room.
The room was just AMAZING!!
It was so nice and clean and the bed was just divine!
After getting up from a much needed sleep, we decided to go check out our hotel and see what there was.
We went for lunch and had some really delicious and amazing food at the terrace.
We then took the buggy service to 'divya spa'.
That place is just heavenly. I immediately booked my 3 day spa package!
The staff at the spa were extremely polite and helpful, especially Dr. Bipin.
The next day, 14th June was our 2 year wedding anniversary.
We got greeted at the club restaurant at breakfast who wished us a happy anniversary.
We also had an amazing chocolate cake sent to us before dinner. After dinner, we came back to our room and it had been totally transformed with a beautiful arrangement of flowers with floating candles! We were just so amazed and happy that the staff went above and beyond making our stay just so superb!
There is just so much i could say about this place but in short, its a beautiful hotel and city where everyone is just so happy and friendly.
The day trips are worth every penny too, especially the backwaters trip.
The ONLY thing i was dissapointed with was the weather as i specifically went for the monsoon! But hey thats nature!
Be sure to try out the spa as the treatments were just out of this world. The massages can be very oily and slippery and at times a health hazard but definately worth it!! Asha especially was very good. Tiny girl but very good at giving spa treatments.
Would also recommend trying out the complimentary yoga sessions everyday!
Overall, the hotel is one of the best we have ever stayed in and will definately be going again!
Lovely food, brilliant staff and amazing scenery!

55

Rating

  By Nim82 on Jul 07, 2010

A superb hotel. We went there for a business planning meeting. The arrangements were top notch! The beach is superb and since we planned in such a way that there was loads of free time, we got enough time to enjoy the property!

55

Rating

  By rushingme... on Jun 06, 2010

The location of this Leela Hotel is just unbelievable. Its placed on the top of cliff and looking down upon a beach. The rooms are efficient without being too large. They do have a fancy open bathroom like a traditional kerala home though I thought that feature was over-rated. The staff is warm and courteous. The hotel has a nice gym and does help in arranging trips nearby . The pricing tends to be maybe higher than domestic tourists would want to pay for Kovalam- hence, it may be a good idea to visit this place in the off-season (i.e. June-October), though it means a risk that the trip may be a washout. The food is spectacular and varied including delicious kerala fish & food. If you stay here , do not miss to travel to the Poovar backwaters and Ponmudi hill station. Both are not too talked about but are beautiful. Ponmudi especially is a zero commercialized hill station and feels like a walk in the clouds.

55

Rating

  By A2Z13 on Jun 06, 2010

One of the best hotels that I have stayed in India.. Fantastic views of the ocean from the room.. Great rooms, very ethnic feeling, Good lobby, Very good food served in the restaurant..nice infinity pool

55

Rating

  By DSRBangal... on Jun 06, 2010

i had gone to kovalam with my wife 2007. stayed in the leela kempinski. we got down at trivandrum and went by the hotel car to the hotel. its the most beautiful and scenic place in kovalam and entire kerela.the rooms r sea facing.they have those club rooms which r so beautiful.it feels like we r on the cruise.amazing food, beautiful and clean beach.perfect place for romance in the pool next to restaurant and facing the sea. from the pool the view of sea is fantasic. excellent service. the ayurvedic centre really refreshes ur body and mind.we stayed for 4 nights and 5 days.. dint feel like leaving that hotel..

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  By adeshjain on Jun 06, 2010

awesome awesome awesome experience!!!!!! wonderful view...amazing hospitality, very good service!

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  By parul6 on Jun 06, 2010

The rooms have excellent view of the sea. The rooms open out out almost on to the sea and one can sit for hours watching the waves crashing down below. The service is excellent but I would recommend Leela Kovalam for its rooms with "a view". Food, especially the typical Kerala style sea food is simply marvelous.

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  By Tony8111 on Jun 06, 2010

The hotel has a huge property. We stayed in rooms that had two adjoining rooms per cottage. The rooms are spacious and extremely luxurious and had balconies that overlooked the lawns and swimming pool. The main swimming pool is a gorgeous infinity pool from which you can see the ocean. The hotel's private beach is its biggest perk since most of the beaches around the area are extremely crowded. The staff were superb and accommodated various food, beverage and room requests. I would definitely go back to visit!

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  By Ariel_Mum... on Jun 06, 2010

We planned for a week holiday in Kerala with a family, which included people of 60 plus age and also kid of 3 years. We did direct booking at the hotel, and the hospitality started from that point itself. The staff at reservation was well equipped with the knowledge on various policies related with the stay and package and ensured that everything awas clear before we made a visit.

This is probably the best property I have stayed in at least in India. Its a huge property with lot of greens and "healthy" environment around. Rooms were classy, huge unit called for separate swimming pools in each unit, which added lot of comfort to us. Great unit. Extremely friendly staff. Beautifull setting. The Hammocks outside the villas in greens added flavour to the whole trip during the great weather. Best was - going on the golf carts for meals, which went through awesome lanes overlooking the blue sea. Night view of the sea from infinity pool was just amazing and stored forever in our memory.

One thing which was a miss was absence of personal beach, so we had to share beach along with the locals in the city which was not so great. Otherwise everything from food, cuisine, the spread, spa was just outstanding. We Spent 3 marvellous & relaxing days here very comfortable, interiors extremely well done.My compliments to the interior designer.

DONT

If u are staying in villa wings, please give order in advance as they have to travel in a golf cart for getting the food from the main kitchen. So you may get late.

Will return with the family. All the very Best to all at The Leela.
More

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  By Tanna777 on Jun 06, 2010

A great place to go for a holiday, lovely rooms, beach & activities. The food is excellent and especially the Oriental is one of the best. It was a magnificent 4 days spent and very hospitable staff.

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  By HPTC on Jun 06, 2010

We stayed at The Leela during May. We have stayed a few times before so we knew what to expect. This time we stayed in the club area which has great views over the ocean. The rooms are a fair size with nice balcony’s and plush bathrooms. The pool area in the club is very quiet and relaxing with good sun beds. The staff at the hotel are really good and well trained. The rooms are cleaned perfectly twice a day. The waiter service is excellent, in fact the waiters are really nice guys and very interesting to talk to. The chefs, waiters and food and beverage manager went out of their way to make us feel welcome and we certainly ate well. The food is to a very high standard and there is plenty of choice, even though we are vegetarian.
The club area is expensive but you are in for a slightly quieter and perhaps relaxing holiday than in the main part of the hotel (although the main part of the hotel and beach view rooms are very good). Unfortunately we had a bit of bad weather while we stayed, and it was rather hot, but the air con was great and the staff cleaned up the aftermath of the storms very quickly.
The only fault I have is that I expected free wifi having spent so much on the room but this is a small issue.
This really is one of the best hotels, and extremely well run. We hope to return in late August.

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  By onlyroadt... on Jun 06, 2010

from the date of arrival till we departed we were extended the best service by every staff, from looking after our kids at the games room to arrange for a tuk tuk or a vehicle
for the beach.
The restrauants beside the the infinity pool had a very nice ambieance.
The food quality, the preparation and the service from the attendants was great.
The variety in food, every time, we were at the restraunts was excellent.
The facilities right from Gym to tennis are commendable.
I would like to specially mention Mr. Vijay at the Tennis club was very nice to us.
The rooms were cozy neat and clean, specialy the linen white sheets.
Alltogether we had a very nice holiday at the hotel and looking forward to back in december.
I would recommend any body staying at this place not to venture out specially for food, as the food quality is no good at all.

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  By raznscd on May 05, 2010

Leela Kempinski is situated outside Trivandrum city by side Kovalam beach. Leela group renowated this hotel and buying this few years back. It provides five start facilities while still keeping some of the traditional Kerala style interiors in some rooms and pathways. Rooms with balcony by the beach side gives a great view.

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  By SAJIH on May 05, 2010

If in Kovalam, Leela Kempinski, Kovalam is a must visit. It's one of the best properties in Kerala. 63 acres of breathtaking beauty, with an amazing spa experience. I stayed in the Club Room, from where the view of the Arabian Sea was unhindered. A dip in the infinity pool and you feel you are out there in the huge ocean, such is the strategic location of the pool. The private beach adds to the luxury. Service is commendable. For a North Indian palate, food could be a bit of let down but then you would want to savor Kerala cuisine once you are there. From the beach to the sea view to the sunset point to the spa, it is an experience you would want to hace again and again. I would go there again for sure and with my family this time!

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  By VadodaraJ... on May 05, 2010

One of the most fascinating place to be if you want to laze around on a beach and in the hotel. People say the saeson to be in Kerala is winter. But we went in the rainy season and it was just beyond pleasure.

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  By dhimrock on May 05, 2010

We were on our last destination of our Kerala Tour. We were driving from kumarakom lake resort – kumarakom. Truly a hevan and after enjoying a luxorious stay there leela had a tough job in hand but trust me it lived up to its expectations and For us if it was truly an amazing & refreshing stay.
Leela Kovalam- a great place to spend your leisure holiday. Leela properties are famous for its garden areas generally so it true as well. The hotel is superbly positioned, sitting on top of a cliff face overlooking The Arabian Sea. The hotel property is huge with 64 acres covered. There are various scenic vantage points around the property. They also provide airport transfers that too in separate coach for every couple / family. It was a honda for us.
The entrance area is absolutely magnificent with lots of floating flower and candle arrangements. A beautiful huge wooden skylight celieng complements beactiful huge paintings all around the walls. The washrooms were truly amazing with Italian flooring as well as on the walls. They have a hi-speed internet café as well.
They have three swimming pools one in the main building - the infinity pool, that merges into the sea........ WOW . here they provided great buffet breakfasts, lunch and dinner. Second down below near the cottages and third one at the “THE ClUB”. 3 swimming pools but out the one with nicest view we were asked to leave as this was only for club members.
The infinity pool is good, deck near the pool overlooking the ocean was good. Nice buffet breakfasts, lunches and dinners were served with almost anything that you could think of available. Very nice restaurants serving delicious food. Have never eaten so much anywhere else. Lots of variety for every section including some 10 deserts and all fresh . Donuts and Tiramisu is a must eat. The food was beautiful and nothing was too much trouble for the chef. He would cook anything you wanted within reason.Other people have complained about the slow service in the restaurant. Instead we would like to praise the staff, who were all so polite and helpful. We travel a lot and I have never experienced a quicker or more efficient check in that at the Leela Kovalam.
The hotel was incredibly clean.We were placed in the beach view rooms which gave a villa feel with individual cottages. The rooms are modelled on local style Keralan architecture, with lots of tastefully decorated hardwood timber furnishings. The bathroom was compact but it had a nice cozy bathtub and shower. All rooms are individually air-conditioned. The room have a sit out facing the garden and the beach.
The beds were changed every day and the towels twice per day. we were pampered and spoilt the whole time. It is clean well supplied with bottled water, soft drinks, fruit, towels, hospitality tray, bathrobes, slippers the sheets are changed every day, and the rooms are cleaned twice a day morning and evening, paper delivered for you in the morning, they have insect repellents in the room. The walk up to the main hotel is a killer but you can always hitch a ride in one of the golf buggies that constantly go up and down. One can take snaps while going up to the main building because it is truly scenic both the sea, the hotel structure and the landscaped garden all around
The one area that still needs improvement is the (relatively small) beach. This is not one of the more beautiful stretches of Kovalam beach,

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  By DDGMumbai on Apr 04, 2010

This resort is located at a small hill type elevated rock facing sea. Mostly all rooms are sea facing and in steps . One can even walk down to the beach from there. The rooms are beautiful with a small terrace where one can sit and enjoy sea view with drinks. I liked this hotel and it was a great romantic gateway.

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  By hotelguru... on Apr 04, 2010

Leela Kovalam- a great place to spend your leisure holiday.Leela properties are famous for its garden areas generally n so it true as well. Very nice restaurants serving delicious food. Have never eaten so much anywhere else. Lots of variety for every section including some 10 deserts and all fresh from the Oven. Tiramisu is a must eat.
Apart from the restaurant , Staff is very cooperative. Rooms are like villa. Have their own private beach and a pool known as Infinity pool, that merges into the sea........ WOW
They also provide airport transfers that too in separate coach for every couple / family. It was Nissan ride for us both ways.
For us if it was truly an amazing & refreshing holiday.

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  By Murphysla... on Apr 04, 2010

Loved the stay at the hotel. Very comfortable and luxurious rooms. Staff is very hospitable and caring. Housekeeping is good and they provide clean and fluffy towels which are great. Food is decent. Hotel gives a good holiday break and is close to the beach.

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  By hillridge... on Mar 03, 2010

We stayed two nights here at the end of a tour of Kerala and the experience was wonderful. We were upgraded to a Club room on arrival in the "more exclusive " section of the hotel and the room was truly lovely, the only problem being the balcony. Due to its location on the top floor the balcony was tucked under the eaves of the roof which gave a sort of letterbox feel to it so unless you looked over the rail you got a sea view - literally just water! Having said that it did make the balcony very private and we wouldn't have been too concerned had we not seen the extensive terraced balconies of the "ordinary" rooms with their panoramic views of the lovely coastline. Basically our balcony did not invite lengthy sitting and gazing but in the others I guess you could happily laze away the day. I presume the standard and facilities of the room we had booked would have been somewhat below the Club rooms but it would have been nice to have seen both and been given a choice. If we had been staying longer I think we would have asked to have had a look.
I should emphasize that this is easily one of the best hotels I have ever stopped in with comfort and especially service second to none with every member of staff very helpful and charming.
We dined at the beachside restaurant both nights and the food was excellent but if you like your white wine chilled get it put on ice asap - they do have ice buckets but the wine is not stored in a chiller. Our bottle was just about cool enough by the last glass!
To sum up a very excellent hotel in an idyllic spot but if you get an upgradeask to have a look around.

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  By teepees on Mar 03, 2010

We stayed at the Leela in Kovalam for 4 nights (10th March to 14th March) and were fortunate enough to be upgraded from Garden Pavilion room to Beach view room. The room was amazing, clean, well designed, fantastic views and very comfortable beds. We did actually view a Garden room and wouldn't have been disappointed with this room (although bear in mind you don't get the views of the beach rooms).

We had read a number of reviews about the club rooms and that part of the hotel being the best. We saw these rooms and although they are stunning we do not think that we would have preferred to stay there because there is more atmosphere in the main hotel. Maybe couples might prefer the club but if you want to interact with people go for the main hotel.

The pool was an infinity pool and we spent most afternoons lazing by it. Although it was still busy season we could always get sun beds and the pool was never crowded. We also went to the private beach which was beautiful, safe to swim in, good place for snorkelling and fishing trips. A good alternative to a day by the pool.

The Leela is about 10 minutes walk from the main shops and restaurants on Lighthouse beach or a 40 rupees rickshaw ride (they will try and charge 100 if you're coming from the Leela so make sure you barter!). We chose not to have breakfast in the hotel so that we could experience different places and try local restaurants. This was a great decision for us and we met so many local people that made our stay there more enjoyable. We would recommend the German Bakery or Fusion for breakfast, Lobster restaurant (on the hill opposite way from Leela) for dinner and Volgar for drinks.

We had drinks in Skybar one night which is a great experience but would be expensive if you did it every night. We ate in the hotel at lunch times (price the same as UK restaurants) and enjoyed every meal. The food was amazing but slow service so order half an hour before you want to actually eat! We tried many of the things on the menu (including the weekend buffet) and were not disappointed with any meal. This is our only negative criticism of the hotel and we would not hesitate to return. We actually visited the Leela's rival (Taj Garden Retreat) and although it is in a beautiful setting it does not beat the Leela for location or atmosphere. Unless you are in a couple and don't want to mix with anyone else, you would probably prefer the Leela to the Taj.

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  By Sophie110... on Mar 03, 2010

The good times start right from your pickup. Nissan Xtrailer waiting at the airport with cold towel and water to relax from the long flight journey to Trivandrum.

The most adorable part of the the stay was the beautiful and landscape premises. The room is on the cliff facing the beautiful beach with the cocucnt trees covering the same. Infinity pool is cool

A visit to the beach restaurant is a must for dinner. Vegetarians - Not very good food though at either of the restaurant

Very good and helpfull staff at your assistance at all times.

You can also visit Kanyakumari which is just 80 KMs (one way)

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  By BABLU0808 on Mar 03, 2010

Leela certainly outdes the taj or any other property in this spot of Kerala. Built along the hill that overlooks the sea, you can't help falling in love with the scenic wonder that is here. Swimming pool here has got to be the greatest as well and the masssage services are quite reasonable.
There is a live fish hotel along the beach and its quite a treat to see the food before and after.

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  By nikhigon on Mar 03, 2010

We first stayed at The Leela in 2007 and fell in love with it. In Feb 2010 it was my wifes 60th Birthday and she asked to go back to The Leela to celebrate. This is the only place where we have gone back to exactly the same hotel, we even asked for the same room. Having read some critical reviews on Trip Advisor I went with a somewhat criticle eye. We stayed in a beach view room No 2308 and yes it is slighly tired but with a huge comfotable bed, great shower (no bath) huge terrace/balcony with great views of the beach. The TV in the room was not a flat screen but was more than adequate. The mini bar well stocked but expensive. Efficient air con in room. Fluffy towels and robes.
Breakfasts were good with plenty of choice and variety.
Eating and drinking is very expensive especially for India. We used to sit on the Leela beach, swim in the safe sea and when we wanted something to eat and drink would stroll along the beach, behind the mosque to Saanjeevars bar. If you walk up the hill to the bar rather than stay down by the beach you can sit in the shade with a wonderful breeze funnelling up the hill and a great view as well. Food is cheap and good. Kingfisher beer 90 Rps.(270Rps in The Leela). Evenings take a walk or tuk-tuk to lighthouse beach where there is a wide choice of restaurants. The Kingfisher Restaurant we found particularly good.
I would highly recommend The Leela.

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  By Trevthere... on Mar 03, 2010

I just stayed for four nights in the Club Wing and can only say that I am full of praise for this hotel.
If I had any criticism it would be that Club rooms are somewhat on the small side and are quite dark without much light.
I found the location fantastic, with direct access to two lovely beaches. As the hotel is on top of a cliff the hotel provides a buggy to bring you down (or back up) whenever needed. If the buggy is busy they just get you one of their hotel cars to drive, so the waiting time is kept to a minimum.
There are lots of great restaurants in easy walking distance on Lighthouse beach for anyone wanting to explore local cuisine. Having said that the food in the hotel is great, albeit not cheap.
What really made a difference for me was the staff. I travel lots (140+ nights last year) and get to stay at many good hotels. I am honestly quite difficult to please and don't have much patience for bad service. From the moment I arrived to the moment I checked out I was greeted by smiling, helpful, knowledgeable staff. Anything I wanted was taken care of immediately with a smile. I would be a happy traveler if I got this kind of service more often.

Some people have commented on how loud the waves below the Club Wing can be. I did not have any problems. The waves are there, but if the balcony door is shut, it should not be an issue. Equally they do not make conversation on the balcony impossible as some people have mentioned in earlier reviews.

I will definitely stay at the Leela again, should my travels bring me to that region in the future.

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  By malbkk on Mar 03, 2010

We had the most amazing stay at this place. We stayed 7 nights and enjoyed everything about the hotel. The ambiance of the hotel was great and put us into the real holiday mood instantly.

We had gone to celebrate a family members 40th birthday, and the hotel staff couldn't do enough to make our stay memorable. The hospitality of every member of staff was beyond any expectations we ever had. The food was great and they even arranged a traditional keralite lunch for us one afternoon which was delicious.

The view from the clubwing rooms was unbelievable and even at night we could here the sound of the crashing waves which was just awesome.

Overall our vacation was just great and I trully give a lot of credit to the hotel staff who made this trip of ours so special.































































cc

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  By AvniBarod... on Feb 02, 2010

Set atop a cliff, this resort is located on a sprawling property. Complimentary shuttle service from airport or in our case, from another small beach resort in Kovalam. Professional and polite staff. Interestingly this resort is divided into two sections. We were upgraded to the Club level, a more peaceful, more luxurious section with it's own pool and restaurant. It's own gym and spa. My photos tell the story. If you want the resort experience with the convenience of great service, stay here.

And, I cannot finish this review without mentioning their amazing service staff!

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  By JessSek on Feb 02, 2010

My wife and I stayed here for our Honeymoon in June, 2009. Based on our readings, we had reservations about the weather; however, there was little rain during our trip. When it did rain, it was only brief....and it resulted in cooler temperatures. Our stay at the Leela was simply amazing. We stayed in the Club on the honeymoon package and would definitely stay there again. The food, the service, the luxury....none of it could be topped. The people there were so friendly; they went above and beyond to make our honeymoon an unforgettable experience. The room itself was also very contemporary and extremely beautiful, with the site/sound of crashing waves below. We have very fond memories of all of the people we met at the Leela, and Kerala in general, as well as the places we visited. Thank you, Leela, for making our honeymoon so memorable. We would definitely stay out the Leela on our future trips throughout India.

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  By np411 on Jan 01, 2010

This is a fantastic hotel. It overlooks the Arabian Sea, and is on top of a rock hill. The cottages are beautiful, and well equiped. One has to take a buggy to go to the main hotel.

The restaurant and bar are beautiful, one of the best I have ever seen.

We had our wedding in this hotel and were extremely satisfied with all its aspects.

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  By Sandeepin... on Jan 01, 2010

Stunning, marvelous, splendid.......with beauty of the property and views towards the horizon. A must visit place.

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  By AnneMathe... on Jan 01, 2010

The Leela Kempinski is a must to live place atleast a day before you die. Excellent service, ambience and the view towards t he horizon adds its beauty.

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  By AnneMathe... on Jan 01, 2010

We booked it through www.travelocity.co.in under an offer Hot Deals.It as expected was a perfect place. The beginning was perfect.We had a royal welcome, with the lady at the reception greeting us with best of the hospitality standards set in India and globally. We were greeted with Mala (made up of the sea shells),welcome drink(kerala traditional coconut water),tilak and all that happening while we were seated with utmost comfort in the beautiful gallery zone,close to the reception.

Rooms were awesome.But before that the lady who processed our check in, called a Buggy (internal transport used within Leela premises) and that maneuvered us to the room which was booked for us. Rooms were very very decently managed.

Leela has its own private beach, which was not as clean as we were expecting, but still very well located and is very crowded in the evening. Lot of people make use of it during the evening.

Food as expected was costly in Leela. We therefore made use of food services of some vegetarian restaurants outside Leela. There is a handful of small restaurants outside Leela premises and their food is fine, but a little struggle for vegetarian people.Non veg have a lot of variety to share and cherish about.

The travel desk is well equipped.

Pool side is a great place to relax.

The view of the distant sea from the Hotel is really good, in fact extraordinary.You get a feeling of seeing what is at the other end of the sea, such is the beauty of the view that you get to see.

Buggy is available on request,within minutes. And that is a offering a tour full of pleasure within Leela premises.

Anyways, if at all you get to stay @ Leela during off season, at reasonable pricing, do not miss it. Its a stay of a lifetime. Of course, if you can manage a handful of stay during peak season,then perfect. But pricing during off season is well under reach and can be considered a middle class friendly pricing.

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  By gargtu on Jan 01, 2010

"well...i dont hv words to describe this beauty.....huge place.....private beaches....breathtaking views....xcellent service....loved the experience"....just go for it!!!

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  By anky2k2 on Jan 01, 2010

very nice view from the hotel,great room and room service..

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  By guriqbal1 on Jan 01, 2010

Le Meridien have recently taken over part of this hotel (The Grove), which was the original five star property in Kovalam (formerly known as the Kovalam hotel. We stayed in the grove, which consists of beautifully renovated Keralan style beach-side cottages.

When we arrived we were garlanded with a seashell necklace and treated to tender coconut drinks. In our room there were delicious cookies and a substantial fresh fruit basket is replenished daily. The minibar was restocked regularly with complimentary minerals and water.

The pool area was splendid and one can only imagine if not been part of it. the attendants were very good and polite and one can have faith in them to take good care of your kids and they if asked can also give you tips about swimming especially to the kids.

Ideal for the honeymooners too if you dont want to go abroad. A couple of steps will take you to the beach. At night the hotel will set up a table on the beach for your dinner if you want and there's live music there six nights a week.

There's another restaurant (Osheen) in the section of the hotel under renovation. It's perched high on the cliffs and surely has the best seaview in all of Kovalam. At night you can see the twinkling stars of the lights on thousands of tiny fishing boats, as you hear the waves crashing on the rocks below.

2 infinity pools, Ayurveda massage parlour, close proximity to Lighthouse Beach (great for small seaside cafes), very very clean rooms with bedsheets and towels changed twice daily, all standard rooms are sea facing with very large room size balconies. Great en suite showers, sumptous buffets.

The hotel has a private beach area and as the hotel is on a cliftop they provide golf buggies to take you down to the beach area and to the front entrance gate. Beutiful landscaped gardens. The bus stand is just outside the main entrance and you can venture into Trivandrum at a cost of just 8 rupees. Lighthouse Beach & Hawaah Beach are walking distance with many seafood restaurants and shops.

Last but not the least smiling, friendly, helpful staff and the best beachfront location in Kovalam.

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  By akd_2012 on Jan 01, 2010

Just left the Leela after spending a week there over new year.

Location
On a cliff top with stunning views over the ocean round to the beach against a backdrop of coconut forests.

Service
Faultless service with very happy and courteous staff always on hand to help guests in any way.

Rooms
The Club rooms were all booked so we took a superior room with view over the beach.. I actually think the view over the beach with fisherman hauling in thier nets and the locals meeting up in the evening was much better than simply looking out to sea from a club room. the room was very clean with fresh towels being put in the room several times per day. Huge private balcony, well stocked mini bar, Cable TV and large walk in shower (water temperature a little random but this is India) and an enourmous bed (feather pillows not so comfy but they probably would have changed them if I'd bothered to ask).

Food
Breakfast buffet is excellent with a massive choice of local and international food and eggs anyway you want them from the service counter. Breakfast on the balcony also a winner with Eggs Benedict on New Years Day the perfrect hangover cure. (You must trhy the Chilli Cheese Toast as a late night snack also). Huge choice of lunch and dinner options at the Terrace restaurant and excellent asian food at The Drift restaurant on the beach. French and Italian wine is expensive but I think this has a lot to do with very high local taxes (60%). The Indian Chenin Blanc is not so expensive and is a real winner.

Beach
The Leela has a private beach terrace on a public beach which has very comfortable sunbeds but not enough umbrellas. The beach is nice but not the very best in the area. However you can find some amazing and almost empty beaches if you venture further afield. You must visit lighhouse beach (short tuk tuk ride away) for the real local experience.

Entertainment
The Leela is definately a romantic getaway and probably not enough for kids or youngsters looking for a wild time. Live band played in the terrace restaruant some nights and the outside bar is simply stunning with big sofas overlooking the sea to cuddle up on with a cocktail. The new years eve Bollywood style beach party was out of this world and gave my partner and I the best new years eve of our lives. The backwater boat tour gives you a fantastic insight into the more rural areas of Kerala and you are met by smiling locals waving as you pass by.

In summary, I cannot imagine how anyone could stay at the Leela and not have a great time.

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  By Symze on Jan 01, 2010

enjoyed our stay at the Leela Kovalam Beach. Excellent service, super breakfast buffet, the club rooms were good with very good view of the ocean.

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  By nevatia on Dec 12, 2009

The hotel is magnificent and we have never experienced such incredible service before. It was so lovely that it was hard to drag ourselves away from the hotel.

We stayed on the club level with its own concierge and club lounge where different food presentations are laid out each day. We were just expecting a few nibbles but breakfast is a lovely.
The pool is lovely and luxurious.

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  By NMA28 on Dec 12, 2009

If you have to absolutely delight yourself with an unmatched pampering and a breath-taking location you must absolutely visit Leela Kovalam and preferably should stay at their Club Wing. The wing definitely has an exclusive feel to it and you notice it right from the moment you see the sedan which comes to pick up from the airport a swanky Nissan Teana.

The hotel management team itself comes down to introduce themselves to you while you check-in with a glass of champagne. But the best part is when you open your door and find an absolutely fantastic view of the blue Arabian Sea from your room balcony atop a cliff rock. The balcony is quite spacious and has table and seating arrangement so that you can have your meals adoring the view.

The service, the staff the facilities are all top notch. Its all worth of the hefty price tag they charge. They keep delighting you with cookies and chocolates out of their splendid confectionery, fruits and flowers in your room. Would you believe they even have a pillow menu and you can order pillows to your choice. They have got two fantastic spa facilities, one specializing in the regular Indian and Ayurvedic Spas and another having International Spas.

They even have a private beach, and the famous crescent shaped Light House Beach is a stroll away. They have buggies to carry you around the sprawling resort.

Theres so much more to write about the place. It is an experience :) Each and every moment spent at Leela Kovalam was memorable

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  By Azimuthal... on Dec 12, 2009

This is a very beautiful and Lavish Hotel and the Amenities are also Amazing.

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  By ab9403 on Dec 12, 2009

We were slightly concerned about the Leela after reading some of the negative comments on tripadvisor. However, we went ahead anyway. We were upgraded to a Club room. The room was excellent, very clean, lots of huge towels, chocolates and biscuits, bottled water constantly topped up. We were just above the sea, it was noisy crashing against the rocks but it didn't bother us. Breakfast was very good. The evening buffet was exxpensive, we went down to kovalam beach and ate there after the first night, much cheaper [although there is some hassle from street vendors]. Staff at Leela were very friendly.

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  By ninaAbuDh... on Dec 12, 2009

It is very beautiful place to spend with family or friends. They have their private beach where you enjoy fullest with your closest ones.
They have different categories rooms from the normal ones, to the best ones. They also have private cottages with balcony and a very big lawn where you can get direct and wonderful view of the beach.
It is the most amazing place to stay and relax.

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  By Starindia... on Dec 12, 2009

To start with i would say i would rate this property as the best in Kerala.

Location:
The views from the hotel are breathtaking. The 180 degree view of arabian sea is unique and the USP of this place. The rooms also ahave very good views. The best is from the Club room.

Food:
The food is good. The deserts are the best among the food. The breakfast also offers you lot of variety.

Pool:
There are two swimming pools. The infinity pool is only allowed for the club residents. The infinity pool is one of the best in India.

Service:
The service is good. Rooms are good. Stay either in Club or beach view superior for good views from the room.

Although expensive, it is value for money. The hotel is a destination itself in Kovalam. Please dont miss this place if you visit Kerala

55

Rating

  By Gladiator... on Dec 12, 2009

I stayed in the hotel for 3 nights and 4 days during the first week of October, 2009. I had booked the stay via travelguru.com. I had bought complete food and stay package for my stay with my wife.
I had called the hotel earlier informing them about my itinerary and a pickup in Nissan Teana was available at Trivandrum airport.
Car had news paper and driver mentioned that it would take 25-30 minutes to reach the hotel.
Hotel had good security and my booking was checked by the guard at the entrance.
Hotel has 4 different type of rooms.
With 2 of the best rooms being in the club section of the hotel which is only available for the people staying in club rooms. My booking was in garden view. Rooms were large and comfortable. beds were very good. only disappointment being no dvd player and no bathtub in the bathroom.
Best part about the stay is the buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. We did not try any other restaurant because of the amazing buffet.
The sky bar was closed due to renovations.
Beach is good and they have excellent services on beach with shower facility and towels available on beach.
Hotel has 3 pools. One for club section (no entry for other people), one main pool near lobby and one for the garden section. We had a great time.
During our stay we were never able to go out of the hotel because of the comfortable stay.
Service is great and could be better.
Overall I would suggest the hotel for people who like to stay at hotel and not roam around in Kerala.
I hope the review has helped. If you have any questions then email me and I will try to reply about the same.

Cheers,

Rishabh

55

Rating

  By waytoris on Dec 12, 2009

Stayed at the Leela for 5 nights in Nov.Fabulous hotel,the staff are wonderful,nothing is to much trouble.The restaurants are wonderful.If you like seafood it is amazing.Try the wonderful spa for complete relaxation.If you need a taxi,walk down the drive to the entrance and ask for Nahendra who has a Ambassador taxi,he's a lovely guy.

55

Rating

  By toppo19 on Nov 11, 2009

Most club rooms offer an unparalleled view, built at the edge of a clifftop. Some rooms are set a little further back without quite as great a view and one room 1407 has a palm tree right in front of the balcony, obscuring much of the view. We were initially given this room but after complaining to the manager he immeadiately got us another room and did everything he could to make our stay as excellent as possible. The other rooms (other than the club rooms) are in a different building and are better but the view is very good but not as outstanding as they areset further back from the water, on the beach. The international cuisine at the restaurant was particularly good.

55

Rating

  By DrANB on Nov 11, 2009

Stayed here for 10 nights and loved it. Lovely room, gorgeous resort, good food, and in a great location to go to other restaurants (you must try some along the beach - I can't remember the names of them but they're all super cheap with food is fabulous). Nice pool area. The best part though was pre-dinner drinks in the bar - stunning setting, gorgeous cocktails and different nibbles every day. And don't even get me started on the incredible views. The staff were fantastic too. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

55

Rating

  By travel102... on Oct 10, 2009

Our stay at the Leela was one of the most memorable getaways. It was great in every way. The rooms were beautiful, spacious, and clean. They were very cozy, and comfortable.

We had booked the monsoon getaway, however, were dissapointed that the monsoon season was over. The heat was unbearable!

Getting the all meals included deal was the best decision we'd made. It would have been extremely difficult to find a decent restaurant in Thrivandrum.

We also booked 3 day massage programs, which were simply perfect.

Overall, the trip was a success. If only the weather was cooler.

My advice to anyone who wishes to visit the hotel is: Stay in the hotel, there's nothing outside worthy of your time. Sit back, relax, and pamper yourself.

55

Rating

  By fatimaAD on Oct 10, 2009

This has been the best experience we have had. My wife and I have travelled all over the world and the stay at Leela has been the best. It was so nice that we tried to stay a little longer, but unfortunately the hotel was booked full. The staff is the best I have seen and the massage and food is extreme.

55

Rating

  By chesat on Sep 09, 2009

We had a wonderful stay here in Sept this year. The staff were very friendly and helpful all over the hotel except the travel desk, they were not very helpful when we wanted to book a train journey. Wine is very very expensive, I would advise you to buy your own duty free on your way out. You would need to like Indian food, but boy was it good!! we never ate out because the dinners in the hotel were so good. Great choice of Kerala food and other Indian cuisine.

55

Rating

  By mrsmcmoyn... on Sep 09, 2009

My husband and I just spent a blissful three days at the Leela, Kovalam Beach. We were fortunate enough to be staying in the Club wing which really was in a class of its own: the setting was idyllic with a stunning view of the famed Kerala sunsets, even from our room and a balcony from which you could see the waves crashing at the bottom of the cliff. The room was contemporary and luxurious and the bathroom, although a bit small, was modern and fitted with all the mod cons including a very powerful double shower head.
The Club had its own infinity pool with a breathtaking view which is isolated from the rest of the hotel and gave us the feeling of having our own private pool. The staff and service were impeccable and discreet, each room having its own private butler on call. The idea behind the Club seemed to be to create a small uber luxurious boutique hotel within the main hotel and it was quite unique to be able to experience the "buzz" of the main hotel, its pool and restaurants, and then retreat to what seemed like our own private sanctuary.
I pampered myself with treatments at both the spas and came away feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. The Divya ayurvedic spa was an authentic Kerala experience while the Club spa was contemporary and sumptious.
Although the views of the beach were absolutely beautiful, the beach itself was a bit of a let down. It is partially private but with no demarcation from the public area and the sand was not golden, perhaps due to the monsoon season, which also accounted for the red flag on swimming. There were comfortable sun loungers, hammocks and a fun tree swing so it was a great place to relax and catch some sun.
There are three restaurants which all serve different cuisines but a special mention for breakfast: the baked goods were out of this world!

55

Rating

  By ChigsMumb... on Sep 09, 2009

We got to know about The Leela @ Kovalam through our stay at The Leela @ Goa last year and after a great time at Leela’s Goa property we decided to plan Kovalam for this year and luckily it all worked out. The same set of people from the Goa trip (16 of us) also made it to Kovalam this year and we had 8 rooms in total. I got in touch with the reservation staff at The Leela @ Kovalam and struck a deal for 8 club rooms. (Initially I was going to book their Beach View Deluxe rooms but after looking at the club rooms on the hotel’s website we decided to go with the Club. About a week prior to our arrival at the hotel, I was contacted by the hotel reconfirming my booking and wanting my travel information.

Once we got to Thiruvananthapuram, we were greeted inside the airport by a person from The Leela who introduced himself to us and led us to our drivers who were waiting at the arrival side with our names on placards. From there we got into out super luxurious Nissan Tiena and were given a cold towel and a bottle of water (which I found very impressive) while our bags were being loaded in the boot. I always knew that Kerala was the only state with a 100% literacy rate but now I believe it to be true. Our driver could speak decent English and did a good job giving us a brief about Kerala and Kovalam on our way to the hotel. He patiently answered all our questions and even stopped to show us some key landmarks in the city almost like a city tour.

After a 20mins drive from the airport, we entered the Leela property and reached the entrance to the lobby where we greeted by The Club Manager of The Leela Kovalam – Mr Anil George who led us down a bunch of stairs where were given a traditional welcome with Tikka applied on our forehead and chain made of sea shells put around a neck. It was a very warm welcome! I was expecting the standard check in procedure - form to fill in and then get my keys find my room and so on but this place had none of that. The confirmation a week prior to my arrival took care of everything!! All I had to do was provide them with a photo id (1 for all the guests) and I had one of the staff escort me to my room and all this in less than 2 mins after the welcome! I was already impressed.

Once I entered my room, It was cold and the 1st thing that I was asked by the staff was if the temp was okay or if I wanted it scaled down? I was again impressed by their attention to detail. Bags followed soon after and I was all set for y vacation which I had been looking forward to for a long time. About the room, it was nothing short of a world class super luxury room with a breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea. Every room had a balcony and from where all you could see were miles and miles of the sea and the waves crashing into the rocks right under your nose. These were sights and sound that one only dream to be a part of!

Post noon, we had the rest of our group arrive and they were settled in no time too. We were then offered a tour of the property to make us aware of the facilities the resort had to offer so that we could make full use of them. We were taken in golf carts and brought back to the main lobby. (Remember that the Club section at the Leela is a hotel within a Hotel so the guests staying at the club side have a different lobby, reception, swimming pool, café etc… from those staying at the regular side). Once we finished our tour, we were greeted by the GM of the hotel along with the Head Chef and The Club Manager. Since this our 1st visit to Kerala, they made some recommendations about food which was to try a traditional Kerala meal called “Sadhya” served on a banana leaf. Since this was an all veg meal, we requested for some Non veg food to be included as well.

While the pictures attached will explain everything about the Club side of the Leela at Kovalam since it cannot be described in words, I have to say that the staff at the Leela specially where we were put up were truly world class. For the 3 days that were there was not a single request which was not met and not once did we hear a “No’ or a “Not possible” from any of the staff which is remarkable and with 16 of us jumping all over the place with our requests, it was cake walk for them! Mr Anil George who is the Club Manager was available every time we needed him and was a perfectionist. The staff at the Café (The private dinging area for residents at th club) led by Ms Pvainda were awesome. They made some great recommendations and catered to our needs with ease. Right from having a table laid out for 16 at the drop of a hat to changing orders to no end was all done with a smile.

This was an experience that my friends and family will cherish for a long time. The cookies and chocolates in the room, to personalized stationary on the study, high team at the living room was a very impressive spread to the parting gift - our group photograph from the Leela and a book on Kerala’s history given to us by the GM himself.

All this would not be possible without Mr Anil George and his staff at the club side of the Leela – Kovalam. Am getting ready to make my bookings to go back there in 2010

55

Rating

  By jaybajaj on Aug 08, 2009

We have just returned from a wonderful stay at the Leela, Kovalam Beach. The hotel is beautiful and we enjoyed incredible service during our stay. The hotel itself is so lovely that it was hard to drag ourselves away from the hotel to go around Kovalam.
We stayed in the Garden View Pavilion room as we wanted to be as close to the beach as possible. They have these lovely hammocks tied to cononut trees where you can swing for hours with your favorite book. My husband and I spent most of our time at the Leela private beach basking in the sun. There was some strong currents in the water so we were advised by the attentive Leela staff not to enter the water.
Most of the days, we slept in late so missed breakfast but lunch and dinner was an amazing spead of variety of Western and Indian cuisine. A la carte is also available with a wide selections of dishes.
The pool next to the Terrace restaurant is lovely but can get crowded as the other pool was being repaired, during our stay. The pool attendants were wonderful and the staff will get you your beverages/snacks at the pool itself so you can get that wonderful tan while enjoying your chilled beer !
A special mention on the Leela staff who are extremely friendly, patient and willing to help out you in every which way possible. They literally spoil you !
Overall I would say this is probably the best hotel we've ever stayed in on holiday and we would definitely go back to the hotel for another stay !

55

Rating

  By P_P_Roadi... on Aug 08, 2009

Can't speak highly enough of the place - you are welcomed with a bindi an a sea shell necklace - the General Manager introduced himself personally to us and it just got better from there. The website does it justice - go on it.

The service from the hotel staff was first class. We had actually booked a split reservation which entaild moving rooms halfway through - they made it run like clockwork. I was absolutely gutted to leave after we had been there five days the sign of a great stay. Thanks.

55

Rating

  By teacherma... on Aug 08, 2009

good hotel , excellent food, excllent location, nice staff, but the swimming on the ocean was not good because of weathar.

55

Rating

  By ehabsagga... on Jul 07, 2009

kovalam beach is one of the best beaches in India . . and adding to that the Leela resort turns it into a superb vacation destination . . we stayed in the cottage for two nights and in club room for a night . The cottages were very cozy and beautiful and the balcony was sea facing . . the club rooms however were outstanding as the balcony almost opened into the sea . . the swiming pool in the hotel is right on the sea and from a distance looks like merging into it . . the resort is a huge one and there is absolutely no need to step out of it even for an hour . . during our visit it was full of foreigners and very less of Indians due to off season . . worked out well for us as we got good experience at off peak tariffs . .

55

Rating

  By gaurav_ba... on Jun 06, 2009

This is a very romantic hotel. The pool side, the restaurant by the beach, the candles at night.... amazing experience.

55

Rating

  By GlobalTCK on Jun 06, 2009

We stayed for 5 days/4 nights here and it was simply awesome...we enjoyed every moment of it - the wonderful property, the scenic location and the warmth of the smiling, helpful staff - who made us feel so very special.

When we arrived we were informed that we had been upgraded to the club residences, the premium part, that overlooks the Arabian Sea. The rooms had brilliant views of the western coast and the sea stretching to infinity. The presence of a large corporate contingent possibly triggered the upgrade and we had no complaints.

The Club rooms came with a butler, some excellent service, a library, a stumptuous afternoon Tea and a special pool. The all inclusive plan was great and the Terrace restaurant had a wonderful buffet and excellent people serving us and attending to our fussy kid.

Our son fell ill on day 2 and the hotel arranged for a doctor and medicines pretty quickly. And there were DVDs to watch on a giant LCD TV while he lay in bed. The buggy rides to the beach were fantastic and we enjoyed the 2wice a day excursions and the fantastic views.

They also have some reasonably priced outings to nearby places to soak in some culture. Otherwise you needn't leave the place and the private beach, the starlit sky bar or the Terrace restaurant. Wish we could go back again and again and again...

55

Rating

  By travelato... on Jun 06, 2009

I had the opportunity to stay in the Leela Kempinski for a night during one of my Business trip to Trivandrum. Truly, it's a 5 star hotel, the rooms are clean, great customer service. Since it was a company paid accomodation, I am really not aware of the rate but it is worth to pay any price. The staff is so friendly. The variety of food and the way they present is really commendable. Especially, they had arranged for a Kerala Ayurvedic Massage for a few hundred rupees. It was really relaxing after a stressful today. There are a number of massage centres around but the Massage center inside the hotel was really good. I had a good sleep after the massage. The hotel is ideally located near to the famous Covalam beach and it is worth a stay.

55

Rating

  By sgmkjseka... on Jun 06, 2009

We had booked another hotel in Kovalam especially equipped for my husband who is paralysed and in a wheelchair. It was not suitable and we drove to the Leela where the manager greeted us and the staff rushed to help. We upgraded to the Club which although expensive made us feel like royalty from room checkin, rooms over the cliff making us feel as onboard a ship, special afternoon teas and our own private Club dining room. We never left the hotel as everything was there and a phone call had someone at the door within seconds - I swear they were camped outside !. Only downside for us - no lift from the Club to the dining room for the wheelchair- so we used the service elevator via the kitchens which gave us chance to see how spotless everything is, in keeping with the whole resort. We gather many of India's celebrities and wealth stay frequently here due to its seclusion and outstanding service. Food especially breakfast was wonderful and very international.

55

Rating

  By WorldTrav... on Jun 06, 2009

Stunning location....super hotel....great food....good service...polite staff....great spa....very high end hotel for a high quality holiday....need I say more?

55

Rating

  By jaideep on Jun 06, 2009

Holidaying at Leela Kovalam was a fantastic experience. It is a serene property, luxurious and surrounded by nature. The location is fantastic. The staff was very friendly and courteous. Service was excellent. The summer getaway offer was at an unbelievable price. This is an absolute favarourite place now on my holiday list and I would like to go back again soon. Highly recommended for all to go to Taj Kovalam for a holiday.

55

Rating

  By raina13 on Jun 06, 2009

STAYED FOR 3 NIGHTS
excellent property
the club rooms have a separate wing and a separate restaurant which is a blessing else the property is very busy n a table is diff to get even for residents
the service is very good after the first day after the people get familiar in fact so much that they are willing to do anything for u, but the first ay is a lil tough
infinity pool specially for club wing is a adedd bonus
the beach is also very nice the food is jjst superb whether the thai or italian or indian....
breakfast spead superb

55

Rating

  By MrYASH on Jun 06, 2009

The management of the Leela have managed to make our Christmas overseas and attendance at a party a magical experience. Their service is beyond comparison, and attention is paid to every detail of your stay. Their chef is outstanding, and the views of the Arabian sea from your room and the restaurants and bar area are spectacular. This is the first recommendation of a hotel in the Trivandrum/Kovalam area on my list!

55

Rating

  By Expatago on Jun 06, 2009

Hotel was fantastic! its set on a cliff top in Kovalam beach.

I was staying in the beach view standard room and my parents were staying the slightly more expensive beach view deluxe room. However I found the cheaper room to more preferable.

The staff were fantastic, the setting beautiful, just generally a fantastic hotel.

55

Rating

  By rupald on Jun 06, 2009

Another of my business trip and was fortunate to get a club room with access to infinity pool which enhanced my experience at the property. well laid out property with sea view from every room.
Private beach which merges with common area full of shacks.

Nice walking and jogging track (though its not a level track) but goes all along the seaface!!!

A total refreshing experience especially hearing the sea from your room. Great sunset view and if you can wake up early then sun rise is magical!!!

Rooms are well made with cane furniture fits out which are extremely comfortable. A great property to be at

55

Rating

  By JoyPGhosh on Jun 06, 2009

As soon as I saw the photos of this hotel I knew I wouldn't want to leave once I actually got there... and I didn't want to leave !! It was amazing. The staff were fantatsic, the loaction breathtaking and the whole experince was wonderful. The place was spotless and clean and the food was great - huge amount of choice and always tasty. It was truly great and I wish I'd booked for longer. The spa was fantastic and I had the most amazing massage. I will definately be going back... even just to ride around in the buggies again ! Lovely Leela.. see you soon... I hope

55

Rating

  By Taz70 on May 05, 2009

When u go to the Leela - please stay in the club rooms - because I would rate the club section of the Leela - as far as location goes - with some of the best hotels anywhere ( across 3 continents anyway)
Just over the sea - the sound is so amazing - always rushing in

Me and my spouse did a long weekend here - and it all started with a great pickup ( at the railway station)- on time - with a cold towel and a cold bottle of water - a choice of CDs to play - while we made the short trip

A warm welcome at the reception with a welcome drink and then whisked to our room - by a "butler" - very helpful and cheerful guys

Rooms are small - but great bed - and a pillow menu almost as big as the list of aperitifs :) The rooms could be bigger - but then again the balcony they have is good

The infinity pool location is pretty unique for India - and was great to lounge around and peer over into the ocean - and one of the reasons I booked the club room - about 2-3 times the rate of the other rooms

The food at the club restaurant was delicious - and the service excellent

Only ventured out to the main restaurant once - and must say the buffet was not upto the mark - but on the whole - this was one of my favorite experiences anywhere

Definitely coming back - and thanks for the memories!

55

Rating

  By Vikrant on May 05, 2009

Spectacular view!!!! Great food and excellent service. Rooms are spacious with a terrace overlooking the coast. Loved the infinity pool and private beach and sprawling garden. Highly recommend.

55

Rating

  By Allthebes... on May 05, 2009

My wife and I stayed at this hotel last year. To say it is the nicest hotel we have ever stayed in. After the usual hassle of getting though the airport we were greeted by bottles of iced water. During the journey to the hotel my wife started feeling ill (bit of heat stroke i think). As soon as we arrived at the hotel it was noticed that she was unwell and was wisked straight to our wonderful ice cold air conditioned room, "dont worry about check in, we can do that later". The staff could not have been more helpful. Luckily my wifes illness soon passed. The Leela has a "club section" this is for the folks who want that extra extra bit of luxury, we didn't bother with this, so I am unable to comment on this part of the resort. The rest of the rooms within the resort all have sea views, and what a view, its got to be seen to be believed. The room itself was in my mind superb. We actually had 2 showers and a bath! The bathroom was outside, now I know that sounds strange but believe me its not. The toilet, bath and one shower were all covered, not that we needed it as privicy is total. The room had plenty of cupboard space and drawers and the bed was made for a luxurious nights sleep! You even get a pillow menu! I forget how many pillows to choose from but at least 10! You could lie in bed open the main doors (leaving the mosquito screen closed) and watch the world pass by in total privacy. The food in the hotel and at the beach was fantastic a little pricy compared to prices outside but still cheap considering it is a 5 star hotel. The staff were faultless, all of them, from the gardeners to the head chef, nothing is to much trouble and they really go out of there way to ensure you have everything you want. There was never any trouble with being pestered by the locals and security have a discreet presence (when you look for it). The beach is quite small but totally adequate to the needs of the hotel and is private. There were always plenty of sunloungers and parasols available. The grounds of the hotel are kept immaculate. The infinity pool is something else, again its got to be seen to be believed. From the reception area to the beach is a good walk down hill, but dont worry about coming back up there are golf buggies plying back and for all day and even during the night, if needed. I'm not going to mention the well known lighthouse beach because this review is about the hotel and not the surrounding area. If anyone wants to know about this I will be only too pleased to answer any questions. One other thing, the local taxi's "Tuk tuk's" 3 wheeled things! We used one on the first day and the driver "Vicky" was always there when ever we wanted. One night we went to a restaurant and told him we would be back out at ten, we met some other people, got talking and did not get out until well gone midnight, he was still waiting! Obviously barter the price but remember what ever the agreed price in the end it really is a very small amount. Vicky took us everywhere we wanted for the whole 2 weeks, even took us to the tea plantations up in the mountains (all day out). On our last day I gave Vicky the equivalent of £20 as a tip, he did not want to take such an amount but it was forced on him. In all a wonderful holiday and I would recommend this hotel to anyone.

55

Rating

  By Jacktarr on May 05, 2009

One reason why you should stay here, is the infinity pool, overlooking the deep blue ocean, and i promise you....its a sight to remember! Apart from that, we were very satisfied with the expected five star service, the food was excellent especially for all the sea food lovers.
We stayed in one of the chalets (cottages) and over all our experience was truly memorable.

55

Rating

  By Mathanki on May 05, 2009

We stayed at this property for one of my business trips.

We were put up in club rooms. It had a spectacular view from the room. All what we could see was water water and more water......arabian sea right in front of us. They have a breathtaking location for a swimming pool which is at the edge of the cliff. While wathing the sunset from the pool it felt like i was one with nature. truly beautiful.

Food at the hotel is superb. Excellent service.

Good beach. Great property to stay at for families with kids.

55

Rating

  By desaishai... on May 05, 2009

simply brilliant!! the property is so vast that u actually have to take the buggie to go from one end to the other. we were upgraded to the sea facing deluxe villa. my 5yr old daughter had a blast in the pool. very clean place and the staff was very friendly.

55

Rating

  By vaishu4 on May 05, 2009

Words can never do justice to this breathtakingly well located hotel. Sitting on a rock outcrop, the Leela Kovalam is a sloping beauty designed by Charles Correa, with the intention of every room having uninterrupted views of the azure blue sea, The infinity edged pool and the bar that hangs over the sea is where i spent almost all my time. By night the The bar turns into a lit piece of beauty, though the only presence of the sea left is the surf crashing below your deck. The Hotel has some authentic local food on its menu and i gorged on Avial and other delicacies, almost every meal. The hotel's sea food shack on the dunes of the Kovalam beach line i was told by my traveling companions (i'm vegetarian) was simply outstanding too. A visit to the local Pdamanabha temple, especially during the evening aarthi is a must do. I was a little adventurous and tried out some street food outside the temple. Yum, but i recommend it to only those with a tough gut. The stay at the hotel was absolutely brilliant. A really relaxing experience. Couple of trips to the fab spa (they're speciality is Ayurveda, but i can't handle so much oil!) had me ready to get back to my urban life, fully recharged.

55

Rating

  By MerryKart... on May 05, 2009

We had directly done the booking through the Hotel for our booking. This was during the time Dec 2004 and that time the property managed by Le Meridien Kovalam. It is approximately 1 and half hour drive from Trivandrum airport. Check-in was done in typical kerala style with Mark on forehead, shell garland and fresh coconut water. The Hotel was very prompt to note our Honeymoon request and decored the room and even gave us Wine and Cake as special guesture.

The Hotel has its own small strech of Private beach.

In activities, you can go for Back water ride in boats. Recommended to start early during the day as it gets Hot in afternoons even in months of December. Visit Trivandrum for temple visits and even try eating traditional kerala food in banana leaf at any of the local restaurants of joints. It is quite an South Indian experience.

The Hotel staff is very hospitable and courteous and took care of smallest possible requirements.

Definitely recommned this Hotel for anyone visiting Kovalam.
Now this is managed and absolutely re-done by the Leela Kempinski Group. Have heard great reviews now as well from friends who have been there.

55

Rating

  By Globetrav... on Apr 04, 2009

the best hotel wid the best food n the best beach.......really cool experience....the crowd here howevr is more or less retired people so its quiet ...from here u can get a buggy to the main gate and then walk down to the lighthouse whr there r tons of shacks to choose from ..u get super seafood at supr prices...the massage place however was not so great....u cud get a massge for one tenth the price at any of the local parlours..however i dunno how clean those wud be...

55

Rating

  By MumbaiBea... on Apr 04, 2009

15th april to 19th april amazing hotel ,amazing food ,amazing staff,amazing view ,amazing club,best massage yet,
i would like to thank the general manager and his staff for his wonderful hospitality and made our stay very special we will with out doubt come back to stay here again

55

Rating

  By addian on Apr 04, 2009

what an amazing hotel,upgrade to the club rooms for an amazing view of tha arabian sea,highly recommended ,decor of the hotel was done to the highest standard,quality of the beds also to the highest standard (try all the different types of pillows which are available to guests,our fav was the goose down ,what a sleep we got !)and staff looked after you so well. food in the club was amazing and the chefs always made the food to your liking which included lowering the spice levels to your taste,if there was a dish which was not on the menu they would go out of there way to make it for you,the staff in the sky bar met your every need ,the general manager was always on hand to give any assistance you wished and would be done straight away and would like to thank him for a wonderful 4 day stay,we both wish we could have stayed longer.
we met a young couple who were having an evening meal and drinks at the leela and were staying at the taj and both agreed that the leela was so much friendly and wished they had Spent there vacation here
THE LEELA IS THE PLACE TO SAY !!!!!!!!!!

55

Rating

  By falkirkfl... on Apr 04, 2009

The hotel is good. Would highly recommend the club room area. The infinity pool is simply breathtaking. Food is not bad but not great either.

55

Rating

  By Bangalore... on Apr 04, 2009

I had a great time and really enjoyed being there. Great Hotel.

55

Rating

  By daruboy on Apr 04, 2009

I have just got back from a week at the Leela. Having read the reviews before travelling we were a bit nervous but needn't have been. We stayed in the Club and can honestly say that it was fabulous. It really is like a hotel within a hotel with the most luxurious exclusive facilities but still the ability to use all the other hotel facilities. The staff were fantastic from the moment we arrived - always there when you needed them but not in an intrusive way. At first we were a little bit disappointed in the room as the balcony was quite shaded and had a net. The reason turned out to be to stop the birds which are very daring! The rooms do not have baths which was not a problem for me but may be for some. The only real criticism of the rooms is the lighting - no central lighting and so things sometimes looked a little gloomy. However, the extras were great - good toiletries, two types of robe and two types of slippers, The rooms were serviced several times a day and fruit, chocolates and cookies provided daily. Breakfast was in the Club cafe which was lovely - the staff were so please when we chose dosas and sambar as I suspect most guests stick with English things. The Club gym was very well equipped if a little under air conditioned and the afternoon tea and nibbles were very popular. They were served between 4 and 5.30 and meant that after a big breakfast lunch wasn't needed.

I have travelled extensively in India since the age of 6 and stayed at many hotels, we usually use Taj hotels and have also been impressed with Hyatt. I can honestly say that the food at the Terrace nightly buffet was the BEST I have ever eaten in India. We are vegetarian and there were at least 8 "standard" indian veg dishes and 8 Kerelan veg dishes a night. The salads were fantastic. I had read that the restaurant was expensive but the buffet was about £12 a head and very good value. We had intended to eat at Lighthouse Beach as other guests raved about how cheap it was. We did this once but found the food "westernised" and whilst it was very cheap (£10 for 2 with drinks) we just couldn't keep away from the Terrace buffet. I do agree that the alcohol is very expensive in the hotel and that this puts a lot of guests off. The restaurant was very quiet and I think the hotel would be wise to realise that if they redced their booze prices they would be a lot busier. We took a taxi to the Taj Green Cove for dinner and whilst it was fine it was nothing like the standard of the Leela. The buffet was very westernised with little choice in comparison.

All in all we had a great stay - the spa was lovely, I had a facial and ayurvedic massage and a hair cut. Once again however they were very quiet and I am sure this is because fo the prices. If you want a holiday where you just relax and stay mostly in the hotel then this is for you. However, not if you are into beaches as Lighthouse Beach was horrible - very grey and quite dirty - and the Leela section of the beach at the hotel was not great either. In addition, this hotel would not be great for kids as there would be little for them to do.

55

Rating

  By emmacLyth... on Apr 04, 2009

In line with other reviews and on the recommendation of friends we have just enjoyed a 7 night stay at the end of a 6 week trip, staying at 10 other hotels. This was undoubtedly the best, but also the most expensive.
In every department, the staff, the service, the quality of food, general maintenance and upkeep were excellent. Couldn't recommend it enough. Look out for deals and there are apparently some good package deals from UK direct into Trivandrum airport, a 30 minute transfer away.

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  By 2Turners on Mar 03, 2009

Stayed from 12th to 17th March and really couldn't have been more impressed.
Large, clean room with divine bed and pillows. Superb view overlooking the ocean. The buffet in the evening is excellent value (works out at about £11 a head). Agree the drinks are pricey but to be honest, you don't feel like drinking heavily as the food is so healthy etc. Staff were very friendly and great service. Would recommend it. Some good trips also- easy just to get your own taxi and use a guide book.

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  By freshgirl... on Mar 03, 2009

If you are already considering Kerala as a holiday destination you will be well aware of what it has to offer and if not, there is plenty of information on the net as to why it is top destination. So I will not take up any time in this review on Kerala itself and will focus on the Leela.

My family (parents, wife and 19-month old daughter) have recently returned home from two weeks at the Leela and, in summary, had an amazing time.

The Leela is in THE prime location within Kovalam, situated on a hill overlooking the Arabian sea. The property itself is impecably maintained with a beautiful lobby/reception area in the main hotel, lovely restaurants, and tennis courts, two pools a badminton court and a castle(!!) all to be found on the acreage around the main complex.

We were staying in the 'non-club' section and before we left had some concerns based on some of the reviews here, but these quickly went away on arrival. The staff were absolutely fantastic throughout our holiday. Friendly, approachable and always willing to help - as a team they made our stay extremely special.

Other highlights of the hotel include the morning and evening buffets which have a wide (very wide!) selection of starter, main course and dessert offerings.

All in all - highly recommended! A great property, with amazing staff set in a beautiful part of the world.

55

Rating

  By NotMyReal... on Mar 03, 2009

We stayed at Leela for 7 nights returning on Feb 28th 2009. We had a room in the bungalows right by the beach. We booked half board which seemed for us the right choice. Some guests staying on B&B thought meals were more expensive than they had expected.
At the main hotel dining room you could either have buffet or A La Carte. We thought the buffet was excellent, loads of choices including various curries and western food. We didnt try the A La Carte.
The other dining choice was at Tides which is on the beach. This was A La Carte with large chioice of Thai, Chinese, Malaysian & local dishes off the BBQ. If you are on half board and eat at Tides you have a food allowance of 1000 rupees each which was enough for 2 courses. (Main & starter)
As you would expect, drinks are more expensive in the hotel, Indian wine was new to us but we enjoyed it. The cost at the hotel is about £30 per bottle, we drank Kingfisher beer and paid approx 240 rupees for a 650ml bottle.
You could buy at the local beer shop the same size bottle of Fosters for 65 rupees a bottle. The cost of a tuk tuk to the Beer shop is only 100 rupees return & takes about 5 minutes each way. (We were getting 68rupees to one pound).
Breakfast was buffet & very extensive including the usual guy cooking eggs & omlettes to order.
The main hotel is on a hill & the walk down to the beach & Tides & bungallows takes about 7 minutes or you can simply jump on one of the golf carts running all the time.
The sea view bar in the main hotel was lovely & looks out over the sea.
Service is very attentive and we found it superb.
We would suggest taking a small pocket torch as lighting at the tables at night is only by way of a candle. (Waiters do have torches if you need one)
For smokers, India banned smoking in public about 2 months ago. You can smoke in the sea view bar (smoking section) and on the private beach.
The beach is private but unfenced. There is a security guard on the beach to prevent unauthorized access. Guests can of course wander down the beach into the public area and we were never hassled on the public beach once.
To eat out of the hotel you take a Tuk Tuk (50 rupees each way) to The Lighthouse beach. (About 8 minutes drive) Lots of bars & places to eat. Many guests told us they had eaten there & it was very cheap & really good food. Didnt meet anyone with a dodgy tummy! 650ml size bottles of Kingfisher were about 100 rupees.
It was great fun sitting in the bars watching the world go buy. Most of the bars allowed us to smoke.
When we were there it was very hot & humid, up to 32/36C during the day & about 24/26C at night.
There is a free library in the main hotel, borrow the book & return it.
Bungalow rooms have a lovely terrace where you can sit overlooking the pristine gardens.
Our room was lovely, quite large & spacious complete with shower (no bath) and cable tv.
Lots of security guards 24/7 around the hotel which gives you that extra comfort factor.
Everything closes at 11.00pm & that applies to Lighthouse Beach too.
All in all we had a great time & had no complaints whatsover.

55

Rating

  By coxeybouy on Mar 03, 2009

Have just spent three weeks at the Leela on a bed and breakfast basis. After initial hesitation about visiting India i can honestly say it was a truly and wonderful experience. The people are so friendly and very welcoming. The hotel was in a superb location and exceeded our expectations. We booked a standard room and was more than pleased with its size and outlay. In my opinion the club rooms are not worth the extra charge.
The view from our room over looked the beach and sea and you could watch the regular fising boats going by. Ali, on the beach will sort out your fishing/snorkelling trips and is very friendly.
Breakfast is a feast and acquires everyones taste. We did not eat in the hotel as their prices are very expensive, but also we like to dine out at at different restaurants each evening experiencing different cusines. This you can do within a ten minute walk (downhill) for a budget of approx £10.00 for two with beer. The walk back up the hill helps you loose the calories ( or a ricksaw for £1.00). Highlight of our holiday was the backwater overnight stay on a houseboat. No-one should visit Kerala without experiencing this trip (cost £8000 rupees booked with taxi driver ). One recommendation, buy odomos cream for the mosquitoes (£1.00 from the kiosk on lighthouse beach) you will need it!! Overall a wonderful and enjoyable holiday and cant wait to return . Hello to Roger and Helen, see you at the Holiday Inn!!

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  By kaz9wales on Feb 02, 2009

We stayed at the Leela from 07-21 Feb - on a bed & breakfast basis through Thomas Cook. We thought that the hotel was well maintained by extremely friendly & helpful staff.
The buffet breakfasts were excellent in terms of quality and choice. We chose to eat out at the local restaurants- the prices within the the Leela are extremely high- there were no problems with us visiting the local beach shop during the day and bringing back cold drinks etc.
We loved Kovalam and would recommend the Leela as a great place to stay- we will return..

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  By rothwell4... on Feb 02, 2009

Kovalam was our second destination. We were in Poovar for 2 days and travelled to further south - kanyakumari during the stay in poovar. So the idea to stay in Leela was to relax and refresh ourselves after the tiring tours of K/kumari.

And thats what we got !!

Checkin the hotel was easy expect from the security check of the baggage (our trip was a week later after the Mumbai attack) which took sometime. But was quite understandable.
The rooms were awesome and veiw from the balcony to the beach down was stunning. Our room was on the slopes of the hill. (Check the pics).

The beach alongside the resort was clean and was free of the local people as the resort security would shoo them.
A boat ride is really worth as it give a magnificent view of the resort from the sea.

Sipping a drink with some really good barbequed stuff right on the beach with the sea only few meters away was wonderful.

Loaded some really good pics, sure the readers would appreciate and pics would tell the story to you.

Overall was a magnificent place and really enjoyed the stay.

Thanks Leela's

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  By banchetan on Feb 02, 2009

This place is what you expect for the price - its seriously luxurious. We stayed in the Club for the final 5 nights of our trip to India - it is fantastic - rooms are not huge but are very classy and comfortable, food excellent, facilities great but what makes this place stand out above all others is its simply the best customer service I have experience anywhere in the world

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  By india_tri... on Feb 02, 2009

My first impression of the Leela property at Kovalam was mind blowing. The ideal mix of tranquility and scenic location of the property really took my breath away. The hotel itself is situated on a cliff on the edge of the sea. The view from the rooms are breathtaking. The view from the swimming pool also is out of the world.

What further took this whole experience to the next level was the attitude and service of the staff. I think the staff at the Leela is one of the best in the country - and three cheers to them for their genuine "from the heart" approach to their work.

I definately recommend people to visit this property. You will not come back disappointed.

Cheers

55

Rating

  By Balaji V on Feb 02, 2009

We stayed in the Leela for 2 week in November/December for our honeymoon and it was fantastic. Having read some of the reviews before going we were slightly apprehensive but once we got there all our fears disappeared. We were staying in the club section of the hotel and as others have said it is well worth the money. I do suggest you shop around before booking as we found the smaller tour operators were much cheaper than the larger well known ones.

Our room was lovely and the staff in the Club section of the hotel could not do enough for us throughout our stay and in the club section you get free water in your room and at the pool which is a godsend in the heat. Unfortunately the weather was pretty poor for the first week due to a cyclone but the sun came out the second week and we never had a problem getting loungers (very comfy) at the pool even thought the club wing was full.

I agree that the hotel prices are not the cheapest, but it was not drastically overpriced. Once the weather improved we ate out every night at lighthouse beach with friends. The food & drink is very cheap and we never had a bad meal. You can get a tuk tuk down and back for 100rps if you barter or you can walk there as it will only take you 10mins. We ate in Tides and the Club restaurant in the hotel as well, both were good but we liked the atmosphere better down at lighthouse beach.

We had a fantastic stay, made good friends and would not hesitate to stay in the Leela again!

55

Rating

  By MrsMonkey... on Feb 02, 2009

Amazing.. last minute booking and got the last room at this hotel, in the club section, you pay a little extra but it is WORTH IT! the views, the space in the rooms, newer, own pool and services like afternoon tea, breakfast. 21,000 rps per night, but high season. first 1404 is just above the breakfast patio so could hear knives and forks in the AM so moved to 1505 which was one floor higher and much better.. 1414 and higher would be great as well. Breakfast nice and intimate in the club, but more selection to stroll over to the main part of the hotel. from this hotel you can walk 10 minutes and then be at a whole bunch of fun little stores, walk along a beach to a line of restaurants with smaller hotels filled with Europeans.. so a little cleaner.. For new year they will full so hot to move to the Taj, we paid a lot more 29,000RPS and nice, but made us realize how spoilt we were at the leela, at the leela the room was nicer, food, beach access, the taj you were really not 'on' the beach at all, and lacked atmosphere. It was such a let down as being treated like a god at the leela.. i mean REALLY, they greet you with gratitude like you are a god.. it was wierd at first, but we then missed it after. hands down. if you can afford it.. do he leele, the clud section, you will love every minute.

for the guys.. there is a tailor, well many, buit one that was very good a few minutes walk.. if you have a favorite shirt, they will copy it for $6.. amazing details and finish, you pick the materials, wonderful lines and cotton, at norstroms we would have paid easy $80 for each.. we had 20 made for $5-6 each, and they had them all ready the next day! we even made them take a few of them in a little more on the sleeves and down the side, little more tailored and they look amazing! they had elegant wool trouser/suite materials.. again bring something you want copied otherwise might be hard to explain.
I have their names if anyone cares for them. Have fun, and enjoy - we did for sure. beds were jummy.. double showers for two.. breakfast in bed included in price if you want. you will pay 800rps per day for wifi internet extra and taxes add up as well. the buffet at night was only about $15 or so and really great or alacart.

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Rating

  By fionawest on Jan 01, 2009

We have just returned from spending our honeymoon at the Leela, where we stayed for two weeks. I had read many reviews before our trip and was slightly worried, I shouldn't have been in the slightest.

Everything was fantastic from start to finish, on arrival we were met with a cold flanel, a drink and a hand made necklace. Check in went smoothly and our bags were delivred to the room directly. We had to provide our passports and were told they would be returned the following day, they were returned 20 mins later.

Our room was a standard deluxe room which was spacious clean and well appointed. We also received a generous sized cake and bottle of wine in our room as it was our honeymoon.

The room was cleaned daily and a turn down service was provided at night, where they cleaned he bathroom, changed towels, emptied bins and laid out mats at the side of the bed. We counted on one day we had fresh towles three times.

The pool is fab with plenty of comfy sun beds where the pool boy will happily lay your towel out for you, there was bever a problem with getting a bed.

The beach was also lovely, it is a private section of the beach and the public have access to the rest, there was a security guard there who watched out for people who weren't hotel guests.

The restaurants and bars within the hotel are all very good, there are many reviews which say they are very exspensive. In my opinion they weren't too bad, exspensive in comparison to what you paid outsied but probablt much the same as you would pay at home. The sky bar is amazing and the cocktails are fantastic. The beach BBQ with band is another most do, nothing beats sitting by the sea eating delicious food.

There are plentiful places to eat at Lighthouse beach and they are all fantastic, we didn't have one bad meal during the entire stay. The beach is within walking distance by a rickshaw is advisable for getting back.

All in all we had an amazing time, all staff were freindly and happy to help. We even had the general manager stop us one day, introduce himeslf and ask if we were enjoying our staf before giving us his business card incase he could help.

A wonderful hotel and staff.

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Rating

  By KS2110 on Jan 01, 2009

This was my first trip to India and will not be my last, its an amazing country. I would definately recommend that you do some trips to see the surrounding area. Ours included having a house boat to our selves which we stayed on over night and travelled up the back waters, amazing is the only way I can explain this experience. We combind this trip with a visit to the high lands, a great contrast, and a visit to an elephant sanctory. For the two day trip we had our own guide and would fully recommend it and cost hardly anything. We booked the trip through our Thomas Cook Rep, who put it together for us. We also did another trip to visit the tip of India where three oceans meet, another trip worth doing.
Back to the hotel, when you walk in it deffinetley has the wow factor. We stayed in one of the Pavillion rooms which was at the bottom of the hill, close to the hotels Al a Carte resturant and beach. They were well maintained, cleaned at least twice a day, had an amazing bathroom, which included a sunkan bath. These rooms had the use of a separate pool, which we didn't use very much as it was often in the shade. We prefered the main pool which was at the top of the hill near the main facilities. Getting to the top was no problem you could call a golf cart from your room or security at the bottom of the hill and it would be their with its driver in seconds. The standard rooms looked excellent as well and they all appeared to have a sea view. I would have liked to look at the Club rooms as well but it is a seperate part of the hotel, which has its own reception, pool, and resturant. I'm sure they were spectacular though.
The breakfasts at the hotel were great, we did eat in the Al a Carte resturant a couple of times, the food and drink here was very good, however expensive compared to the other local resturants. It all depends on what you want from your holiday. We loved the local resturants, which I admit were more like shacks, but the lobster, and sea food curries are the best I have ever tasted, and so cheep. I would recommend The Sea Bee and The Lobster Pot. The Lobster Pot is on the top of the hill which over looks the bay and is not easy to get to, I would recommend taking a tourch if visiting on an evening, however the staff there do help you get up and down showing you the way to walk with their own tourch. Also don't think that there is only curry on offer the choice on the menu is great, its just I love my curry.
The sevice at the hotel and arond the pool is good, nothing is to much trouble. Whilst there I celebrated my birthday, and after a day of swimming and sunning I returned to my room to find a birthday cake and bottle of wine waiting for me, which I thought was a nice touch from the staff.
This is an amazing hotel, I could go on and on about my experiece at the hotel and the surrounding area. I will be returning, try keeping me away.

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Rating

  By GrimsbyHo... on Jan 01, 2009

I spent Christmas and new year at the Leela. I stayed with my husband in the club and the service, helpfulness and friendliness of the staff was superb. Our room had a marvellous view you almost felt you could dive straight into the sea. My son, stayed in a deluxe room with his family(a 14 month old baby). The staff could not do enough for them and the baby was given 5 star attention. The celebrations for christmas and new year were fab. This is not a place for night owls though as everywhere closes at 11pm.
The only downside was the price of food and drinks.
However a we ate out a lot at Lighthouse beach. The trip in a tuc tuc was very cheap 200 rupees return. We used two great tuc tuc drivers Sam and Del. They one were always reliable and came to the barriers to pick us up. One evening they booked us a restaurant
took us and were waiting outside when we had finished. Sam is tuc tuc 2006 and you can phone him on 9895306068 when at the Leela. When you are in this part of Kerala Molly`s restaurant at Samudra is great.

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  By wiaow on Jan 01, 2009

The best place to stay in Kovalam. Very good hotel with excellent service and food and a wonderful bar called the "Sky Bar" overlooking the sea. This is the place to be if you are looking for a quiet, romantic vacation. All rooms have a fantastic seaview. The beach is not very good, but the pool is amazing. Try spending some time here during sunset.

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  By Sashaoo7 on Jan 01, 2009

My wife and I stayed at The Leela for six nights in one of the club rooms. The accomodation was excellent, the staff and service very good and the food was consistently of a high standard. There was a good mix of Indian/Thai and European cuisine. The latter was of an equal standard which is often not the case in India.

Unfortunately we had cloud most days and one day of heavy rain - so I would not go during the monsoon season if you are after the sun. Apparently November should normally be sunny.

A couple of negatives - the internet connection was expensive and WiFi coverage poor for a 5 star hotel.

The most annoying part was when a member of staff came running after our taxi as we were leaving demanding payment for a coke from the mini bar that had not been charged. Again not what I would expect from a 5 star establishment.

Do take the effort to walk out of the hotel complex to the local beach. There are some quite good local restaurants that we found OK - despite the comment in the hotel literature that said "it is possible to go out to the local restaurants and please be assured that we have a doctor on call 24 hours a day"!!

All in all a very enjoyable stay and I would recommend it.

55

Rating

  By MarlowThe... on Dec 12, 2008

We stayed in the Leela for 4 nights at the end of November. We spent 5 days in Kerala in total, the first one being on the houseboat in Alleppey. After a bad experience on the houseboat, what a joy it was to move to the Leela.

We did not expect the warm welcome when we arrived, check in was a breeze. We were greeted with cold towels, fresh coconut waters, shell garlands and tilaks, something I have never experienced before in my many travels.

The one thing I loved about this hotel which is hard to believe when you are in India, is that you are told not to tip the staff and if you wish to tip then to leave it at reception and it will be shared between the staff. This was a relief as we had been travelling around India and we were a bit fed up forking out money for the simplest of things.

I had booked a deluxe sea front room and I was not disappointed. You may find this hard to believe but the room reminded me of the room we stayed in when we visited the Maldives. The room was very spacious and on 2 different levels. The bed was huge and so comfortable, after sleeping on really hard beds, I wished I could stay in this bed all day. There was also a balcony which looked out on to the beach and it was nice to sit and look at the locals having fun on the beach every evening. Everyday the staff would come and bring complimentary fruit into the room.

The bathroom was also amazing, there was a sunken bathtub with a rainfall shower, if you were feeling adventurous then you could take shower in the outdoor shower but this only gave cold water so you could only use it if it was really hot.

We stayed in the hotel the whole time we were there. All food averaged at £5 a dish we found this is the same in the UK but for Indian standards quite pricey. We ate in the Terrace restaurant once but we preferred the Tides restaurant which was on the beach as this had Chinese and Thai cuisines. We also liked the fact that you could eat by the beach and they had live music most nights and one night we even danced by the moonlight was really romantic. The food was of a high quality and we didn’t have any problems with it and were spoilt for choice most days. Breakfast is an international buffet and if you have breakfast late then you can skip lunch and have a nice dinner.

Our favourite part of the hotel was the sky bar, especially at sunset it is truly beautiful. We have paid a lot of money in the past to have dinner on cliff tops and here we got the experience as part of our stay, I cannot express in words how beautiful the experience is, I will carry the memories with me forever.

The staff at the Leela cannot do enough for you. Everyone also has a smile for and it always willing to go that extra mile to make your stay as comfortable as they can. My hair straighteners broke whilst I was there and they looked at them for me for free, in other parts of India you would not get this kind of service.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone who is thinking of going to Kerala. This hotel deserves every one of its 5 stars. We loved the hotel so much we stayed in the Leela Mumbai on our way back to London.

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Rating

  By rrupareli... on Dec 12, 2008

Hi all, My wife and I have just returned from The Leela after 2 weeks of heaven. We arrived home on 6th December. We had rain for the 1st four days and then sun, sun, sun. This hotel is the best we have ever stayed in and we will be returning next winter. OK, drinks and food in the hotel cost the same as in the UK, but this quality hotel in London you would pay far more. We would buy our bottled water from the little shops near the main gate or near the beach for 25 rps and take them by the pool or on the beach, the waiters would bring us glasses full of fresh ice with no problems. The hotel staff are simply brilliant, from the pool attendents to the reception staff and the managers that we met.

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  By telboy18 on Dec 12, 2008

We have just returned from a 2 week family holiday from Kerala. We stayed in kovalam at Leela and the hotel is magnificent and we have never experienced such incredible service before.

Best part was it has lot of activity & activity area for kids which I am sure every kids love.

Food was bit costly & not really that great so we tried out other hotels which are are much cheaper & taste delicious -
Taj palm groves & travancore heritage .

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  By CantSitAt... on Dec 12, 2008

Oohhhh.....what an amazing place.Best buffet.I stayed for two days and enjoyed 6 buffet meals.I will recommend this not only for food but also for its ayurvedic massages.

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  By gunjangup... on Nov 11, 2008

My wife and I went on a honeymoon to kerela. We spent the first 3 days were in Kumarakom, Alleppey and the houseboat. The experience was truly amazing so far but we still were excited to be in kovalam, not so much for the city but for the hotel.

We stayed in The Leela Kovalam for 2 nights and 3 days. We were picked up from trivandrum central station by the hotel cab (usually x-trail). The welcome at the hotel was special. We got upgraded to the club rooms. Clubs rooms are sea facing with a separate infinite swimming pool. The rooms had evrything we thought would have.
Leela also has a private beach. You can take a golf cart (yeah thats what they use for commuting inside the hotel area) to go the beach or anywhere in the hotel premises.

Finally the food. There was so much variety in the buffet that even if you took 1 spoon of evrything, your stomach would be full after eating it.

A truly 5 star experience!

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  By neerajkho... on Nov 11, 2008

its a magnificant hotel with natural beach surrounding...
weather and small cottages are natural to stay

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  By chan1231 on Nov 11, 2008

once you enter the main gate , you are in a different world.nice green coverage all around . spacius and grand reception and lobby. ample parking and of all the most helpful and courteous staff ever eager to make your stay wonderful. rooms have a view which is best viewed only by self i dont think the words can descrbe it. swimming pool (infinity) ,restaurant the cuisine and the buggy(golf cart to beach and the ride in canoe type boat in the pristine arabian sea will make anybodies holiday a worth space in memory'

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  By kiranAhme... on Nov 11, 2008

We so enjoyed our stay at The Leela. The infinity pool is amazing. We (like all others) had a great view of the ocran from our standard double room. We decided to take the car rental directly from the hotel at a steep cost but the experience was so smooth that didnt regret shelling the extra moolah. The staff is quite warm and hospitable. The buffet choices could be better, though they were good then too.

55

Rating

  By Avidtrave... on Nov 11, 2008

The Leela is a lovely hotel. It's perched on the rocks overlooking the beach and waves crashing in from the Arabian Sea. We stayed in a club room which seems a bit better equipped than the standard rooms and there is a private pool, gym and couple of extra lounges/ restaurants. The staff were very helpful if a bit over-bearing from time to time (the hotel was quiet so they hadn't much to do!). Food generally nice and a good selection of restaurants.

We left early as the weather was not great. The hotel were fine about it and gave us a full refund which we really appreciated. We went back to Dubai for some more sunshine at the end of our honeymoon!

This was our best hotel experience in India and would loved to have stayed longer if the weather had been nicer. Overall I would definately recommend it.

55

Rating

  By Eoin1969 on Nov 11, 2008

The best thing in Kovalam is Leela!

Pros
* The pool facing the sea is simply fantabulous
* All the rooms have a view of the sea. Rooms are also pretty comfortable.
* Although Ashok beach is not the most beautiful of the beaches in India but the portion of beach close to Leela is very very clean.

Cons
* Although buffet is great but A'la carte doesnt have much variety
* Can have more activities and sports near the beach.

In all we felt really sad to leave this place!

55

Rating

  By Gnawmad on Oct 10, 2008

We have travelled extensively in Asia and the far east, including India on and off for 38 years. We found the service at the Leela to be outstanding, expecially the Managers at the Terrace restuarant. On our second visit in three weeks we arrived from the airport at 1115pm and were in bed by 1130pm - making it less than an hour from landing to bed! The staff really couldn't do enough for you.

Breakfast is very comprehensive - and the dosas are the best I've had in 36 years. Good but dear lunch is available by the pool and can be a little expensive if there are three of you all drinking beer and cocktails. Dinner menu kept us busy for two weeks - ably helped by half price cocktails from 6pm - 8pm in the bar. Dal and tandoori chicken are superb, and the breads are to die for.

Despite being early August, we had 11 days of sunshine - and this certainly helped; I gather this is not always the case.

We really enjoyed our stay and would recommend it to anyone - we will certainly be returning.

Mr A.

55

Rating

  By zrma91 on Aug 08, 2008

Once it was decided that Kovalam, Kerala will be the venue for our 3rd Marriage Anniversary, we turned to Tripadvisor to decide upon the hotel. The Leela was the overwhelming favorite with 57 5 star reviews out of 93 and so Leela it was for us too. And what a wise choice it turned out to be. Leela captivated us from Day One and 5 days later we did not want to leave at all.

Our Experience :

Check In - Leela was a short 20 minutes ride from the Airport. The check-in was swift as we sipped our welcome drink. The lady who filled in our details also accompanied us to the room, describing all hotel amenities along the way. Our room was away from the main building, closer to the beach. Unless you like 15 minutes uphill walks, you need a buggy to travel back and forth.

Rooms - All rooms in the Sea view Pavillion wing were set like individual cottages facing the sea and the Garden. The hammock in front of our room meant there were many afternoons cuddled up with a book while the Arabian Sea splashed 50 meters away. Room was cleaned twice everyday and at times of your choice. Fruits, Chocolates and Flowers were changed and refilled everyday.

Beach - Cleaned everyday even during the monsoons, Leela's private beach was our favorite experience of the holiday. Security guards kept the irritatating local salesmen away. Our one year old could not have enough of playing in the sand and had the entire army of beach attendants running after him ! The sand is mostly black and the sea is usually too rough to swim.

Food - Leela has a beachside sea food restaurant - Tides, a Pool facing 24 hour multi cuisine restaurant - Terrace, and a sea facing Bar. They have the buffet spread for all meals. All our meals there were fantastic. The pet peeve of all North Indians travelling to Southern India is how even the north Indian cuisine is tampered and ruined by south Indian spices and preparation. No such problems here. The Chicken Tikka tasted as authentic as the Masala Dosa.

Excursions - Hotel offered excursions to Trivandrum, Kanyakumari, Elephant sanctuary, Periyar etc. Though priced on the higher side compared to local operators, it offered the advantage of flexibility. Hotel's own fleet of Nissan SUVs meant bumpy roads were not fealt at all. We went to Kanyakumari on a half day trip and the driver also doubled up as the local guide. On another occasion, hotel arranged a car at 5 minutes notice for us to visit the nearby charitable orphanage.

Facilities - An elaborate Activity room meant our toddler was kept busy with a watchful attendent on duty at all times. At such times we were able to explore other hotel facilities like the Infinity swimming pool or a game of Tennis. Leela's Spa - Divya was also a useful diversion. It offered varied ayurvedic massages and treatments. While my wife opted for a vigorous head, neck shoulder massage, I opted for the tamer 'Shirodhara'.

Leela came up trumps on almost all counts. Atleast four different department managers came up to us with their business cards, insisting that we call them directly if we need anything. Everyone of the staff is genuinely intrested in making your time memorable and will never hang around expecting tips. We have a happy routine of celebrating our anniversaries vacationing on a good resort. Leela has set the bar very high now for future holidays.

55

Rating

  By VineetMal... on Jul 07, 2008

This was our first time to Kerala and we were forced to book through Manos as it was the only way of booking this hotel.

We were unable to book direct as Manos and all the other operators had pre booked all the rooms and the hotel (after e-mailing etc) was showing full and we only wanted to stay here.

We paid the extra for The Club and it was well worth it, I won't go into detail on the additional Club extras as you can get these off the website but it was money well spent. The only downside was the pool area was quite small and some of the Indian guests were very rude to the staff. Overall a great hotel. If we come back to Kovalam we would stay here again. Took a look to the Taj Green cove, it looked nice but the Leela has the best spot.

55

Rating

  By McCann-Ch... on Jul 07, 2008

Just returned from The Leela Hotel. This is a very attractive hotel in a fabulous location on a headland overlooking several Kovalam beaches, part of one of them is for hotel guests private use.

Pool area is nice especially at sunset but a bit small but the beach is better & we enjoyed swimming in the sea.

Food is good & the staff couldn't be friendlier.

Everything is on site bank, post office, tourist info whilst shops & bars are only a short walk away.

Only annoying things, part of the hotel including a small pool are for the exclusive use of 'club' guests only who all seem to be 'posers'. Drinks especially wine were too expensive.

Our travel agent said he got complaints about all the other hotels & people we met also didn't like the other hotel where they were staying, so if you're coming to Kovalam stay at The Leela!!!

55

Rating

  By SUPERNELL... on May 05, 2008

Room:
Beautiful and modern. We stayed in the Leela Club, which is adjacent to the main hotel on the same property. All modern with high-tech amenities.

Service:
Impeccable. Very willing and obliging.

Location:
Walking distance to lighthouse beach.

Pool:
Beautiful, private infinity pool . Great view.

Beach:
Great beach scene as it’s an actual working beach i.e. fisherman still use this beach. Guests are separated but you can still see them working and even hel out. Well maintained and clean. There is a bar and restaurant also on site.

Food:
Great selection and more than willing to accomodate any requests.

55

Rating

  By JP80-Worl... on May 05, 2008

We have just returned ( 1st May 2008) from the most incredible 4 nite /5 day holiday experience at The Leela Kempinsky Kovalam.

From the time the Hotel arranged to have us picked up at the airport till we reached our rooms every single moment was handled meticulously to ensure an incredible and smooth transition , from a tired traveller to an excited holiday maker.

The hotel was absolutely wonderful in its layout and the incredible cliff top location ensures one has a spectacular view of the Arabian Sea. The rooms overlook the ocean also and are traditional but very luxurious in their interiors. Within the bathrooms the open air showers add a nice touch and when awakes in the morning you are lying down in bed and looking out to an endless expanse of the water almost ensuring the view is like a Cruise liner without and there is no chance of getting sea sick.

The Hotel occupies a huge area and to reach the rooms, buggies are available 24 hours though one would prefer to walk down the pathway where on one side is the ocean and the other side has beautifully landscaped gardens.

The food at the restaurants is very tasty and great care is taken by the chefs to ensure it is enjoyed by both the foreigners and locals both of whom have incredibly varied tastes.

On day 2 of our holiday we shifted to The Club and these rooms take luxury very seriously. Flat panel TVs, DVD players, twin basin bathrooms, rain shower and a personal spa for the residents of The Club. Personal butlers recite a Pillow menus and politely enquire about your movie preferences so that they can deftly arrange for you to watch the same . With a exclusive infinity pool which almost blends into the sky ,The Club at the The Leela Kempinsky Kovalam has bench marked hotel standards both in luxury and service.

Was there a downside to the entire holiday ,yes there was, we had to get back home.........

55

Rating

  By invinsabl... on May 05, 2008

We had an extended 2 week holiday at the Leela (thanks to a 30 hour delay by First Choice) from 4 -19 April 2008.

We stayed in the basic room - our room was on the lowest floor but due to the cliff edge layout of the hotel it still meant we had an excellent sea/beach view from our terrace. It also meant we were far enough away from the restaurants not to hear any "clanging" noises during the night which a previous review refers to.

The room was very clean when we arrived and the cleaners ensured it was kept that way throughout our holiday. I am glad I didn't pay more to upgrade our room as the room we had was great (and I am extremely fussy when it comes to cleanliness,etc). The bathroom was set out in a wet
room(esque) type way whereby the toilet and shower were separate from the sink by a door and the sink then formed part of the main bedroom - sounds wierd but was not.

The pool and beach part of the hotel were always kept clean and although the sun beds around the pool did fill up quite quickly (which could have been due to the fact that some people reserved beds in the sun and in the shade) we never had a problem getting a sun bed down on the beach. The hotel does have a notice stating that sun beds cannot be reserved and that any sun bed left vacant for more than 10 minutes will have its towels removed - although the hotel does not appear to enforce that rule.

I will admit that we spent the whole 2 weeks at the hotel and although we walked to the lighthouse beach and over to the Taj Green Cove hotel, for various reasons we ended up only eating at the hotel.

We ate at both Tides and the terrace restaurant and the standard of food at both was good - although after 2 weeks the menu became a bit restrictive. We tried the buffet three times (twice for free - courtesy of First Choice following the delay to our flight) and found the food to be of a decent quality although again, a bit restrictive in the choices. However, my husband did order the chicken Tawa kebab as a starter one night and one of the pieces of chicken served to him was undercooked. The waiter apologised for the error and said it was due to the fact that the chicken was cooked on a griddle - so be careful with what you eat.

Alot of people complained of "food poisining" whilst we were out there but the weather was extremely hot (even though we had a thunderstorm almost every night) and those people complaining had been out in the sun from 9am to 5pm so I think many of those people were confusing sun stroke with food poisoning. I was sick myself one day and it was simply down to getting over-heated during the day.

All in all I found the Leela to be a good value for money hotel. The price of drinks at the hotel was expensive but during "happy hour" from 6pm to 8pm at the bar you could get two drinks for the price of one which made the drinks a little more affordable. If you are a wine drinker however BEWARE - the cheapest glass of wine is £7.00 with a bottle starting at £25.

I would definitely stay at this hotel again - the staff (apart from those on the front desk) were extremely efficient and really tried to make your holday special.

55

Rating

  By LisaJ99 on Apr 04, 2008

We stayed at the Leela for 8 days and loved each one of them! The hotel is fantastic, I have never been anywhere like it, we were made to feel very welcome and nothing was too much trouble. The room was lovely, we stayed in the main part of the hotel and had beautiful views of the hotels beach and the Arabian sea.

We booked through thomas cook and the hotel was a more than welcome relief after 11 hours of flying sardine class! The breakfast was great, everything you could want really, we had the buffet dinner at the terrace restaurant on one night and had a meal at tides on another. All was good and the service really was impeccable. The hotel is immaculate, and i really can't fault it.

Other restaurants to try are the lobster pot between the private beach and samudra beach, only accessible on foot up a rocky/grassy/unlit hill - but well worth the stroll to hear your dinner clanking around in a bowl before its cooked! But joking aside the food here was truly excellent and for £25 we got 3 courses for the two of us and that was with 2 beers, 2 other drinks and a kilo of lobster! We also tried Mollys which was very nice and Fusion which we weren't as impressed with on lighthouse beach. We also ate several times at 3rd Rock on samudra beach which was great, really friendly and excellent food - £4.00 for lunch for 2. There's also 2 really good tailors either side of 3rd rock.

We got ourselves a friendly, informative tuktuk driver who went by the name of 'del boy'. We used him most days we were there as his tuktuk was in a very good state of repair compared to some we went in and his english was excellent although he did tell us about his brother rodney who is a plonker apparently!!

And what was really nice was that when we went on a trip out or wanted to hide from the midday sun, the Leela was the perfect place to do this. The pool is amazing as are the sunsets from the skybar. It really is a truly amazing hotel, I would whole heartedly recommend it and will return there if i get the opportunity. The only thing I would change was the airline-nothing to do with the hotel as Thomas Cook airlines are yet to realise that most of their passengers are taller then 3ft 6 and are bigger than the average 6yr old child. But hey ho at least the hotel was perfect!

55

Rating

  By poppydoo on Apr 04, 2008

we were delightedto say that for the third year runninghaving just returned from the leela we found as usual the highest standard of service and efficiency we have come to expect from the Leela. The staff at All levels are both helpful, efficient andfriendly which makes our stays so enjoyable, Many of the staff we have come to know personally but this does not distract from the service provided and all seem proud to be part of the Leela Team as we are to be customers. The recent improvements to areasis a great asset especially to the Sky Bar, and hopefully we shall be returning again next year. We have many local friends in Kovalam both Indian and foreign and I know that all hold the Leela in high regard. Finally it has been a priviledge to stay in Kovalam and in particular at the Leela, I cannot praise it enough.

55

Rating

  By worldtrav... on Apr 04, 2008

Only stayed here for the weekend, but I wish it had been longer! If you want pampering, fantastic scenery, wonderful service and removal from any sort of reality, then this is the place to go. Even the exercise machines in the gym look out over the sea.

55

Rating

  By tessa0109 on Mar 03, 2008

Hotel: Fantastic, truly a more then 5 star hotel.
Safe, elegant, relaxing.
Option of the pool or the beach area to get some sun. We also went swimming in the sea.
Skybar is really nice as the sun is setting
Happy Hour in the bar upstairs near the main restaurant.
Spa, was nice ....different kind of experience especially if you pick the Ayurvedic type of massage.
Gym: have all the basics for a good little workout.
Food was fantastic, the only thing we can recommend is go to the local restaurant (Malabar Cafe) on Hawa beach for your pick of amazing seafood! We paid an arm and leg at the beach front restaurant one night and then discovered the local place.
Along this strip you can also shop and negotiate ...never pay full price. Same with rickshaw rides back along the main road back to the Leela...all negotiable.
Our room was clean and great, we also had sea view ...
Would highly recommend.
Mostly couples, not many kids at all. I would say that this is the best place to stay in Kovalam.

55

Rating

  By EdmontonO... on Mar 03, 2008

Loved the hotel. Perfect place for a special birthday. We were in the Pavilion Rooms, which were lovely. Really couldn't fault this hotel and can't wait to go back

55

Rating

  By AndyandSu... on Mar 03, 2008

A very nice hotel, beautifully situated with excellent rooms. Very enjoyable having drinks overlooking the bay in the evening.

Only mild criticism is that there are sometimes so many staff in the resto that they sometimes bump into each other. Also, food and drink prices are relatively expensive for this part of India, but there are plenty of choices around if you wish.

Do take the time to walk on the paths along the beach fronts and see how the local people work their collective fishing enterprises.

55

Rating

  By chrissied... on Mar 03, 2008

Great rooms, fantastic views, delicious food, impeccable service.

55

Rating

  By SaracinaJ on Feb 02, 2008

My husband and I stayed at the Leela for almost a week at the end of January beginning of Feb. this year. It was the second half of a trip to India and after doing the sights of Delhi Agra and Jaipur we looked forward to a restful time. The Leela didn't disappoint. The location is wonderful, with a fairly short transfer from the airport. We had chosen to stay in The Club section of the hotel - and although this costs more it is most definitely worth it. The Club restaurant is simply wonderful - it has a beautiful location overlooking the Arabian Sea and the menu is fantastic. The main restaurant in the hotel we used a couple of times and it has a popular buffet although we did find it a bit boring. Tides restaurant on the beach does very freshly cooked to order sea food. There is also a beautiful cocktail bar overlooking the Arabian Sea where you can sit at the bar or lounge under canopies draped with muslin on large cosy couches - very relaxing.

Be warned drinks are expensive, particularly wine, the Indian government load lots of tax onto import alcohol and in fact two of the days at the hotel were dry by decree of the governement!

We went to the beach on two or three days, the hotel has a private part - the sea has a strong undertow, and on a couple of the days there was quite a bit of rubbish floating in it - but in fairness there were people trying to clear up the mess.

Club also gives you exclusive access to a private pool and infinity pool and this tends to be fairly quiet. One thing my husband and I really enjoyed was going up for late afternoon tea - this was beautifully served in a wonderful room you could relax and just enjoy looking at some of the books there.

The service was very good, the rooms very clean, although initially we were given a room directly over the cliff at the end of the building, which was beautiful but believe it or not the sea was so noisy we had to move to get some sleep. We met some people who were staying in the main part of the hotel and they did say they were woken in the morning by the mosque, but it wasn't a problem and it is India, so to be expected.

All the staff were very helpful and polite. My only caution would be to people who have mobility problems - there are lots of steps! But wonderful views - utterly breathtaking.

By the way there is a little shop on the left hand side just as you leave the hotel gates and we bought lots of things from him - we felt very comfortable with him and he wasn't pushy as so many are.

We did walk down to the Lighthouse beach area - it's ok, but we loved just relaxing in the hotel - we would certainly go back. Enjoy!

55

Rating

  By Hertsjcw on Feb 02, 2008

We stayed in the Club Rooms so right from our arrival at the airport we were treated to the luxury and friendliness of the Leela service. We were met by our driver who gave us a much welcome cool flannel & bottle of water, and then (after checking we were OK with him talking!) gave us a guide to Kerala and the sights we passed on route to the Hotel. The hotel staff were very welcoming and despite the fact that we arrived at 8.30am we were offered breakfast and only had to wait 45 minutes to get into our room.

The views from all of the hotel are amazing, but there is something quite special about the infinity pools & swimming alongside the Ocean. I cannot fault this hotel, the beds are fantastically comfortable.

The staff (& people of Kerala) are some of the friendliest people I have ever met whilst travelling.

Breakfast was great with a wide selection of fresh fruit juice & fruit, cereal and continental style breakfast food - but the best was the choice of freshly prepared eggs or pancakes.

Both my husband & I had a treatment at the Ayervedic centre and can highly recommend that you try atleast one (I was gutted that I left it too late to big another treatment).

The hotel is pricier than the restaurants & bars down on Lighthouse beach but I think it still offers great value for money compared to an equivalent standard hotel in Europe.

The only downside to Kerala is the licensing laws that mean most things shut down at 11.00pm - my advice is to get a bottle of duty free at the airport on the way out.

55

Rating

  By LadyLambr... on Feb 02, 2008

We spent 4 days at the hotel and it was great. The hotel staff was very helpful and did everything they could to make our stay memorable.

The hotel have 2 sections: the regular hotel and The Club. The club is a bit more, but VERY much worth it. It gives you access to several things: private pool, private restaurant, high tea in the Living Room.

but don't get the impression that The Club is the only way to go. The regular part of the hotel is just as awesome.

You will be glad you visited.

The only downer of the whole trip was after spending 4 days in paradise at the Leela we had to board our flight from the Trivandrum airport, which is a pathetic excuse for an airport.

55

Rating

  By mrjain on Feb 02, 2008

We stayed in Leela in club room. At first to us have offered room Cliff view. It was on an ground floor and the view was only on a small lawn. No sea view in general. Though I specified wishes at reservation a top floor and a direct sea view. The female personnel on reception (generally not so kind, after one of room cleaning we haven't found the bathrobes. They have answered my question by question - "bathrobes are necessary to you?", but bathrobes haven't brought. Though they should be in the room!) has told me it is necessary to wait till tomorrow, after till evening. As a result desirable room was at once. The truth not in a quiet wing as I asked, but above the restaurant. But on it all misunderstanding have terminated and we still had only the most favorable memoirs about service in this hotel. Such what should be in luxury hotel. Very good restaurants (especially in club), ayurvedic SPA. We ordered many excursions in hotel (ask necessarily the skilled and good driver! Traffic in Kerala is awful and with the bad driver you will not be in time anywhere and will spend nerves).
In last but one day there was very unpleasant event. Directly on a private beach is flowed out the sewer waters and for 10 minutes the sea became black and fetid (the photo see)! But next morning the green flag already hoisted - bathing is possible. But probably such is the Indian specificity.

55

Rating

  By Aion on Feb 02, 2008

The hotel is split into 3 areas Pavilion overlooking beach (and nearest the Mosque), Terraces which is now the main body of the hotel and a seperate Club area where the rooms sit atop the cliff top overlooking the Arabian Sea. By booking a Club room we had private 4x4 transfer which greeted us immediately clearing customs and straight to the hotel. In the car we were given cold towels and bottled water much appreciated after the journey.

Checkin was quick and efficient, rooms are not huge but well laid out and quality finishes. I cannot fault the service but we tended to tip daily rather than weekly or just at the end of the holiday as sometimes you don't see the people that looked after you most.at that time.

Prices are 5 star but the ambience, number of staff and hotel itself you can understand to a degree. The Sky Bar is very atmospheric and you can relax under the stars on your own divan seat. It is well thought out so each group/couple can relax.

The Terraces bar is fairly standard and does operate a happy hour (2 for 1). Not great very limited choice.

Beach buggies are avail to take you up and down to the hotel beach.

The beaches on either side of the hotel (Lighthouse Beach and don't know the name of the other one) have restaurants where we ate both lunches and dinners and had no side effects. Recommendations from me are Molly's (english lady owns this), Lobster Pot (my favourite), Rock something and Fusion. Prices varied from less than a £1 (79 rupees to the £ at the time) for a main meal. Average price would be 150 - 300 for fresh seafood.
All walkable but after dark get a taxi but agree fare before getting in.

The main thing is relax and enjoy the cultural differences and don't be put off. Most people are very friendly and welcoming.

Have fun

55

Rating

  By ludlum on Jan 01, 2008

We stayed at the Leela over new year - Dec 2007/jan 2008 and it was excellent. On arrival the Leela Hotel pleases immediately and doesn't disappoint during the stay.Good facilities, nice colonial style room in the main building, spotlessly clean, well equipped and very good service. The prices for food and drinks are expensive by local standards but they can be avoided by eating in the village, however you would miss the best food we had during our stay in India (we were also in Rajasthan) – The Terrace offers great buffets featuring local Keralan specialties, including great fish dishes. There's also a good a-la-carte choice which is very well done. In context - food prices at the Leela are less than you would pay at home even if you could find the level of quality.Breakfast was good too, again with Keralan specialties such as masala dosas and sambar that were wonderful.The Sky bar is a great outside bar for evening relaxation in a great setting.We were there over new year and the new years eve event was excellent. The food was superb - a vast choice of Asian and western dishes, barbeque lobster, grilled lamb, south Indian specialties and (lots) more. Add the beach setting, great service and the entertainment (music a bit iffy though) and we had a night to remember.It was sometimes difficult to get a bed by the pool but there was always spare at the beach. Internet access is available and for those who have to, Wifi is available in the hotel so you could keep in touch with the office or home news.The gym, whilst not big – has enough to help take away the guilt of over eating (which is easy to do here)Kovalem is not big but the village is now heavily geared to tourism, with a mix of western and Indian visitors. Despite this it does have a nice feel and has a growing number of restaurants and shops all touting for your business. Touting is not too pushy though - generally polite and responsive to a "No". The tourist business mixes sometimes uncomfortably with the old business of the area - fishing. Watching the gangs of Muslim fishermen pulling the nets in - chanting old mantras, is a big draw for the tourists, but a frustration for the fishermen as they often get in the way.This does mean though that fish lovers are spoilt for choice, with great fish dishes in all the restaurants - all very fresh and mostly well cooked.Some thoughts on the restaurants.GarciaGreat fish kadai and grilled prawns. Spice VillageGreat value vegetarian food cooked a variety of ways. At lunchtime watch for the kingfishers in the adjacent wetland (swamp)Waves (above the German bakery)Modern Indian cooking with a western twist - excellent and whist not the cheapest still great value for moneyCoconut GroveGreat butter fish cooked Tandoori and very good prawn biryaniFusionVaried menu - good fish curry (in coconut) but noodles just OK.Sea View Good beach location and very good Fish Kadai Trivandrum is worth a visit, particularly if your stay in India does not involve a big city - it really gives you a taste of the contrasts you find in India, plus better value shopping than Kovalem.Kovalem majors in Ayervedic treatment, an ancient Indian philosophy and treatment to balance the body. There are clinics everywhere, many looking a little ropy so you need to be careful. The Leela has it's own clinic and qualified doctor and is an impressive facility. Treatments can last for weeks but my wife chose the three day "relax" package which she found amazing.All in all, the Leela was very good, the 5 star rating really applying to the all-inclusive wing, the main hotel a good and enjoyable 4 star, we would definitely return.

55

Rating

  By muffalett... on Jan 01, 2008

My wife and I booked this hotel as part of a First Choice package and found that it exceeded our expectations in every way. Certainly it merits it's 5 stars throughout. Couple of quick points:
There are really two parts to this hotel - the original part overlooking the beach and the newer part which overlooks the sea. The first part is especially good value and this is where we stayed, the rooms and public areas were all excellent. The newer block is more swish and substantially more expensive - it has it's own restaurant, pool and public areas making it virtually a separate hotel. My further comments do not relate to this newer area.

Standouts were:
Quality and friendliness of the staff - yes I know it's a cliche, but they were much nicer than the other guests(!) - was excellent; nothing was too much trouble.
Food is superb, especially the Indian cuisine. Chef is one of the best in India and it shows. Plenty of choice and desserts were almost too good.
Decor in the hotel - it's decorated very nicely using many "antiques" from around India. The effect is very good.
Facilities were good without being over the top. There is a gym, games room and a decent pool (though not really for serious swimming).
Local dentists associated with the hotel (you could use a hotel car to visit them, gratis) are well worth checking out.

I can't think of many downsides except that the other guests were a miserable lot - mostly downmarket Brits - who really looked out of place.
The only other thing was the mosque. Whatever one's views of being in a largely Muslim area, the chanting through the day calling the "faithful" to prayer, is easily heard throughout the hotel at all hours. Not a pleasant sound.

One note of warning if planning your trip from the UK - the Indian High Commission are very slow and beaucratic in dealing with visa applications. The process is complex and not for the faint-hearted but provided enough time is put aside and one is organised the system can be negotiated. Quite why the Indians make it so hard is puzzling especially given that they are, supposedly, keen to build their tourist business. One might wonder why a country keen to portay a modern image even bothers with visas especially twith regard to a country that has such close ties as in the case of the UK.

That last point notwithstanding I would recommend the hotel wholeheartedly.

55

Rating

  By Zimri-Lim on Jan 01, 2008

We stayed here for three nights in August and it was just amazing.

The hotel is large and the rooms aren't massive. But the service is some of the best in the world and the grounds are enormous and excellent.

There is lots to do in the hotel - from an excellent spa to the tennis and badminton courts, as well as the private beach. The food is very good - a massively wide choice at the breakfast buffet, and great food in the restaurants too.

It is easily the best hotel in the area - and we would recommend it even if you need to spend time in Trivandrum as its only a short drive away.

One taxi driver said to us that "its not a hotel but its like a heaven" which we thought was a pretty good description!!!

55

Rating

  By RandR-Lon... on Jan 01, 2008

what a lovely hotel in such a beautiful location.
rooms are nice and clean.
staff is friendly.
when going for breakfast, they can cook what you like if you don't see it on the buffet. I opted for the uttampam and masala dosas. my wife went crazy for idlis
very nice food.
also went for the auyr vedic treatment at the centre they have on the hotel complex.
because, as it can ache your body for a few weeks afterwards and oil does get everywhere!

55

Rating

  By tulan on Dec 12, 2007

Where to start. The Hotel is very nice indeed,if somewhat expensive if
you choose to eat and drink there. We went to Sumudra beach, and Lighthouse beach which is a lot cheaper to eat. An hour and a half away is Varkela beach, well worth a visit, as the food is as cheap as blinking chips, about half the price of Lighthouse beach. The beach is below cliffs with steps going down to it, but stunning. Hippy/
backpacker sort of place.

You maybe shocked when you enter your room for the first time, as the room maybe very damp. This is due to the very high humidity, and once you put your aircon on and keep it on the problem will be solved.
Breakfast is fine, and generally very good service. Rooms changed daily. Good location with its own beech, and no problems with sun beds. The Hotel has a policy of not reserving sunbeds, i have to say that is crap, and the same people had the same sunbeds around the so called infinity pool.

Do not go to this location if your looking for night life, because all
closes at 23:00hours. Korala is a dry state,so alcohol is only served in hotels that have a gov licence. In saying that,it is available in resturants but maybe served up in coffee mugs,and the beer bottles hidden under the table ;-). I will pre warn that there is a mosc nearby, and i was woken every morning around 05:00 Just thought i would point this out. I maybe able to supply a video clip, so you can make your own choice. The flight with First Choice was fine, nice food, good leg room. Went on the overnight backwater trip which was booked through First Choice. Interesting trip in a large tub with portholes. Not up to standard to say the least (pure crap comes to mind) broken aircon, bare electric wires, and the fan hanging out of the ceiling. Cooking pots and plates??? washed in the lakes??? not sure about that one though. Got some money back from the rep. Trip itself worth doing, in a decent boat though.

55

Rating

  By stoneheng... on Dec 12, 2007

We enjoyed a wonderful stay. The infinity pool was fabulous and the level of attentiveness and friendliness of the staff was beyond anything i have previously experienced. You are requested to make a tip at the end of your stay which is divided between all staff (there are many people working behind the scene here), rather than to individual staff members during your stay. We requested an extra bed at short notice for my sister, this was no problem. At the nearby beach you can watch school kids enjoying the waves. We did have difficulty getting cash out of ATMs in Kovalam and in the end had to go to a bank to take money out on cards.

55

Rating

  By TeaPartyS... on Dec 12, 2007

this is the very best hotel we have ever stayed in

55

Rating

  By doobUK on Dec 12, 2007

We booked through First Choice who were way cheaper than everywhere else. The hotel was fantastic from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. I really cannot understand how previous reviewers have managed to find fault, they must have been very unlucky or extremely fussy. The staff are all extremely helpful and courteous, every time you pass a member of staff they will smile and say hello. The hotel is very well maintained inside and out, and is beautifully presented with lots of nice touches like oil lamps, floating candles, water features and flowers etc.
The hotel facilities are great too, although I can imagine there wouldn't be a lot to do on a rainy day, just a room with pool table and table tennis. The weather was great whilst we were there though, so this didn't matter. The private beach area was a real plus as on the beaches outside the hotel you are constantly hassled by people trying to sell you things.
We stayed bed and breakfast in the beach view room, which I believe was the cheapest option. The room was cleaned twice a day and very well appointed and relatively large, with good sized balcony. If I went back I would not go for a more expensive option, although the club rooms did look superb, I felt that the room that I was in offered far more than a room costing twice the price in the UK or Europe. Breakfast was also really good catering for all tastes.
Food and drink was sometimes 5 or 6 times the price it would be outside the hotel, but I suppose that serves to keep a constant flow of tourists from coming in?
We ate mostly at Lighthouse Beach. You can get a "buggy" to the gate of the hotel, which is otherwise a 5 minute walk, and then either take a rickshaw for about 200Rs return, or there is a pathway down to the right opposite the rickshaws which takes you down onto Hawa beach, which you then walk along to get to Lighthouse beach. This is actually a really nice walk and only takes a couple of minutes longer than going by rickshaw.
We went on trips to Cape Comorin, Ponmudi, Varkala and visiting elephants, Trivandrum and a local backwater cruise. These were all very good, we organised them through a company called Cosmic (behind Fusion restaurant on Lighthouse beach). They were way cheaper than the hotel and First Choice tours, and were all just the two of us in a taxi, so you could spend as long or as short a time as you wanted at each destination. I think booking through a hotel or through First Choice is more expensive partially because you tend to get taken in a higher spec, more "European" vehicle, whereas the companies in the village tend to offer tours in the more common, and I think less conspicuous, "Ambassador" taxis.
I also took a trip on a small fishing boat from the private beach outside the hotel. It lasted about two and a half hours, and you get to have a go at fishing with a simple line, and then to spend a bit of time snorkelling. There wasn't an awfull lot to see when snorkelling, but it was still an enjoyable experience, but be sure to haggle, because they will probably start at at least twice what they will be prepared to take!
We really did have an all round excellent holiday, and I would recommend the Leela and Kovalam to anybody. I heard another guest say that they felt that it was the only time that they had been on holiday and the brochure didn't do the accommodation justice, this is so true, you really have to experience it to fully appreciate how good it is.

55

Rating

  By chris7245 on Dec 12, 2007

An excellent hotel that panders to your every wish.

The staff were very friendly and courteous. The food was fantastic and the 'Club Level' room, restaurant and pool were just amazing. You needn't lift a finger.

And the Ayurvedic massages were what you needed to escape a hard day's lazing by the pool.

The Leela sets the standards that others locally failed to follow.

55

Rating

  By twofourse... on Nov 11, 2007

Wow, what can I say, after a long 11 hour flight to then arrive in this luxurious haven is just amazing.
The hotel is stunning and the beach view rooms in the main part of the hotel are wonderful. Big and spacious, beautifully designed in typical Kerelan colour and rosewood.
The private beach of the hotel is quite small, however we always found a sunlounger when we went there. The security guards stop the local people trying to get on the beach so you never felt hassled.
Outside the hotel on lighthouse beach where shops and restaurants are, the beach is not so nice and you need to be strong with the street sellers but you will find some amazing restaurants here, especially Kingfishers.
The swimming pool in the leela is just lovely and so are all the staff who can not do enough for you. The cleanliness of the hotel is second to none and lovely little touches are always put in place such as floating candles all over reception and fresh flowers scattered around.
To sum up this hotel is most definately worth its five stars and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering visiting.

55

Rating

  By planets1 on Nov 11, 2007

We stayed at the Leela in March 2007, travelling with First Choice. After a nightmare journey (we didn't realise we needed visas!) we finally arrived tired, grumpy and irritable. This melted away as soon as we entered reception. Flowers and floating candles everywhere, staff falling over themselves to help. We'd booked a delux room with outside bathroom which was huge, luxurious and had a view to die for!
The service by the pool could sometimes be a bit slow but the surroundings made up for it. The waiters are generally eager to please but can't cope with anything 'outside the box'.
We didn't have a problem with sunbeds as my partner is an early riser. If we went out for lunch then we'd spend the afternoon on the hotel beach which was next to the local one. we really enjoy people watching and found the local beach fasinating.
Food at the hotel was excellent especially Tides on the beach although pricey compared to the restaurants at Lighthouse Beach. We tried many restaurants and enjoyed Kingfisher and Gazia the most. The loos in a lot of places leave a lot to be desired but have been in worse in Greece. You can tell the places to avoid.Take some antibac hand gel. I am normally ill everywhere we go but amazingly did not suffer atall.
There are flipflop and handbag shops also at Lighthouse Beach.
We visited Chochin which was well worth the early start. We did the local backwaters with Ali from the hotel beach which was much cheaper than the hotel.
We had wooden shutters so couldn't hear the mosque at 5am, lots of others were driven mad by it, especially those with Garden Rooms which were a bit 'tired'.
Couldn't believe overhearing someone complain about the amount of Indian food! The food is fabulous and varied but obviously more Indian than anything else. In fact the only duff meal I had in 2 weeks was a club sandwich!
There are a lot of steps so I would recomend the Leela to anyone with mobility problems, although there are golf buggies to ferry you around.
I had an amazing massage at the hotel, it is cheaper outside but someone told me that they reuse the oil. How true this is I don't know.
My partner fell and twisted his back and needed hospital treatment. The local clinic was efficient and clean. We very nearly weren't allowed to fly home but the local doctor did everything he could to help. Unfortuneatly the same could not be said about First Choice. Even though we had already paid the extra to fly premium class we still weren't able to sit next to eachother. The rep at the hotel promised us that she had sorted it out but disappeared at the airport and didn't answer her mobile phone when we called her for help. The First Choice check in hadn't been notified of our needs and she didn't answer them either. My partner was in extreme pain and could hardly walk, we had to queue for nearly 2 hours with nowhere to sit.
We would definatly return but not fall over!

55

Rating

  By snoodlefi... on Nov 11, 2007

One has to experience it to believe it... Just out of the world.... staff is very friendly and efficient... location unmatched.....special experiences created for you are very personal.... Must visit resort.

55

Rating

  By Anthony21... on Oct 10, 2007

The Leela is really two hotels: the original property which is in good condition but has rooms facing to the north over the fishing beach; and The Club which is a "boutique" hotel with rooms and a private pool/ dining terrace facing west over a cliff out to sea. I was pleased we were staying in the latter (we upgraded to a suite) and would have been regretful if we'd booked in the other property. I doubt I would have given a 5/5 vote either.

Service was efficient if forthright at times. Personally I preferred that to the last similar-standard hotels we have stayed in: in Thailand, where the staff simpered daintily at any request but couldn't always be relied on to deliver; and in Turkey, forthright AND unreliable.

One other thing worth knowing about this hotel is that it doesn't have its own beach, and the public beaches, beyond the hotel's perimeter, are not especially nice. I visited this area twenty years ago when it was a popular stop on the 'Lonely Planet' India circuit.
I recall the beaches being wilder and more impressive. All are now backed by quite ugly rows of shops and cafes or are heavily used by fishermen. For anyone content to lounge by the hotel pools or use the
hotel's ayurvedic facility that wouldn't be an issue but anyone keen to explore beyond the hotel could be disappointed. That said, my perception may have been shaped by the weather which was mostly cloudy. Blue skies and the right amount of sunshine might make the beach scenery more attractive?

55

Rating

  By thesiger3... on Oct 10, 2007

This was our first stay at The Leela Kovalam and had great expectations of the place and I must say we were not disappointed with it. The very first impression of the resort took our breath away and we were indeed relieved that we were at the right place. It is a breathtaking resort and if you are looking for a resort to just chill, then this is the place to be. Definitely one of the best holidays we have ever gone on so far. Being there with my other half was an exhilarating experience. The whole stay was an enjoyable experience for us. It is a great place to unwind with an excellent beach and comfort.
The resort is a haven of green, superbly landscaped surroundings with rooms and suites dotted around the property and all facing the beach. The interiors are easily one of the strongest points in favour of the resort. The beautifully designed spacious lobby, well spaced benches on the poolside and the clusters of rooms with beautiful waterfalls on all floors, all make for a very soothing and beautiful experience.
The hotel has numerous 'buggies' that ferry guests around the resort. Leela is best to see once the sun has set as an array of lights crop up everywhere giving the place a very heavenly feel. The leela simply looks great in the nights! But I must say I would definitely recommend the place to others and also visit again, maybe.

Rooms: The rooms are tastefully decorated & are very soothing to the mind. It was big enough for us with good closet space and cozy beds. A great bathroom to add to it made it a perfect place to stay.

Service: Well-trained, warm and friendly staff all over the resort added to the delight of our stay here.

Food: The buffet spreads were vast and mouth-watering to say the least. Just that we could not eat everything we wanted, was the loss.

Activity: Not much activity in the resort except for the tennis and badminton courts and the gym.

Just the thought that it will be a long time before we come back here again is very saddening :-(

To Remember: The sounds outside your room are very natural, from the coconut trees dancing in the winds, the sparrows chirping around and finally the waves crashing onto the rocks and the beach below. The service at the seaside was out of the world. I had requested for a private candle light dinner with my love and a special cake to add to it. The settign was perfect in every way and it was a dream come true.

To Forget: Even after calling almost for a week before our arrival, I could not get anyone at Leela to allow me to surprise my better half on arrival with an extra personal touch added to our bedroom (even when I was ready to ay extra).

55

Rating

  By Abhitags on Aug 08, 2007

The staff and setting are both fantastic, the rooms are lovely, the towels and bedding are changed everyday, you get a bath robe, slippers, toiletries and the ladies, a dressing gown, we had fresh fruit each afternoon plus at least 3 bottles of water, and a newspaper was hanging on the door each morning, all these little touches made it wonderful. The only thing i would moan about is there's no air con in the reception area (including the loo's) and as the temperature was 36 degrees while we were there it was rather uncomfortable to spend any time in there which is a shame as it has a sunken cushioned seating area where at night they have bowls of Rose petals and floating candles. Look out for the Eagles soaring while you eat breakfast on the terrace, a truly amazing sight. Be prepared for a shock on route from the airport as it's not the cleanest place on earth!! I would definitely go back as your really made to feel like royalty.

55

Rating

  By Rosie45 on Aug 08, 2007

We went to Leela Kempinksi, Kovalam a week back for our honeymoon and had a fabulous time. Fortunately, the weather was wonderful with 28 degrees everyday. No rains. The hotel property is huge with 64 acres covered. There are various scenic vantage points around the property. The infinity pool is good, deck near the pool overlooking the ocean was good. Nice buffet breakfasts, lunches and dinners were served with almost anything that you could think of available. We didn't have any service problems from the management except for asking them repeatedly for mosquito repellents. The staff was courteous, extremely friendly. We also went to see "The Club" which is hotel inside a hotel concept from Leela. The place was awesome. You get your privacy, tranquilty and some brilliant views to the ocean as if you were travelling on a cruise. The tourists we encountered were majorly Non-Resident Indians, British families and some American couples. We stayed for about 7 nights which got a bit boring towards the end. I would stay for about 4 nights and 5 days here next time. The only downside here would be that there are not water sports but i guess people come here to just relax and do nothing.

55

Rating

  By Freak4all on Aug 08, 2007

Went to the Leela Beach after a week in Oman which was hot, dry luxurious, we arrived at the end of monsoon so everything had a slightly damp feel about it but we loved the place immediately. The hotel was beautiful and perched on the top of a cliff with rooms dotted down the cliff and in the gardens near the beach. We asked to be moved within an hour of arriving at our deluxe room with "open bathroom" - romantic maybe but as soon as you opened the door to shower, bath, wash or go to the toilet mosquitos happily join you. We were offered a room in the gardens which was lovely although - like many hotels in India - closer inspection meant seeing that cleaning could be better, light sockets were falling off the wall etc - but hey! that's the charm of the place. The bathroom, towels and sheets etc were all fine however. And if you want true luxury, the Club wing (like a boutique hotel of its own) is now open and fabulous, if a little clinical. The beach is pretty scrubby and there's a mosque (which tends to get air-brushed from brochures, call to prayer 5 times a day) at the other end of the bay but the people watching is fascinating and the sunsets historic. if you don't have the stomach for the beach, the hotel's beautiful infinity pool at the top of the cliff will make up for everything. The food at the hotel is just sensational- I put on so much weight and no Dheli Belly!.... Walk to Lighthouse Beach for great shopping and go on a sightseeing tour of Trivandrum. Kovalam is a funny old place and not everyone's cup of tea - not like Goa at all - but it's got character, the people are lovely, and we loved the hotel and even the beach. CAn't wait to go back...

55

Rating

  By Brenda111 on Jun 06, 2007

Staff were very friendly and ever willing to help. Transport to hotel didn't arrive but It was our fault as I didn't email them of my arrival details. But we took a cab and the fare was paid by them. They were so apologetic although the fault was mine. The room was great and the view priceless. My package included wine cake and complimentary dinner on one of the days of our stay. Breakfast was sent up to our room daily. Transport a little expensive if arranged by hotel, I suggest auto rickshaw(about Rps300) for about 3 hrs waiting time or Govt approved A/C cars for longer rides(about Rps2000) for day trips. Hotel staff went out of their way to make our stay a comfortable one. Views from anywhere in the hotel just great. Grand lobby and great infinity pool. Club rooms face the ocean directly but superior rooms have both the ocean and beach views which we found more exciting. Day trips to regional attractions include Kanyakumari about 3.5 hrs one way, Ponmudi Hill station about 3hrs mountain roads, Kollam about 2.5hrs. All about RPS2000 by car.
Trips to Trivandrum city better by autorickshaw. Nerve racking ride. Traffic a mess at certain times. Unless well versed with Indian driving self drive not recommended. Adjacent Lighthouse beach has a hippie-like lifestyle and wonderful seafood restaurants.Not too costly either. A meal about Rps1000 for 2 with drinks. Hotel has a great sophisticated Ayurvedic spa . You may also like to try the ones on lighthouse beach some Govt approved others not. About Rps600-1000 for 1 hr standard massage. Specialised treatments go for more. Overall the expereince at the Leela was a positive one and primarily due to the staff and the excellent views and ammenities. A bit inefficient times but ever willing to please gives the staff a tremendous advantage despite the pricey room rate.

55

Rating

  By 777Jockey on Jun 06, 2007

We travelled with first choice from Gatwick on a B&B basis. 10 hr flight was okay but then neither of us have long legs.

Bus transfer was only 10 mins but took longer as we were hanging around waiting for others. If you are impatient I suggest you take a taxi for about 300 INR (£3.80) on way, but tell the rep so that others are not waiting on the bus for the no-shows.

NB - Taxi fares range from cheap to very cheap but can vary greatly. Partly depends upon whether it is the high season or not and time of day. Leela hotel taxis are the most expensive but are new Toyota 4x4's with A/C and seatbelts. Walk down the hill to the Tourist information (still within the Leela Complex) and the taxi's are older and cheaper but most have A/C but rarely have seatbelts. Apparently if you go to the other rank outisde the Leela complex the taxi's are even cheaper.

One of our early sight see-ing trips via taxi was arranged by the Tourist Information people which cost 3000 INR. A similar distance trip arranged directly with the taxi driver cost 2000 INR. Draw your own conculsions on possible kick-backs. Watch out as I think a lot of it goes on.

Remember Indians earn about 1/10th of us brits and make rupees where they can. Teachers make about 250 INR (£3.10) a day. If anyone recommends a restaurant or offers to arrange something for you, then apart from a few exceptions, rest assured that there will will be some vested interest somewhere along the line.

Petrol is about 20 INR per litre and diesel is about 35 INR a litre. We reckoned that taxis are about 12 - 15 rupees per km, based on a return journey including waiting.

So from Kovalam to Kanyakumari (76km - 3+ hours one way), Kollam (84km - 3+ hours), Ponmudi (77km - 3.5+ hours mountain roads) should all be about 2000 INR for a taxi for a whole day. All are do-able as day trip if you set off early enough.

Trips to Varkala and the Neyyar Dam could be potentially less as they are nearer. One way fares for long journeys are likely to be the same as the two way trip as the driver still has to drive back empty or not. NB - taxi excusrions work out about 50% of an equivalent First Choice excursion based on two sharing.

We were offered 300 INR for a return trip to Trivadrum (10km - 10 min) with waiting. Auto rickshaws are typically half the price of a taxi but only suitable for short trips (< 100 INR from Leela to Lighthouse beach).

Trains are much cheaper, marginally slower and offer less flexibility.

Cochin, Periyar and the backwaters (Allepey) are a bit further away to the north and quite close to one another. You would struggle to do any of these as a datytrip without having to get up very early and get back very late which would spoil the whole experience. Allepey is about 3.5 hours north of Kovalam, Cochin is about 4.5 hours north, Periyar is about 4 hours to the northeast of Cochin (mountain roads) and consequently maybe 5+ hours from Kovalam. Allepey is about 3.5 hours from Periyar.

We killed all three birds with one stone by arranging a package excursion with Vinesh at the Leela travel desk in the main reception. They used the great india tour company. It cost us £450 for the two of us for 3 night / 4 days. We specified the hotels and stayed in the Taj Malabar (5*) in Cochin for two nights and Spice Village (5*) in Thekkady (Periyar) for one night. Package incuded a personal fluent english speaking guide for Fort Cochin and Periyar, all entrance fees, all hotels and taxi driver. Also evening kathakali (dance / drama) demonstration and personal rice boat backwater trip with lunch cooked on board. it was spot on and a welcome change from the beach.

Only thing that I would have changed was to avoid visiting Ernakulam (the noisy modern bit of Cochin) in preference to an extra night in Periyar. Also felt like the Fort Cochin guide was given a backhander to take us to a particularly expensive shop for a bit of hard sell.

Anyway, the Leela was great. We stayed in the main hotel which was built in 1973 by designed by architect Charles Correa ([---]/). It is typically 70's and some of the communal areas have a whiff of 007 - 'man with the golden gun' about them. These areas have a slightly faded elegance appeal about them. Hope they do not modernise it too much, its cool but maybe not to everyones taste. The AC was the best that I experienced in India and whilst it was a bit noisy it was not dreadful.

There was lots of staff and were a bit over attentive at times. Opening doors for you, poring drinks for you, serving food for you, always saying hello, always asking if you are happy with your food etc etc. I found it a bit creepy at first but got used to it.

They never quite got to grips with the room bill. The minibar bill was often wrong and we have other peoples charges booked against our room. We had to settle it every 3 days just to make sure that we were not diddled. It is not fraud its just incompetence. In the restaurant, it is probably easier to pay cash and get a receipt.

Hotel restaurtant was convenient and the food was okay but a lot more expensive compared to other nearby restaurants. Cocktails were spot on though and the sky bar is a great spot.

Few words of advice:
10 INR is a reasonable tip for the golf buggy drivers
200 - 300 INR is a reasonable tip to house keeping per week.
10% tip for meals and taxi drivers seems about right
In theory begging is banned in Kerala but you may find a few
If you feel the need then 10 INR should be okay. If you are overly generous news will spread like wildfire and you will be deluged with beggars and non beggars alike. So be careful and circumspect. If you want to contribute then maybe ask your rep for a an alternative method.
Note that some of the Sandal wood oil is not Sandal wood at all and you might want to ask yourself whether your purchase is helping to perpetuate the expoloitation of what is an endagered tree.
Also some of the silk is not silk, some of the pearls are not pearls, some of the silver is not silver etc etc. There is not much in the way of trading standards in India so be careful. Lots of things are real bargains over there but some items are just cheap tat. Suggest that you get a handle on the price of gold, silver and platinum as well as hallmarking before your visit. And cross check on the internet before you commit to any expensive purchases.

55

Rating

  By Will_Mcr on Apr 04, 2007

An excellent hotel in every respect. Rooms a good size, service second to none, food great and good value (although expensive for India), Staff could not have been more helpful.

Facilities excellent although could have done with more sun beds around the pool but we used the great beach and Tides bar instead.

Its a great place to use as a base, as a respite from the noise and grime of real india.

Would go again without hesitation

55

Rating

  By David1000... on Apr 04, 2007

The Leela has been through a number of hands since being built by the government. The current management know how to run a quality hotel. With 500 staff for 200 rooms, service is excellent.

All rooms are great, even the standard ones. Don't bother with the Club upgrade - its for business travellers with business expenses. Most rooms are in the main hotel, with Pavillion rooms down a steep hill by the beach - its quieter down there, and golf carts will ferry people up and down the hill if the heat and humidity is too much.

We travelled with young teens - they were happy, but its not a place for kids entertainment (or indeed nightlife for any age) Its a place for chilling by the pool of on the beach, with the occasional trip into the countryside and towns. Don't book half board - its much better and cheaper to eat out in the evening at the numerous restaurants on the two adjacent beaches; a 5 minute tuk-tuk ride.

Overall an excellent hotel.

55

Rating

  By WJFHants on Apr 04, 2007

We spent two excellent weeks at the Leela in march, we recomend
the seaview deluxe rooms, with sunken bath outside shower and great views. A small private beach ( where you will meet Ali " a local fisherman who hires out trips for fishing or snorkaling, do not be offended by his persistance in enquiriing if you want to go on a trip, he is just trying to make a living, he has a wonderful sense of humour, and only a five month tourist season.The hotel staff are very friendly and helpful, nothing to much trouble.The skybar although expensive is very relaxing with a superb view off the sunset.Thanks to the people we met who helped us have a great holiday ! so if your reading this " hi Kev & Di, Martin & Paula and last but not least Dave & Jo"

55

Rating

  By Al_Jax on Apr 04, 2007

I had read the reviews about this hotel before we went, I found them accurate and would like to add my views. The hotel was excellent the staff very friendly and efficient, not pushy like in some other places. However, although the food was very good, we did find it very expensive compared to restaurants outside. We tried the restaurants on Lighthouse beach and were not impressed with any of them, we then tried the selection outside the Uday Samudra hotel a short rickshaw drive away. 3rd Rock and samudra sands were both very good and excellent value for money. When you get tired of indian spicy food, Molly's is the answer, the best Sunday roast outside of the uk, roast beef with cauliflower cheese, mash & roast potatoes, cabbage, carrots, green beans, sweet potato and onion gravy. all for a fiver. The remainder of the menu includes english, mexican as well as local fare.

Not much to do in the evenings entertainment is hotel based and there was none in the leela. We asked the rep if there was any going on in any of the other hotels,they asked but were told there was no demand for it, probably due to the season drawing to a close. We did the day trip on the backwater which was very relaxing and interesting. We were lucky enough to drive through two places where there were festivals going on, both had elephants all dressed up in the regalia, the driver was good enough to stop so that we could get some terriffic photos. We also did a little tour of the area going to the fishing village & paradise beach, this was a view from the cliff top of a beach the other side of lighthouse beach which is 22 kilometres long and covered with fishing boats that go out at night and decorate the sea with sparkling lights, there are so many boats that it looks like a town lit up at night.
We came home tanned and refreshed ready to plan our next holiday.

55

Rating

  By ExeterBis... on Apr 04, 2007

We have just returned from the leela and have had a fabulous time.
The hotel is located about 15 mins walk from lighthouse beach.
We did walk this but a tuk tuk was 50 rupees each way, so being lazy and on holiday this was our favoured choice.
Lighthouse beach is a horse shoe shaped beach with restaurants along the path / promenade.
The restaurants are all low key affair, nothing grand but the seafood was excellent.
We ate in the evening at coconut grove, Garza, fusion, all of which were good, except for fusion.
Fusion wasn’t too bad just wasn’t as good as the rest and average wait for a meal was an hour and a half.
Lunch was good at the German and Swiss bakery.
The food in the hotel was excellent but you paid about double what you would in the town, but try it.
The other restaurant we ate in was molly’s ask the hotel to book a table and any tuk tuk will take you there, you must book to get a table.
Back to the hotel, rooms were a nice, bathroom had a rain shower, the room was cleaned every day no complaints.
The pool area is quite small so if the hotel busy you may find it difficult to get a bed, but no problems on the beach.
We had a walk down by the cottage rooms and the area around that part of the hotel looked a little run down, not to the standard of the main hotel, but I must stress I didn’t see the cottage rooms so don’t let me put you off if you’ve booked on of these.
Trips we arranged ourselves about 2000 rupees for car and driver for the day, arranged locally.
Booked the houseboat trip for a day from kollam with the hotel, was a cost of approx £80.00 for the day for two people.
We had the boat to ourselves lunch included and had a wonderful day.
Personally this was just an introduction to the house boats, most are for two to three night trips from alleppy but this is about a five hour drive from the leela.
Overall I have travelled extensively and would say that the hotel is excellent value for money, not a deluxe resort but definitely I would return.

55

Rating

  By topcat197... on Mar 03, 2007

Returned from the Leela on 2nd March and couldn't wait to tell all my friends and potential guests how wonderful it was.

As most have said the location and amenities really couldn't be faulted, we stayed in what one guest ( staying in the club rooms ) referred to as 'the bog standard' accommodation and it certainly wasn't that!! Our room was huge, with a lovely terrace looking straight out to sea. I personally preferred these to the beachside rooms, as I liked being at the top of the hill.

There were minor problems getting sunbeds around the pool and beach area but this didn't spoil out holiday. Staff are always willing to find beds for you; if they can't there are plenty of other local beaches where beds/brollies could be hired for the princely sum of 150 rupees (under £2.00).

The Leela was more pricey to eat and drink at, but isn't every 5 star hotel? There was an abundance of places to eat within walking or rickshaw drive and our personal favourite was Fusion - a very comprehensive and diverse menu and lovely staff too.

I also used the Spa and although £30 is expensive in Kerala the same treatment in the UK is £65, so it wasn't a lot to pay. As others have said the Ayurveda/Spa is beautiful and the staff have experienced healing hands!

We shan't be going back to Kerala for a while; we have too many other places to see, but I hope to return to Leela some day.

55

Rating

  By Birmingha... on Mar 03, 2007

This was our first visit to India and we were not disappointed. This hotel is apparently the only 5 star in Kovalam. It was really first class in every respect. The rooms, service and food were all without fault. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff. As will be evident from stepping outside the hotel, this may not be the 'real' India but it was certainly an excellent base from which to explore for the uninitiated.

55

Rating

  By LucyLocke... on Mar 03, 2007

Having just returned from a 2–week-holiday to the Leela Kovalam we can confirm that this is a truly stunning resort.

The hotel is built on a hillside next to the sea and the view is magnificent.

We stayed in a standard room in the sea view wing and all rooms were nicely made out with Indian décor. It may have been on the small side, but the rooms were cleaned daily and there was no shortage of beautiful cotton towels and complimentary soaps. All rooms have sea view and the balconies are nice and big.

The entrance area is absolutely magnificent with lots of floating flower and candle arrangements.

We loved the indefinite pool area and found it looked much better than the one in the Club Section of the hotel. There was no shortage of sun beds or towels when we were there.

Other people have complained about the slow service in the restaurant. Instead we would like to praise the staff, who were all so polite and helpful. We travel a lot and I have never experienced a quicker or more efficient check in that at the Leela Kovalam.

With regards to the food we ate in the restaurant a couple of nights, which was fine and the prices were reasonable. Most of the time we had dinner at the Light House Beach. Café de la Mer is to be recommended for its excellent Nan Bread. As others have already pointed out the Lobster Pot restaurant next to the Leela Hotel is a beautiful venue, where you can dine under the stars next to the sea. As a guideline restaurants are very cheap in Kovalam.

We would also like to recommend the Divya Ayurveda Centre at the Leela Hotel. People have complained about the expensive prices and we are sure you can find a cheaper treatment in one of the local shops. This is however a stunning Ayurveda Centre with massage and yoga facilities. I did the 90-minutes de-stress/detox treatment with two dedicated girls. This cost me around £30, which I find a very reasonable price at a hotel of this standard. The girls did offer to scrub my back, when I showered after the treatment and I later realised why. The herb/clay used for the treatment turns you completely red and it is very difficult to wash out of your hair and skin.

Finally we would like to point out that the hotel beach is lovely and clean. For convenience you are transported up and down the hill to the hotel in a golf buggy. It is wonderful to see how the beach is an integrated part of life in Kovalam.

For comparison we had a look at the Taj Green Cove, which is beautiful too, but we definitely prefer the Leela as it is much closer to the sea. We will go back for sure.

55

Rating

  By explorer2... on Feb 02, 2007

Lovely hotel with breathtaking views. Rooms were very spacious and extremely comfortable, well equipped and we lacked for nothing.
Great breakfast selection, and reasonably priced buffet in the evening with superb food.
We had private dining on our balcony for our anniversary and the staff could not have done more to please us - terrific menu, superb service and at a price we could afford.
Haridas the fitness instructor had us doing yoga on the terrace at 7.30 every morning - a first for us but great fun - np gain without pain.
Negatives were - not enough sunbeds at the pool or beach although plenty of beach outside the hotel area. Wine ridiculously priced at £25 a bottle - the most we paid outside was £15 !
Restaurants in the area well worth a visit were - The Lobster Pot, Molly's and our favourite - Fusion.
Lighthouse beach great fun for people watching, shopping and fantastic views from the lighthouse itself.
We would have no hesitation in going back.

55

Rating

  By suzywuzyw... on Feb 02, 2007

This hotel exceeded our expectations.The reception areas and the rooms were lovely. The pool stunning. Service was superb.
The location is great with a short walk up the beach to the Lobster Pot for lunch (aprox £7 for 4) and an easy stroll down into the small resort of Kovalam for shopping or eating out. We enjoyed fusion bar, Santana and the german bakery but never had a bad meal. We enjoyed it and our 2 teenagers thought it the best holiday ever. We will be back

55

Rating

  By RACRutlan... on Feb 02, 2007

We stayed at this hotel from 14-29 December and we loved every minute. Our beach view deluxe room was a delight with a wonderful terrace and open-air bathroom. I tried hard to find something that was not five star about this place and failed. More wardrobe space would have been a bonus but it was not a real problem. It was so good I tried to book for another two weeks in March but could not get the flights we wanted.

55

Rating

  By Lucii on Feb 02, 2007

Stayed one week in a top floor club room (with high pitched ceiling) which we thoroughly enjoyed. Room clean light airy and well equiped in a comfortable modern minimalist style which we liked. Whilst accepting that the rooms are not huge, and are smaller than the (oversized) standard ones in the main hotel, they are not small, and two normal sized individuals would not have a problem with them.

Located on a rocky promontary, there are problems with the excessive no. of birds roosting on and arround the balconies, making external cleanliness an issue, and the large balconies not the most attractive places to sit. This is something the hotel needs to address urgently if the club is to remain attractive going forward.

Yes, there are some teething problems with the building, and one or two electric sockets/adapters seemed a bit dodgy but any issues we had were generally quickly and pleasantly resolved.

There is a huge desire to please and provide a very high level of service in this hotel. Sometimes the reality falls a little short in terms of professionalism from both the waiting and housekeeping staff although concierges, reception, pool and security staff were universally excellent.

Club restaurant was a highlight, with outstanding food quality - a top chef who happily would provide whatever you wanted, simply and beautifully cooked. Beach restaurant was also good with a larger menu and more oriental flavour.

Sky bar a lovely stylish place for a drink - and so nice that you can walk down into Kovalam for some local atmosphere, a drink or a cheap good meal for a change.

Hotel extras not expensive compared with other top international hotels, Kovalam is just very cheap outside the hotel!

Whilst one could list a few flaws, overall this was a top class experience for a beach hotel. Can't remember enjoying a weeks relaxation in comfort with good food and service so much for years, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend or go back.

NB. Pavilion rooms nowhere near the main hotel complex in gardens on the opposite side of the road at the public beach, with a really grotty old pool - so glad we didn't end up there as it doesn't feel part of the hotel at all!

55

Rating

  By Gaspari on Jan 01, 2007

We had a week at the Leela in January, after a weeks touring. It was by far the best of the hotels we stayed at. The building is very attractive and the service and facilities excellent.
We had seen some mixed reviews previously but frankly could find little to fault it.
We had a large room with large terrace in the main building and it was furnished and equipped to a high standard. Room service was excellent - room checked and tidied twice a day and towels/robes changed at least twice a day - large wetroom shower with constant hot water was a godsend after other hotels.
Choice of infinity pool or private beach. Telephone orders to room service for a bucket of ice was delivered exactly 90secs after the call.
Prices in the hotel are higher than average locally but you have to expect that for the facilities you are getting and still not high by UK standards. In any case, Kovalam is only a 2 min rickshaw ride away and has lots of restauraunts/shops which serve good food, cooked to order, for pennies.
No sign of any building work mentioned in previous reviews.
Restaurant operated both menu and buffet style and the buffet choice/freshness/quality was also well above anything else encountered.

55

Rating

  By JohnandTr... on Jan 01, 2007

The Leela Beach exceeded our expectations. Our room in the main hotel block was a good size, well designed and furnished to a high standard. The housekeeping staff maintained a very high level of cleanliness throughout the hotel. The floral displays were always fresh and arranged beautifully, the bowls of rose petals were very effective especially at night time when floating candles were added.
The food in the hotel was good and the cost was not exorbitant. However we did wander to Lighthouse Beach for meals which were cheaper than the hotel and can be recommended. The Lobster Pot at the opposite end of the hotel beach also offers good food but suggest you take a torch if you go at night.
Yes the service in the hotel and village restaurants is slow but we appreciated the time to relax - no need to rush on holiday!
The choice offered by the hotel for New Years Eve was the Terrace or Tides Restaurant we chose the latter. We had a memorable evening from beginning to end. The Kathaliko dancer, the local Indian dancer and the martial arts demonstration lent a cultural feel to the evening and the array, choice and quality of food cannot be faulted. The firework finale ensured the New Year was ushered in in style. The brass ornament we received as a New Year gift from the hotel was a lovely touch.
We found all the staff to be friendly and more than willing to help in all situations. More sunbeds were delivered to the beach so the problem that some people encountered should be eased.
The whole holiday was fantastic and we will definitely go back.

55

Rating

  By Maryjane5... on Jan 01, 2007

Just come back from a stay in the club rooms (its a boutique hotel within the hotel) at Leela Kovalam Beach for seven nights as part of a larger trip to India. The club rooms are small (as the club has been converted from a government residency), but beautifully appointed with minimalist decoration - the showers are amazing and the rooms were kept spotlessly clean. The club is now completely finished and has a private pool and restaurant, spa and beach. Absolutely lovely. I wanted to write a review because I noted others comments about the service and just cant agree. We found the service to be excellent, waiting times completely fine (its not McDonalds after all!). We thought that staff were really friendly and helpful and went out of their way to sort anything out for you.

The sky bar is open air and a fantastic place for a pre or post dinner drink with none of the stuffy atmosphere of some hotel bars - there are lots of salas dotted around the bar where you can kick off your shoes, lie back on cushions and gaze at the stars with a drink.

It is cheaper to eat and drink in the town and there are some great place to do that, but if you cant be bothered with the walk or rickshaw into town, I dont think the Leela's food is too expensive.

My only complaint was the massage I had in the club spa which was so firm despite my repeated requests to make it gentler that I ended up with bruises the next day!

We had a lovely time and we would definitely go back.

55

Rating

  By Emma-Char... on Jan 01, 2007

We traveled to Kerala for my husbands 50th birthday in November 2006 and booked through First Choice.
We chose Kerala as we have been to Goa twice and love it thought that we would try somewhere different.
The Leela appealed as the luxury of this hotel looked fantastic and the website showed what to expect. .We were not dissappointed at all.The flight was very comfortable -good leg room even though we were economy and the choice of films etc was enough to keep my husband occupied throughout the flight.
Our room at the hotel was lovely,sea view,quiet and very private balcony.
The staff at this hotel are excellent and nothing is too much trouble.
On my husbands birthday they gave hime a lovely chocolate cake which was really unexpected.
A newspaper,bottled water and fresh fruit are complimentary daily and towels changed twice a day all go to make you feel pampered.
My only critisism would be that the bar and restaurants are very overpriced.The cost of a beer is 3 times more than at one of the local bars.The Tides restaurant although very nice is not worth the high costs.The food is ok but nothing special.
There are some great restaurants in Lighthouse Beach but we avoided all the ones with towels over the chairs and aimed for the ones with rattan furniture.This was not a snobbery thing but the food was definately better!
If you like fish then this is heaven!Tandoori Butter Fish and massive prawns are fantastic.
The beach is not great and if you have been to Goa and love it you may be a little disappointed.Its a bit dirty and the sunbeds are just put between the fishing boats and you have to pay.However the beach at the Leela is great and if you walk up the beach towards the Samudra there is a great little restaurant up the hill called the Lobster Pot.The food is fine and the beer is cold.They have a beach party which is really good,live band etc.
All in all a fantastic holiday but the hotel was what made it rather than the place.I would definately recommend this hotel and we will be looking at other Leelas for next year.

55

Rating

  By charlie48 on Dec 12, 2006

We stayed at this hotel for two weeks in April. It was the most incredible experience. We went expecting to have a lazy holiday but the area was so beautiful we just had to see more. The hotel itself was fantastic. The staff couldn't do enough for you, nothing was to much trouble, they went out of their way to make your stay memorable for all the right reasons. The hotel was incredibly clean. The beds were changed every day and the towels twice per day. The food was beautiful and nothing was too much trouble for the chef. He would cook anything you wanted within reason.

We were fortunate enough to meet an incredibly kind Tut Tut driver who looked after us well. He did our shopping and brought back some incredible bargains. He took us all over the place and tried to arrange different trips for us. He wanted us to see his country and enjoy it. We also went on the mystery tour organised by First Choice this was excellent but I wouldn't recommend it for children. You visited places that were of great interest but only really to adults who wanted to see real life India.

We went with First Choice and again experienced extremely good service. The plane had plenty of leg room and although we experienced a long delay going out we did feel well looked after.

If you are going to visit this area go now before it becomes very touristy. Please take with you pens and pencils to give out to the local children, that is all they will ask for. They also love having their photographs taken with you particularly if you have a digital camera and they can see the results straight away.

Take a trip out to the rice fields and spend a day on a boat I wouldn't recommend the boat overnight as they are very hot and sticky and people told us they just couldn't get any sleep.

The roads are quite frightening as the taxi drivers drive as if they are on a racing circuit all the time. Be prepared to be scared. The drivers we used were extremely skilled but you still hung on for dear life. We did book a taxi specifically requesting that it had air conditioning (this is a must) when the taxi arrived I asked about the air conditioning and the driver said yes it has you wind down the windows. We travelled 140 miles with the windows open and came back looking as though we had been down a coal mine.

Do not swim in the sea the undercurrents are treacherous and we were advised not to take boat trips with the fishermen.

If you do go, go with an open mind. It is a fabulous place. The locals are on the whole lovely gentle people, smiling all the time.We never felt threatened wherever we went.

55

Rating

  By ATeamWale... on Jun 06, 2006

We stayed her in January this year in the Grove and we were pampered and spoilt the whole time saw some other hotels in the area and they did not live up to the standards at this hotel. It is clean well supplied with bottled water, soft drinks, fruit, towels, hospitality tray, bathrobes, slippers the sheets are changed every day, and the rooms are cleaned twice a day morning and evening, paper delivered for you in the morning, they have insect repellents in the room (plug ins) The hotel is a haven when you have been outside but heh thats what you go on holiday for to see the culture India is in your face, dirty, friendly, but what you see is what you get you will either love it or hate it and we loved it. Have travelled further North in India and Kerala is cleaner and does not have the smells that you get in the larger towns or cities, the drainage is underground in Kovalam. The people make the holiday they love to do things for you and that is certainly the case at the Leela nothing is too much trouble. We ate the majority of the time at the hotel (don't want to get the trots going away to enjoy ouselves not be ill) and it was great. There is a Buffet in the hotel itself, and on the beach there is a restaurant that cooks fresh caught seafood and fish plus other local dishes we did not think it was expensive compared to England roughly £5 each for the full buffet at night maybe about £7 for lobster at the beach hut. You can roughly half that if you go outside to eat and there is some good restaurants in Kovalam Beach. Tut Tut takes you there for about 50p but coming back 70p as uphill.

55

Rating

  By kitty-mar... on Jun 06, 2006

Having read some of the views of other guests we were a little concerned about going to this hotel, what were they thinking or indeed expecting? On arrival at
the hotel entrance which in itself is very impressive we were greeted like royalty by the staff,they are amazing people,nothing is too much trouble.
We stayed in a grove chalet down by the beach,it was positioned with the seaview out of the patio doors,
every day the towels were changed, the room was cleaned and beds were made.The staff that cleaned the rooms were 1st class.The food in the restaurant was very good although we found that the price of some of drinks were very expensive. We had a brilliant time and would not hesitate to go back here and it will be rated even higher when the new "CLUB WING" is completed. We definately would highly recommend this hotel.

55

Rating

  By steve1952... on Apr 04, 2006

We have just returned from a two week holiday to The Leela booked through First Choice. We were worried about some of the negative reports but there is no problem at all. The building work is still going on and I think it will be until the end of the year but it is now mainly internal and the noise is low. You can hear it around the pool but it did not bother us at all. We stayed in the Pavilion Wing (Grove chalets) which were very nice and large with great views. The walk up to the main hotel is a killer but you can always hitch a ride in one of the golf buggies that constantly go up and down. There is a pool down by the Pavilion Wing but this could do with a refurb as the area was a bit tired looking. The main infinity pool was lovely. The hotel food was good at breakfast with a great selection. We had lunch a couple of times at the hotel and also the beach BBQ one night which was great but we did mainly eat out in Lighthouse Beach as the prices are so cheap and the food excellent. Our favourite restaurants were Coconut Grove and Rock Cafe. It is a 15 min walk to Lighthouse Beach from the hotel or you can get a rickshaw for Rs50. There are a lot of hawkers on the Beach but if you just say 'no thank you' they no longer bother you. We did feel safe and a lot of the hawkers are comical. We also had a very good meal at the Lobster Pot which is the other direction to Lighthouse Beach from the Leela. Follow the beach road past the temple and scramble up some rocks and there it is. The owner meets you at night with a huge torch to guide you through the rocks. We had a great meal out every night at a cost of £10-£12 for the two of us including a few beers. The drinks bill was usually more than the food bill! The tandoori fish in the restaurants was excellent. The hotel beach is ok though small. It does lead to a working beach which is good to watch as the fishermen bring in their catch and lots of locals arrive late afternoon to bathe fully clothed. There was 'happy hour' at the hotel between 6-8pm every day which was very good. Bottled beer and spirits wre Rs190 buy one, get one free! We spent three nights at Kumarakom Lake Resort including a night on their housebaot which was a great experience. The drive up there and back was a not to be missed experience too! All in all, we had a fantastic holiday. Kovalam is a very special place and we would not hesitate to recommend the Leela.

55

Rating

  By redwinelo... on Apr 04, 2006

We stayed here for 5 nights as part of a package which included a 7 day tour. I was unaware that "package" residents were any different to any other sort of resident, merely getting the benefit of better purchasing power ! ( see previous review )
I have also stayed at many great holiday resort hotels and this one is amongst the best.We stayed on a B&B basis, very,very good breakfast, well appointed and spacious bedroom. Public areas were excellent.The hotel is set on the headland in large grounds. The nearby Lighthouse beach is a bit "tacky" but there are a couple of good restaurants on the waters edge at Samudra beach which is the next bay along in the opposite direction.I would agree on the comment about litter in the sea,the hotel beach is a tidal trap in the corner of the bay. Not too bad though .
Litter/refuse disposal is a problem India has yet to get to grips with !

55

Rating

  By Davefrom on Mar 03, 2006

My husband and i stayed at this hotel in January for two weeks and although we had read bad reviews, we simply could not fault the Leela in any way. Considering there was building work going on the noise was kept to a minimum. We stayed in the main building and our room was one of the best we have ever stayed in, we have have stayed in top hotels in the Carribean and the Med. Anyone who complained about the building work in our opinion was just being too fussy!! We also agree that we got good value for money in this hotel. We saw some of the other hotels in Kovalam and none of them compared to the Leela. The breakfast was not the best at the Hotel but wherever you stay in the world there is always room for improvement. Kovalam is a fantastic getaway, especially for couples, and we would not hesitate to stay at the Leela again!

55

Rating

  By Susan S on Feb 02, 2006

We have just returned after a 7 night stay and have had the most wonderful time at The Leela and Kerala generally. This hotel is aiming to be the best hotel in South East Asia by 2008 and it is certainly going the right way about it. The Leela are a high class chain at the top of their game from what we saw.
The hotel is superbly positioned, sitting on top of a cliff face overlooking The Arabian Sea, it's currently going through a major refurbishment project although they kept the noise down to a minimum and you hardly noticed it at all. We did hear people complaining about the disruption but to be honest it seemed petty considering the value for money deal they were getting, some people were simply looking out for inconveniences in order to get compensation.
The rooms are very spacious (we stayed in the main building) and very luxurious, the service/staff are superb, they can't do enough for you and the communal areas and the new reception area are stunning. The infinity pool area is absolutley beautiful, the restaurants are top class and the food is excellent and great value for money considering the setting. We commented that when they get their 6th and 7th stars over the next 2 years we simply won't be able to afford to go back.
From what we saw outside of this establishment we chose wisely, it's superb and we'd love to return to another of their group to get pampered again!

Mark & Alex

55

Rating

  By sodie69 on Feb 02, 2006

Abbiamo soggiornato nel periodo di bassa stagione. Il servizio è stato sempre impeccabile. Il personale di sala del ristorante è sempre disponibile per soddisfare tutte le necessità. L'unica pecca è che le bevande non sono comprese, neanche l'acqua...Il posto è incantevole. La piscina a sfioro è magnifica. Al momento della prenotazione non abbiamo trovato camere standard libere ma solo quelle di categoria superiore. E' stato positivo perchè abbiamo avuto la vista mare e il terrazzo privato. La camera ed il bagno sono spaziose, la pulizia è impeccabile. Ci sono corsi di yoga 2 volte al giorno. La cucina è ottima. Effettuano servizio di transfer con l'aeroporto di Trivandrum compreso nel prezzo. Il giardino è curato nei dettagli ed è disponibile la spiaggia privata. Data la grandezza del resort, se non si vuole camminare, sono a disposizione delle auto elettriche per arrivare dove si desidera. esiste anche una magnifica spa ma non ho provato i trattamenti. Ritornerei volentieri.

55

Rating

  By msbaux on Jul 07, 2011

Nach unserem abenteuerlichen Trip im Landesinneren von Indien war dieses Hotel einfach das absolute Paradies. Was soll ich sagen, alles ist sehr gut, es gibt nichts zu beanstanden und wir haben die, wenn auch kurze, Zeit dort sehr genossen. Auch das Restaurant unten direkt am Strand ist wirklich nett und zu empfehlen. Leider ist dieses Hotel nicht ganz günstig, aber wir fanden, es war jeden Euro wert.

55

Rating

  By gramlre on Nov 11, 2010

Wir verbrachten 4 Nächte im The Club des Hotels. Die Zimmer haben einen überwältigenden Ausblick auf den Indischen Ozean und sind mit allen Features ausgestattet. Es gibt sogar ein Schlafprogramm, bei dem 12 verschiedene Kissen bestellt werden können. Die Zimmer sind schön, sind aber für diesen Preis eher klein. Service gibt es rund um die Uhr vom eigenen Butler. Der Club eigene Pool und das Restaurant sind herrlich. Obwohl man zum Strand 5 Minuten laufen muss (Hotel liegt auf einem Felsen) ist dies zu empfehlen. Wer nicht laufen will kann sich von einem Buggy chauffieren lassen.

55

Rating

  By mc-kueng on Nov 11, 2010

Restaurangen och lobbyn är grymt fin och maten är god. Poolen är superfin. Stranden är väl inte den bästa man har varit på och var rödflagg (badförbud) helt helgen. Men poolen var ju så fin så blev där mestadels.
Underbart med mycket livemusik.
Är jättenöjd med helhetsbiten och kan skarpt rekommendera det. (fanns bredband med)

55

Rating

  By on Oct 10, 2010

Wir haben uns sehr gut erholt und jeden Tag die tolle Aussicht aufs neue genossen.

55

Rating

  By on Sep 09, 2010

Wir haben 5 Nächte in diesem tollen Resort verbracht und würden jederzeit gerne wieder hingehen. Der Service war tadellos - Personal war sehr freundlich und hilfsbereit. Die Zimmer sind sauber und zweckmässig eingerichtet, leider etwas zu klein geraten. Top Lage mit schöner Beach. Die Liegebereich am Strand ist nur für Hotelgäste, darauf achtet auch ein Security sehr genau. Im Wasser wird man dann aber von den Indern (meist mehrere Schulklassen) regelrecht belagert und manchmal auch belästigt - da is der Security macht- und hilflos.
Lobby und Pool liegen etwas erhöht und sind sehr schön angelegt (Tranfer mit Elektromobil von und zur Beach)

55

Rating

  By inschi on Sep 09, 2010

The Leela Kempinski ist ein zwar schon etwas aelteres Resort (ca 15 Jahre), aber in herrvorragendem Zustand. Service, Unterkunft und Ambiente entsprechen durchaus auch europaeischem 5 Sterne Standard. In der Nebensaison ist Vollpension empfehlenswert, da die umliegenden Restaurants zum groesseren Teil nicht geoeffnet sind. Sowohl Mittags/ wie Abendbuffet sind sehr gut mit grosser Auswahl an nationalen wie internationalen Speisen. Sehr zu empfehlen auch die Gardenview Bungalows da freistehend und nicht im Wabenkomplex des Hauptgebaeudes integriert. Alles in allem das beste Hotel unserer Kerala Rundreise.

55

Rating

  By woza55 on Aug 08, 2010

Eine traumhafte, spezielle Hotelanlage an einer Felswand am Meer, wo man vom Bett das Meer durch die offene Verandatür sieht. Die Hotel Lobby, mit ihrem Mix aus Eleganz, Rustikalität, dem gewissen Etwas was man ständig entdeckt und was begeistert sei es an alten Stilmöbeln und Antiquitäten, ist etwas ganz spezielles von der Art einer Hotel Lobby. Alles ist licht-und sonnendurchflutet und offen gebaut. Das riesengroße Blumengebinde in der Mitte der Lobby ist eine Augenweide und der Duft der Blüten durchströmt die Lobby. Das Terassen Restaurant mit Blick auf das Arabische Meer ist einmalig. Genauso einmalig ist das Büfett zu allen Mahlzeiten und der Brunch sonntags. Überaus freundliches Personal und hervorragender Service. Der Strand ist leider etwas klein und für einen längeren Strandurlaub würde ich es nicht empfehlen.

55

Rating

  By asienfanK... on Jul 07, 2010

Es ist ein wunderschön gelegenes, ruhiges Hotel mit sehr freundlichen Angestellten. es ist der ideale Platz um zu entspannen

55

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  By JohannesG on Jan 01, 2010

sehr schönes und ruhiges Hotel. Gutes Essen und gute Ayurveda Massage.

55

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  By AntonioDi... on Dec 12, 2009

Wir haben drei Nächte im August hier in diesem Hotel gebucht, und es war einfach unglaublich. Das Hotel ist groß und die Zimmer sind nicht zu massiv. Die Dienstleistungen, die dort erbracht werden sind beträchlich, eines der besten Hotels die ich bisher gesehen habe.Man kann viel in der Anlage unternehmen - augezeichneter SpA-Bereich, Tennis-und Badminton, sowie der private Strand. Das Essen ist sehr gut - ein riesig große Auswahl am Frühstücksbüffet und gutem Essen in den Restaurants. Ein Tipp : probiert das Malabar Café am Hawa Beach aus, dort haben wir zu angenehmen Preisen wunderbar zubereiteten Fisch/Krebs/Garnelen gegessen.Es ist einfach das beste Hotel in der Gegend - und wir können jeden empfehlen auch Ausflüge und Shopping in Trivandrum zu machen, da es nur eine kurze Autofahrt entfernt ist. Ein Taxifahrer sagte uns, dass
Fazit Zimmer: es ist wie im Himmel"
Fazit Service: und wir dachten uns
Fazit Gastronomie: dass der Fahrer es ziemlich gut beschrieben hat!"

55

Rating

  By on Nov 11, 2008

Ende Juli Anfang August waren wir in diesem sehr schönen Hotel.
Wir wurden von Anfang an verwöhnt. Es begann mit der Abholung vom Flughafen Trivandrum und setzte sich die ganzen 10 Tage fort. Sehr schönes Zimmer mit allem Komfort, Zimmerservice mit täglich frischem Obst und Mineralwasser. Das Personal war immer sehr zuvorkommend, ohne Ausnahme.
Das Hotel und das umliegende Areal ist sauber.
Die Auswahl an verschiedenen Gerichten war zu jeder Tageszeit groß. Das Hotel hat uns bei der Organisation von Ausflügen unterstützt, so das wir unter anderem, auch am südlichsten Punkt Indiens, Kap Komorin, waren. Das Baden im Ozean war auch ein Erlebnis.
Wir möchten diesen Urlaub nicht missen.

55

Rating

  By Rudi56 on Sep 09, 2007

This was my family's third visit in 3 years to the Leela Kovalam.

I love this hotel. It is situated high on the cliff edge and the rooms are all located below the main lobby floor with the exception of the club and the garden pavillion rooms (beach).
We always go for the deluxe superior beach view rooms as these can accommodate my family of 2 adults and 2 children adequately.

On this occasion we were travelling with extended family and I had made bookings for 4 rooms in total, all with their own requirements. I emailed the hotel with clear details and each time I received the confirmation back, there were errors. After emailing back and forth a few times, I gave up of receiving correctly filled in booking forms.

On arrival at the Leela the check in process took over 45 mins as they had messed up the rooms and the names they were booked under (surprise surprise). The reservations team have a lot to answer for!! This was sorted out eventually but I had asked for two rooms to be next to each other and this request was not met even though I had emailed all requests over 6 weeks earlier. This was a disappointing start to a stay I had really looked forward to.

For the first time we were booked on a full board package and this did work out well on the whole, although the buffet for both lunch and dinner did get tedious as sometimes we felt like a pizza for lunch (and not curry and rice) and this is not part of the package. On one occasion we tried the Tides restaurant for lunch and can only say if you are happy to spend 3 hours over lunch then this is perfect. We however did not and to wait an hour between courses was unacceptable especially as the restaurant was not even a third full. Although the food was delicious.

We ventured over to the Lighthouse Beach (10 min stroll) which is where all the restaurants are located and I was surprised to see some restaurants no longer there and some new ones popping up from last October, when I last visited.

We stayed 3 nights in total on this occasion and the staff are amazing. They cannot do enough for you, especially in the restaurants.

The concierge weren't particularly helpful when I enquired what events were happening at the hotel and the area to celebrate Diwali (as we were there on this day). He told me nothing was happening and then I found out that the hotel had a small event for the kids on the beach (with sparklers and fireworks).

Check out was another mess up which is infuriating. I had to leave the hotel at 5pm and I asked if I could keep the room until then. This was refused as I was informed the hotel was fully booked. They allowed me to keep the room until 2pm. I packed up our belongings and handed the keys back to reception informing them that we had vacated the room and could they collect and store the luggage. We then continued to use the pool and later used my sister in laws room to shower (as they were staying an extra two days). After getting ready we made our way up to the lobby to check out. On the way up, we passed our old room and the bell boy was there removing our luggage.

At check out I asked them what was happening and why my luggage was only now being removed. They could not give me an answer. I went to the trouble of packing up our belongings quickly so I could vacate the room on time and arranging to get changed in another room when I could have used my room all along. These mistakes are not good enough for a top hotel and the main areas including the check in fiasco, which are letting this hotel down. I pay 5 star prices for staying here and expect 5 star service to match.

Will I come back? Of course!!

45

Rating

  By JJ2579 on Nov 11, 2011

Just back from 6 nights at the Leela. I stayed on business so didn't get to experience the hotel as a tourist or enjoy the nice looking pool, gym, spa or beach areas. I had a beachview room which was fine. A little shabby and dark in places but overall nice with a large comfy bed, big TV, lots of lighting, mirrors, drawers and hanging space. Slippers and a dressing gown were provided as were tea/coffee making facilities and a mini bar. The bathroom was lovely with a big shower and beautifully designed door. The room was kept clean each day with turndown service in the evening. Lots of food choice at the breakfast buffet with a nice cup of tea! In the evening, the sky bar was not open due to the bad weather, however, the bar near to the restaurant was pleasant enough. We had a couple of meals at Tides, the beachside restaurant which had a lovely atmosphere and good choice of food. We saw the garden rooms which were opposite Tides and were glad we were in beachview rooms. On other evenings, we ordered Pizza in the main restaurant and I had room service, both took approx 45 mins for the food to arrive which was a little longer than expected, hence the 3 stars for service. I found the majority of staff to be attentive, friendly and helpful. I may be returning to the area shortly for more business and look forward to staying at the Leela again, hopefully the weather will be better and I'll have a little time to myself to enjoy some of the facilities.

45

Rating

  By tognir on Nov 11, 2011

I stayed here as part of a commercial meet. The resort is excellent with a great view of the Kovalam beach. The sea front view is amazing. The food is also great. I stayed in a villa which was excellent. The ride along the hotel on the buggy is also a great experience. The staff is exceptionally well behaved

45

Rating

  By Tarun_Mav... on Nov 11, 2011

The hotel is really lovely, with a spacious lobby area, great terrace-buffet food and a romantic beach-side restaurant. The views are really spectacular from the restaurant. We stayed in one of the cottage type rooms down by the beach with a sea view. Golf carts are always ready to take you up and down from the main hotel. The room, although just a little shabby, was extremely well equipped and kept spotlessly clean and tidy by the excellent housekeeping staff. One disadvantage of being by the beach is that our keycards kept refusing to work, meaning we had to hang around (in the rain) waiting for someone to let us in. Otherwise, a really good stay.
Oh, and the sea might look a bit grim but it is warm, clean and lovely.

45

Rating

  By julietyju... on Nov 11, 2011

I had big reservations about this hotel having read the reviews after I had already booked. Wasn't sure whether we should upgrade to a club room but thought the cost was excessive for the extras. In the end we had a look around the hotel on arrival to compare the club room to the sea view room and decided that the facilities included with the sea view room suited us perfectly. As this was a beach/chill out/pool type holiday we didn't think we would need to use the 24x7 butler service or the library included with the club room. The infinity pool was superb and we managed to use the gym which was very good, although better air conditioning in there would be a bonus. We enjoyed the restaurant but chose from the a la carte menu rather than the buffet and thought the food in the Tides restaurant was delicious.

The staff were friendly and efficient.

We wouldn't normally travel so far just for this type of holiday but as it was the chill-out part of a tour of northern India we are glad we stayed here. The sunsets were stunning!

45

Rating

  By DottyUK on Oct 10, 2011

We stayed at Leela, Kovalam for 2 nights, from 22nd to 24th October 2011. Our stay was a part of 9 days Honeymoon Packages in Kerala, and Leela was at the end of the trip.

I stayed at Beach View Room, which gave us a nice view from our balcony. Food was OK in their TERRACE Restaurant, but the Sea-side Restaurant TIDES is just amazing. Food was excellent there and the scenic beauty from the restaurant adds to its charm. Full marks to TIDES. For hospitality, food, activities and even presentation, it was not as good as Kumarakom Lake Resort in Kumarakom, but still has a class and quality of its own. I would definitely recommend this place for stay in Kovalam.

45

Rating

  By DJSaNNy on Oct 10, 2011

Rooms were comfortable and a mix of old and new. Food was average but the good part was the beach which is privy to the hotel. I spent all my evenings at the beach as i did not find anything much to do except visit the sunset point and a wooden palace en route. The month of September was a nice time and it was bright and comfortable. The property is spread out but battery cars are available for pick up and drop. A 30mins drive from the nearest airport.

45

Rating

  By Sharadd on Oct 10, 2011

Positives
1) The bed was very comfortable & the rooms were kept exceptionally clean inside on a daily basis by the housekeeping team.
2) Infinity pool fabulous & views over the Arabian sea superb.
3) Salon great with fab views & the small team running the salon were great , I would recommend a pedicure as a must
4) Staff is too good.as per world’s standard.
5) Room was spacious and luxurious with all the bells and whistles! Given the weather, the sea was rocking,
6) Facilities of a 5 star in a 4 star hotel
7) Lots of foreigners around.So You feel like being in Bahamas really.Its perfect for Honeymooners.

Negatives
1) Garden pavillion have bad bathroom & lack of sufficient lighting in the room.
2) Buffet poor.Limited Menu
3) Nearby mosque NOT ideal on a holiday.
4) Nothing else really.Of Course the Food on alacarte is expensive but you expect that.
Tips
1) Kerala Tour operators can charge you hefty for Leela.I booked thru Antilog Vacations (Leela’s official Channel partner) so got good rates
2) Always book in advance as availability is a major issue
3) Book your tours as it is really expensive from the hotel lobby
4) Vegetarians might have an issue with the food

45

Rating

  By subhashsh... on Oct 10, 2011

I have stayed at Leela a number of times even in the past but had never written a review. However, this time I thought of writing about this place. Leela is located very well with breath taking views of the Arabian Sea speacillay from the restaurant, Terrace and the best time is in during breakfast or during dusk.Terrace is reasonably priced for a 5 star hotel with decent spread of buffet and even ala carte, however, food quality is not that good as you would expect..The Sky Bar is worth a mention designed like a lounge and good variety of drinks and light lounge music while you can see the Arabian Sea glittering in the dark. The Club has the most expensive rooms and is really good. I liked staying in the Pavilion rooms, as well as, the main buidling. Rooms are decently sized facing the beach and are usually god. Hospitality is good in this hotel and the massage parlour (I forgot the name now!) is worth a mention.Overall, I would say that the hotel is good considering Trivandrum and Kovalam.

45

Rating

  By sourabhc on Oct 10, 2011

Stayed at The Leela Kovalam. A nice hotel with a view to remember . After a long journey due to the limited number of flights to trivandrum finally landed up at the hotel in the evening. the staff was very courteous !! in the hotel the check in was quick and off i was to my room. The rooms spacious and had a good view of the sea. it was spacious and had a lovely sit out to watch the sea from. Breakfast was at the tides restaurant. the break fast lay out was good but it was more traditional in terms of the spread. lunch and dinner was also good and gives you a good feel of local cusine. evening spend at the sky bar or the terrace restaurant. the view is amazing there and the whole ambience is very nice. the best part is that one can see the sea from practically all parts of the hotel. there is an swimming pool.the infinity kind of pools which overlook and seem to be merging with the sea !! well the pool and the eat area are next to each other which would cause some discomfort to the swimmers at times !! I was there for a conference. the conference area is known as rajiv gandhi convention centre and its a pretty sad place as compared to the hotel. looks pretty run down and lacks amenities expected from a star hotel as leela. over all conference facilities are pathetic and would never recommend to use this hotel for business. take a walk along the buggy path and there are benches which overlook the sea where one can sit and spend time watching the sea. its an amazingly romantic place and a paradise for couples and honeymooners. we landed up for a conference there which i think was not the greatest of things to do !! great place for a holiday with the family not work for sure. stay there for sure you would love it. highly recommended !! didnt get time to use the spa but guess it would have been good as most of the quality hotels in kerala the SPAs are a usp. I felt The maintenance seems to be going down a bit at some place. This was an old itdc hotel which was bought by leela and i believe that they have sold this off and are now just managing the property.

45

Rating

  By jayeshgad... on Oct 10, 2011

Their is no doubt of the fact that the property is huge & one of the best but maybe we had hard luck in our experience...Check in was nice,Reception was good and our cottages were adjacent...As we checked in in our rooms we found a stinking smell in bathrooms & bad lighting arrangements in room like all the lights were not working...we called the room service & they sent a plumber & a electrician in our room to check the problem...Nothing could be done with bathroom smell so aour cottage was changed and we became distant with our friends who were earlier in adjacent cottage...The new cottage was also not prepared propery afetr the last check out...I also received a online mail from leela asking for my views of the stay...I mailed their GM but never got any reply...I would recommend people of 5 star category to stay in Taj...

45

Rating

  By ShikhaRac... on Sep 09, 2011

This hotel did not meet our expectaions, it is rated as a 5 star plus and based on other hotels we stayed in on our trip it isnt. Rooms are dark and badly laid out, the pool is small for the hotel size and is located right next to the main eating area which makes it uncomfortable if you are eating or swimming. The officail pictures of the hotel show it in a better light than reality (in my view)
Also we were woken up at 05:30 every morning by the mosque located on the nearby beach.
Saying that the food is excellent and the staff superb, they cant do enough for you.

45

Rating

  By JamesMilt... on Sep 09, 2011

I stayed at the Leela Kovalam for a 2-night conference in mid-September. It was the rainy season, so I was not expecting calm waters and a sunny beach. My hotel limousine pick-up from a slush-ridden Trivandrum Station was a wow moment. Check-in was smooth and pampered and my Beach View Room was spacious and luxurious with all the bells and whistles! Given the weather, the sea was tempestuous, but the views of the ocean from different vantage points were stunning.

I did have a bit of an argument one morning when I asked for an iron to press my own shirt. The hotel said that it would take an hour to deliver the machine, since it was in circulation with other guests. When I asked if they would iron my shirt for me, they said yes, but it would be charged. This was unacceptable, as a luxury hotel should be better equipped to handle peak time requests. Having said that, the hotel was most gracious in pressing my shirt without charging for it.

The other area that needs improvement is the restaurant service in the main restaurant. Tables were not cleared, inspite of repeated reminders, requests were forgotten, and orders for eggs were mixed-up. Not expected from a luxury hotel, and I think that they need to train and tighten discipline in this area.

All in all, a good conference. I always felt like a special person - warm smiling faces, greetings by staff everywhere I went, and a beautiful resort to spend time in. Definitely recommend it.

45

Rating

  By AshishChe... on Sep 09, 2011

One of the best locations in Kovalam, perched on the top of a small cliff. Though the beach is not a prominent part of the property.. we ain't complaining! Good food, fabulous service and the rooms (Garden view) have a very authentic feel to them.

If you are looking for a quiet getaway with some quality service, this is the place to be.

Do not miss:
1. The infinity pools (yes, I say "pools" 'coz they have another one hidden away near The Cafe')
2. The view and sound of the sea crashing into the rocks @ night. The best view is again from The Cafe'
3. A lazy stroll down the pathway with a quiet moment on the benches overlooking the Arabian Sea

45

Rating

  By TushR on Sep 09, 2011

has a private sundeck overlooking the Beach and the Sea,
Its one of the most exotic hotels in south India overlooking the Indian ocean with its splendid infinity pool is definitely an experience to cherish for a life time.. Food was amazing and dining area overlooking ocean and service was impeccable.

45

Rating

  By mukesh68 on Sep 09, 2011

I have been here twice, 1st time with my friends and recently with my wife. I like the resort very much, the location is also very good. But the resort is too crowed and the service is very bad, and the food quality is also very poor. I booked for 3 nights and I got the same food in all 3 meals for all 4 days. The spa is good but no steam or sauna bath. The pool has the best view in the whole resort and the sky bar is too good for an evening drink. You can go here but don't eat in this hotel its better if you find some other resturant outside.

45

Rating

  By Arunkarur on Aug 08, 2011

My husband and I spent a week here as a change from our usual visit to Goa. The rooms were charming with a view of the beach from the balcony. The staff were charming and very helpful and the food at the buffet and the beach fish restaurant excellent. We walked down to the beach most days and then took the buggy up to the swimming pool in the afternoon. The staff at the pool were not as efficient as the rest of the hotel staff and there were several very long waits for a 'nimbu soda'.
We thought the restaurants outside the hotel were very disappointing and, unlike Goa, all alcohol was extremely expensive, both in and out of the hotel. If you are staying several days, it is nice to be able to have a couple of nights away from hotel food, however good it is.
For this reason, we probably wont return despite the hotel being excellent.

45

Rating

  By Dicky-Ann on Aug 08, 2011

The Leela was a wonderful place to relax and enjoy some down time with our family. The rooms were beautiful with balconies with views out to the ocean. The infinity pool was fantastic and there is a smaller pool for children which is adjacent. Food and drinks were tasty but WELL OVERPRICED. The drinks were 2 for 1 during happy hour but otherwise too expensive to indulge, which was unfortunate. While we enjoyed the a la carte food, the buffets were extravagant and expensive for our needs. Overall service was great and the waitstaff was incredibly nice.

There is a church on the adjacent beach blasts sound during services (including late night and early morning services at 10:00pm and 4:00am). It was hard to avoid waking up/being disrupted by this during the evenings.

45

Rating

  By MekMK on Aug 08, 2011

We were travelling to Ashtamudi and had planned to go from Ashtamudi to Poovar Island resort. While checking teh google map, accidently came across Kovalam and searched fro Kovalm Hotels. I came across Leela Kovalam..My wife and i fell in love the night we saw it on the net and thus cancelled the ppoovar island taking a small hit monetarily due to advanced booking at Poovar. It paid off..by booking leela Kovala. Beautiful resort, Buetiful people, very helpful, great amenities (but small rooms..and large bath rooms). We stayed on the beach facing room (the garden facing rooms are cheaper but equal size as the beach facing room). The best part i liked is that as i sat up from my bed in the morning, i could watch the beach and the. sea..i just loved it. The food was good and they have a luxiourios buffet breakfast that cannot be missed by either vegetarins or non vegetarians. The room tariff was quite a stael at Rs 7000 per night in April end. The beach (part of the beach is public and part- cordoned off) is belonging to the resort and is managed well, with good seating and is serviced well by a nearby shack /restaurant belonging to the resort. We travelled with our children aged 5 years and they too had a great time. The massage centre is good and we were given complimentary full body massgaes for a couple fwith a three night stay. The resort seems to be a hit with Indians and non Indians alike..Must visit.

45

Rating

  By ParagSha on Aug 08, 2011

one of the best hotels I would love to stay again and again.
Great Entrance,
Great hospitality
Excellent Kerala food
Nice spa
They made me stay just next to the see where sea was just 300ft away from me...
Amazing experience...
I was scared a bit for Tsunami though but it was fun....

Love this beach and resort......

45

Rating

  By prasadpan... on Jul 07, 2011

No.of times visited : 2
When : Around September

Rooms :
Club rooms: They are on the cliff; good view of the sea and well maintained rooms.
The usual ones : Some of them on top of the hillock and few at sea level. Decently maintained rooms with good beds. The shower area is a tad bit small with a very small yet cozy bath tub.

Facilities/ Activities : The property has 2 pools; one the infinity pool on the top and the other below. Good pools and great view from the infinity pool. A decent gym with treadmills facing the sea. The spa is located 5 min from the main property though inside the boundary; definitely recommended. It has a semi open space for yoga where I personally love spending a lot of time; doing nothing. There is a tennis court (clay, if I remember well).

Food : This is one section where the property needs definite improvement. Not very happy with the taste/ choice. The experience though, sitting out in the pleasant sea breeze and having a good dinner/ drinks is worth it. There have been instances when we headed out to taste local cuisines in other restaurants.

When to visit : Onset of monsoons. Leela has a monsoon package which works out light on the pocket. But please do remember that when it rains in Kerala it RAINS. The beach is closed and one can not do much if the rain is very heavy. I enjoy rains and the season works for me.

Activities outside the property : Visit Padmanabhaswamy temple for sure. Take a stroll, walk around, enjoy the fresh air.

45

Rating

  By adiexplor... on Jul 07, 2011

We had a great time at Leela Kempinski, Kovalam. The Hotel is located on a cliff overlooking the Kovalam beach. We were in the rooms which offered a lovely view of the beach. The hotel also offered a range of activities for kids to keep them busy and entertained. The breakfast was good.. however, the restaurant was crowded in the mornings and the staff used to get a bit hasseled about it towards the end of the breakfast times.. thankfully, we were the early birds and didnt face the problem during the later part of our stay.. The pool is lovely, overlooking the sea..only issue is that it closes by 7pm.. the other pools in the hotel were under repair.. The Divya Spa experience was good too...

45

Rating

  By Ahmedabad... on Jun 06, 2011

We enjoyed our week in this lovely hotel following a week with friends in the hills of Kerala. We stayed in a club room, this is in a seperate building and it was definetley worth the extra. The club facilities include wonderful views, a 24 hour restaurant and a swimming pool exclusively for the club room guests.

45

Rating

  By Africalov... on Jun 06, 2011

We've been fans of Leela Club's Goa property. The club suites are luxurious and extremely comfortable. Keeping that in mind, we thought it would be wonderful to try their Kovalam property too.

Well, it's not exactly in similar lines to its Goa counterpart, but is luxurious nevertheless. The staff are quite courteous (after some initial issues), food's excellent, the view from the club suites is excellent too.

The swimming pool is wonderful. But they sutely could do with more tubes for kids (although the Club area rarely sees kids around; we had our kids with us).

Overall a nice place for a short break from the daily routine of Bangalore.

45

Rating

  By Prashant... on Jun 06, 2011

The location is very good. On the Beach. And they also have there Private beach, where you can relax.
The staff is very Cosy & cooperative.
The rooms were good, but the bathroom tub was bit dirty, but then they cleaned it on request, and after that it was well maintained.
There swimming pool is amazing & also the cuisine.
And must try there SPA!

45

Rating

  By himanshup... on Jun 06, 2011

We were two families with young children & it was a pleasant stay at the Leela Kovalam beach. The welcome was a very traditional Kerela welcome & the rooms with a view of the beach was good. The staff took good care of us & whenever we wanted to visit the private beach they would organise a buggy to take us down to the beach. The restaurants had a splendid view of the sea. The complimentary morning breakfast was quite a big affair as you had lots in the menu to choose from but if you are late for breakfast, they would not extend the time & actually take away the food right under your nose and say time is over!!
The other thing notable was their rates for a car for sightseeing were abnormally high, but guess that is now standard in all 5 star hotels. So, we got ourselves the same vehicle that they were providing at exactly half the rate from outside.
Their beach restaurant is good but maybe the menu can increase to include a lot more Chinese dishes that we Indians are so used to & you are only served Beer or wine here. The good thing though was Leela organised free cultural shows every night with dance programs in there restaurants so you could have a glimpse of rich Kerela traditional dances while you dined.
The other thing which our kids thoroughly enjoyed was the KIDS room which offered a lot of activities to the children. This was a really good place to keep the kids engaged & infact they don't want to get out of the room.

45

Rating

  By anindyase... on May 05, 2011

The greeting at the leela was excellant. The whole picking up from the airport to checking into the hotel was nice and easy. Over all we found the stay very enjoyable.
We booked the club rooms, I was a little bit disappointed with the food and drinks in the club room , there was no alcohol and very limited food for only a period of 1 and 1/2 hours. I have stayed in club rooms before and felt very disappointed in the leela. I paid extra and did not feel that i had got anything for it.
I would like to say that the staff were very good, always willing to go out of their way to help you with anything.
if you'r going for a nightlife there is nothing going on in the leela. only repeated entertainment.

45

Rating

  By LNC6329 on May 05, 2011

the hotel location is on the edge of the shore the view is scenic the room are good , property is also good but i love the swimming pool it has the great view look as if ocean is connected to swimming pool only water no land

45

Rating

  By sharmakar... on Apr 04, 2011

We'd stayed at this hotel during our visit to Kerala about 7-8 years back and were keen on reliving the wonderful memories. Of course, at that time, it was Le Meridian and only when we were browsing for it, did we realize it is now part of the Leela group of hotels. The pictures on the website still assured us of the same hotel and thus we went ahead with our reservation online which was done very smoothly about a month prior to our visit.

The traditional Leela welcome of greeting the guests at the airport and ensuring a comfortable journey to the hotel was kept up. So was the garlanding [of a necklace of seashells] and a welcome drink of tender coconut water. We stayed at Leela for 4 days and 3 nights [a summer package] that came with a fabulous offer of having a spa treatment for 2 free at Leela's own spa - Divya.

All in all, the room, the food and the service were good. There were definitely changes from when it was with the Le Meridian group, however, our aim was to enjoy the natural beauty in complete comfort and we did just that at Leela. The staff is attentive and smiling, the food is cooked wonderfully and nature is showcased at its best - be it at the infinity swimming pool where we lounged lazily in between swims or at the beach under a thatched umbrella where we caught up on our zzzzs when not being served iced tea!

What was a definite plus since our last visit was the addition of golf carts that zipped the guests to and fro the beach. The cultural program each night was a wonderful accompaniment to the candle-light dinner and the balmy winds and the whispering coconut fronds weaved their magic during our stay to ensure that we definitely recommend this for a visit when at Kovalam!

45

Rating

  By Mona_jain on Apr 04, 2011

This hotel is situated in a beautiful location overlooking the sea. We had a club room which was small but clean and fairly well kept- The hotel buildings however need a lick of paint and when you take a boat trip and look at the hotel from the sea it is really showing its age with paint peeling everywhere. The club area is nice although also here improvements could be made such as cleaning or washing the chairs most of which were dirty with bird droppings from the numerous crows. Service at the Club cafe was sometimes a bit slow but the staff (especially Chandan) made us feel very welcome and catered for our special Indian food requests always with a smile and perfect service. He is a real credit to the hotel.
A negative point which the hotel cannot really do anything about is the dirty seawater which is evident from looking at the sea in front of the hotel and also the hotel beach. The seawater and beach at Lighthouse beach looks cleaner and more inviting for a swim. The waves however can be quite dangerous.
Great shopping and bargains at Lighthouse beach.
All in all a good hotel but a bit of a facelift would do it no harm.

45

Rating

  By melita1 on Apr 04, 2011

We stayed at The Leela for 9 nights in The Club section. The staff were always smiling and keen to provide a good service. Our room was lovely with a small balcony overlooking the Arabian sea. The infinity pool was great and there were lots of sunloungers although the sun terrace did get busier towards the end of our stay.
We had breakfast at The Cafe- helpful staff but quite slow service. We hated the crows which would swoop down on any unattended table to steal food and felt more could be done to keep them away. There was no mosquito problem .
We ate at Lighthouse Beach at several different restaurants.- never had any stomach upsets and also at The Lobster on the other beach near the mosque.

45

Rating

  By JuliaDr on Apr 04, 2011

We traveled as a part of a big group on an official conference and offsite. After the traditional welcome of a tikka, coconut water to drink and shells put together in a string like a necklace for each.
The rooms were nice.
Food was amazing on the first day of arrival. After that breakfast was definitely great (as it was common for all guests), the remaining meals were mediocre (2 staple vegetables in every single meal)!
The hotel had facilities like spa (which was definitely good), pool, gym and also archery.
The lawns were good with coconut trees spread across. The best part was probably the hammocks under the open sky, which were amazing especially at night..
The only bad part was, the minute we checked out, the service and behavior kind of the service staff was different and distant and not very hospitable.

45

Rating

  By asingh_gu... on Apr 04, 2011

Staying at the Leela was awesome experience. I had been there for my honeymoon and it was truly 5 star.
The pick-up was on time at the airport and we had a traditional welcome on arrival.
The check-in took some time as our room was not ready. No issues in there actually since we utilised the time to take walk around.

We stayed at two different rooms beach view deluxe for 3 nights and club room for 1 night.
Good things:-
1)Rooms were spacious and comfortable at least for 2 people
2)Excellent location and amazing view from the room
3)Good facilities...the swimming pool isnt much crowded...the infinity pool of the club room has much better view than the pool at the terrace
4)food at tides and breakfast varieties were excellent

Issues:-
the outdoors are full of mosquitoes...make sure to carry a mosquito repellent cream or spray with u.
we felt a little extra attention and service was given to the foreigners than indians at the leela, but not when we stayed at the club...the service in club is very good

45

Rating

  By abhimr on Apr 04, 2011

We upgraded to a beach view superior and it was a great choice. We arrived during the night and had no idea what the view from the room would be like. It was magnificent!!! I think its the best view I have ever had!
The hotel was very good. Just as you would expect from a 5 star. The only real downfall was the service on the beach. The could have been more attentive. It didnt hurt getting up to order drinks at the bar from my sun lounger ( had to get some exercise) but they didnt watch out for guests needs.
Would stay in a Leela again

45

Rating

  By publicans... on Mar 03, 2011

We stayed at the Leela in early March for 4 nights. We had booked a sea view room and were hidden away in a corner of the club wing were we could barely see the sea and were told it was cliff -sea view!After complainting about this we were moved the next day to a genuine sea view room.By the poolside ,we found a number of guests had a similar experience. Rooms are quite small but well organised and equipped , the beach is not realy great but that is not the hotels fault .The restaurants and the food was amazing .The staff and the chef were excellent and even prepared egg kheema for my wife on my request.The Ayurveda Spa compared to the Zuri in Kumarakom was below par.But I suppose the Zuri is known for its Spa.Being a Kempinski you could be sure that everything else ran with german car like precision, just wish they had not messed up the room on the first night!

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  By jayp512 on Mar 03, 2011

Stayed here for 6 nights, the room was lovely, well equipped, quiet with lovely sea views. Staff were helpful as I arrived from Jaipur ill and they sent a bouquet of flowers to my room and called the room daily to check how I was - needed a doctor in the end but that is nothing to do with the Leela. Food was not great I have to say and we are very well travelled. Entertainment was nothing to speak about. Some staff had very little command of the English language and food was delivered to our table separately. I finished mine by the time my husbands arrived! Then they gave him half a pizza and when he refused to eat it as it was not what he ordered, they put it next to my plate and told me to eat it ! Mine was cold when received. This was not charged as I think they got the message. Spa was very good although we were hanging around 30 minutes past our appointment time - so disappointed at that. Infinity pool I thought was very nice, only one or two people in it at a time which was nice - clean and not over dosed with chlorine. yes it is expensive but take a walk down to Lighthouse beach - more choice of restaurants and cafes at a fraction of the price.

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  By gjrlcr on Mar 03, 2011

My wife , 4 year old daughter and I stayed here for a holiday and we had a fantastic time. Very rough start, no transfer from the airport with a kid this is a big deal, had a fight with the duty manager about the fare for the cab and then their initial refusal to honour a room upgrade promotion for lufthansa miles and more members. However the senior manager intervened and from that moment we had a fantastic 10 day holiday. the grounds and the views were beautiful, the food was great and the pool was excellent.
Every other staff member we encountered was brilliant and we had a wonderful time. We rarely left the resort which had every facility you could want. I had tennis lessons, my wife had yoga classes there was a games and art room for kids and anything we wanted was possible.
Would love to go there again.

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  By getbrett on Mar 03, 2011

Just to give a brief intro about myself, my work makes me travel extensively around the world and so i do have to put up in Hotels, Motels and Service apartments all the time. But this time around i was taking a trip to Leela Kovalam in Trivandrum as i had heard a lot about it. Unfortunately, we dint get the cheapest of deals since we went in a peak time( DEC). But all that was made up as soon as we entered the hotel. The beautiful swimming pool overlooking the sea, was a unforgettable sight. After getting done through formalities at the Reception, we were served welcome drinks and were taken to our rooms on the other side of the resort in GOLF cart. It reminded me of my stay in one of the hotels in Florida. While i was being escorted to my room, i was in a state of disbelief seeing the virgin beach and serene sight INDIA has to offer. Kerala indeed is Gods own country. The staff was courteous throughout our stay and the SPA was top notch. A little expensive but theres a physiotherapist who specialises in joint and back related problems who almost cured my lower back problem with a kerala ayurvedic hot oil therapy. Not to mention that the food was exquisite. I am a vegetarian, but my freinds who binge on Non vegetarian went gaga over dinner. Whereas i mostly enjoyed morning breakfast by the poolside. All in all, i had a great time doing water sports, just lunging around the resort and going to the SPA. i couldn't believe that our 3 nights 4 days were over within no time and it was actually time to go back to mumbai.
A special mention to the courteous staff. Inspite of a busy tourist period they werent sucking up to White's and were equally attentive to our needs.
I absolutely recommend Leela Kovalam..
Its a resort/hotel where you can have a good time with your freinds, family, spouse, gf/bf or actually take time off and be by urself..

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  By devam_22 on Feb 02, 2011

We stayed at The Leela after having been recomended it by our daughter. We found it to very good. The staff were very friendly and couldn"t do enough to make sure you were happy. The rooms and linen were kept clean. We went an a half board basis so eat at the hotel> The food was very good and the buffet meals were a good way to sample the `keralan food, however we did think the drinks were rather epensive.

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  By leolion59 on Feb 02, 2011

Fantastic location. Once you enter the place, you are taken aback by the hospitality showered on you. Initially I felt they were faking it, but with time I realised it was deeply rooted in the ethos of the hotel. Right from the managers to the bell boys - highly courteous. Food was awsome. The pool at The Club is the place to be at sunset for some amazing photography options. The improvement required is in their internal cart service. With so many rooms they should have a much larger fleet esp coz the beach is deep down. Took a lot of waiting for the cart to go up.

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  By NomadicTr... on Jan 01, 2011

I along with 2 girlfriends stayed at The Leela after touring Kerala. We received a charming reception and our room was ready by 2pm. Our room, 2401 was spacious and comfortable with a fantastic terrace and views of the beach and temple. There was no bath but a large walk in shower. There were no UK channels on the TV and there was no information in the room concerning restaurants and services etc. The majority of the staff were friendly and helpful, although there was one lady on reception who was a little grumpy and not particularly helpful when we needed a late check out. For me the best part was the food, especially the breakfasts and the evening buffet. The beach is wonderful and the town and artesan shops only a 10 min walk away. I´m not sure whether I would return as it doesnt rate as a 5* hotel compared to hotels I have stayed at in Dubai. For the amount of money we paid, I felt there was a little something missing.

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  By Renoooo on Jan 01, 2011

Lovely hotel, picked up at airport with a cool towel and some water. Staying in a 1 bed room which was a 2 minute buggy round to from the main hotel. A buggy was usually available within 5 minutes when required. The main restaurant and pool were very nice. Unfortunately the smaller pool by our room was quite shabby. The rooms themselves were lovely, there were some poor finishing touches in the rooms though. Our shower door didn't close, there was some further cleaning required in the bathroom. The tv east working, although it was promptly fixed when asked. The food in the terrace was nice and plentiful and the staff were lovely. The beach isn't very nice but that may just be what the beach is is like in kovalam.

Overall a thoroughly pleasant stay, this hotel is nice but not up to the standards of the leela palace in Bangalore.

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  By Dr_JRJ on Jan 01, 2011

We ( me, my wife and toddler son ) stayed at this beautiful property in June 2010 for 4 nights. Right from the moment we were picked up from Trivandrum airport to the time when we were dropped back, we were awed by the hospitality we received.

We stayed in the presidential suit which needless to mention had all the luxury one would look forward to while staying in a plush hotel like this. Other than this, the suit offered spectacular view of the arabian sea. The view was unhindered, with a good balcony one could have spent entire day gazing at the beauty of th sea.

The club rooms had a seperate swimming pool which again was amazing in the upkeep and also the feel that you are swimming in the sea. Me and my son thoroughly enjoyed the pool spending hours in it.

The food was simply too good and we gained atlest 2-3 KG of weight by splurging on the gourmet dishes that were spread out. We were also surprised by getting our room decorated with a chocolate cake put on without our notice on the day of our anniversary.

The hotel staff was very warm and utmost care was taken for our need. Overall a very good property and worth staying.

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  By amitsinha... on Dec 12, 2010

this is the obvious choice if you are looking for a top class relaxation holiday in Kerala. the location overlooking a cliff above the ocean is just unbelievable.

the staff is good and the food quite refreshing as well. drinks by the infinity pool is a must do!

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  By novice78 on Dec 12, 2010

We splurged and took a garden view room for 1 night. Was about £130 I think. THe hotel is beautiful. THe service was ok - lower than I would expect for a 5*. The pool was great. We didn't eat here at all - was too expensive. Instead we went to a restaurant in town - Fusion - excellent food.

Tom & Maeva

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  By TomMaeva on Dec 12, 2010

After 2 1/2 weeks in India visiting my wife's family and business in Delhi, the Leela was a welcome retreat. We arrived exhausted and over 4 nights were rested and ready to go home to the US. I found the staff responsive and courteous. The spa was terrific, the concierge helpful. If they could improve anything I would say that they should have their concierge be more helpful in recommending restaurants outside the complex. Also, the business center was unreliable and expensive. Hotels in India have to give up charging fees for wifi.

45

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  By CabHardy on Dec 12, 2010

have stayed at many hotels but this was the most calm and peaceful place ever found away from rush of delhi was found most relaxing .

sea noise mdae it more relaxing as giving a meditation music

property is huge , neat and clean

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  By jamo1980 on Dec 12, 2010

Excellent service, great room ambience, good food & value for money. The staff and the services are very good. The food has excellent choice. The hotel is located on a beautiful hillock overlooking the Arabian sea with breathtaking view of the sea and not too far from the airport .
Tastefully done rooms/ cottages with all the necessities bundled for a business/ leisure traveller.
Good business centres and swiming pools to cool off.

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  By Prashantk... on Nov 11, 2010

This was one of my best offsites. The location and view is to die for. The service and quality of the rooms were impeccable, what else will you expect from the leela. I would be visiting the property with my family during january 2011

The only hassle was the long walk upto to the main area. At some points of time the electric cars would not be available and it would be a pain walking up the hill.

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  By peyyala on Nov 11, 2010

A beautiful property, well appointed rooms.......pure bliss!!!!!!! The sky Bar was something that i had never seen or experienced before. Most of the rooms overlook the sea so its a very pleasant sight not just early mornings to watch the sunrise or sunset in the evening but throughout the day. Rains made our stay even more pleasant though month of May is not the ideal time to go.
Buffet included in the package was excellent..... each day a new variety of not just coastal cuisine but also continental and all very well prepared.
there is even an activity room for the kids which is very well maintained.
The only drawback is the limited area of the beach, there is hardly any demarcation between the private and public area so you always have onlookers staring at you. But the pool at the restaurant more than made up for it because of the beautiful view of the sea that you get from it.

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  By shyamanti... on Nov 11, 2010

The location, room, food and the welcome was great. The service was not so good, the waiters usually made a face when ever you asked something, the captain alomost picked up a fight as we had turned up 10 minutes before the closure of the dinner.

The view from the club rooms are awesone and is really a once in a lifetime experice.

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  By Rahul N on Nov 11, 2010

The Leela has an amazing entrance and first impressions are stunning. Rooms are adequate but in no way match the grandeur of the reception.
We spent 8 days there and during that time there was two conferences. The second one was invasive and seem to completely take over the hotel. Ok if you are an attending the conference but awful if you are there to relax.

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  By eddiethe4... on Nov 11, 2010

Stayed at Leela for two days on a business trip in Oct 10.

The checkin was a disaster - they allotted me a room where a guest was already staying! Had to go back with luggage in tow back at the reception and was allotted a room next to the earlier room. Someone clearly goofed up.

The property is huge and very well maintained. The rooms are good size and offer complete privacy. What could optically appear as a large room gets hampered with the wierd positioning of the wash basin - outside of the bathroom and into the room. The bathroom too is quite small.

The breakfast was good variety and offered options. What is key to the property is its location and it makes full advantage of it.

Will I come back? Yes.

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  By Sanjay_Ja... on Oct 10, 2010

My god. What a great location. It's pretty much on/next to the beach - but the hotel is built onto a huge rock. So you can get rooms very close to the water, or you can be high up enjoying the indian ocean trying to break down the rock the hotel is standing on.

THere are about a zillion great views at this property. And of course, they have left the whole place really green and natural. I was specially amazed at the views from both the bars. Tremendous.

Perfect to destress and soak all your worries away in the infinity pool.
Given that kovalam is a bit off the main cities, I was wondering about the food. And I gotta hand it to the hotel. They managed all the traditional buffet food really well; but some of the local food they put on the buffet is simply stupendous. Try the beetroot rice and kachdi if possible - simplest of pleasures.

A collague told me too that she had some v good crab at the chinese restaurant by the beach (part of the hotel).

I was (I think) in a superior category room with a private balcony overlooking the ocean. And this room is simply fantastic - one or two levels below the main reception and lobby (which is set at the highest point of the hotel). For romantic couples, you can order room service and stay in the balcony all day! No prying eyes possible.

I had stayed at this place 15 years ago as well, but the Leela (which took over the hotel 8-10 years ago) has just improved the place by leaps!

Highly reccomended, even though steep. THe monsoon always brings a good deal along.

You'd make a big mistake in not taking a good camera along! As I did :-/

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  By nandieux on Oct 10, 2010

Had a lovely stay on vacation............Beach front rooms were very good and scenery fantastic, the food was excellent and the choice was wide, pool possibly was the best infinity pool in the region, the service was great and the staff courteous..........................
Back waters are superb and the gondola right is romantic.....

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  By Anil-from... on Sep 09, 2010

We wanted to spend a few days relaxing at a beach resort, still with the option to travel around in Southern Kerala.
The Leela proved to be a great experience. The swimming pool, the amenities, the staff and the location are great. The restaurant next to the beach has to be experienced. Every evening, Mr Suresh was kind enough to accomodate our never ending eagerness and curiosity for Asian food by cooking South Indian, Vietnamese, Malaysian dishes, whether they would be on the menu or not. Beautiful hotel that we would warmly recommend. The only little glitch (and there is always one, even in the best places) is the beach, which could be cleaner and bigger.
Still, one of the places in Southern Kerala, and very reasonable rates too.

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  By vincent06... on Aug 08, 2010

Charming place but strictly business class with a classy View

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  By genietrip on Aug 08, 2010

Slightly steep, but the views are beautiful. Food is also good. The rooms are kind of small and they have old TVs. They always some or the other activiity going on like archery, yoga, cookery classes, south indian dance shows, etc etc.
Must use the spa facilities. Staff is very courteous and nice. Its located very close to the Lighthouse beach (main public beach) which has really nice cafes and restaurants.
The main thing Leela's got going for them is their views - they're simply BEAUTIFUL!
The infinity pool is wonderful.
They also have higher value rooms called Club suites which are basically completely cut off frm the rest of the resort.
However, their beach is nothing great.

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  By globetrot... on Aug 08, 2010

loved my five days at leela kovalam. beautiful property. house keeping is not up to the mark and not managed well. garden view rooms not recommended. they are smelly. Otherwise a super resort.

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  By sunainam on Aug 08, 2010

Just got back from a 3N 4D package to the hotel "Beach View Superior Gateway AP". The experience was seamless and the staff are courteous and helpful. They delivered all that they promised. Location is superb - perched atop a small cliff. Once we got there, we realised there is a higher ctegory of rooms with an outdoor rainshower etc.

Our room had a view of the ocean and beach. Our package was inclusive of meals - which got a bit boring so we decided to order room service. We used the travel desks services for an excursion to Poovar (backwaters) for Rs. 4000 (steep but well spent and hassle free). The spa was nice - therapists were good - for all those attempting the Shirodhara my advice - its overated.

The hotel also has an exclusive 'Club' section with a seperate restaurant and spa, artificial beach and with rooms which jut out almost over the water. However these rooms are modern and small.

Overall this is a good family hotel, quite a number of kids. The pool is at reception level adjacent to a restaurant so not too much privacy.

The 'x' factor was missing (having experienced the Taj & Oberois). Nice hotel. Value for money package.

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  By pavit77 on Aug 08, 2010

Leela Kovalam, is a perfect place for date. Surronded on the beach, it gives you a fresh sea breeze along with a view of beach from your room window. A cool romantic place to stay & enjoy the piece. Overall this hotel is good for holiday visitors & winters are the best time to visit Kovalam.

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  By ND_ADVISO... on Jul 07, 2010

The overall experience was good.
Nice polite and courtious entrance security and reception staff. They will always greet you with namste in indian style.
Even the restaurant staff was also good and would cater to the special demand.

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  By romishaz on Jul 07, 2010

My wife and I recently spent 2 nights in Leela Kempinski Kovalam at this beautiful resort. The accommodations are wonderful and the staffs realy good.I would definitely recommend this resort to any one staying in kovalam with sea facing and we will stay there in the future if we got a chance.

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  By Anishtk on Jul 07, 2010

We stayed in the Club for two nights in Feb. It was a winter break abroad so the hotel was packed with many non-resident Indians. The Club room was small, but very modern with an amazing ocean view. The grounds and open-air lobby were beautiful. It is a lovely downhill walk to the beach and the waves are perfect to frolic in. The Club area is intimate and has a private dining area, infinity pool, and library (which serves a complimentary afternoon tea). The food was excellent, the breakfast was delicious with many offerings as is the lunch buffet. One night we had lobster on the beach. Also, not night life as the bars close at 11 which seems a bit early. As for service, it could have been better, we had apparently had a private butler, but had little interaction with him. Room service was late in cleaning our room which was a bit annoying. Also, we had young children, but the staff at the restaurant never mentioned they had a child menu until I saw another family looking at it. It would have been much easier to order off of the child menu had we been told about it. Overall, the Leela was nice indulgence during our visit to India.

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  By fhjasfh on Jul 07, 2010

A well run hotel that is ideally situated. We found the place almost faultless. Rooms nicely decorated and serviced well. The restaurants are all fine but if you are going there for a week or more do try the local restaurants in Kovalam. Cheap and incredibly good tasty food. Note that the next beach along can become really noisy when locals descend on the area in the late afternoon during the holiday season. Great fun to watch as scores of happy fully dressed people brave the waves. If you go and watch make sure you take a camera.

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  By Indophile... on Jun 06, 2010

It is one of the best in Kovalam. The rooms have fabulous view of the Ocean. The swimming pool is at a nice place as if you feel you are in the ocean with an excellent ocean view. The restaurants are not great. I think they need to improve the quality of the food to the Kempinsky standards. The beaches are at a walking distance. The children may enjoy.

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  By indiag on Jun 06, 2010

The hotel is beautifully located. The rooms in the main building have a nice view overlooking the sea, the cottages below are even nicer - with a garden view though. The Club is a rip-off. The view from the Club rooms is wonderful, but the standard room (which is pretty expensive) is small, and the decor not to my taste. (The older part of the hotel has more traditional decor, which I found charming, but the Club is very modern). The beds were okay - not as nice as I'd have expected. The spa was disappointing. Nice pool.

Food at the Club restaurant was good, but at the Terrace was not. Service was patchy, at best. A little disappointed considering the money spent. But the views are the best part. The Skybar is great, but you have to have the weather on your side.

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  By dk10 on Jun 06, 2010

My husband and I stayed in the Leela Kempinski at Kovalam Beach for 2 weeks between 30th April and 14th May 2010. We have stayed at other similar standard hotels all over the world, so we have quite a good selection to make comparisons. We both thought that the Leela was very comfortable, the staff were lovely - very attentive and the service was pretty good. The food was absolutely excellent. We stayed in a Sea View De Luxe room - not the most basic type, but not a Club room either. The room was well appointed, had everything that we needed and had a very nice balcony with a good view. Things I really liked about the hotel -
* the bed linen was lovely quality - very soft and beautifully white and clean.
* the staff, especially the waiters in the Terrace Restaurant, were very nice, friendly and chatty
* our air conditioning worked pretty well and our room was always nice and cool - we left a card in the slot the whole time, even when we went out, and the housekeeping staff just left it there too
* the Indian breakfast food was so delicious - the buffets at dinner were good too
* the spa was lovely, and the ayurvedic treatments were excellent, but REALLY expensive
* nice big TV in our room
* poolside attendant greeted us every morning, and once he got to know us, he had our towels all set out for us on our favourite sunbeds
* the Concierge service at the front door was very friendly and efficient
* there were always tuk-tuks available at the hotel gates to take us down to Lighthouse Beach and Hawa Beach to eat in the beach restaurants there.
Things I didn't like about the hotel -
* Quite expensive for food, drinks and spa treatments
* Incredibly hot - especially in the Reception / Lobby area (I don't know how the staff could work there!)
* silly wooden door in to the bathroom in our room - we kept tripping over it and stubbing our toes on the bottom
* service around the swimming pool area was quite poor - we were seldom asked if we wanted to order a drink; we were never asked if we wanted any food brought over at lunch time; we were never given cold cloths or cups of water (we have had all of these services at other hotels).
Overall, we had a nice time at the Leela, and I would recommend the hotel. We chose a VERY hot time to visit Kerala and the heat was a real challenge for us, but that was outwith the control of the hotel.

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  By Janice-an... on May 05, 2010

Our room was a beachfront deluxe made in kerala style with an open air bath and jacuzzi.. absolutely loved it! We woke up every day to the sight and sound of sea waves.. lovely, very relaxing!
The hotel offered everything we could need & want - great views, a private beach, a games room with table tennis, a nice gym with an instructor. We took an all-meals plan and the best part of the food was the kerala food counter that had the yummy fish and pachdis (yoghurt salad).
From the hotel it was quite convenient to take trips to the city, to Poovar and to the hill station Ponmudi.
Yes on the last day we did find a rat in the room which did freak us out a bit! the rat might have come in through the open air bath!

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  By Sw06 on Apr 04, 2010

We read a lot of good reviews on the hotel and decided to stay. The location is very nice on a rock and near the beach and a beautiful swimming pool. We were received by the hotel hostess but with a forced upon smile. There are reviews mentioning 3 swimming pools but out the one with nicest view we were asked to leave as this was only for club members, which was not explained or clearly indicated. They will over charge you for everything you do or ask, so take care! taxi's from hotel costed 1050 Rupees whcih is normally only app. 300 Rupees (not rikshaw but taxi!) It is only a mere 15 minutes drive. We needed to leave for the airport at 6 am and we had to take our bagage from the room to our taxi ourselves although we hihglighted a few times that we had to leave at 6 am and for a luxurious hotel we have seen better service. It was too early for breakfast but they would organize it on the room and without informing they insisted on charging the full room service ratewithout give us an alternative in advance, it was jhust added and the manager was not available for comment! Wrong choice and heard better things on taj resort nearby!.

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  By arthurNet... on Apr 04, 2010

We stayed at the Leela for 5 nights from the 26th January and had a lovely stay. The hotel is truly stunning and set amongst lovely surroundings. There are three categories in this hotel ranging from the most expensive club rooms, which offers guests their own lobby, swimming pool and restaurant to the beach rooms situated within the main hotel and then the garden view rooms that are situated across the hotel.
We stayed in the beach view rooms that offered great views. The beachrooms are unusual in that the main lobby is located on the top floor and the beach rooms below. The rooms were spacious, modern and well equipped. The bathrooms had large walk in showers.
This hotel's swimming pool was the focal point of the hotel and was set in beautiful surroundings.
A disappointment for me with that at times the service was slow and perhaps not as efficient as you would expect a top rated five star resort to be. I base my experience largely from the main restaurant. For example one morning there was no butter and when the waiter was asked to bring some out he emerged a few minutes later with the butter but no cutlery to serve the butter with, at other times service was slow and you would often have to wait for over 25 minutes for a simple dish. We also felt that food choices in between main meals were very limited. The main meals served in the main restaurant both a la carte and buffet were very average and nothing outstanding. In contrast to food at the main restaurant we preferred the choice of food served at the nearby Taj hotel, which was a lot more extensive and tasty.
In comparison to the main restaurant the Leela has a very good fusion restaurant (Tides) serving chinese/thai/malaysian food. Tides is set right on the beach and here the food and service were both in my opinion a lot better.
The hotel is well located near the lighthouse beach, which is a short rickshaw ride from the hotel. The lighthouse beach houses a number of beachside restaurants, most specialising in seafood and very reasonably priced.
A stay at this hotel enables you to really relax and unwind. Kerala has retained it natural and authentic beauty providing guests with a very peaceful retreat away from busy city life and the more commercialised resorts.
I would most definitely recommend a stay at this hotel for it's high class accommodation and lush surroundings. A particularly great place for couples and families wanting a peaceful and relaxing holiday in luxurious accommodation.

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  By Hima on Mar 03, 2010

The minute you enter the Leela Hotel you are awestruck. The sheer opulence and the decor never ceases to amaze you. The rooms are clean and the infinity pool is awesome. Used the ayurvedic spa facilities the first time and it is highly recommended!

We stayed in the Superior room. Though I loved the place I had a bad stomach and threw up that very night I landed there. This was my second visit to Leela and the second time I had food poisoning after eating the food. The good part was that the staff found out that we were missing for dinner and enquired about us. Told them that I wasnt feeling to well and they promptly got me medicines free of cost. Now thats something one must appreciate. Would I do Leela again? Well I dont know!


This hotel also has a club hotel(a hotel within a hotel) which has a separate entrance, kitchen,rooms and separate swimming pool.

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Rating

  By Crochetre... on Mar 03, 2010

My husband and myself went to the Leela in February, we stayed in the Club, so I cannot tell you what the other rooms were like but as far as the Club was concerned the rooms were very nice, loveley balcony looking out over the sea and you can watch the fishermen catching mussels, etc everyday, this is an experience in itself. Separate toilet, basin and shower which was like a power shower, They left chocolates, biscuit's and fruit everyday and should you require anything it was done immediately.

What I would say that we were not told this when we arrived but you are allowed 1000 rupees to go towards your meals in the club restaurant and the tides which is down on the beach this usually covers most of the meals but watch out, if you have the buffet meals in the terrace you can eat as much as you like at no extra cost, only the drinks, talking about drinks they are very expensive a bottle of Indian chardonnay is about £26 and a glass about £8 you can go down to the lighthouse beach and eat and drink for a fraction of the price but I am not sure about the quality did not seem very inviting to me. In the next bay there is a restaurant called The Third Rock which I would recommend for cleanliness, etc.

We went on three trips while we ere there. The first one was to Travendrum (CITY) to see the temples that was interesting and we went to see the local markets, a must, just to see how they live. The second was the backwater trip from Alleppey, it took us 4 hours by car to get there but was worth while, we stayed overnight. travelled along the backwaters which are very big and was able to see how the people live there, washing, washing themselves and their pots and pans all in the river but they were so clean. The houseboat we travelled on was fantastic, we were upgraded to a 3 bedroom one and there was only the two of us, dining room, shower, etc, it was with Evergreen Tours, they were so helpful and the food was lovely we had 2 cooked meals and breakfast. The third was to a elephant sanctuary where we were able to wash and feed the elephants also have a ride on one. All these were booked through Hayes and Jarvis and were worth the money as it was only us in the car all times.

The only bit of advise I would give is if your flight is about 4.30am to come home make sure you have booked that day for your room before you leave england as we did not hoping we could get one while we were there but they were fully booked, luckily somebody let us change in their room but I would certainly make sure the last day is included in your package.

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  By Wondermum on Mar 03, 2010

My husband and I stayed at the Leela for 10 nights in November and had a great stay. We had a deluxe room with private balcony overlooking the ocean which was very good, clean and comfortable. We found the restaurant food very good , particularly the Indian food . Though expensive by local standards, compared to the UK we found it good value. We ate out a few times in restaurants along the beach front and the cost of course was far less but the standards are lower. Staff were all extremely friendly and helpful and we found the service always excellent, that is until we reached the check out desk. The hotel insisted that our Visa transaction processed in Sterling rather than Rupees and told us that we would be charged a 4% fee by their bank if we paid in Rupees. The exchange rate they then used was heavily in the hotels favour and we later found that were substantially out of pocket The 4% fee claim was later proved to be false when checked with Visa. We raised a complaint to the hotel but after many follow up emails they have not responded, so just beware when paying your bill!

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  By SurreyWok... on Feb 02, 2010

Lovely Hotel, but rather too modern for me - staff very helpful, restaurants OK but pricey,
Wonderful infinity pool in The Club.
Take a tuk tuk down to the light house beach where you will find loads of restaurants all good value £12 for two - amazing sea food

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Rating

  By anthil on Feb 02, 2010

My husband and I stayed in the hotel for three weeks in January. I was not expecting to be delighted with the hotel rooms after having read the various reports, and because we weren't in a club room, I anticipated disappointment. So it was a pleasant surprise to have a perfectly comfortable room with effective air conditioning, superb pillows and a comfortable bed. Yes the room could have been bigger, yes there could have been two easy chairs to sit in , yes there could have been a bath as well as a shower. But I am really just being picky!
The hotel was extremely comfortable, very clean with the facilities and service one expects in a 5 star hotel in India.
The breakfast buffet was fantastic and even after three weeks, neither of us was bored with the choice on offer.
We used the gym each morning and just as well as for the rest of the time, we basically did nothing to burn off the breakfast calories!
I commend the stff, from the gardeners to the security staff on their courteousness. Never have I said good morning to so many people!
The only down side as far as I was concerned( apart from having to leave) was the disappointing beach. It really cannot compete with Goan beaches, but hey, that is not a fault of the hotel!
However, it is worth mentioning the fact that the hotel has a conference facility which can mean that at times, the hotel is shared by delegates who are not holidaying. It can be quite uncomfortable to share the beach with 350 plus men in suits who seem to have never seen bikini clad women before!! Be warned, the concept of personal space doesn't always apply!

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  By queensqui... on Feb 02, 2010

We stayed for three nights at the start of a one week tour of Kerala.

We were allocated rooms in the new Club wing which had every amenity and fantastic views of the sea although they were a little on the small side.

My overriding memory of this hotel will be the way that all staff from managers to gardeners and from housekeeping to maintenance all greeted you so pleasantly whenever they walked by. That makes for a friendly and welcoming atmosphere so a big well-done for that.

There's lots of security here - scanners by the entrance and guards everywhere but after a while we got used to that. The grounds of the hotel are stunning - really beautiful and well cared for. It's only a 20 minute ride form the airport and the hotel efficiently arranged our transfers which all went smoothly.

The ayurvedic spa is classy and the treatments nice but way more than you'd pay in the numerous options that you can find on the walk down to Kovalam beach.

Negatives? Some restuarant servers were very good but others were chaotic. We were disappointed with the lack of food choices - we stayed at the end of the new year holiday period and the hotel was busy but one evening we couldn't walk in and get a table in either the beach or main restaurant which surprised us.

I'm also not sure that all the Club benefits are worthwhile. Complimentary afternoon tea and snacks are provided in the Club Lounge but the snacks quickly ran out and it all seemed a bit half hearted. In my view, if the hotel is going to provide this amenity it should do it properly or skip it all together, There was also a shortage of sunbeds in the Club pool area (which are very closely packed) and overlooking the beach by the spa. We like privacy and not to feel 'on top of' other guests and the Leela did not really provide that for us.

All in all this was a nice stay and we enjoyed it. Three nights was enough though and we were happy to move on at that point.

45

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  By tint7003 on Jan 01, 2010

I have been to the Leela Kempinski Kovalam for a business visit. It is a wonderful place to spend your holidays.

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  By deepakd07 on Dec 12, 2009

Very expensive and not really representative of Kerala, this air conditioned, super luxurious, security guarded enclave offers you everything money can buy (except maybe personality)

It's location is stunning with easy access to a small but lovely beach although the armed guards can be off-putting.

We had club rooms which offer additional services such as exclusive use of a second infinity pool (stunning), butler service- cute idea but just room service in reality, free afternoon tea (nice idea but who really wants to get dresses and spend part of the afternoon inside sipping tea and eating cakes) - I am not sure if the extra charged by club is worth it.

we also had our last night in a beach bungalow due to a double booking. These are older and away rom main complex but I liked them- lots of Indian character.

Food and drink really dear but cocktails in the sky bar a must. Local restaurants are great and only a 10 minute walk.

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Rating

  By hobbesman... on Dec 12, 2009

What a location, fantastic unbeatable views from your room over the sea and around the bay.

On the cliff but a short walk down to its own private beach which offered comfortable and safe bathing. Also close enough to watch local fishermen coming in - but security protected guests from any hassle from souvenir sellers, Also close enough to walk down into the main Lighthouse beach - get a tuk tuk back up the bank.

Room was well designed and offered all luxuries. Cool a/c, Service was good. Buffet offered a great choice but we felt the quality although good didn't quite meet the standard of our previous hotel at Marari Beach. A second open air restaurant on the beach offered top quality chinese/thai meals serenaded by a local band.

Hotel very hot on security, checking all cars and with guards, some carrying guns. Offer major conference and business facilities - so not purely leisure.

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Rating

  By alandpama... on Nov 11, 2009

The Leela is indeed a superb hotel and was an ideal location for our honeymoon. The lobby and main part of the hotel are beautifully decorated; the staff obviously take great pride in the hotel's appearance. On arrival we were welcomed with a fresh coconut and a sea-shell necklace, and seated in the lobby whilst they checked our room was ready (we arrived fairly early in the morning). One of the hotel staff then quickly showed us the main features of the hotel on the way to our room:

Our room, a Beachview Deluxe, was fabulous: a huge bed, reasonable size bathroom (no bath but large shower-head), TV, aircon and balcony with, as advertised, a view of the beach. The room was tastefully decorated and furnished giving a modern appearance. Overall we were very comfortable in our room and would struggle to find fault with it.

I can't comment a great deal about the food as we stayed on B&B basis. However, the quality of the breakfast was very good with a fair choice of foods (continental style fruit, meats, cheese and bread, Sri Lankan style hot meals, UK style fried food, plus made to order omlettes). For dinner we chose to eat out as there is ample choice of restaurants in nearby Light House Beach, which is much cheaper than eating in the hotel.

I did use the business centre a few times for internet access; the cost of which was not expensive (some TripAdvisor contributors have complained about the cost of internet access so I can only assume the hotel have reduced prices). Internet usage was 150Rs for one hour (£3 sterling per hour).

If you chose to use the hotel's private beach or infinity pool, attendants will be on hand to provide you with towels for your bed. I was amazed how extravagant the hotel's beach toilets were - very plush! I particularly enjoyed the infinity pool, which boasts a great view of the Indian Ocean.

My wife and I were sat drinking in the Sky Line Bar and a the Hotel Manager came over to personally welcome us to the hotel - a particularly nice touch in my opinion. Indeed, all the staff were extremely helpful and polite. The Sky Line Bar (an open air bar) re-opened the day we arrived and we enjoyed sitting outside and watching the world go by. Very peaceful!

Overall, the hotel was fairly quiet and most guests appeared to be on business as opposed to staying for leisure purposes. There were very few children around but we did stay at the hotel before the tourist season really starts. We really enjoyed our stay at the Leela and would go there again. In sum, a very beautifully decorated hotel with helpful and polite staff.

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  By Bugerov on Oct 10, 2009

We just spent 4 nights at the Leela Kovalam with our 2 year old son. We had a great time there. A very relaxed and enjoyable vacation.

We had booked beach view superior rooms but were upgraded to the Club rooms, which seems to be a pretty common thing, judging from previous reviews.
The Club rooms are very modern and elegant although not very spacious. They have a nice large LCD TV (40" I think) with a DVD player and a reasonable choice of movies. The bathrooms are nice with a separate shower cubicle (no bath tub, though) and good toileteries. However, it would be good if the Leela could include a health faucet next to the WC. Most modern hotels do have that, apart from the toilet paper.

The best part about Leela Kovalam is its location, right on top of a cliff, which means you get awesome views from almost everywhere - the rooms, the Club lounge, the library, the path to the beach etc.

The beach itself is pretty ordinary. However, the path to the beach is awesome and you have at least 2 points along the way where the view is breathtaking. Dont miss the experience of at least one sunset from those points. They have 2 seats there where you can sit and relax, though sometimes it tends to get a little crowded around evening/sunset.

The food is pretty good. We had opted for an all inclusive package, so had all our meals at the Terrace - the buffet. The weekend buffets have lots more choices than the weekday ones. Dinner buffets usually have a selection of good Kerala dishes just outside the main restaurant, with the usual spread inside.

There were frequent power cuts on the first day and a few on the next few days. Although the power does come back with the generator back up in a few mins, it is still a problem.

We spent most of our time at the Hotel. But we did go out shopping one day. The hotel cab is expensive but not a total rip off. We had asked the travel desk for suggestions and they actually gave us some good tips, not suggesting tourist rip off places but some authentic Kerala outlets (for chips, spices, Kerala sarees etc).

The service at the resort was really good - at the room service and at the restaurant. They catered to our sometimes-fussy son with good natured humour and care.

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Rating

  By IndiaTrav... on Oct 10, 2009

My husband and I stayed at this hotel. Of course, the photos we saw were really great and we decided to go there. Our biggest disappointment was that the main pool was being repaired and therefore we were told to use the smaller pool. Also, they had workers working near the dining area. Chinu and Rita from front desk/reception were very nice and helpful and when they found out it was our anniversary they sent us a cake... But in the evening we had a bad experience with a male staff at the front desk. When we asked whether they had any contact details of the The Leela Hotel in Gurgaon, he was very rude and finally told us to check the Internet!! The first night we stayed at beach superior and the rooms are quite spacious and nicely done. also has a good view of the sea. However, the bathrooms could be better and for the price you pay you might expect better quality. We tried the terrace restaurant for two nights and one breakfast. As a vegetarian I was quite happy to see quite a large number of selection. My husband, who is a non-veg also had a good variety. The food was good as well. The manager was very nice. However, the service provided by the wiaters need to improve!! At breakfast, the wiater spilt both my husband's and my coffee/tea and did not even apologise.. He seemed quite put off that we actually asked him to serve tea.. he was busy day dreaming! Also, the waiters have an annoying habbit of gathering in one place and do not really seem to be doing anything much.. until of course the restaurant closing time.. then they became very active and started cleaning the place..probably because they wanted to go to sleep soon! however, the staff at the other two restaurants were great.. one night Rita had organised a special private dinner at the chinese restaurant.. the staff were excellent (esp the waiter who served us) and the food again was very good..

we pgraded ourselves to the club room the following day as I liked the view. The room and the bathroom are not that great for the price you pay... I actually thought it could be better.. It did not have a bath tub :(.. and it is relatively expensive compared to the other rooms.. and the rooms in the club setion was actually smaller that the beach superior.. which we thought should be the other way around.. again the restaurant staff were very nice although the selection was limited. but the waiter did offer to make other dishes.. the cleaning was good but they did not replenish the supplies properly and we had to ask them for it.. also we told that we had a personal buttler but we never found him... i personally thought the some of the staff were quite snobbish!! but then they might be just having a bad day!

we also used the spa and it was quite nice..although I have had better ayurvedic treatment.. i also had a hair cut at the saloon which had a good view..

The location is really great and the beach was nice although we could not swim as the sea was rough.. the pool is the club side was nice..

Overall, I think the rooms are ok for the price you pay and we have stayed in better hotels.. but i think it is worth visiting the place as it is quite nice..

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  By Dori-DD on Jul 07, 2009

Lovely place, excellent holiday destination, well equipped property, I enjoyed my holidays. Must visit.

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  By chaturved... on Jun 06, 2009

excellent hotel, great service & food, just go there to enjoy!!

we had just one problem that our AC in our GARDEN PAVILION WING room was not working and it could not be fixed despite repeated requests to front desk, also since the hotel was fully booked there was no room that the staff could offer us, instead they offered us a 40% discount on 'Private Dining Menu-Room Service'.

Kindly go to the buffet early as we had to wait for 30 min to get seats

since the monsoons arrived the day we checked in ie 25th May the weather was lovely, it rained all night and breezy during the day.

Sky Bar was not functional due to weather but Terrace has nice food to offer.

If you need to save, buy things like booze etc there is a shop just 15 mins from hotel and can be reached by auto rickshaw available just outside hotel gate (rs.100/- return fare)

though i think the pool should have been large and seperate from the main restaurant.

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Rating

  By Ram1975 on Jun 06, 2009

great hotel, lovely realxing sky bar, private tranquil beach, great service, nice details & food was great in the restaurant. Only bad thing is the music in the restaurant, sound like you are listening to american radio!!

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  By Micalma on May 05, 2009

Hidden within lush green trees, this stunning luxury resort is a place to stay put and be pampered. The best part about my stay was the infinity edge pool and enjoy alfresco dining at The Terrace that offers unbelievable views of the Arabian Sea.

The Spa is also a must visit where you can choose from a host of exotic therapies. We recommend the Shirodhara, where a continuous stream of medicated oil is poured on the forehead for forty minutes. For those who want to go the whole log, there are a lot of signature treatments.

My room was designed in typical Kerala style with a high wooden ceiling. Waking up was a task with the soft mattress luring you to sleep for hours. The hotel allows you to order a customized pillow of your choice. Ever heard of a Horse Hair Pillow?

But, like us most people visit Kovalam for the beach. The property has a private beach, not the best for swimming, but perfect for the evening walk.

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  By TravelFre... on May 05, 2009

One of the best hotel in South Asia, Beautiful location. The hotel is constucted by a Charles corriea, a famous Architech which gives a stunning view of Arabian Sea. The hotel having arround 180 beautiful rooms all are sea facing, couple of restaurants and Bar. The hotel owned with a private beach for the staying guest. All staff are very friendly & helpful .

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Rating

  By DileepKri... on Apr 04, 2009

I stayed at the Leela for 8 nights at the end of a tour of Kerala. The location is absolutely beautiful and the infinity swimming pool is stunning. The rooms are well thought out and provide all mod cons with excellent bathrooms. The beach side restaurant and barbecue are ideal for a romantic meal (but can be very expensive) and the staff here are excellent. Entertainment here (martial arts displays and dancing) are unimaginative and could be better. The biggest problem is the main restaurant where the food is unexciting and some of the staff are surly and unhelpful (20 minutes to serve eggs at breakfast). For such a large hotel to only have two restaurants (there is a third but this is exclusively for Club members) is not good, Vast grounds but a free buggy service for all locations within the hotel means this is not a problem. Overall a great experience, but not quite the 5* real deal that a lot of the guide books portray.

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  By AnthonyIG on Apr 04, 2009

Me and my family are just back from a great trip to varoius places in Kerala. We ended our 8 day trip with three nights at the Leela Kempinski. At arrival we were greeted in the normal way and all got the red dot painted at our foreheads and a welcome coconut drink. We were showed to our rooms (we had booked two interconnected roomes) and we were met by a mold/humid smell probably from poor ventilation. The rooms are otherwise good. We had booked Superior Beach View rooms, and actually theese rooms doesn't have beach view - rather sea view - which was good. This is a nice hotel but me and my family received very mixed service level (and we are not that demanding. One of the restaurants - the main one called The Tides, had very sloppy service. All other places in the hotel had very good service level. The outdoor Sky Bar was very nice and made good coctails (I loved the Mohitos they made). We did not like the beach since it was a public beach with many noisy locals even though the hotel has a private part, but not all the way to the water. We also saw large "oil spills" on the beach The restaurant at the beach of Panasian type was also very good.

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  By MatsG on Apr 04, 2009

Stayed 10th to 21st March great location, as a smoker I was a bit bemused with regard to their rules on this, firstly told this is a no smoking resort, then told we have a smoking area, also we sell cigs and cigars in the main bar area, also I found out from other visters that they have a complete floor of smoking rooms. We found by the end of our stay food very repetative also very expensive along with bottles of wine so like many others we ate at the lighthouse beach most evenings. Service in the resturant was good apart from the breakfasts you could wait anything up to 30 mins for a fried or boiled egg, mainly I think because they are trying to please to many people at the same time
I agree with orther reviews they need to look at the pool area as this is very cramped and to close to the main eating area.

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  By dickibc on Mar 03, 2009

lets get one thing of my chest fisrt to the people who was complaining to one of the managers in tides restaurant about the lack of european food, if you want to eat european food go to eastbourne or malaga for your holidays,you were in india what did you expect pie mash and peas.
any way lets start. our ground floor room had a fantastic view over to the beaches and mosque, but did lack some privacy. terrace restaurant lacked ambience and service was sometimes slow i'e in clearing plates away at breakfast and clean glass doors duing a busy breakfast service didnt help either.
pool area is very cramped and needed to move the terrace restaurant away as the hotel has lots of space with far better views next to the reception area that could be used as a dining place.
having stayed at a taj 5 star in the past and been to one of leela's other hotels for a meal we felt that the hotel is in need a major reverb to bring it up to speed. plus employ some more staff and had a plan on what waiter's are going to attend what set of tables not a free for all.
around the food it's self it would have been nice to see a bigger a'lacart menu as by the end of the week it got a bit samie, tide's is nice if a little dull, would have been a great place to have had some proper keralan entertainment and not european songs.
the sky bar should be the terrace bar as it is half way up the hill but below the terrace bar and looks more like a terrace

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Rating

  By hindgeand... on Mar 03, 2009

Well, lellybellybean has hit the nail on the head, as far as I'm concerned. Whilst there is nothing to fault with the hotel, it really could be anywhere and as we had also travelled extensively before arriving here for our final 3 days, we found it rather large and impersonal. And although this sounds snooty, the hotel is probably not helped by the fact that the Leela takes charter package tourists, who just come here to spend a week or two sitting by the pool and eating burgers.
We had a beach view superior room on the cliff and as well kitted out as it was, there wasn't any real charm to the room with the exception of the view.
Breakfast was very good and you can have a breakfast from almost anywhere in the world. The fresh fruit and smoothie selection was particularly good - helped by the fact that it was both mango and watermelon season while we were there.
The Sky Bar is great - good drinks, spectacular location, funky design.
We only ate dinner here once, at the buffet and as per lellybellybean this was only because of the violent storm and torrential rain which took out the power in the hotel 3 times that night. The buffet selection was almost overwhelming although we stuck with the Keralan specialities and the fish curry was fantastic.
Service throughout the hotel is top notch and consistent - there must be a very slick training programme here.
As others have said, we also chose to have dinner on the other nights at Lighthouse Beach and despite the Leela's snide comments about having a doctor on hand 24 hrs should we choose to eat at Lighthouse Beach, we ate great fresh seafood and had a bottle of wine for around 1500 rupees for two with no unwanted side effects.
So a mixed bag really, would I stay here again? No. Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes, if they were looking for an international 5 star beach resort in Kovalam.

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Rating

  By cherylthe... on Mar 03, 2009

We spent a week at the Leela as part of our honeymoon (they were the only one of three hotels we stayed at who didnt make mention of it/upgrade/give flowers etc tho they had been told and in fact after we'd agreed the price and paid deposit they tried to increase the already high cost ..i think in the end our travel agent swallowed it as we didnt) and no doubt it is a slick, plush, professional 5 star hotel but for us - after the gorgeous and intimate Malabar House in Fort Cochin - the Leela was impersonal - the staff are perfectly well behaved but seem to have been told not 'get involved' with guests or be as charming as you get elsewhere in India (or maybe they just arent as happy?) - we go to India every year but in this hotel you could be anywhere - Florida/Bahamas/Cannes..there were people at the pool side all day who ate full board at the hotel and if they think they 'did' India they are mistaken !

You cant fault the service - and the Indian food was superb - we had the buffet one evening (only because a storm kept us away from 'Fusion' at Lighthouse beech - wine and cocktails at fraction of the price and great food) and it was exceptional - esp deserts were amazing to the eye and taste buds the buffet is 900 ruppees each which was 'okay' as you got to try lots of diff dishes you may not have had before - that said - you can eat for a tenth of the price at great places on Light house beach - the 'western style' food like the burgers are not good and over priced (five star hotel that uses McCain Oven chips? we saw the packet on the beach r'rant) - if you use this as a base - enjoy the breakfast - and buy water elsewhere (they give you two half litre bottles a day but as you will know - you need many litres per day - cost outside the Leela for a litre of water (two mins walk up beach) 15 rupees (a few pence) inside the Leela - 120 ruppees!!! )you will see more of real india and save enough on water to pay for a slap up meal and a massage!

I wouldn't recommend it - but that isnt to say its not top notch - its just not india as we love it..

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Rating

  By lellybell... on Mar 03, 2009

Stayed five nights in a ‘sea view pavilion’ after a homestay tour. The pavilions are some distance from the main part of the hotel but there’s a free electric buggy service that works well. The reception is 5-star magnificence with staff to match, nearby was the glamorous pool and ‘sky bar’. An eye catching designer-built environment, but we were pleased to be in our pavilion where it was immaculately landscaped and very much quieter. We certainly had a sea view (the pavilions behind us probably didn’t) and we could watch the sunset from our private ground level terrace. The coconut tree shaded grass cleverly formed a ha-ha just before the beach road so that privacy was ensured. There was another pool behind us that, although not so classy as the main pool, was deserted in the mornings and evenings. Attendants provided plenty of towels. You might gather that I don’t like swimming while being watched by people eating, any more that I wish to eat and have to see people swimming! The bed was extremely comfortable, our twice-daily room service was excellent and the room boys delightful, chatty and informative.

The breakfasts on the terrace were sumptuous but otherwise we preferred to eat along the adjacent Hawah Beach (part of Lighthouse Beach) where we could see the fishermen and meet up with friends. The meals were excellent. Presentation might not have been to Leela standards, but neither was the cost. Sometimes we walked both ways between our pavilion and Hawah Beach but coping with the steep hill after a large meal on a sweltering evening really isn’t worth saving 100 rupees. Why do some reviewers happily pay Leela prices for meals but not use a tuk-tuk to get back from the beach? A meal on the beach will save enough to have several tuk-tuk rides! Other Leela prices: 120 rupees for a bottle of water at breakfast (beach price 15 rupees) and internet access was about 160 rupees for an hour minimum (beach price 15 rupees for 10 minutes to send a couple of family emails).

There’s a shop next to the front door with the coldest air conditioning imaginable. The goods are, no doubt, reassuringly expensive but you can buy postage stamps there as well.

Behind the glamour, the hotel’s buildings are not perfect: our pavilion woodwork was tired and scuffed and there was a small patch of rising damp. There were also many disability accessability issues. Our pavilion’s ‘step down into’ bath needed to be used to have a shower and great care was needed on slippery surfaces. There were odd steps everywhere, sometimes poorly positioned where they weren’t expected. For example people using the self-service breakfast buffet had to push open heavy swing doors and immediately step down, while carrying their plates and drinks. One doesn’t expect European accessibility standards in India, but the Leela is an international 5 star hotel and it will need to catch up sometime.

For some sights, sounds and smells, go to the fish market just past Lighthouse Beach (300 rupees for return tuk-tuk plus driver waiting there an hour and acting as guide) and the Connemara market at Trivandrum (400 rupees ditto). We saw no other tourists when we went. Some locals were chatty but we didn’t intrude too much and my photography was necessarily discreet.

The Leela is great if you want a luxury hotel on the best site in Kovalam. We used the Leela more as an extremely upmarket B&B and were very happy with the services we used.

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Rating

  By NR16 on Mar 03, 2009

This is our second visit to Kerala but our first visit to the Leela. A truly remarkable experience. This 5star hotel is everything you could have wished for - from the beautiful views over the Arabian sea to the amazing friendliness of the hotel staff. (There is no doubt the staff are very well trained).
We ate mostly at the Lighthouse beach were there are numerous restaurants but the times we did eat at the hotel we found the food expensive - but what do you expect from a 5star hotel.
The security of the hotel and the staff made our two week stay a holiday to remember

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Rating

  By FallingSt... on Mar 03, 2009

I stayed 4 nights with my husband in February 2009. We had spent 9 days travelling around the rest of Kerala. A complementary car picked us up from Trivandrum station, with cooling flannels and chilled water, which was very welcome after a long train journey. We were well welcomed by the reception staff. Our hotel room was very nice and had a lovely view of the sea and beach. Breakfast was wonderful, catering for both Indian and international tastes. We ate in the Terrace Restaurant a couple of lunchtimes and had dinner at the Tides restaurant, where we had a discrete and romantic table on the sand. The dining experiences were good, in terms of food quality and service. It felt expensive due to the low cost of dining outside of the hotel, but in comparision to London prices and other international hotels, I did not think it was too bad. We did eat outside of the hotel most dinner times, and compared to other parts of Kerala, Kovalam's restaurants are quite tourist orientated and more expensive than other areas. The rickshaw drivers in Kovalam are complete rip-off merchants and charge 100 rupees for a 2 min journey to where the main restaurant hub is, which would be 20R max in other areas, on principle we refused to pay this an chose to walk the 10 minute journey.

I ADORED the Leela's Sky Bar - it is fantastic, beautiful decor, a fantastic sea view, efficient and friendly staff and tasty cocktails. My husband and I agreed it was the our favourite bar in the world.

I had a couple of treatments and we attended some yoga classes at the spa centre. They were very good, although it did feel like an indulgence due to the cost.

All in all we had a great stay, the hotel is beautiful, and the staff friendly and efficient against Indian standards.

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Rating

  By PinkCV on Mar 03, 2009

One of the best hotels I've stayed in. Staff are brilliant, room and facilities are excellant,
Private beech area beautifully, and if your that lazy you dont even have to walk there, a golf buggy will pick you up.Only down side is drinking and dining there is a bit pricey

45

Rating

  By iantw7 on Feb 02, 2009

As natives we expected more for the high prices of the Club - rooms & bathroom are small compared to the Leela Goa - cleanliness and amenities are excellent however. Having come to Kerala for kerala food, we found catering to non-Indians the predominant theme (do French resorts have menus with mac & cheese, Pizza and hamburgers??) - the kerala food was pitiable. The jaunt to the local restaurants by the lighthouse is a hike at night especially after the mealThere is only one arm chair in a room so one of the two of us had to use the bed, go outside on the balcony or pool...what sense is that? The gym is excellent...although the waist line of most of the guests showed that none had any interest in a workout...The Club decor is excellent but the rest of the facilities ..especially down below leave something to be desired.

45

Rating

  By bbrf267 on Feb 02, 2009

We stayed in the Leela for 5 nights and whilst it has much to recommend it, it was not the fabulous resort hotel we had expected. Much of the publicity for this hotel centres around the two infinity pools which look stunning in photographs. However the reality is a little different. The first infinity pool is exclusively for "club" members. The second larger infinity pool is located immediately adjacent to the restaurant which results in one side being netted off to prevent the crows disturbing the diners!. The sun loungers are packed so tightly around the pool that there is very little space to actually get into the pool, never mind walk around it. This was similar to the one in the club area. On the other hand the area around the lobby is beautifully decorated and spacious but not used by anyone. The property is built into a cliff/steep hill which results in the need to use golf carts to get around. There is a small private beach with sun loungers etc and a restaurant, however there is little atmosphere in the beach restaurant as very few guests use it in the evening. We stayed in a beach-view pavilion which I would recommend. On arrival we asked about up-grading and were shown a deluxe room, which was smaller than the beach pavilion room, in a large block of tiered rooms with no direct access to the garden, so we opted to stay with the beach-view pavilion . Whilst this is at the bottom of the hill, the room was spacious, and well maintained. The patio looked out onto a beautiful garden area which shielded the public road from the guests. There was a small swimming pool right outside the front door of the pavilion room which was excellent. However, one is left to feel a little like the poor relation at the bottom of the hill as there are no staff around except the security guards who double up as pool attendants - providing towels. It was not possible to get a drink or snack other than from room service. This was clearly not always the case as there was a kitchen by the pool, however this was only used to store dirty dishes from the previous days room service to the nearby rooms which resulted in a constant flow of waitiers removing trays of dirty crockery. These rooms are also near the perimeter wall and nearby is a mosque with a very effective loud-speaker! Whilst these are all relatively small gripes, for an expensive hotel which is billed as the best in the area it could have been better. On the plus side the staff were all friendly and helpful. The golf buggies will take you to the front entrance where you can get a tuk tuk to the beach where there are plentiful shops and restaurants.

45

Rating

  By NurseNick... on Feb 02, 2009

The Leela is a good resort hotel, but far from a truly excellent one. We stayed for four nights, and each day had annoyances that exceptional resorts avoid. None of the issues ever caused us to consider leaving, but they each caused us to wonder whether the issue was endemic to Kerala or India, or just a failing of this individual property. After extensive touring around Kerala, we're now certain that these were all hotel-specific issues that need to be ironed out before it gets rated more highly.

Among the little annoyances ----

Every time the electricity resumed after temporary disruptions (several times a day), an electronic "privacy" light would be lit outside our door, prohibiting access to housecleaning and other hotel personnel. This resulted in ridiculous outcomes...a plumber starts to fix a leaking pipe in the bathroom, steps out for a special wrench, and then doesn't finish the job because when he returns a few minutes later he finds the "privacy" light on (despite no-one being in the room). Unless we were present or left the door propped open, no housecleaining was ever performed.

Wi-fi Internet access is highly unreliable, but is being charged at astoundinngly high rates.. No bill adjustments were offered on the $20 daily charge despite continuous outages (once of over 12 hours during our stay).

Laundry was returned incomplete (i.e. a pair of socks mssing). No-one on staff other than the duty manager dared to call the laundry for an explanation, and even then no explanation or apology was ever offered, and no discount or reparations made. I couldn't lower myself to argue the payment of $1.25 for laundering a pair of socks never returned to us, but be forewarned that they don't bother returning a completed inventory slip with the returned laundry......

All in all we had a very pleasant time at the Leela ---- especially at the Skyview Bar and the Cafe restaurant (perhaps available only for those in "Club" rooms), but forewarned is forearmed about all the small "nigglies" you may encounter here.

45

Rating

  By JeremyNew... on Jan 01, 2009

I. Heer London UK Nov 2008
Initially I was bit Sceptic about the hotel especially after reading conflicting reviews about it, In fact, I was impressed with the cleanness and service rendered by the staff.
We enjoyed every minute of our stay and hope to return at some stage
The only negative thing, I noticed was that you have make sure that the staff understands your instructions clearly but that goes for all the eating places in that area. I highly recommend to people who want nice and quite break.

45

Rating

  By superjat on Jan 01, 2009

I went on a trip with my colleagues. It was a get away cum know each other trip organized by our company. We stayed in this 5 star beach resort at Kovalam. Inside, Its a magnificent place to spend time. The hotel has a beach, a spa, swimming pool, gym and other facilities too.
The only flip side is that the beach is not that private. Though non guests can not venture into the beach, but they can easily see whats going on at the beach, that too from a close proximity. But overall, if you want to spend some quality time in Kerela, this could be the place of choice.

45

Rating

  By sameeragr on Dec 12, 2008

We stayed at the Leela in January 2008 for a period of 2 nights & 3 days. I would categorize the various aspects of our stay into neat headers for easy reference :) :

Airport Transfer & Check In:
The journey started really well with the Airport Pick up being very luxurious (Nissan X Trail) and the driver was very courteous. Offered us a choice of music, cool towel, cold water and gave us an insight on the local people/area/sights as we drove from the airport to the resort (approx 45 minutes)
The check-in was smooth and we were cruised along in Golf carts to our cottage. !!

Rooms: They have a multiple options of rooms that are attached either to the main building or independent cottage rooms built in a sort of traditional Kerala architecture, which are at a short distance from the main building. They also have European style modern rooms with various amnesties, but we felt that would defeat the purpose of getting away from the humdrum of everyday work. We had asked for a cottage which had a nice view of greens with hammocks and coconut trees and the beautiful Indian Ocean. Rooms were very well maintained and very comfortable

Food:
To complete a perfect holiday in a luxury hotel it is absolutely essential that the Food is way above your expectation. This however was not the case. They have a sea food restaurant which serves decent Indian fare but not quite the best in category. We tried the fare at the "Sky Bar" in the evening which was not up to the mark too, the meat wasn't well marinated nor hot. However the breakfast buffet was the best among all the options available.

SPA:
We got a couple of traditional Ayurvedic massages done at the Spa. The masseur was well trained and was very polite. All and all it was indeed a relaxing experience. One advice would be to book in advance on the day you check in to avoid odd times, get it done preferably early in the evening to work up a decent appetite for dinner !

The Beach:
Finally about the beach. The kovallam beach is a public beach and the hotel has a small section of the beach that is cordoned off as a private beach with sun beds and towels for the guests. The waters are not very clean but are fairly clear compared to some of the other beaches in India. The catamaran ride is a must and the local fishermen would gladly show you the days catch. You could negotiate on the rates for all the sea sighting activities with the fishermen.

45

Rating

  By look4luxe on Dec 12, 2008

GREAT 5* hotel, fabulous views and friendly staff with 4* service (don’t let this put you off!!!). This a great place to stay regardless if it were for a romantic getaway or a family/friends hol. Very clean place. I went towards the end of the monsoon period and its a great place to see lightening.

GO FOR IT!

45

Rating

  By alladin01 on Oct 10, 2008

We stayed here over the 4 day long weekend during an Indian festival. We had booked in the beach view deluxe room but were upgraded to a club room. While the club room was nice, I wouldn’t really want to pay for it- its almost double the cost of the regular room. The best part about the club rooms are the sea view from the room and the infinity pool exclusively for club room guests. Other than that there was nothing exceptionally luxurious about the club rooms. The club spa was quite overpriced- even the government taxes in the club spa are higher than the regular spa. The room service is pathetic- it took them almost an hour to get some simple orders. The butler service is quite useless. The club cafe has limited options for vegetarians but is less crowded. The main coffee shop Terrace had good food but was completely chaotic due to large number of guests due to the long weekend. In fact, the Terrace is the only option available for non-club rooms vegetarian guests as the other restaurant Tides is seafood joint. The beach was quite nice- even the public section was good. Overall, the property is very beautiful

45

Rating

  By SaurabhJa... on Oct 10, 2008

I wrote the scathing review of The Leela's central reservations operations (CRO) and feel compelled to follow up with a sequel.

Still fuming over a reservation that CRO canceled and refused to reinstate, I contacted a specific agent at the hotel to vent my anger. He quickly arranged to restore the booking, and under pressure from family members who really wanted to stay at the hotel, I took a six-night package, albeit with strong misgivings.

Those misgivings turned out to be absolutely misplaced because we had a wonderful time, from the moment we were welcomed in the beautiful lobby with coconut drinks and shell necklaces.

We were taken to our room in short order, and found it to be tastefully appointed and spotless, if dimly lit. Service throughout the hotel couldn't have been better, and the food was imaginative and delicious. The chefs even made the effort to prepare special dishes for one of my children who has food allergies.

I do not retract a word about my horrific experience with central reservations, but once at the hotel, the experience was fabulous.

45

Rating

  By bagspacke... on Aug 08, 2008

We stayed at the Leela following a week's tour of Kerala booked through First Choice. We thought it would be a lovely place for a lazy second week of our trip but it didn't live up to the reputation of the Leela chain.

About 20 of us arrived by coach at the same time. We were met by a number of reception staff who were putting the ornamental red dot on everyone's forehead. Unfortunately a load of the red powder they used fell off onto my light coloured t-shirt. Fortunately I managed to wash it off later. They must be used to group arrivals but we were sitting around in reception for probably 20-30 minutes before we were able to go to our rooms.

We were in one of the standard beach view rooms in the main block and it was lovely. Very spacious with a huge balcony. Plenty of storage space although the one easy chair provided wasn't particularly comfortable. There is a vanity area with wash basin and mirrors, and just the toilet and shower (huge!) in the bathroom. One point to make here is that there is a very high step (probably about 8" high") into the bathroom so not ideal if you have either slightly restricted mobility or if you're stumbling to the loo in the night.

The whole hotel is built in the cliff side so the paths can be quite steep but there are golf carts available to take you up and down to the beach and the hotel entrance if you wish.

At first appearance, the hotel pool really didn't look to be that big for the size of the hotel. We later found there is another infinity pool exclusively for people in the Club block and another pool down by the Sea View Pavillion Rooms. The pool attendants were extremely helpful, moving beds, putting umbrella up or down etc. They had their work cut out with the umbrellas the week we were there, because the rainy season arrived early!

Breakfast was an extensive selection of both Indian and western dishes, and was very good, although the coffee was often lukewarm and bitter, as if it had been sitting on the hotplate for too long.

We were only on B&B, although we did have the buffet dinner one night (because we won it in a quiz!). Very good but I'm not sure how much variation there was in the dishes available each night.

For lunch, we found the Leela to be very expensive. It was costing around 350 Rupees each for a sandwich. Down in the town, we could have a slap up lunch for two for around 300 Rupees. Getting to the town is very simple. At lunchtimes, it was barely 10 minutes to walk down the hotel drive, down the road on the right of the hotel entrance and along Hawah Beach to Lighthouse Beach. In the evenings we used the tuk tuks. Make sure you haggle, but the same guy will usually arrange a time to pick you up later.

Next, comments on the restaurants we visited.

Coconut Grove (Lighthouse Beach) - you need to arrive early if you want a front table for people watching. We had excellent food, especially the seafood sizzler. Because Kerela is a dry state, beer came in bottles wrapped in newspaper which were stashed under the table, and showed on the bill as "special pop", something common in many restaurants.

Fusion (Lighthouse Beach) - east/west/fusion menu - excellent with some unusual dishes on the menu, such as prawn and lime soup, fish with ginger, onion and bacon. Our guidebook mentioned the toilet so we had to see why. It's a hole in the ground type, but there's a huge sign on the wall giving proper instructions on its use!

Sea View (Hawah Beach) - very basic, relatively limited menu but good, cheap food. Slightly grotty surroundings and an unpleasant smell noticeable at some tables.

Island View (Hawah Beach) - about 100 yds further along from the Sea View. Again, very basic but excellent food and again, very cheap. Our most popular lunch spot.

Spice Garden (Lighthouse Beach) - smaller menu than some, heavy emphasis on seafood. Lots of whole spices used and with dim lighting, it was easy to unexpectedly bite into something like a clove or piece of cinnamon stick.

Garzia (Lighthouse Beach) - extensive menu, excellent food but very plain surroundings.

German Bakery (Lighthouse Beach) - okay but we had better elsewhere (except for the cakes!).

When you check out of the Leela, make sure you check your bill VERY carefully. While we were there, people were definitely being charged for things they didn't have, including one couple who were charged for internet access used 2 days before they arrived! I'm sure this is down to staff incompetence rather than dishonesty but it's just a warning.

This hotel provides very luxurious surroundings but my husband has stayed at the Leela in Bangalore and says this one just doesn't even come close in standards.

45

Rating

  By Good Name... on Aug 08, 2008

Agree with most of what the others have said. I stayed in one of the units near the beach separate from the rest of the hotel. These were mostly duplex small buildings clustered around a small pool and closest to the beach access.

It was Monsoon season so the rate was reduced but the Tides restaurant was closed. No problem getting chairs at the main pool.

I found reception slow and wasn't informed that breakfast was "included." I didn't eat breakfast but had a charge for my meal included in the bill...they state it's "solely for our recordkeeping" but refused to remove the charge. Sunday brunch was slow to set up so I missed it...didn't begin until 12:30.

Overall, it's beautiful and I would stay again, but certainly it is not for someone on a schedule as I was, unfortunately.

45

Rating

  By elf618 on Jun 06, 2008

We totally enjoyed our stay at the Leela, it's a great place to stay. We stayed in the main block of the hotel, we had a look at the other rooms around the hotel & they seemed a little old & shabby but they were probably fine, it's difficult to say without seeing inside. The grounds are extremely well kept though. We don't usually sunbathe on the beach but a few times the pool area was full so we moved down to the beach and loved it. We ate down at the beach one evening and that was totally brilliant and were forced to eat in the hotel another evening because of a terrific storm it was a bit chaotic but they coped well managing to accomodate everyone. The rest of the time we ate down at the seafront and tried a different place each night - we particularly liked Fusion. It's worth noting that if you befriend a taxi driver/rickshaw driver & tip them reasonably well they will take you anywhere and wait for you and it's nice to chat with them and hear about their families. We also took the bus into Trivandrum which was a great experience and extremely cheap.

45

Rating

  By StevieBis on May 05, 2008

Have just spent 2 glorious weeks at The Leela Kempinski.
We stayed in a Beach View Deluxe room,which was ideally located overlooking the private beach & sea.
The Leela is in a great location & you can easily walk out to Light House Beach or take a Tuk Tuk for aprx.100R
We ate in the hotel 3 out of our 14nts there.Twice in Tides(on the beach) & once in the buffet restaurant.Choice of menu was very good & not too expensive.We also had room service,delicious pizza made in the restaurants pizza oven.
The staff were lovely,nothing too much trouble.It was my birthday whilst we were there & the chef even managed to make a beautiful carrot cake for the occassion.
You do need to get up early if you want a sun lounger around the pool & the sun loungers on the frontline on the beach get snapped up pretty quick too.We always managed to get a sun lounger though,no prob.
Ali who approaches you on the beach to see if you want to go out fishing on one of the many fishing boats,looks scarey but is really nice.We managed to catch quite an assortment of fish & the chef at the beach restaurant cooked them up for lunch for us.
We did an overnight houseboat trip which was amazing from Allepey.Not for the light hearted as the journey there takes 3 hrs & can be pretty scarey if you go by taxi,they drive like mad men tooting there horns the whole way.We survived the journey,so don't be put off.
I did get a chance to look around The Club area,it is very nice if you want to push the boat out & pay the extra.
Would definately go back to this hotel again.Had a great holiday & lots of amazing memories.

45

Rating

  By Brigette on Mar 03, 2008

We arrived at the Leela at the end of a tour of Kerala. Unfortunately for the Leela, our last hotel was the Radisson Plaza at Kumarakom, which has to be one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in. While waiting for the luggage to be sorted out, our guide suggested we went for lunch. It was Sunday, and almost every table at the Terrace Restaurant was taken. There was a smell of fried food and an Indian group were singing (amplified) English pop songs. I almost turned around and demanded to be taken to the Taj Green Cove. I'm glad I didn't, because the Leela is actually a nice hotel. We were in the Pavilion rooms, which no-one had told us were nowhere near the main building, but at beach level and across a public road. I liked the area where the Pavilion rooms were. It was quiet, we had our own small (and tatty, very much in need of a make-over) pool, which was rarely crowded and there were always spare sunbeds. From the terrace of the room we could watch all the activity on the beach. The beach in front of the Leela is the nicest of the three Kovalam beaches (Lighthouse beach is awful, dirty, tacky and I would imagine a huge disappointment after a ten hour flight to get there) and there is a small area which is private to the Leela. As it's patrolled by a guard, the privacy is respected by the locals. The rest of the beach is given over to the locals. There are fishing boats and coach loads of Indian tourists who turn up each day; the boys and men can go in the sea, but the ladies can only dip their toes in the water as they DO NOT take off their saries. There is a clash of cultures, with at one end of the beach, the totally clothed Indian ladies, and at the other, bikini clad Europeans. It's no wonder then that at a certain point on the road, groups of Indians (mainly but not totally, men) can be seen gawping at what they perceive as virtually naked females. I have no sympathy for those who object, this is not Benidorm on the Arabian Gulf, and we are abusing their cultural norms, not the other way round. I liked the Pavilion rooms, they are large and decorated in Indian style. The A/C is excellent. My only objection would be the bathroom which is not well designed, There is a sunken bath, which is at a level about 2cm lower than the rest of the room, and it's easy to miss the step and stumble. The grab rail in our room was so loose, it would have been dangerous to rely on it. It has a lovely rain shower, but should you decide to bath in it, you will find all the taps are out of reach. There is no problem getting back up to the main building as you just phone for a golf buggy which arrives within minutes to take you up the hill. There is a large infinity pool in the main building. It is overlooked by sun loungers (not nearly enough for the size of the hotel) and the tables of the Terrace restaurant. It's a nice pool, but nothing special. The Sky Bar is lovely. It consists of fingers jutting out over the cliffs giving lovely views westward over the Arabian Gulf. Seating includes wide four-poster-bed like sofas. The entire staff at the Leela is wonderful. They are beautifully turned out (especially the ladies in their white and gold Kerala saris), polite and nothing is too much trouble. The only really negative thing is that the hotel has become a package tour hotel, which means that from a small percentage of guests, you get inappropriate behaviour (eg two 50 year old men (going on 3) having a splashing fight in the small, otherwise quiet, Pavilion pool: guests getting up at an early hour to "bag" loungers then not appearing until much later: a young lady appearing at the main pool dressed only in a thong (the waiter's eyes were on stalks!) and people turning up in the evening in the public rooms (bar and restaurant) wearing swimwear and a t-shirt). The food at the Leela is good, some of the best we experienced. And the prices are also very reasonable (eg in the Terrace Restaurant, most of the dishes are less than £5.) Alcohol is expensive, because there is a 90% tax on imported alcohol. It would be a shame to stay at the Leela and not visit Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. It is much more fun (and cheaper) than the tatty stuff (Tibetan and Kashmiri) available at the Lighthouse beach. A taxi from the hotel will cost 500 Rps an hour while a local taxi from the gates will cost upwards of 1500 Rps for a morning, depending on where you want him to take you. Bargain for a better price if you want to, but does £3 really mean that much to you? It does to him.

45

Rating

  By lce2 on Feb 02, 2008

This property we were informed was a former Indian Government Guest House ( there is still a small Government facility adjacent to the site) taken over and turned into a tourist hotel by the Meridien group until a few years ago when they sold out to the Kempinski group. The hotel itself stands perched high on a bluff with great views out over the Arabian sea. Unfortunately the beaches in this area of south west India don't compare with Goa and Kovalam is no exception.

The Hotel is a five star property with high standards in whichever part of the hotel you stay. For a hotel outside of the main cities in India we found the food to exceptionally good with a team of highly professional chefs to look after client's culinary needs. The hotel has two restaurants, The Terrace for buffet and a la carte meals throughout the day and Tides a beach front restaurant serving mainly asian specialities. We found the service somewhat slow and less professional in the latter.

Our room in the cheaper part of the hotel was perfectly satisfactory with a decent bathroom and living space although the sea view was a bit of a con. For the more sensitive the crows could be a problem ( think Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds') but what the hell, relax, live and let live you are on holiday!

If we had a complaint against this property it would be the low quality of the A/C throughout the hotel but we suspect that power supply to this part of Kerala is only just acceptable and no doubt in years to come the infrastructure will be improved.

The hotel is also conveniently close to Trivandrum airport so you don't have to spend hours on chaotic roads transferring to the hotel on arrival and departure.

45

Rating

  By bromsgrov... on Feb 02, 2008

Me & my boyf stayed at the Leela from 26th Dec to 14th Jan and overall had a fabulous time.
The flight (with First Choice) was good, with plentry of leg room, even through we were in "goat class".
Transfer (we went by coach as we were staying in the main part of the hotel, rather than in the club) was good and well organised. Only complaint was the Rep - totally unsuitable for a resort of this type, more suited to 18-30's in Magaluf. We had only been on the coach 5 minutes when he told us the hotel was massively overpriced and they would charge us twice for everything!
The hotel looks beautiful on arrival and check in was very smooth and swift
Room was.....above average but i had hoped for a bit better. It was a bit small and dark, but the view was suberb and it was spotlessley clean. The fixtures and fittings were also of a very good quality. The bathroom being outside was a bit offputting, but only because of the mossies. I got bitten quite badly, which is unusual for me and no matter how much we sprayed the bathroom and used plug ins etc, they always seemed to get me in the shower!!! Having said that we had a lovely sunken bath and the shower was out of this world.
The food was extremley good, both on the buffet and a la carte.
We went on a half board basis, which i would recommend and ate at the buffet most nights - it was so good and there was so much choice we didn't really feel the need to eat a la carte very often (we did 3 or 4 times and it was very good).
Breakfast was v v good with lots of yummy things freshly cooked, as well as fruit, pastries, meats etc. Also the restaurant on the beach, Tides, serves excellent Thai food - i can certainly recommend the pork dumplings!!

The beach was good - clean and not too over crowded. We only had a problem getting a bed in the 2nd week of our stay when loads of Russians arrived. I think they got up at 5am to put their towels on the best beds and they were generally a bit rude and, well, a bit loud and lairy. They were so horrid to the staff that i was embarrased - lots of shouting, finger clicking and pointing, no "Thank you" or "Please" anywhere, which is a shame because the staff in general are very good. They try exceptionally hard to please you and if the service isn't quite a quick as you would like well so what, you are on holiday to relax and not rush.

There is not doubting that the hotel is expensive, especially for India, but i don't think it was £7 for a drink = £5 maybe, which is still expensive for India, but the setting alone made it totally worth it - the Skye Bar is in such a fabulous location that we were happy to pay the prices

I had to see the Dr when i was over there (like an idiot i left some medication i needed at home) and the service we received was good. However, and maybe i am over sensitive, requests were definatley acted on, and service was quicker, when the request was made by my boyfriend rather than by me. I'm not sure if this a totally understandable cultural thing, or maybe i am being a bit over the top, but see what you think. A prime example was the service we received from the hotel Dr. I called him on 3 seperate occasions over 2 days to request this medication and he kept saying yes, he would come, etc etc, but never turned up. Finally my boyfriend rang him and he was at the room with the tablets within 10 minutes! Similarly if i asked for anything (salt, ashtray etc) most of the time the staff would just forget until my better half requested it. By the end of the holiday i had stopped asking for anything and got him to do it all!!!
That is really the only negative thing i can say, but don't let that put you off in any way - all the staff were polite and courteous overall.
As for the Mosque - eeerrrr - you're in India, what do you expect. I never found it woke me up or anything and i quite enjoyed the cultural experience, but i know other guests did complain. I suppose it depends on what you want from your holiday. Although this hotel is very westernised and caters extremley well for tourists, you are still in India and it shows, but we loved that - if i wanted Britain with sun i'd have gone to Tenerife!!

The flight back was a bit nasty though - they ran out of food and then served sandwiches which were out of date!!! Consequently we got of the plane after the 11 hour return flight ready to eat a horse!! Still......

Overall we had a fantatic time here and would not heistate to go back and recommend it to others. One more thing, i sort of adopted a stray dog on the beach (skinny looking light tan coloured mongrel with part of her ear missing - i named her Madras!!) If anybody is going out there please take some titbits down to the beach for her (sausage is her all time favourite!!) and give her a big kiss from me (I de-fleed her as well!!)

Have a fab time

Katy & Fraser

45

Rating

  By KatyBrum on Feb 02, 2008

I don't need to say too much as by and large I agree with many of the recent reviews. But a few points:

All staff friendly and helpful though the concierge staff were not quite up to the same standard on either front. Organising a trip to Trivandrum and our onward transport had some annoying moments - but I was probably still jet-lagged and could have been more patient I guess.

I wasn't that fussed about Kovalam beach area (i.e. the tourist beach front). I found it to be quite dirty and more or less identikit with many other destinations in South East Asia etc. It didn't feel particularly Indian to me. However, the jet-lag could also be to blame for this slightly jaded view so others who were at the Leela for longer might be more trustworthy reviewers.

The hotel was fantastically positioned with a view from our balcony onto the Leela/public beach. Unlike another reviewer, I really liked the call the prayer from the Mosque as I found it to be atmospheric - especially as the sun was setting. The Sky Bar was great - jutting out over the sea, playing some indo-western chill out sounds and pouring a mean GandT.

We also stayed in the older part of the hotel. The public areas are lovely and had great 'drive up appeal'. I did think that our room was just getting to the point where some refurbishing was necessary. Scuff marks here and there - nothing to get in a frenzy about but perhaps needs some decorating in the off season.

I found the Ayurvedic experience a bit weird if I'm honest. As a softy Westerner, I'm not used to lying on a slab of hard Teak for an hour so I got bad backache .... hence not finding it that relaxing. I had the treatment where you have oil poured on your head. It was interesting though I wasn't mad to repeat it. You need to know that it will take at least 15 washes to get the oil out of your hair and I thought it smelled quite strongly of fried tomatoes and onions - before I realised it was my hair, I thought I was being followed around by BBQ smoke! Anyway, original at least.

Food was great. We went for the a la carte rather than the buffet and received good advice on Keralan specialities which were delicious. Indian wine was just about drinkable, although barely I have to admit.

I definitely feel positive about this hotel. Not cheap particularly but a very pleasing start to our trip around Kerala.

45

Rating

  By VCR29 on Jan 01, 2008

The Leela Kempinski Kovalam Hotel is an experience that everyone should enjoy if they are able to do so. Our 15 days at the hotel was an experience of extreme lavishment. The hotel staff, which incidentally outnumber the guests, are the epitomy of courteousness, politeness with an attitude that nothing is too much trouble.

There are a number of restaurants on site and the food is multi-cultural, but possibly a little on the expensive side for India, bearing in mind that there is a plethora of restaurants just a short tuck-tuck (auto-rickshaw) ride away at Lighthouse Beach which also offers many and varied different styles and standard of restaurant. (If you do choose to eat at Lighthouse Beach, be aware that the hygeine standards in India do not compare with Europe or the Americas.) Choose to eat where meat and fish are refrigerated and are displayed in enclosures, check out the toilet before you eat and make sure that there is wash hand facilities and paper towels, if they aren't, then it is a pretty safe bet that the staff who are cooking your food don't wash after using the toilet either!!!

Expect to pay no more than Rupees 25 for the ride from the main gate of the Leela to Lighthouse beach, northern end. Also if you want to exchange US Dollars or Pounds Sterling into Indian Rupees, don’t use the banks or hotel reception the rates are poor, there are a number of official moneychangers on the beach front at lighthouse beach and they give very good rates and its all official you get a receipt etc.,

The rooms are modelled on local style Keralan architecture, with lots of tastefully decorated hardwood timber furnishings; all rooms are individually air-conditioned. The hotel and resident tour operators offer excursions to the various local attractions. These however can work out a little expensive compared with if you “Do It Yourself”
The hotel can rent you a fully air-conditioned car with driver for the day (up to 8 hours) and 80kms only for about £41.60 including taxes, air conditioned private hire vehicles can be rented outside of the hotel at substantially lower prices.

There are a number of fresh water swimming pools, which are just heavenly, and the favourite one was at reception level next to the Terrace Restaurant, where the depth was a maximum of only 1.6 metres. There are plenty of sun loungers around the pool and the hotel supply large fluffy towels to use, which are changed frequently on demand. So unless you intend going off to distant beaches by yourselves, don’t overfill your suitcases with bulky beach towels.

One small problem that we did experience was that although there were plenty of sun loungers, only a proportion of these had a parasol, which could be put up to allow you to escape from the sun. Needless to say, the German mentality had reared its ugly head once again, Just about all of the loungers with parasols had been bagged at the crack of dawn and not a soul was to be seen using them for hours on end!

All in all, the vacation was a wonderful and trouble free experience, with only one last comment, and this is not meant to be a criticism – The locals including the hotel is not yet fully geared to the needs of the European tourist. All restaurants outside of the hotel and all the “tuck-tuck” taxis all disappear and go to bed at about 10.30PM and 11.00PM in the hotel. After this time you either don’t eat or you order room service, the lager is Kingfisher, which is OK but considerably more expensive than outside. If you are a spirits drinker the hotel after 11.00PM can only offer local Gin, which is vile and Johnny Walker Red Label whisky, which as you may be aware is better used as paint stripper than drinking.

Our experience of ordering food by room service also left a little to be desired!

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Rating

  By Wear-down... on Sep 09, 2007

We visited The Leela Kempiski, Kovalam in the last week of April 2007.

Room: We had booked a Delux Beach View with Partial Open Air Bathroom. The room is old-fashioned but with good views of the beach, gardens and the distant city. The room doesn't have a lot of storage space. During humid and rainy months, there can be a lot of mosquitoes in the room and in the open-air restaurants. We had a lot of issues with the room as the balcony and bathroom doors didn't close fully so insects and mosquitoes welcomed themselves into our room.
We also had 2 security breaches where other people had full access to our room and burst into our room at night on 2 occassions. After this, we were given another room.

Food: they have a good choice and can accommodate any other special requests. The prices in the 2 restaurants are fair for a 5* hotel.

Hotel: the hotel grounds are very spacious and the staff are very polite. Unfortunately, they don't speak a lot of English so communication can be a problem as they cannot understand your requirement.

Surrounding area: There are a few shops immediately outside the hotel where you can get a few snacks from. Also, there is a forex bureau: Pheroze Framroze Foreign Exchange Bureau next to a small convenient shop. They offer pretty good rates.

Lighthouse beach: you can walk to the Lighhouse beach where there are other small hotels and restaurants + some shops. Recommend a visit if you want to shop for little things.

Trivandrum city: We hired a private taxi to visit the city: temples and do some shopping. If you wish to buy good quality clothes or get some tailormade, go to Aiyappa Textiles (near Pazhavangadi Ganapthi Temple) Eastfort, Tel: 2473888. The tailor who works there: Anand R. stitches very good clothes. The shop is split over 3 floors and provides good material for stitching as well.

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Rating

  By global2 on Apr 04, 2007

Spent an excellent few days at the Leela Kempinski Hotel. It is actually located in Kovalam, not Trivandrum as the Trip Advisor notes
state which means people may not find it when searching in the area! It should be ranked number 1 in Kovalam, rather than the Taj Green Cove which I also stayed at, and found disappointing. The Leela has excellent service, good location, and altogether much classier. The staff were superb.

Stayed in one of the Club rooms which were good (although on the small side). Main complaint is the balcony is covered in birds droppings so quite unpleasant to sit out there. The birds (large black ones!) are a nuisance especially at breakfast time, but there must be some better way of keeping them at bay, and keeping the balconies clean. The Ayurvedic centre was very good, although there did seem quite a bit of expectancy from the therapists to get a tip!

Overall, would highly recommend.

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Rating

  By Jude_N on Mar 03, 2007

A Friend and I have just returned from a 2 weeks break in Kovalam, Kerala and thoroughly enjoyed the vacation.

We travelled with First Choice and overall found them to be a good choice airline. The outgoing flight was delayed about an hour and the return flight was delayed for some 3.5 hours. However, the in flight comfort was good.

We stayed at the luxury Leela Beach Resort. The hotel is just 20 minutes from Trivandrum airport with a prime location. Built on a cliff top the hotel enjoys great views of the beach and all standard rooms have very large sea facing balconies. The standard rooms are spacious and very well equipped, clean and fresh with wonderful soft white towels and fresh white bed linen changed twice daily. A large walk-in shower was just great and the facilities were clean and refreshing. We felt this was more than a standard room compared to other hotels of this category. The hotel staff is pleasant and very courteous. There are a few restaurants within the hotel but we used The Terrace by the infinity pool, as this provided great buffet breakfasts, lunch and dinner. Lunch costs about £6.17 per person and dinner costs about £8.63 per person with great varieties to select from. Drinks, however, are very expensive and a small bottle of Perrier was charged at £3.09. Wine too is rather expensive at this hotel. We found a wonderful little vegetarian restaurant just a few yards away from the hotel’s main gate. Turn left after from the main gate and a very short walk takes you to the restaurant, called Punjabi Dhabha, where a full meal with 2 soft drinks cost us just £1.48. Real value for money. The food is good and portions large enough to fill you up. The restaurant also serves alcoholic drinks. We found this place always busy (not surprised considering the cost and the simple but tasty meals)

As the lobby is a long walk away from the main gate of the hotel, golf type buggies are provided with a driver, should you find the walk too much in the heat. Similarly, you can use these buggies to take you down to the beach (which is also a fair walk from the main building of the hotel). The adjoining Club rooms are outside of the main building which have their own reception and dining area. The Pavillion rooms are nearest to the beach but I found that these rooms although much more expensive than the standard rooms, were not much different. In fact, I was glad I chose the standard room which in my opinion was much more spacious.

The hotel boasts a “private” beach but we were not too impressed as there is only a small stretch of the beach where the hotel sunbeds (very limited) are provided and local fishermen and boats are just a few yards away. This makes the beach a noisy place especially at weekends and late afternoons when the local children come in to use “their side” of the beach. Lots of locals also hang about to enjoy the view of the bikini clad women using Leela’s private beach area. Also we did not think the beach area was all that clean. The annoying part was the fact that the beach beds are so limited that if you think you are going to have a leisurely breakfast and then stroll down to the beach to make yourself comfortable, you will be surprised that there will be no bed left for you. Others would have gone down very early prior to breakfast to reserve their beds by leaving books, bags etc on the beds. We found this unacceptable and a hindrance.

Whilst in Kerala we visited Kanya Kumari which is just 2 hours drive away. This is a worthwhile day trip. Your tour operator will most probably offer this optional trip to you but we found that the tour operator prices are steep. The hotel taxis are even more expensive. It is very easy to go out and find a local tour operator (there are plenty in and around Kovalam) and book a taxi privately. The return trip cost us 1600 rupees (200 rupees extra if you want AC) which is somewhere in the region of £20 for the two of us. They collect you from your hotel and return you to the hotel. You have the taxi for the whole day and you can stop en route wherever and whenever you like. You get to Kanya Kumari and then buy a 20 rupee ticket to go across the waters in a boat (if you are health & safety minded you may feel nervous boarding this boat. Keep your fingers crossed. You will get across safely. it is fun!). The boat takes you across to the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. The views of Kanya Kumari from this place are spectacular.

We also had a day trip out to Varkala beach Resort. Not too impressed with this beach area. Plenty of Ayurveda massage parlours here and plenty Tibetan shops selling various types of jewellery etc. Good quality gems and jewellery can be purchased here at very reasonable prices. The beach area can be reached by very very steep steps (we did not bother to go down). Just an hour or two here is enough. Plenty of beach bars and restaurants for you to take a break.

The lighthouse beach is walking distance from the Leela Hotel. Just reach the main gate and bear left towards a path leading to some shops. Keep walking down this path and you literally walk into Lighthouse Beach. Not a very clean beach and not too pleasant either. You can hire high sun beds here for a small charge and you can rest on the top whilst local dogs will make their way under the beds for their afternoon siesta. There were plenty of small shops dotted around this area with seafood restaurants.

Another good day out is to go to the city of Trivandrum. There are three ways of doing this. One is to hire an auto rickshaw from outside the main gate of Hotel Leela. They charge anything between 120 to 270 rupees (depending on how generous your face appears to be). You can also hire a taxi from the same place at a charge of 240 rupees or so (do bargain as the taxi drivers do try to con the tourists into paying over the top). The cheapest and most convenient way to visit Trivandrum from Leela hotel is of course the local bus which stops right outside the main gate on the left hand side. These are regular buses and they travel to the city every half hour at a cost of just 8 rupees per head. Go through to the final stop at East Fort bus stand. This is where the city starts from and a few yards down the road brings you to the main MG road (high street of Trivandrum). Bear first left and you will see the Padmanaswami Temple. Only Hindus are allowed in the temple and they have a special dress code for the men and women. So be warned. Walking back from the temple you come to a pedestrian crossing and if you cross the road to the other side you can walk through a barrier to arrive at a recreation park. Go across the park to the other side and you will be entering Chalai Bazaar with plenty of shops selling jewellery, saris, clothing, utensils etc with a few fruit and veg stalls as well. On your return journey you need to go back to the East Fort Bus Stand (obviously on the opposite side to where you got off the bus). If you get confused or lose your bearing just take an auto rickshaw and tell the driver to take you to the city Kovalam Bus stand. He will charge some 10 rupees (pay no more) to drive you there. You can then board your return bus to the Leela Hotel (final stop).

I hope this information will assist readers who may be planning a trip to Kovalam. If anyone wants any further info, feel free to ask.

I must admit it is a wonderful place for a vacation with very few down points. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and will not hesitate to return there some day.

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Rating

  By Raaji on Mar 03, 2007

Booked through First Choice due to upgraded flights available,although extra legroom a godsend allocation of seating does not guarentee sitting together with partner despite the extra £240. Now for the hotel,we decided to upgrade to beachview deluxe,absolutely fantastic rooms with fantastic views the bathroom facilities were excellent,rooms well appointed. The private beach was ideally located and the sea was alot calmer than either Lighthouse or Hawa,entertainment alttle thin on the ground apart from Ali the local fisherman who was only too willing to arrange fishing trips in his large canoes which were well worth the money,but dont restrict your visit to the hotel as the shops,restaurants,and bars at Lighthouse are more than a match to that of the hotel at a fraction of the price as are the day trips . But all in all we had a fantastic vacation and would recomend to anyboby.

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Rating

  By kevLeices... on Mar 03, 2007

Second stay at this hotel, I went back because of the great location and the quality of the property. There are service problems, however. First, the service level isn't what it should be for this kind of property, specifically in the restaurants. My experience was that restaurant staff are quick to say yes, but there's no follow-up on getting coffee, the bill, etc.

Most annoying, both of the hotel's restaurants insist on having bad live music played at a much higher than necessary volume. The Thai restaurant on the beach has nice food and a lovely location, but the volume of the "band" drowns out the waves and makes everyone else have to talk loudly to be heard. The worst was when they had audience participation singing at the Sunday brunch. The band isn't the main act, my relaxation is, and I'm not sure why hotels assume that the paying guest wants this forced on them. I go to this kind of out-of-the-way place to have some peace and quiet, not to listen to a second rate band with third rate singers (dear hotel manager: have you ever listened to them?)

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Rating

  By THS2010 on Mar 03, 2007

We stayed here for 2 weeks at the end of January. It is a wonderful hotel in a wonderful position. The hotel lobby is large and airy the reception staff are pleasant but a litle slow.
We booked a superior deluxe room, It was huge with a large terrace overlooking the beach. The bed was large and comfortable. The bathroom had a sunken small type of bath with a monsoon shower overhead, it is partially open air.
The restaurants serve very good food but a little pricey, you can eat out cheaply on Lighthouse beach but the food is not as good as the hotel, I guess you get what you pay for. Drinks in the hotel are UK prices over £10 for 2 Mojitos! We had in room dining twice and the food and service was excellent.
Breakfast has a large selection of food buffet style you can have pancakes, waffles omlettes etc cooked fresh and delivered to your table. Some days the service was great other days not so great. They seem to go to peices when busy, its not that they don't have enough staff its just that they all rush around not really achieving much. Everyone without exception was warm and friendly. You can walk to Lighthouse beach or get a Tuk Tuk, the drivers will come back for you at a time specified by you. They again are lovely people and lit costs less than a £1 return to the hotel. The hill from the beach is a killer so we felt well worth it I justified my laziness by stating I was keeping someone in a job!!!!
Lighthouse beach is quite nice, lots of shops and restaurants. Most people ate out and I don't know of anyone getting ill, all food seems to be cooked fresh. The service outside the hotel is again a bit hit and miss, somedays its excellent other days you can wait over 20 minutes just to get your bill at the end of your meal.
We were lucky enough to go to an Elephant festival this was amazing and well recommended. We also got a taxi into Trivandrum its only 30 minutes away don't miss the horse palace and temple well worth a visit.
The hotel is perched on a cliff top with wonderful views, palm trees as far as the eye can see. The beach is nice and clean but we liked to lie by the pool. The pool is beautiful but there is the usual problem of their not being enough sunbeds. I used to go and lie by the pool early before 8ish to get a bed whilst my husband was in the gym then go for breakfast. If you go for breakfast first you won't get a bed, its a shame really but by no means unique to this hotel.
We had a wonderful 2 weeks here and we would return.
I

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Rating

  By SharonMan... on Feb 02, 2007

Can highly recommend this hotel, we had a fabulous two weeks.

The hotel is situated on a headland with bays on either side. We stayed in the Club rooms (new to the Leela) that advertise itself as a hotel within a hotel. Although we did not see any of the other rooms we found this took our holiday to much higher level. We only went into the main part of the hotel for the buffet dinner on a couple of occasions. The club has its own restaurant, library, living room (where afternoon tea is served), gym, spa, infinity pool over the sea and the Sky Bar which serves superb cocktails (recommend their mohito and bloody mary!). There are about 50 club rooms. The rooms themselves are quite small, but well equipped with high quality furnishings, not particularly installed to a high standard! Bathrooms are tiny but perfectly formed – no bath just a superb shower. A butler is provided with the room, but in reality it is a very good room service. If you opt for private dining on your balcony (no extra charge and feels very luxurious) the butler will serve you throughout the meal, although we dismissed him until we had finished.

The rest of the hotel consists of other rooms of various classes, a private beach that is delightful but difficult to get a bed on unless you leave it until around 3.00pm or get up very early, a bar and two further restaurants. Tides is down on the beach where the food is good but the service is ridiculously slow. The Terrace restaurant has an excellent view and has a buffet and a la carte menu. The buffet is good, plenty of different curries to choose from and the odd western dish. Drinks are expensive for Kerala but not in comparison to normal – around £3.00 for a gin and tonic. The wine is terribly expensive not just in the hotel but in all the places where it is available. Take some with you!! There is also another gym and an ayuverdic centre. The massage facilities in the hotel are quite expensive, I tried one for research’s sake and it was very good but too many questions – do you need a hand in the shower being one of them!! Out of the hotel and down the lane on the right there is a good massage place on the lhs upper floor and for about £5 you get an hour’s massage. I made it a daily occurrence. Many other nice points but if you want to know any more let me know.

Various restaurants in the area that are worth visiting – although not as good as the restaurants in Calangute and Baga, Goa. Fusion and Molly's being the best. One thing of note is that the half board is not worth doing at all. Cost £164 for two weeks which works out at £11 per head per night. For that you get a free meal in the buffet worth about £8 or £4 off per meal taken out side the buffet. The maths does not work.

All in all, a wonderful holdiay.

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Rating

  By SKCIV on Feb 02, 2007

Spent 5 nights here as an extension to an excellent Cox & Kings "Spice Lands of Kerela" tour and we were pleased we chose a sea view pavilion room which was 50m from the Tides and the beach. Room was well furnished, with a great tub bath with tempest shower.Good room service and turn down but check for mossies when you return to the room (boys leave the door open when doing turn down). Tides is great for beach lunch and fresh fish dining in the evening and all of the main hotel is very smart and shows the recent investment. Beach loungers/covers are showing wear (and they ran out of towels by 10.30am on 2 days) but management assured us that the beach area is next for investment. Had early check out (5.15am ) for Gulf flight and very impressed that 3 security staff turned up when we walked out of our bungalow - very reassuring. Best hotel at Kovalam - hope to return soon.

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Rating

  By silverswi... on Feb 02, 2007

We stayed at The Leela in the first week of December 2006. While I rate this hotel, let me mention that this is the largest property that I have stayed in till date. Its impossible for one to travel by foot inside the campus, thus hotel provides buggies running across the hotel and could be made available on request within seconds. Another highlight is the picture perfect Sea View from the campus trails and the buffet restaurant which literally is unbelievable. You may observe the same in the attached snaps. Try being there on a sunny day and you could enjoy lovely coconut trees, lush green surroundings and blue water of sea.

More to talk about the courteous staff especially the front manager Mr. Mahavir Sharma who took our care as if we were his personal guests. The buffet is widespread and the staff in the restaurant is also smiling and courteous. We also tried the traditional Kerala massage at the Spa costing just Rs. 1250 per head which was much low as compared to other 5-star hotels.

Though one really feels like a king staying in this sprawling property, there are a few dents which could be improved to make the stay further enjoyable:

1.The private beach is having very low currents at times difficult for you to make a difference out between lakes of a beach. So to actually chill you still need to go to the public beach.
2.We were given Pavilion Rooms as the superior rooms were not available. We had to pay a premium for these rooms. But believe me there is hardly any value-addition as these are quite far from the main hotel divided by a public road and though facing the private beach but without any major currents. I would have preferred a garden view room which is much cheaper.
3.As we checked in our credit card details were confirmed in order to ensure that we don’t run away without payment!!!
4.We had requested for some hotel made chocolates instead of which the cookies were removed from the room. What wonderful Mathematics!!!
5.We also tried to contact our reservations manager Ms. Kithara balasundram in order to thank her but she seemed too busy to visit or call us even after our leaving our contact numbers at the reception.
6.There are no traditional Dance Shows or cultural events being organized by this hotel which make you have a Kerala feel unlike other similar properties.

Despite of the few dents above, it was a great stay with a courteous gentleman Mahavir and buggy ride inside the Hotel which is litrally having a huge campus.

You must give it a try !!!

Incase you require any other information; you may please forward the same to me.

Vikky

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Rating

  By vikky on Jan 01, 2007

Have just returned from a very enjoyable holiday at the Leela Kerala and would thoroughly recommend this hotel.

It is situated right on a really nice beach where the sea is safe to swim in. It is also in the centre of the town and close to the prom at Lighthouse beach. So one can step from the sanitized luxury of a five star hotel straight into the hussle and bussle of India. Maybe not to everyone’s taste but we liked this as we have often stayed in hotels a long way from any town and you have to travel before you feel that you are really in the country that you are visiting. We really enjoyed walking out each evening into the town and along the prom. The people were so friendly and when I walked out without my husband I felt very safe and unthreatened. The shopkeepers try and sell you things but don’t hassle you when you say no.

We found the food in the hotel reasonably priced (£8.00 for the evening buffet) for a five star hotel although drinks were very expensive, a bottle of Indian wine being approx. £20.00. The restaurants in the town were obviously much cheaper. We had room service a few times for lunch and this was very good and delivered in about fifteen minutes. We ate at Tides on the beach a couple of times and whilst the food was really good (mainly Thai) the service was incredibly slow. All the food was great for a vegetarian like myself but equally there were plenty of meat and fish dishes.

Would thoroughly recommend Molly’s Restaurant (about a five minute tuc tuc ride away, run by an English women and Indian husband. Also a five minute walk along the beach is The Lobster Pot, where we ate most lunch times. Really good Indian food and also English breakfasts and sandwiches etc. Slow service though which seemed to be the norm for all the restaurants.

We stayed in the seaview deluxe rooms which were an extra £10.00 per room per night and we felt were well worth the extra money as they had their own separate entrance so you didn’t hear any corridor noise and doors banging that you often hear in hotels. The next upgrade was the pavilion rooms. We couldn’t understand why these were an upgrade as they were situated far from the main hotel and there was a very busy road between the pavilion section and the beach. People in this section complained and many tried to get transfers back to the main hotel. We certainly couldn’t see how the extra £100.00 per night per room for the club rooms could be justified as those rooms are similar to those in the main hotel. We visited the club section for a meal and whilst it is very tastefully refurbished we would not have wished to pay the extra to stay there.

Like other reviewers, our main problem was managing to get a sunbed on the beach and we found it a bit stressful having to get up early to secure one. There is plenty more room on the beach for sunbeds so don’t understand why there aren’t more. We didn’t sit by the pool but it looked as if there was the same problem there. As regards your previous reviewers problem with getting drinks service by the pool, would mention that we got excellent service on the beach.

We spent Christmas and New Year at the Leela and the main complaint from all the guests was the loud Western style music at the gala dinners. Everyone said they would have preferred more local music but unfortunately the hotel management was convinced that we wanted to hear exactly the same music that we hear at home (only about twenty years ago) that was so loud it was impossible to carry on a conversation and someone sitting near a speaker had a burst ear drum. The food however, was excellent and all the chefs really pulled all the stops out.

The staff in the hotel were all very friendly and the housekeeping staff were particularly good. Like one of your other reviewers, we found it a little strange that vendors on the beach spoke far superior English to the people working in the hotel, especially the telephone operators.

Would like to mention here our tuc tuc drivers, Manu and Suri who were really helpful and, as well as taking us on the shorter trips (including a trip to the back waters), arranged a taxi for our longer trips, which worked out much cheaper than the organised trips.

We travelled with First Choice and were very impressed with their rep, Gale, who was resident at the hotel. The flight was good with lots of legroom even in economy. In our info from First Choice on arrival were details of a local animal sanctuary. Worth a visit if you’re a dog lover as they need tourist volunteers just to spend a couple of hours either walking the dogs or spending time giving them love and attention. It’s only a ten minute ride in a tuc tuc. I went there a couple of times and was really impressed with the work the sanctuary are doing, sterilising the local stray dogs and looking after the sick and injured ones. Because of the work they do the stray dogs on the beach looked very healthy and happy. For further information see www.animalrescuekerala.org.

So all in all a great holiday and we would definitely return.

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Rating

  By GillLondo... on Jan 01, 2007

We recently spent a week at the Leela and overall we had a lovely time. We were in the Superior Beach view rooms but I am not sure in what way they are suposed to be superior. The pool and grounds are beautiful and the spa is very reasonably priced in comparison to the UK but could perhaps have been made a little more luxurious.

The rooms are lovely, no bath but the shower is huge. There are only two negative aspects to the hotel. One is that the service is appaling when you order something. We waited an hour (after ordering) for 2 dishes at lunchtime when all we wanted was a quick bite to eat. However, the staff are incredibly friendly all the time - as are the people you meet in the street / town. The second minor complaint was the battle of the sunbeds! Basically there aren't enough and so this meant people were coming down at 7am and putting a book on a bed and then turning up at 1pm to use it for an hour. I understand they have ordered extra beds as there is plenty of space on the private beach.

Generally, I would go back and we enjoyed every minute. One top tip - if you drink wine, make sure you bring plenty of your own. Expensive in the hotel and disgusting in local restaurants!!

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Rating

  By Hillpudli... on Jan 01, 2007

We recently returned from two weeks at the Leela Palace Kovalam with a short side break to Conchin and a day/night on a Houseboat. Our first three days were at the Leela Palace staying at the Pavilion Rooms with a Sea View. This area is at the bottom of the grounds and you need to walk up the Hill to the main area or take a buggy. However it has an outdoor restaurant the Tides, its own pool which no body used and a private area on the beach which is next to the public beach. Occassionally the tranquilty is interrupted by locals who want to take you on a boat trip but they don't come into the private area and are not bothersome.

Our our return from Conchin and the Houseboat (a worthwhile but long journey just to breakup sitting in one place for a long time) we were upgraded for whatever reason to the "The Club" which has its own restaurant, infinity pool , spa, gym and lounge area. There was no construction work going on and the rooms overlooked the sea and though small were adequate.

The overall service was great with everyone willing to help and the rooms were kept clean, towels changes three times a day if needed and there was chocolates, fruit and bottled water free each day.

The only criticism of the facility is the service in the restaurants. Although the waiters try to serve they sometimes forget your order and it takes 40 minutes most times to receive your food. The Club Restaurant is the worst in this regard and at breakfast which is a great buffet with cooked orders if you wish. They are slow in bringing your coffee or tea with no cups on the table though the main restaurant the Terrace has a waiter going around with coffee/tea and the cups are on the table. Why this is different at the Club is a mystery. The prices are higher than eating outside (3 to 4 times) but are still much lower than the UK with a main course being about £5.

There are plenty of restaurants nearby but the service is as bad with again the 40 minute wait but at a few pounds per person who can complain. We ate at the Lobster Pot, the Fusion and Cocanut Grove restaurants which were fine with a wide selection of Indian Food and Fresh Fish.

Overall the Leela Palace is a paradise with great weather (no rain the entire time) beautiful sunsets, good service overall, and upmarket accommodations. I am sure they will improve their catering service as they received many complaints during our stay.

If you use one of the holiday companies who have a package holiday to the Leela the cost is very low. We booked through an India Agent and booked our own charter flights and paid £1500 more per couple than the brochure price.

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Rating

  By richardpo... on Dec 12, 2006

It's not perfect, but still it is a very nice place for the price. Don't stay at the as yet unfinished and under construction Club rooms; instead, the beach views ones are pleasant. Outdoor, sunken bathrooms were very relaxing. The restaurants are very good, with one of the best (breakfast and dinner) buffets we experienced in 3 weeks of travel through India and with a terrific kebab menu, too. The lobby is impressive and enjoyable to hang out in. The spa is only so-so. The pool area is very nice. The hotel staff, while helpful, suffer from what much of the Indian hotel industry suffers from - goals do not necessarily comport with practice. Still, I would recommend this place, although would check out the Taj resort nearby before staying here again.

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Rating

  By vanholt on Nov 11, 2006

I have known this hotel for many years, first as The Ashok, then as The Kovalam Hotel, then as Le Meridien Kovalam then as The Leela and now The Leela Kempinski, and it has never been better than it is today. My stay in October/November was my third this year and I do not have an expense account - I am retired, so I always look for value and comfort.

I was dismayed to read that the member from Bath, England liked almost nothing, disliked most things and gave as his tip "pick another hotel". In my opinion this hotel has so much to offer that it would be a shame to miss out on it.. During October the weather was apalling. The monsoon finished later than usual and there were days of torrential rain and spectactular thunder and lightening storms. The nearby city of Trivandrum was flooded waist deep on two occasions. The member says that he selected this hotel for beach and sun. Perhaps the weather has more than a little to do with his disappointment.

Yes, there was a lot of work going on in one or two areas of "The Club" and yes there was a lot of noise at times but given better weather guests would have been at the poolside or on the beach. Yes, the Chairman did make a 3 day visit and yes the wedding of the son of the Senior Supreme Court Judge did take place in the hotel's conference centre, but the work would have gone on in any case - the aim is to finish before Christmas.

What is now The Club was the original Seaview Block, so the shell of the building already existed. Where suites have been formed, two rooms have been made into one, but the Club Rooms themselves are indeed fairly small, being the original room size. The General Manager readily admits that had they been able to build from scratch they would be half as big again.
For the same reason, bathrooms too are on the small side, but let's be fair - let's mention the heaps of thick snow-white bath sheets and hand towels and face towels which are changed twice daily and the quality toiletries and combs and shaving kits - the list is endless. And let's be fair, too, about the bathroom window which faces into the room. Clearly, this is designed to give natural light but it IS fitted with a blind which, when lowered, gives total privacy. This same feature can be found in other quality hotels to give natural light. True, there is not enough space for a bath but the showers - yes, not just one shower head but THREE - in the not-so-small shower cubicle - are wonderful.

Arrangements can be made with the Housekeeper if guests wish their room to be serviced at a particular time. Clearly not all rooms can be serviced simultaneously. Guests need only lift the telephone and ask for service - a team will be there within minutes.

Yes, the hand-made chocolates delivered daily to Club rooms are indeed a treat, as is the wonderful "High Tea" (we call it afternoon tea in th UK) served each afternoon in The Living Room.

Many would-be guests would be put off this hotel by the reference made to exposed wiring, lights which don't work, things held in place by polyfiller and sealant. The on-the-ball General Manager of this hotel and his on-the-ball team of managers would never allow anything that might cause injury to guests or staff. Inspections throughout every area of the hotel are part of the daily routine. If any reader has formed the impression of a 2 star Spanish hotel of 20 years ago, forget it. Standards throughout this hotel could not be higher, and that goes for wiring and lighting and anything else that could be a safety hazard.

Guests who are booked from November onwards can expect near perfect weather, with no rain and no storms until next May, and can spend much of their time outdoors if they wish. Those who choose to stay in their room in The Club could experience some building work noise during daytime. Those in the main hotel (beach view and sea view terrace rooms) and the pavilion rooms on the beach, are unlikely to hear any noise from the ongoing work.

From my own experience of this hotel I would say "Go for it".

45

Rating

  By billyboy on Nov 11, 2006

This used to be an Ashok hotel, was then taken over by the Le Meridien chain, and became a Leela only a few months ago. The facilities in the main building, including an infinity pool with amazing sunset views, are gorgeous and new, but the former luxury wing of the hotel is still undergoing a gut renovation and is scheduled to reopen as "The Club at The Leela Kovalam" in about half a year. Similarly, the spa currently operates from an improvised location in one of the beachside cottages while new and improved facilities are being constructed. Once the renovations are completed, this will be by far the most luxurious place along Kovalam beach. Largely undisturbed by the construction, we enjoyed our (attractively discounted) stay in a beach-view deluxe room. The food was amazing and reasonably priced. The one area that still needs improvement is the (relatively small) beach. This is not one of the more beautiful stretches of Kovalam beach, but it would be good if at least the rather apparent water pollution could be contained.

45

Rating

  By ochsenfel... on Dec 12, 2005

Das Hotel erstreckt sich über ein grosses Areal und bietet einem atemberaubende Ausblicke. Wenn man gerne zu Fuß unterwegs ist kann man alleine auf dem Hotelgeländer schön spazieren, wenn man lieber bequem ist bestellt man sich einfach das Golfauto, das einen überall abholt und überall hinfährt.
Wir waren mit einer Reisegruppe von ungefähr 100 Kollegen unterwegs ;-) und waren alle absolut begeistert. Sowohl die Garden View Pavilions als auch die Club Rooms können empfohlen werden.
Das Essen im Hotel ist ebenfalls sehr gut und in der Zeit nach dem Monsum ist sicher das direkt am Strand gelegene Restaurant eine wunderschöne Addresse.
SPA - ein wenig teuer, aber excellent!

45

Rating

  By iza_meg on Oct 10, 2011

Die Zimmer hatten beide Meerblick. Der Kovalam Strand in Laufweite ist allerdings sehr schmutzig, die Inder stehen dort am Strand in Alltagsbekleidung, also Strandbaden nach unseren Vorstellungen nicht möglich. Es gibt auch kein freies Plätzchen, weil der Strand überbevölkert ist. Das Hotel hat einen mittelgroßen Pool mit zu wenig Liegen für alle Hotelbesucher. Aber es gibt abgelegen einen kleinen privaten Liegeplatz, der mit Sand aufgefüllt ist. Dorthin tragen die freundlichen Mitarbeiter gerne Liegen und Sonnenschirme hin. Platz für ca. 6 Liegen. Der Chefkoch im Clubrestaurant war sehr zuvorkommend und aufmerksam, herrliche Chickensandwiche. Im Zimmer funktionierte zu keinem Zeitpunkt das Telefon, mit dem wir mit unseren Kindern in einem der Nachbarzimmer in Kontakt stehen wollten. Es waren ständig Techniker da und gaben ihr Bestes, aber das war nicht genug. Das Telefon hat nie funktioniert. Freundlich waren sie alle und schenkten immer ein big smile. zwischen 16:30 und 17:30 gab es immer High Tea mit kleinen Köstlichkeiten als Aufmerksamkeit des Hotels. Die Buffetts waren sehr lecker, abwechslungsreich und vorzüglich, wenn auch vergleichsweise teuer. Kostenloses Internet.
Als Badeurlaub ist Kovalam Beach nicht geeignet, 1-2 Tage reichen.

45

Rating

  By Ute90 on Jun 06, 2011

Hotel iegt in einem tropischen Garten auf einer Anhöhe.Zwei Bereiche:Clubbereich mit eigenem Restaurant, Freizeitbereich,Pool und Zimmern mit berauschendem Meeresblick "normalem Hotel", Zimmer terrassenförmig in den Hang gebaut.
Empfang freundlich, jeder Gast wird individuell emfangen und eingewiesen (roter Punkt "Bindi" und Muschelkette); Hotelbereich nicht klimatisiert.
Zimmer und Sanitärbereich geschmackvoll, großer Fernseher und DVD Spieler (DVD können kostenlos ausgeliehen werden).
Täglich mehrmals Handtuchwechsel und 2x Mineralwasser; Obstkorb täglich.
Großer Balkon.
1 Restaqurant im Hotel (Buffet und a la carte), indische und internationale Küche.
1 Restaurant am Strand mit tägl. frischem Fisch.
Einfaches Frühstück, Wurst und Käseauswahl gering, wirkt z. T. unappetitlich; Leeres Buffet wird teilweise erst nach Aufforderung aufgefüllt.
Innerhalb der Hotelanlage Transport mit Elektroautos.
Privatstrand, ungepflegt; Zimmerservice z. T. oberflächlich. Servicepersonal in den Restaurants freundlich aber wenig aufmerksam; sie sehen von sich aus nicht und sind auch nicht aktiv; Flughafentransfer Kovalam Airport gratis.
Ein familiäres Hotel mit angeschlossenem Spa, einfachem Pool, ohne Abendunterhaltung.
Internet teuer, es sei denn, man ist Clubmitglied.

45

Rating

  By dittelbru... on Apr 04, 2011

das hotel liegt auf einer felsklippe oberhalb des strandes,der hotel eigen und öffentlich ist.die anlage biete die zimmer in aufsteigender reihe übereinander an,die ruhe ist aber sehr gut gegeben,die zimmer haben alle einen angenehmen balkon und unmittelbaren meerblick,überhaupt ist der unmittelbare bezug zum meer das herausragende kennzeichen dieser sehr gepflegten anlage.die zimmer - 25o3 - sind gut ausgestattet,ausreichend groß(stufen) und außerordentlich sauber-selbst die wände an der kofferablage glänzen!gewöhnungsbedürftig ist aber das kleine bad,das einen teil im offenen hat,aber überdacht ist.andere zimmer - 2107 -12,die wir sahen - haben das bad integriert und sind auch größer,wir hatten deluxe gebucht und waren sehr zufrieden.der servicde ist sehr gut,die angestellten sind freundlich ,ohne aufdringlich zu sein.insgesamt eines der schönsten und geflegtesten resorts,die wir in asien kennen.das angebot an restaurants ist ebenfalls - insbesondere das buffet morgens und abends - ordentlich.allerdings gibt es auch wünsche zur verbesserung des hotelangebots: 1 es fehlt ein shop für badeartikel,sonnenöl,internationale zeitungen,bücher,souvenirs etc.der kleine ort hat nichts dergleichen,der ort trivandrum ist nur mit der taxe zu erreichen,ein shuttle existiert nicht. 2 dei preise für essen und getränke sind leider sehr hoch und teilweise doppelt gemessen an five stars hotels in den städten.wenn dies geändert werden sollte,ist dieses resort hervorragend.

45

Rating

  By Malraux on Mar 03, 2011

Das Leela hat eine phantastische Lage. Es ist das beste Haus am Ort. Das Haupthaus liegt auf einem Kap, die Bungalows sind strandnäher. Das Essen in beiden Restaurants ist sehr gut. Der Service des reichlich vorhandenen Personals ist ebenfalls gut, allerdings war unser Zimmer nie vor 15 Uhr gemacht, und der Föhn war defekt. Deshalb gibts hier Abstriche. Übrigens ist auch das hoteleigene Ayurveda-Center sehr gut, allerdings extrem teuer! Der Strand ist "indisch", aber man kann durchaus baden bei durchschnittlich 28 Grad.

45

Rating

  By karli4 on Jan 01, 2011

hotel zimmer und personal sehr gut die zimmer im superior waren sehr schön mit flachbild tv und gemütlich frühstück war auch toll vom strand waren wir entäuscht nicht so sauber und keine palmen die aussicht vom zimmer ist ganz toll das hotel steht ja etwas erhöht das puplilum ist gemischt veile nationalitäten

45

Rating

  By schnapper... on Dec 12, 2010

Grand hotel ( nombreuses chambres) de la chaine Leela, gage de top qualité en Inde. Les chambres vue sur mer du garnd batiment sont dans un grand batiment sans charme type hotel de station de ski construit pour la vue. Les Gardens villas sont plus charmantes mais sans vue. Il n'y pas de plage au sens "européen" du terme avec sable et serviettes, même si un coin de l'hotel propose des chaises longues et parasols au bord de l'eau. Le courant en aout ( post mousson) était tel que la baignade était interdite sur la plage limitrophe. Les deux piscines (en haut pres du restaurant, en bas près des garden villas) sont bien mais pas immenses . Le service est irréprochable, disponible et très courtois
Les restaurants sont bons bien qu'un peu chers pour l'Inde.
Le + : les activités et surtout le centre ayurvédique, tant pour les cours de Yoga que pour les soins.
Le - : l'absence de "plage de baignade"

45

Rating

  By thom72 on Oct 10, 2010

bon hotel si on aime les grands hotels avec musique tous les soirs a l'heure du diner. Personnel attentionne, cadre agreable. A eviter absolument : le coiffeur qui n'a pas la moindre idee de ce qu'est un brushing...

45

Rating

  By on Sep 09, 2010

Im Leela hatten wir einen der Bungalows unten am Strand. War sehr schön und sauber. Der Strand an sich war wegen der etwas trüben Wasserqualität und der auf Europäerinnen im Bikini gaffenden indischen Männer nicht mein bevorzugter Badeort. Traumhafte Poollandschaft. Schönes Restaurant, aus dem ich aber einmal eine Magenverstimmung mitbrachte, was mir sonst auf der ganzen Indienrundreise nie passiert ist. Trotzdem ist das Leela ein traumhaftes Hote, besonders zum Entspannen nach einer Kulturrundreise.

45

Rating

  By geliInnsb... on Jul 07, 2010

Hotel sicuramente da consigliare, soprattutto se si viaggia con bambini.
Le camere sono spaziose (tranne i bagni, molto piccoli e "sacrificati", almeno nelle camere superior), la posizione su un promontorio garantisce un'ottima vista della spiaggia e del mare.
E' dotato di tutti i servizi degni di un albergo di alto livello (molto bella la piscina, con vista mare), ma il cibo potrebbe decisamente migliorare: ottima la varietà, non sempre la qualità.
Il punto forte dell'hotel è sicuramente la SPA. Va certamente provata perché offre un'infinità di trattamenti e dei veri professionisti, oltre a un'ambiente rilassato e raffinato.
Sicuramente il miglior massaggio ayurvedico della mia vita!

45

Rating

  By cristi68 on Apr 04, 2010

Ich war mit der Wahl des Hotels sehr zufrieden und wuerde es auch jederzeit einem Hotel in der Innenstadt von Trivandrum vorziehen. Die Fahrtzeit von 20 min ist es wert. Abends an der Bar auf der Terrasse mit Blick auf das Meer zu sitzen, hat was. Ich hatte einen Club Room und kann diesen Hotelteil nur empfehlen. Es waren naemlich nur wenig Gaeste da und es war sehr ruhig. Zudem hat man seinen eigenen Infinity Pool und seinen eigenen Fruehstuecksbereich (sogar eigenes Spa). Das Zimmer war nicht sehr gross, aber gut ausgestattet. Der Service ist ok. Zudem hatte ich eine sehr gute Firmenrate bekommen. Alles in allem fuer eine Dienstreise sehr zu empfehlen. Privat wuerde ich hier und in Kovalam generell keinen laengeren Urlaub machen. Angeblich soll der Kovalam Beach einer der 50 schoensten Straende weltweit sein.... Das sehe ich anders. Strandurlaub wuerde ich hier keinesfalls machen.

45

Rating

  By heike2810... on Oct 10, 2008

Die Lage ist genial.
Die Hotelanlage auch.
Ueberall Personal, immer freundlich und abgesehen vom Check-In auch kompetent.
Gutes Essen. Spektakulaere Swimmingpools!
Aber.... Erst hiess es, Fruehstueck sei inbegriffen, dann mussten wir schliesslich doch zahlen, nachdem allein die Klaerung dieser Frage gut 15 Minuten dauerte.
Der erste Raum lag direkt unter dem Restaurant und war unglaublich laut, da dort die ganze Nacht Mitarbeiter feierten (was ihnen ja gegoennt ist). Selbst als wir zwischen MItternacht und 1 Uhr zweimal beim Empfang anriefen wurde es nicht besser. Am naechsten Tag haben wir dann Raeume gewechstelt und dann endlich auch (gut) schlafen koennen.

45

Rating

  By travelaro... on Mar 03, 2008

I attended a CIO conference and stayed in the Club Room. Excellent amenities in the room. The view from the Balcony is out of the world. You are actually in the sea. Highly Recommended.
Only thing they should have a authentic Kerala food restaurant

45

Rating

  By HimanshuG... on Nov 11, 2011

Service is slow...and the rooms are not that great...especially the lighting...don't go in for the club rooms...ain't worth the extra charge...It's a bit expensive compared to the vivanta..which is better and has spectacular views...must go to vivanta for dinner..a must do

35

Rating

  By vishnu399 on Nov 11, 2011

I would like to share my view point to help other travellers.I have travelled to many countries & ive been to India previously, Firstly there is no way this is a five star hotel. The entrance to the lobby look grand & makes you feel your in a 5 star hotel but thats where it stops.
We stayed in the garden pavillion & I was not impressed with the bathroom & lack of sufficient lighting in the room . The patio windows were filthy & remainded like this for the 12 nights we stayed.
To get back & forth to the hotel you required a golf buggie, not a problem except they took sometime to arrive. Not a place for the infirm.On a positive note the bed was very comfortable & the rooms were kept exceptionally clean inside on a daily basis by the housekeeping team.
Only 2 rest to eat in unless you stayed at the club. Buffet poor. The tides was good. but i would have expected more places to eat .Staff at Leela are very pleasant & cant do enough for you but the pace is slow.
Infinity pool fabulous & views over the Arabian sea supberb. Sky bar opened 2nd week we were there as it had been closed in the Monsoon season . this is a lovely place to relax & have a few drinks in the evening just needed better choice of music , same recording played night after night,
We saw 1 band while we were there which were good but sang same set of songs nite after nite.
hotel spa for treatments excellent but pricey. Salon great with fab views & the small team running the salon were great , I would recommend a pedicure for both male & female as my feet felt amazing afterwards. Coconut oil treatment for my hair before leaving was just heaven.We had fantastic sunny weather & still enjoyed relaxing here but it wasnt my best holiday.

35

Rating

  By morag735 on Oct 10, 2011

We were in this hotel in February 2011 and I am late with this review, which is more of a warning but at last I have gotten around to it. We arrived here after a hectic schedule which included the Oberoi in Agra and the Taj Lake palace in Udaipur. Boy this is not in the same league!

The leela Kempinski was a state run hotel, built I guess from the architecture in the 70’s. The rooms cascade down the side of the hill but are very dated with concrete much in evidence in the bathroom area and “ethnic” woodwork. The main lobby is stunning but that said you would not normally want to spend time in the hotel lobby. Like many things in India owned by the state the hotel did not work so well and was sold to the Kempinski chain.

The hotel is a buffet operation and I suppose if I was giving it a true international rating it would be at the level of a package operator’s Spanish 3 star. The staff in the dining room still seem to be in an Indian “state run enterprise” state of mind. They don’t want to serve and cleaning tables is not their job.

The beach is small and very poor.

No one warned us and we took other people’s good reviews as referring to the main hotel. One night was enough and we moved to the Club.

Kempinski appear to have tackled the poor quality of this hotel by building another in the grounds: “The Club”. The club is not just club rooms but a separate hotel with its own pool and dinning rooms. The club Hotel is probably about 10 years old.

The Club is a reasonable international hotel. The rooms are not that large but are well fitted with good bathrooms. The food in the small restaurant is excellent and the Chefs are always willing to produce anything you ask for. The pool service is not bad. They serve afternoon tea in the Library which is not advertised but delightful. This is an oasis of reasonable quality in an otherwise dire main hotel . This Club hotel is definitely worth at least 4 stars by any international standard.

So my warning is realise that there are two hotels. It is not a case of upgrading to a club room but upgrading to the club hotel and spa in its entirety. It’s a lot more money but worth it.

35

Rating

  By GBFLeices... on Sep 09, 2011

I visited along with my family as a part of Connoisseur Gold Club Member which me and my wife became part of considering reputation of Leela Group of hotels, but after our stay in Leela Kovalam we think that this beach hotel is bit overrated and lot of improvement is required.
1. Airport pickup/drop - Pickup/drop staff was good, but vehicle was the old Nissan X trail which we saw when we visited Kovalam in 2001. They can depute some good latest cars atleast now.
2. Check-in/Check - out : Here we were most disappointed. Staff could be more friendly and courteous.
3. Rooms - Room which was given to us was very far from main reception and in spite of several requests it was not changed. Approach was very dark, proper lighting was not there. Every time we had to wait for bagghi to take us to main hotel premises which never came on time. Room keys were not functioning properly because of which we got stuck up 3-4 times in the night outside and we could not call reception as there was no house phone.
4. Food - Buffet at The Terrace, a multi cuisine restaurant was very ordinary and no variety was there. Dinner was loaded with all Punjabi dishes and that too not tasty. Every visitor expects good variety of Kerala cuisine which was not there. AC of restaurant was not working properly and everybody were sweating. Food at The Tides, the beach restaurant was good and is surely recommended specially for sea food lovers.
5. Room services staff was good, responsive and co-operative. Brought our order even when it was raining heavily. Specially when we asked for special services for kid from them like sterilizing of milk bottles and they did it very happily.

Overall this hotel needs lot of improvement to live up to Leela standards, and at present visit this only if you are left with no other option.

35

Rating

  By SPRajeev on Jul 07, 2011

Its a five star property, hence the basics in terms of good upkeep,location,facilities are well in place. However, the team needs to work on improving their customer service standards (an iron board request was accepted and not serviced even after multiple reminders). The restuarant managers are definitely not the most polite people in the team there. The spa is excellent with a great team running it

35

Rating

  By Geetikame... on Jul 07, 2011

This is an amazing property, just because of its location. We tried it only for its spectacular views of the coast, the beach and the sea. The property is divided in to two halves. The standard side and the club side. The club has uninterrupted views of the sea with club amenities such as a separate swimming pool, cafe and lounges. The standard side is like any other hotel.

The property is old and needs constant refurbishment as it is subjected to the corrosive salty sea mist. The interiors even though of 5 star quality, they are old just because of the age of the hotel.

Check in:

We had a seamless check in with the standard Leela welcome of a traditional Indian tilak and a garland made of shells.

Rooms:

I would have expected the club room to be bigger than what it was. It was about 250 sqft which was as much as the other rooms. The bathroom did not have a tub where one could soak oneself after a tiresome day of meetings. That was something I would have expected in the club rooms. The interiors even though modern when compared to the other side, were yet old and needed to be retouched in some places.

House Keeping:

The house keeping staff seemed to be a bit off on both the days when I was there. The first time they cleaned my room, they forgot to replenish the bath toiletries. I then had to call them and demand. Despite telling them that I am out of everything, they just got me a shampoo and bath gel, forgetting conveniently to bring out the lotion, the soap and the conditioner. This is not done as a 5 star. There were no candies/fruits or chocolates in the room as a part of the welcome or turn down service for the club room guests.

The Terrace:

The lunch and dinner buffet were rehashed versions of the same old without any variations in either the kind of cuisine or the taste. The servers took a long time to bring us hot breads which I thought was obvious again for such a property. There was very little attention paid to the mix of guests who could be dining at the property and hence the menu was very plain and lacked jazz. The service was slow and terrible on more than one count.

Tides:

Their beach facing restaurant seemed to be good on the face but again when dug deeper, it was a total disaster. The waiter goofed up all the orders even while noting them down. We made him repeat it thrice. When we finally got our food about 45 minutes later, all the orders were not as we had wanted and just because we were hungry we ate what he was serving us. They tried to cover up by bringing in what we had originally ordered, but by then we had full stomachs. We had drinks which needed ice but that never made it to our table. The dessert took another 30 minutes to come. All this despite the choice being from a limited set menu. The staff did say sorry, but during the whole dinner, they never made an attempt to speed up their efficiency.

Sports:

We did end up using their tennis and badminton court. I thought that the only person who deserved praise was Nandhu their coach. He stayed beyond his call of duty and made sure that we had a good time playing. The normal hours were only till 7:30 pm each night but he stayed with us till almost 10 pm while we sweated it out.

Check out:

Despite being promised a late check out, I was made to leave by 1 pm from my club room. That was a bit disappointing. I asked them to look up my Global Hotel Alliance number from their system, but they said that they couldn't and I would have to go and check my own email.

Conference:

We used one of their rooms and both the days the people who were manning the door were superb when it came to being attentive. Not that we needed anything other than coffee and tea, but still knowing that they are here to help you was a lot better than the experience from the cafe.

Overall:

Some aspects were ok, but overall it lacked the service standards that are expected from a Leela property. I would not recommend it unless you are sure of the service.

35

Rating

  By Rajiv78 on Jul 07, 2011

I stayed at the leela for a week with my mother, and we were very looking forward to visiting but i must admit we didnt get what we expected.

We upgraded to a club room, which was small, the door didnt close properly and the noise of the waves crashing against the cliff was so loud! I know that sounds like a weird complaint but the door was so badly fit that it was deafening sometimes when it was windy.

The room wasnt cleaned properly and we ran out of toilet roll and had to ask for more.
the drinks prices are appalling. The food was quite nice but the service was hit and miss, one day we sat down and waited 30 minutes, yes, THIRTY minutes for a waiter to attend our table, then we ordered our drinks and he didnt take our food order for another 30 minutes!
A few times we had a walk down the lighthouse beach where we asked for beer in bars there, they arent supposed to serve it and you must hide the bottle but the beer is very cheap there, which makes it even more ridiculous that the hotel charges so much!
The infinity pool for club residents only was nice, although it would only take some minor housekeeping to improve it a lot as some of the small tiles in pool were missing. the restaturant for club only was lovely, the service was secnd to none and the food was out of this world! especially the breakfasts!

the food and service at the beach area is very good and i was very impressed with my chinese meal.

overall, do not pay through the nose for the leela if you are unsure, try to get a good deal, and make sure you have a lot of spending money to afford the large bar bills!

the hotel is beautiful i cannot deny that.

35

Rating

  By TashPotat... on Jul 07, 2011

After all the build-up, we were disappointed. Kovalam beach is unclean, smelly, commercial any overrun with people. I can think of hundreds of better beach destinations. The hotel has a very tired main building with an airy and light filled lobby of grand proportions leading to dingy hallways and even worse rooms. The first room we were shown had a nice beach view but was dark, musty and filled with clumsy furniture. After we objected, we were given an upgrade to the newer club building where we had sea views and a nice but small room which was a lot better. The club restaurant was rarely open and so we ate most meals in the main building's poolside restaurant, which is a nice setting with good food. The beach restaurant was a less pleasant experience. Christmas dinner was in a huge impersonal hall, with average food and third rate entertainment. We were forced to buy the pricey tickets only to find other guests at the poolside restaurant on our return. The highlights were the sea views, the breakfast buffet and the infinity pool. The rest mediocre. We would not go back.

35

Rating

  By discoverm... on Jul 07, 2011

Spent 5 nights here whilst on business. The grounds were lovely and very well kept and the views were great.. The hotel was of a good standard and the room staff were very attentive.
However the breakfast was a bit hit and miss - if you turn at opening time and expect everything to be ready then you are in for a shock - most mornings there was no juice / butter etc or even waiters - looking for a chef to cook something fresh was also a challenge.
Piece of advice - if you must have coffee ask the waiter (if you can find one to make a cappuccino as the normal coffee is dire - you have been warned!!)

The buffet meals at night time were over priced for what you got and the beer was an extortionate price - almost £6 per bottle. The "entertainment" was interesting enough but very short in quantity.
One aspect I did like was the plentiful bottles of water that were left for you - this was a nice touch.
However overall I was not that impressed by the hotel and the service clearly needs some refining - I think the Leela needs to think seriously about the cost of their food / drinks - for example the beautiful Taj by Vivanta hotel was considerably cheaper on both counts. I know where I will stay next time.

35

Rating

  By Rangers57 on Jun 06, 2011

It is a nice resort hotel with quality fittings and furnishings but (apart from being woken at 0445am every morning by the call to prayer from the nearby mosque near the beach) I have one major negative, the staff.
Upon arrival you are given a welcoming letter stating the guest is treated like a god.
We never found this to be anywhere the mark, in fact some seemed to give the aura that it was a pleasure for us to stay at their hotel.
I got used to this until we flew up to Chennai and stayed at the Radisson and every member of staff there went out of their way to help us (and say hello to us !).

Oh yes and as a party of Europeans we all found the bar soulless with no atmosphere at all and no draught beer available either.

35

Rating

  By ministers... on May 05, 2011

We stayed here last summer for couple of days. The hotel is located on top of a cliff and overlooks the sea. The trasfer from the Airport was without any hassles and it was great to see a brand new Nissan X-trail waiting for you. The hotel is divided into 2 broad categories, the club and the regular. We were welcomed by a garland and traditional aarthi and moved to our room.

The room overlooked the sea and must admit that it was one of the best views that we could have asked for of the Arabian sea. The rooms are very well layed out and has all the luxuries that one can expect in a star hotel.

Pros:
1. The location.
2. Neat clean rooms
3. Morning Buffet was very good
4. The infinite pool
5. Well maintained lawn and garden
6. recreation facilities

Cons:
1. The beach !!! .. I was expecting a beach where we could have a good swim and enjoy our time. The so called private beach has practically nothing apart from a restaurent and beach beds where one can relax..The water was dirty and we both ended up just dipping our feet in the water. let alone take a dip in it.... The entire fun of a beach resort was lost the moment we found that we can do nothing much in the beach...

Overall we could have had a great vacation had it not been for this disappointment.

35

Rating

  By Planet_tr... on May 05, 2011

Hotel located in a nice area of kovalam. Massive hotel. I normally stayed at smaller hotel in kovalam area, so felt like really family type hotel. If you stay at main building, nothing so special. but with children, it could be a nice hotel. for the club room is totally different from main building hotel. really stylish and nice rooms. but somehow, the receptionist at main hotel are nicer........nice things about club room is the swimming pool and view! we had complete seaview from our bedroom. we could also see the sea from the shower room. the food was bit better at main restaurant. and afternoon tea was really small choice. nothing special.

my friend had 4 hands massage, but one of them are standing while another person was doing massage. she felt very strange, as another person was kind of looking at her.......this is not worse paying more money for two massage therapists.

the electricity of the both building is not great. we had lots of problem.

food was fine. quite nice. bar area is really nice.

35

Rating

  By churachur... on May 05, 2011

The breathtaking view off the hills, sea breeze and the ocean blue around you is enough to forget any discomfort. That's how I forgot the discomfort of the poorest service in 5 star ever.

We were a large group of people and almost everyone had a complaint about the service. But still smitten by the charm of the place. The rooms are very well done, though the pre-liberalization (Asoka) hangover is still there.

Food was also quite average.

35

Rating

  By Niktravel... on May 05, 2011

Having visited Kerala three years ago and staying around the Kochi area in 3 hotels, we had high expectations for our stay in Kovalam, particularly as the video presentation of the Leela was so encouraging.
We arrived at the hotel on a Sunday afternoon and were surprised that the main pool area close to reception resembled a children's playground, though we were informed that on Sundays, many expats come to the hotel for brunch and use the pool facilities.
However, we had paid an extra supplement to stay in the 'Club' section of the hotel so could escape the noise..
First impressions were not good. It was rather like a city hotel that happened to be on the edge of a cliff with a view out to sea. Our room (1408 I believe) was on the 2nd floor and under the eaves of the sloping roof which took all the light from the room. The room was very 'average' and relatively small. We indicated our dissatisfaction to the hotel management who initially showed little interest.
We called our travel agent (SITA) who arrived immediately and looked at other hotel options in the area. Nothing suitable was found and after hours of negotiations with the hotel management, we were offered a suite at a small supplement. Reluctantly we accepted this as there was no other real alternative. Overall the Club area is rather bland and unattractive. Nice pool, but lots of concrete and zero atmosphere.
Of the restaurant choices, Tides, on the beach was the best and had very good service. The Club restaurant was very bland and characterless as was the main buffet restaurant.. The bars appeared to be permanently empty.
This is not a poor hotel and the staff were very helpful but often lacking in training. We were there for 8 nights which was too long.
In my opinion, Kovalam is not truly representative of Kerala. The areas around Kochi and Munar are much prettier and the hotels better (and cheaper!). Marari Beach hotel is good as is the Coconut Lagoon. If you really want to treat yourselves, take a 3 day trip on Oberoi's m.v. Vrinda cruise - just watch your waistlines!

35

Rating

  By TonyRober... on Mar 03, 2011

We spent three nights at the Leela at the end of our three weeks in Kerala. We had hoped to find peace and tranquillity in a luxurious resort. We were sadly disappointed.

The good points: the public rooms were large and airy; the pool - wonderful views from the infinity pool; the staff and food at the Terrace restaurant, although this was the most expensive place we ate during our travels; housekeeping staff.

And now the bad: I had booked a deluxe beach view room which turned out to be by far the smallest room of any we had stayed in. The hotel website and in-room guest directory promise ‘spacious, airy rooms’. This one was dark and had me fighting incipient claustrophobia. All the normal amenities that you would expect to find in a five star room (hospitality tray, toiletries, magazines etc.) were provided but took up so much of the available space that there was hardly any room for personal items. The wardrobe had a meagre four coat hangers and no space to store shoes (taken up with laundry bags and shoe cleaning gear). With one of us seated at the desk, the other had to clamber over the bed to reach the bathroom which was dated and uninspiring.

The only way I could cope with the claustrophobic feel of the room was to spend every waking minute on the terrace. However on our second night even this ‘heaven of peace and tranquillity’ (Leela website quote) was shattered. The hotel was hosting a corporate event and the evening entertainment was a buffet dinner served on the beach below our room, followed by a disco. The noise was quite unacceptable and two telephone calls to the Duty Manager failed to produce any respite. It was only when my husband went to confront the Duty Manager in the lobby that the volume was reduced. I understand that corporate events bring in the money, but why should this be at the expense of the private guests, who are also paying dearly to stay there?

The Leela website promises a ‘serene and truly unforgettable experience’. Serene it was not and I will certainly not forget it. Neither would I ever stay there again. As someone else has said, not only does it not exceed expectatiions, it doesn't even meet them.

35

Rating

  By Cilgwyn on Mar 03, 2011

The location of the hotel is very nice. It's on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean and the beach. In particular, watching the activity on the beach from our room was fun.

The pool/restaurant area also had a nice, relaxing view, but it was quite small. The restaurant didn't seem to have the capacity to serve all of the guests.

Our room was disappointing. As described above, we had a nice view of the beach, but there was mold growing in the bathroom, and that was our second room after insisting on moving from the first one which had a strong mold smell.

The beach was definitely not peaceful! There was a small piece carved out for the Leela guests. The rest of the beach was filled with day-trippers and fishermen. It made for an interesting window into the culture, but on the other hand It felt a little strange to be apart from the crowd with a guard making sure no one stepped onto our 'side'. And for us, who live in India, we were just looking for a quiet weekend away.

The spa was very pretty and tranquil.

I've been told by friends that the Taj in the area is very nice, and if we were to go again we'd probably stay there instead.

35

Rating

  By englishan... on Mar 03, 2011

Continual panpipe music, having travelled India and eaten off street stalls the only time we had stomach problems was eating at the Leela. Lower infinitey pool had green algae on the upper tiles, upper infinitey pool was like a lido shouting from guests. The rooms are functional not amazing, lovely bedding and linen. We ordered a beer and did not recieve any change which was due. You would hope the Leela would exceed expectations, it does not even achieve them - well over priced.

35

Rating

  By Morgans36... on Mar 03, 2011

While the hotel location is good, you need to ask what room are they putting you in when you are doing your booking. We were put in a totally another wing outside the hotel property which was atleast 1 km away from the main area. The rooms have no privacy at all, glass windows make it quite easy for a passerby to peep into the room. The food quality was really bad, be it the buffet or ala - carte menu. The location of the swimming pool is really awkward. To top it all someone from the staff entered our room while we were sleeping in the wee hours of the morning. Even after raising the numerous issues all that the hotel staff could do was to waive off our bill at the restaurant.

35

Rating

  By Namita_11 on Feb 02, 2011

Was there during last Onam. Offseason so had a good discounted 3 night 4 days monsoon package. Booked via the resort website itself. There was a bus for complimentary airport pickup but a resort cab was given during departure. We had booked its bay view room with open air shower ones. Good concept. Could not enjoy the beach as the water was very cold at that time. The Hotel Pizza is something every one should try along with the fish Biryani.
On Onam day it started raining and the view from our room overlooking the beach was simply awsome. Had a good time. Negatives were that there were a lot of mosquitoes at night specially. Off season and there were a lot of guests and a bit understaffed so this was overlooked. Reported it though while departing.

35

Rating

  By Souvik_Ro... on Feb 02, 2011

We arrived at the Leela in Kovalam thinking it would be very similar to the Leela in Goa but were very disappointed that it wasn't. The room, a beach superior was dark and certainly not enough hanging space for two people, and the bed was so hard we had to have a duvet put on top of it. We asked to see another room but were told although we could, they were all the same. We had a look at the club rooms which were better but did not feel like paying out even more money when we had spent enough already. I must say though that the staff were extremely helpful and polite and the food was good although expensive compared to the local eateries on Lighthouse beach. Drinks were also very expensive so consequently we did go out quite a lot. They seem to have a lot of conferences at the hotel and the beach and Tides restaurant were out of bounds for the guests for a day and night and also there were 2 "dry" days at the hotel whilst we were there. We will not be returning.

35

Rating

  By traveller... on Feb 02, 2011

I really wanted to stay at this hotel and from your welcome at the airpot, to check in, the hotel lobby and staff are definitely 5 star.....BUT the Garden Pavillion rooms are not. During our 12 day stay we stayed in 3 different Garden Pavillion rooms. Each one had a little problem, that was dealt with by the staff. First one had no hair dryer. The second one had a faulty lock on the patio door and the A/C sounded like a train. The third room, the hair dryer ommitted a burning smell. All 3 rooms were very tired, and definitely not worth £187 per night. In our last room 118 we had a shower curtain, as my husband said, what 5 star hotel would you stay in that has a shower curtain. Saying that the shower door in room 139 was disguesting.

The staff are great. I mislaid my watch and Sumesh on reception and the Head of Security did a thorough search to try and find it. Luckly I found it in my travel documents a day later. You were always greeted with a smile and nothing seemed to be too much trouble for the staff.

35

Rating

  By lizHull on Jan 01, 2011

I was very much looking forward to staying at my favourite hotel/resort but was very disappointed to find that the hotel was badly deteriorated since my last visit in 2008. The lobby was drab and the furniture in serious need of attention. It rained heavily on the 2nd day of my arrival and the roof of the lobby leaked badly. The rooms were damp and it appeared that the hotel has had many leaks and amateur attempts had been made to patch up the staines. The TV and the dressing table mirror was coveed in damp and dust. I questioned the staff as to how they can even think of offering such rooms to guests who were obviously expecting 5 star standards! The lobby staff, although polite, appeared dull and uninviting. The food in the hotel was not up to stadard either and the too many waiters hovered around with slack service. The only plus point was the location of the hotel as it is in close proximity of Hawa beach and the city centre. There is a bus stand right outside the entrance of the hotel and the delux "Orange" bus (clean and new) takes you into town and the railway station for 26 rupees per head. The service is frequent. The hotel has its own private sandy beach ( a small section) which was almost empty most days. This may sound divine as you can enjoy the sun beds and peace and quiet but the atmosphere was missing. Since the charter flights have pulled out of Kerela, the State has lost most of its tourism and the effects are visible everywhere. May be this is the reason for the hotel's deterioration as they probbaly have lost business and are now unable to keep up the standards. I wish I had selected another resport/hotel.

35

Rating

  By SapphireA... on Jan 01, 2011

The moment we drove into the resort, the impression was good but it took 25 mins from the time of arriving at the reception to actually check in the room.
We had a Pavilion room and it is Gazillion miles away from the main hotel block. With 200 odd rooms in the hotel, they only have 5 buggies (golf carts).
its no surprise then that everything here takes time.

The room is OK. Now when you are paying 16K for a room, you expect it to be at least nice. The door to the balcony took all my muscle to open. They have very thoughtfully provided a netted door to keep out the mosquitoes and let the cool breeze in, but then they forgot align the doors or oil them, it is virtually impossible to use them.

The dinner was a buffet dinner, and I usually am very happy with 5* hotels in this regard. But none of the dishes or the desserts were palatable. The service is PATHETIC. They have at least 15-20 persons waiting at the restaurants, to cater to guests all needs and fancies, but, every item took on an average 15-20 mins to arrive. Be it the breads which came fresh from the oven, but were cold by the time they got to me 20 mins after I asked for them. The drinks served were warm, even after asking for 'extra ice'. Even the ice bucket did not have ice when asked for more.

the buffet was not replenished properly, the desserts were out of stock by the time you went for them. Even the fruits were not there in the morning for breakfast. On asking, you got the usual "Its coming sir".

During Lunch, I ordered 2 desserts from the menu and even after 35 mins it had not arrived. On asking this time, I got a different response "I will just check Sir"... and I saw some glimmer of hope. But .... alas after 15 more mins my patience and the desire to actually eat the dessert had run out and all I was left was regret for spending a fortune to come to this hotel.

You have to give credit to the staff though. They are very polite and never say no. But there were so many of them that I was not able to remember to whom I had ordered adn whenver I enquired about it again, was told that "it is coming Sir".

Room service, house keeping all the other services are similar. I asked for an extra bed for the child at 10PM and it was delivered at 11:15PM by which time my entire family including me were asleep.

I took a package for 4 days all prepaid and now regret the same wishing I had stayed at the Taj instead.

They do have some "CLUB" rooms where it is said that everything is separate. Probably they use the normal rooms to train their people?

BEWARE......

35

Rating

  By MD-qwerty on Dec 12, 2010

When you are in this hotel you could as well feel like you are anywhere else. Standard, average, no character. And slow service.

35

Rating

  By sister-ka... on Nov 11, 2010

Great location- the property is huge, beautiful, green and right on the beach. the cascading construction makes possible for each room to have a beach view. it is a great feeling of the waves near you always.
Rooms- are relatively smaller but still comfortable and cozy....decent for one person or may be a couple....but definetely small in case you have kids with you.
Facilitites- the spa is amazing, expensive but good. the gym is equiped and nice. the pool is good, meeting rooms are spacious, clean and fully equiped with gadgets as may be required. the facilities and ambience is excellent.
Staff- extremely courteous, very hospitable and polite
Food- Sucks. bad food, especially vegetarian. Very low choice, and bad taste.
Overall experience- Great place to holiday minus the food :)

35

Rating

  By Sonia2211... on Nov 11, 2010

My mother and I went for a one night treat. Overall our experience was pretty good but I was prompted to write through hearing other guests complaining and some amusement of my own!

The first "unusual" aspect is the decor: too many influences and not the right ones... You are welcomed into a large, light, airy lobby with sort of modern colonial decor. We were then taken down through a bizarre corridor to our room: it seemed like a cross between an underground car park (dark, low-ceilinged, cement "minimalist", not entirely well maintained) and a ride on Disneyworld (odd, stagey lighting, very gaudy - and I LOVE colour - colourwashed panels mixed with traditional brass knockers).

The room itself was perfectly nice but still "unusual"! The top feature was a stunning antique-style door into the bathroom which had been painted turquoise - but sadly never oiled and "squeak" isn't the word for the unGodly sound it made on opening. But inside the bathroom... words fail. I cannot work out what they were going for. The odd mix of tiling looks as though they were using up ends of lines... you know, the ones no-one else wants. But very clean and fully functional.

The main part of the room was mostly pretty OK despite the regulation panels washed in a lurid peach/pink and a collection of furniture that didn't really tie in. Lots of attention has clearly been paid but it's not the kind of attention that improves the overall look of the room!

The beds were lusciously comfortable and they offer and extraordinary Menu of pillows - about 15 different types including hypoallergenic etc.

The buffets seemed pricey for what they were. The food and service were inconsistent. We had some average soups followed by very good mains. They did make an effort with dairy/wheat allergy once they understood but the soya milk they brought in the morning was lumpy and off!

Some guests next to us had been there 3 days and were very angry about the service which was a bit disorganised. The staff were generally charming, spoke good english and made an effort. There are a LOT of them but it seemed they weren't well managed - ie our neighbours hadn't been offered a desert menu after their plates were cleared and we probably would have been forgotten if we hadn't been proactive. I'm used to India though, so that aspect didn't bother me.

There is a comedy situation with the inevitable crows (cannot escape those in Kerala) trying to nick food off the tables on the veranda around the pool, despite some netting.

The pool is stunning, especially when lit at night but I felt too self-conscious to go in as it is right next to all the dining tables. There is another one closer to the beach which is less exposed.

They were able to arrange a legwax at short notice and the beautician was extremely professional and attentive. Slow but excellent - and it wasn't overcharged. My mother's massage was rather average but that's only to be expected in Kerala. From my experience, those trained in ayurvedic massage here know all the strokes but clearly never have massages themselves and aren't really interested in or aware of how it feels for the receiver. I'm quite a connoisseur tho, maybe OK for others. The exception could be the traditional masssge done with feet which another guest raved about but we couldn't get at short notice.

We also had an archery lesson which was a real surprise and fun and unusual in a good sense (ie haven't seen that on offer at a hotel before). We both enjoyed it a lot.

Apart from the archery and leg wax, they are charging a lot (considering what things cost by India standards) and not always delivering. Coming from the UK, though, I guess most guests won't be aware of what things really cost - as I am.

They have carts and cars to ferry you around as the Spa and beach are both a little walk. During a heavy rain, the system got overloaded and one guest was "stuck" at the salon for over 30 mins, impatient to meet her partner for dinner.

Overall, I would say it's more the management/ infrastructure that lets this hotel down here and there. I did enjoy it but... I wasn't paying!!

35

Rating

  By vivilala on Nov 11, 2010

We stayed at the Leela in Kovalam as a last stop on our Kerala trip .We chose a '5 star' because it also happened to be our wedding anniversary..The hotel was like any other 5 star resort one has visited before. No major surprises at all. The plus point was definitely the fabulous location ..on the cliff, with some fabulous views of the Arabian Sea...a wonderful sea side seafood and Pan Asian restaurant 'Tides' which seemed rather ignored by the guests...a pretty lobby(non air conditioned)..reasonably friendly staff . WARNING - One thing which you have to be careful about is the location of the room you get. We had booked the 'beach view superior' room and the room alotted to us had absolutely no view because of its location. After very strong and persistent effort , wherein we were made to feel we were being unreasonable,we finally managed to get a room with a view (picture attached). The rooms have pretty bathrooms sans a tub. The only issue with the rather smallish bathrooms being that there is a weird wooden partition you have to step across to enter and it and if one is not careful you can easily trip like we did a couple of times.Dont understand the logic of that at all.
The breakfast spread was pretty good but the restaurant was very chaotic. The restaurant seemed understaffed and the waiters seemed harried and took their time attending to your requests of tea/coffee. One had to 'grab' a table as there was no prevalent system to getting a table .Overall the food was not bad at all but it wasnt anything to speak home about either.
Another major irritant is the much advertised infnity pool. Its not a bad pool but it has a terrible location. It adjoins the lobby and the restaurant and at any given point in time there is no privacy.There are people mulling around all the time.The other pool is meant only for the 'club' class.

Overal while we had a pleasant stay at the Leela , it was not a 5 star experience and not a patch on the Leela -Goa! Buck up Leela, you can do better !

35

Rating

  By madhur343... on Nov 11, 2010

The pictures on the internet lured us to this hotel and it was only until we got there that we realised that these were the Club Class rooms. The room we got was very ok but not worth the amount we paid - have stayed in better places for half the price. One positive thing I can say is that beds are very comfy and the AC is quiet so that was a bonus.
Apart from rooms they do try hard with the service especially room service although breakfast service can be a little frustrating as there is always something that you are missing when you sit down which takes ages to get sorted. I would recommend Tides for evening meal - view, food and service excellent.

35

Rating

  By WendyEnni... on Oct 10, 2010

This hotel was at first sight very lovely and big with a huge reception.
But bear in mind the following:

there are 3 areas of rooms in the resort, and 2 of them are heavily dependant upon a Buggy to get to the main reception (unless you are able to walk a steep 10 mins).
we waitied up to 45 mins for a buggy being told by recpetion that it would be there in '5' mins, had we been told it would have taken 45 mins, or 20 mins (average waiting time) we would have not wasted time waiting around the room and walked instead. In the end we called 3 times.

we had to follwo this routine to get the day going
-wake up and call for the buggy (which we were always told it would come in 5 mins) it never did
-shower get changed and do our make up
-wait for buggy

if the buggy came before we were ready you can a) ask for it to wait '5 mins' and take your time getting ready or b) ask for it to come back in another '5' mins

if you arrive outside normal reception times you will NOT be greeted with the coconut water, the red powder on your forehead and a small shell necklace by any of the staff
wifi is a joke in this hotel - everytime we asked for it we were told different stories (7 in total - ranging from have you signed to our guest programme?, to you need to have it activated, to its not working, to it will be activated in '5' mins to 'you cant have it for more than a 2 hour slot to 'reset your ipad/laptop and try again..)
you will be asked to sign a paper (not necessarily a headed paper with the name of the hotel on it), but any random scrap paper to 'logg' your time on the internet. The first time i was asked to write my name on a paper after i used the business centre. i asked why and they said they need to log in who is doing what and in which room. I then saw the paper for logging and it was a paper with a photocopy of a womans driving lisence with a burka on it - i said that's not me nor MY driving lisence - and i refused to sign the paper!

Once you know how to play the hotel, you can have an enjoyable stay, namely pre-ordering buggys and making them wait, activiating wifi before you actually need it and not expecting anyone to understand you and say YES to everything but not deliver!

35

Rating

  By reshma_de... on Oct 10, 2010

The hotel has got complacent. Stayed in a Pavilion sea facing room. The room itself is quite charming, but the upkeep really poor for a hotel of its category.

One of the tea cups was unclean, the kettle had fungus growing on the inside, and the bath had a small puddle of dirty water collected at one end. The glass windows leading to the balcony were smudged with sea salt - difficult to keep off, I know, but at least on the morning of our check-in it could have been cleaned off! When I walked across the room a couple of times without footwear, my feet got really dirty. The housekeeping staff I asked to attend to my complaints did not even apologize!

The room had a split air con installed in addition to the central cooling that was amazingly noisy so we had it off most of the time. The view from the room is very nice, but it overlooks a public beach, so there is no sense of privacy. Also, there were public buses plying outside sounding their horn frequently, which was disturbing. Not sure if the hotel can do anything about this, and the mosque just outside, which has a loudspeaker calling people to prayer (the least intrusive and annoying of all the problems we had).

Food at the restaurant was sad. Far worse than my last time, and I hardly found anything in the buffet that I felt like eating.

Very disappointing! But the view still is fantastic.

35

Rating

  By dk10 on Oct 10, 2010

This was our maiden trip to kerela and the famous kovalam beach. I was very thrilled to reach the leela hotel, as it is rated as one of the best there, but i was in for a big disappointment after that. The checkin process was not not smooth and we were made to wait at the hotel lobby for 1 hr,even though full the bookings were made in advance.The staff was not courteous enough and the choice of their words were inappropriate and rude.Immediately we realised that we have selected a wrong hotel. Although the management staff is comprised of indians but they were showing more importance to foreigners all the time.The front desk staff also didn't keep his word, when he had offered discount to me at the time of booking. The stay in the hotel was teribbly spoiled by rude mannerism of the front desk staff and their lies. I wish i had a recording of the telephonic conversation i had with them during the time of initial booking.They were smart enough not to mention the discounts offered in the booking email or rather i was foolish enough to believe the them.I felt cheated by one of the so called 5 star hotel.

35

Rating

  By Dr_Mayank... on Oct 10, 2010

Enjoyed our stay at Leela. The highlights were the beach, the hotel pool, the Tides restaurant's fresh fish catch of the day and the pizzas.

Maybe our expectations were too high but to be honest, we were a little disappointed with the quality of the rooms. The television was totally outdated - a big box in the room. That's the first time I've seen something like that in a 4 star hotel. The room was unmemorable apart from the bathroom door, with the Kerala style lock. We had staff continuously walking past our private terrace - a big no no the hotel could easily avoid. And the so-called private beach is just a few beach chairs in length with locals gawking at westerners in swimsuits. Also, unfortunately, we stumbled on the "Club" part of the hotel on our first evening and got so excited about the library, the other pool, the spa area and the decor - just to realize that was for the VIPs. We paid so much for our stay, we didn't want to "know" we weren't actually the preferred guests. That left a bitter taste in our mouths.

Staff was eager to help and well informed. We liked this a lot. They told us about the place, welcomed us with coconut and a shell necklace, remembered our preferred dining spot, tried hard to find out what was going wrong with the coffee machine. We appreciated this a lot. We also liked returning in the evening to our bed being turned over and a flower on the pillow and slippers on the bed. That was nice. My clothes were also folded - thankfully I didn't have underwear lying around!

Hotel prices were extortionate for anything other than food: massages, taxi to town, activities. That was a shame. Better to charge a little more for the rooms than to make you feel you can't do anything but stay at the hotel. We hailed a taxi on our own, saved 2/3rd of the hotel price, got a great massage in town (do it 10 mins from the hotel not at the Leela!).

Though this review might sound mixed, we enjoyed being near the beach, hearing the waves from the room and loved the new flower arrangements each day. The lobby was also beautiful. We clearly needed a rest from life! It's just that for the price we paid (western prices) we expected only the best.

35

Rating

  By TCKsWorld on Sep 09, 2010

Overall, it's a nice hotel in a fantastic location; however, it's possible that after staying at the Leela Udaipur in May that I had too high of expectations. The lobby presents a very nice first impression though the check-in process seemed slow. We had spent 6 hours on the drive from Cochin and the last thing we wanted to do was sit and relax to wait for them to check us in at one of the side tables. I recognize that's a nice touch for some people but the staff didn't match our mood and our desire to just get it done with quickly.

The rooms were adequate and had spacious balconies. All rooms at the hotel (at least sea facing) appear to have a large balcony. In hindsight, we wouldn't have upgraded to the "deluxe" as I think the only thing that was different was an open-air bathroom, which was fine but not something we necessarily needed. In addition, the rooms didn't seem to match the style or level of luxury found in the lobby. The lobby was light, airy, and luxurious. The rooms more basic, dark, and enclosed. Not a huge deal since we didn't spend much time in the room, but didn't meet my admittedly high expectations.

The main infinity pool is beautiful but the poolside cafe seemed to be serving nonstop buffets. As a result, there's the constant sound of silverware stations. This could easily be fixed to some extent if the hotel moved those stations indoors. Probably not ideal for the staff, but would certainly add some serenity to the pool experience. The beach was actually a more relaxing environment as you couldn't hear the sound of the ocean from the main pool.

There is an area called "Skybar" that overlooks the sea just below the main pool that was closed. I understand it's off-season but the hotel was still fairly full. At least open the section up for people to sit for sunset and staff it with a waiter even if it doesn't make sense to open the bar. It seemed like too great an asset for the hotel to just leave vacant.

Overall, it was a very nice hotel and I can't argue with many of the positives that others have mentioned; however, I have to admit I walked away a little disappointed. Not a bad experience, just felt like it could have been better.

Had I stayed in prime season rather than taking advantage of the monsoon special (~ Rs. 7500 / night w/ breakfast for a deluxe room), I would have been even more disappointed. It didn't seem like a place that would be good value in the Rs. 15000 - 20000 per night range.

35

Rating

  By jaluth on Sep 09, 2010

i booked this star hotel for 3 days stay.i booked a beac view deluxe.
it costs more than about 6000
they recived us with a very warm welcome and they guided me to the lobby and gave us the room key in a very short time.they made it so fast and their
dealings were nice,they took our lauggages to the room.

the main attraction of kovalam leela is their constructional beauty,it spreads on a hiil valley ,and from each room we will get the view of ocean ,so we can get sunset and sunrise with a great pleasure


i have stayed in many luxaury hotels in trivandrum but the leela was tottaly different from them
the rooms were extremly clean and tidy such that we canot find not even a small bit of dirt
there.i feel the neatness is the main attraction of this hotel which is located in the middle
of trivandrum city .hte lighting arrangement was so awesome here,

the room service and laundary service was so puctual and fast.i should say about the swiming pool of this hotel or else the review wont be complete,they maintained the pool very well the food served by this hotel was so delicious and a wide variety of food stuff is avilable here.
but i felt that the airconditioning and car parcking facility is not in a level of five star hotel
and also i felt it as expensive for long stay

35

Rating

  By malick4u on Jul 07, 2010

Overall, we had a good time. But would I stay at the Leela again. Definitely, no. The Taj Cove would be my preferred choice.

Several reasons: water leakage in our rooms and some small details.

I was surprised to find that the tea served for breakfast at the terrace restaurant was brewed from Tetley tea bags (the coffee was good). Surely a luxury hotel would not use tea bags, I thought.

Overall, we were disappointed with the lack of local dishes and variety in the terrace menu. We had to step outside Leela for lunches on two days just to sample some local Kerala cuisine, and ended up at the restaurant at the Taj Cove.

The other issue we had was with our room. The wall in our room was damp and had drops of water. We spent two nights in a damp room. This was before the monsoon had set in and I fear to imagine what it would be during the rains.

Lastly, I had an unpleasant experience one day at the gym. I was walking by -- and it was humid -- and stopped by the gym seeing that there were bottles of drinking water displayed. The gym instructor insisted that I be allowed to take a bottle only after I signed in the register. He claimed that he needed to tally his bottles with the visitors. I found that request odd and a bit unreasonable considering I was a thirsty guest who was merely borrowing a bottle of water, which was anyway a complimentary service. I had to almost fight for a small bottle of water, and that was quite amusing.

35

Rating

  By indianbay... on Jun 06, 2010

The Hotel has good location. Good people at service. Good Food. We stayed in Garden View Pavilion Rooms, The rooms in which we stayed had poor privacy for 2 people staying there. When one is sleeping. The other person cannot use the wash basin which is located just over the head. Some glass partition need to be provided. AC should have been more effective. Breakfast wasexcellen. Over all the experience was good.

35

Rating

  By junejaps on Jun 06, 2010

It's a great place and you don't like to get out of the resort. Great service, great ambiance and beautiful swimming pool.

35

Rating

  By VinayKM on Apr 04, 2010

Hi, we are from United Kingdom and we have just returned from a 2 week vacation and stayed at the Leela Kempinski in Kovalam, India.

There were 4 people within our party. We have all agreed on this review and we will be completely honest with you...

THE PROS....
- The Hotel is beautiful and is located on a rock face which offers a fantastic view of the ocean from all of the room types.
- All of the rooms are excellent with good views
- Housekeeping is excellent.
- We stayed in the Club Rooms which were beautiful with good amenities.
- The hotel has fantastic facilities if you are planning a "hotel" holiday with a pool.

THE CONS...
- Unless you are going "all inclusive", the cost of drinking and eating at any of the hotel bars and restaurants is offensively expensive and the food is not of a high enough quality, at any of the restaurants, to warrant their ridiculous prices. A glass of Indian white wine costs the equivalent of £7.00 - £8.00 per small glass. The prices resemble 5 star hotel prices which would be located in London, UK. The cost of a Kingfisher beer at a beach bar is much more realistic at around 100-150 RPS...
- The waiter "service" at breakfast is slow and poor for a 5 star hotel.
- As it was our wedding anniversary during our stay, we took a gift of a bottle of champagne to drink. However, we were told that we were not allowed to drink this outside of our hotel room! We were offered an "Indian champagne" which would have cost the equivalent of £75.00, so we drank the bottle in our own room. This seemed very inflexible to us, considering that we were spending alot of money in their bars...
- If you are thinking that you liked GOA and would like to try Kovalam, I would seriously re-think. We have been to GOA many times and fancied a change, which is exactly what we got. Kovalam is dirty and not particularly pretty. Although there are a lot of palm tress, the view is normally spoilt with cement buildings all over. We hired bikes to get around to "see the sites", but to be completely honest, there are no sites to see within a 10-15 mile radius and it is very dirty.
- In the holiday brochure, it stated that children were not allowed in the Infinity Pool in the Club part.... however, they are allowed when supervised by an adult.... be ware!
- All the bars and restaurants close at 11.00 pm and there is not alot to do after this time.
- If you are considering either the TAJ in Kerala or the Leela Kempinski, Kovalam, we would all recommend the TAJ.

We enjoyed our holiday, but were disappointed at the hotel's inflexible attitude. The view is beautiful, but not worth the one evening's bar bill of over £350.00!

I hope that this review helps.

35

Rating

  By Zaphel on Mar 03, 2010

The Leela has a beautiful lobby and pool area and it wasn't too busy when I was there in November. That is pretty much as much positives I can say about it. If I ever decided to stay there again it will only be in the club area which is really nice with its own lobby, café, pool etc. The Club is like a separate and better hotel next to the old Leela.

I originally stayed in a beach hut, this is easy walking to the beach and the Asian restaurant which is easily the best restaurant at the hotel. Requiring a buggy to go to and from the hotel was a real nuisance so I would typically just walk. This would take at least 10 minutes. It you aren’t in shape or don’t want to weather the heat it is really best to call for a buggy.

After 2 days I asked and was upgraded to a deluxe room. All rooms (except the club rooms) have the exact identical layout. Of course the rooms attached to the hotel have a much better view of the ocean. The rooms in the hotel also have slightly newer furniture but it is not significantly nicer and it also has a DVD player.

The room was a deluxe because it had a bathtub but weirdly also meant that it had an open skylight for the separate shower. No window, no blind, out in the open. Bugs would come into the bathroom if I had the light on, showering at night was not possible. There was a leech in the bathtub one morning and constant mosquitoes in the bathroom. At all times the bathroom door had to be kept closed. I’ve never heard of having an outdoor bathroom without the option of an indoor bathroom.

An international five start hotel should have good international food, it has a lot of work to do in this area. The western food is terrible, the Indian food was good but not excellent.

I have a few complaints about the customer service but these are issues I’ve found in all Kerala hotels. More thought needs to go into knowing what the customer wants and fulfilling those needs before they even ask, that is what a 5 star hotel is all about.

I've heard good things about the Taj in Kovalam and that is where I will stay next time. I’ve stayed at the Taj in Trivandrum city which is much better quality rooms and food.

35

Rating

  By Brittam on Feb 02, 2010

We checked in here for the last leg of our India Trip. I had expected a tropical Oasis...the reality was a huge anti climax, the pool area was so busy (I barely recognise the marketing photo's) you couldn't get a sun bed. it was like a thompsons 5* package holiday, which is fine, but we paid a lot of money for this trip.
The upside was the room was lovely with large private balcony - couldn't fault it, fabulous, and we spent a lot of time here in our room.
As the hotel and pool were so busy, we ventured to the beach which was really quite small and exposed and to be honest you kind of set yourself up as voyeuristic prey to those who were not allowed on the beach...maybe a public beach would be better is my point.
Lighthouse beach is awful, awful. awful.....but the touristy restaurants are cheaper than the hotel, and nice fresh fish.
My partner and I walked in and out of the hotel regularly and were generally politely acknowledged by the security staff. On one occasion I walked up from the spa alone (had spent £120 on massages!) and was challenged as to whether i was allowed access into the hotel!!)
All in all, hugely pretentious with not a lot to back it all up, would not recommend and will not be going back.
I guess I went to the wrong place, southern india was not the paradise I expected

35

Rating

  By paula1122 on Feb 02, 2010

Lovely setting, typical deluxe hotel. Could have been anywhere really. Lovely friendly people, but dreadful service.

35

Rating

  By HertsRwf on Feb 02, 2010

We booked a Beach View Deluxe room for 9 nights. Arrival at the airport was efficient once through immigration etc and the transport to the hotel took about 20 mins, with a suitable attired chauffeur.

Check in was good and the we were shown our room. The view was excellent across Samudra beach, but the room was tired looking with basically an outside bathroom. There were bodily hairs still in the bath and the whole room didn't feel clean.

We opted to go back to reception and pay to upgrade to a Club room. These rooms are in a seperate part of the hotel with their own check-in area, pool and sun deck area. Room service breakfast comes at no extra charge. These rooms are more modern and brighter, most with balconies over the sea. The only problem with the rooms facing the sea is the very loud continuous crashing of the waves on the rocks below. It makes conversation on the balcony almost impossible and is disracting when trying to nod off at night. Club rooms have 'complimentary afternoon tea', but this in effect is tea/coffee and a few small party cake affairs.

Food was of a high standard. The buffet's at lunch and dinner were plentiful and good quality. Not everything was Indian style, and a la carte was also available. Wine is pricey but the Indian wines are just as good and cost significatntly less. The pizzas are good too! We had one waiter who served us on a few occasions, and he was obvioulsy struggling. He needed to confirm my wine order three times and underline it in the wine list and show me just to confirm again. He then prompty struggled to get the screw top off the bottle and dribbled a fair amount of it onto the table at the same time.

We ate at the restaurant down by the private beach which has a Chinese and Thai twist to it, and we found the food very good and plentiful.

The main pool looks to get a little crowded at weekends, but the sun beds are comfortable. Pool side attendant service for drinks etc was non existent though. There is also a small private beach below the hotel on Samudra beach, which looked wel kept.

No alcohol was being served on our last day due to some celebration of the assassination of Ghandi. The hotel is acting like a 5* but not giving the guests the full service they are paying for and expecting is not part of the deal in our eyes. The waiter mentioned above when quizzed about this told us that they have 'dry days' on the first and last days of the month. Make of that what you will as it was Jan 29th???

We had friends travel with us who spent their first 3 nights at the Taj Green Cove about 2km north of the Leela. We spent some time at this hotel to find it much more cosy with good food and far better pool side service at about half the price we were paying for the Leela Palace. To be honest the rooms we probably better too for a more traditional type or accomodation.

Overall a pleasant stay which ended up costing more than we would have liked for what we received. The Leela is only a short walk into town and to Lighthouse Beach where there are plenty of good quality cheap eateries.

35

Rating

  By Bedouins on Feb 02, 2010

Came here with balanced expectations having read the Trip Advisor comments. Found out the reviews were fair - hotel is good if in The Club but badly over-rated elsewhere. We were in a Beach View Superior Deluxe Room - highest quality next to The Club. It was shabby with electric sockets coming away from the wall and it let rain water into the room. The size was small for the upgrade price of over 300 pounds for the week. Due to the rain coming in we were upgraded to The Club free of charge, which was very good of them. Very impressed with The Club but it showed up the poor standard of the other rooms. Staff were excellent everywhere but the overall feeling was a 5 star rated hotel in a 3 star shell. Food and especially drinks were very expensive - nearly 8 pounds for a very average local glass of wine! Shame, as the place has potential and the companies' other hotels look very impressive - the tired buildings and rooms, apart from The Club, let the Leela company down badly here.

35

Rating

  By Eduardo10 on Nov 11, 2009

Stayed at the Leela over new year 2008/2009. The location of the hotel and the hotel itself were very beautiful, however the service was extremely poor, an example of this is when I asked one of the service staff around the pool if could get a beer one afternoon and his reply was "could you go and get one from your minibar or phone from your room for room service"! This was due to the fact that he was busy sending and recieving texts on his mobile - when I said that I wouldn't do that - he went off in a huff and came back about 30mins later withh a beer. The prices of food and drink also were incredible. A beer cost around £5.00 when the same brand, but bigger bottle cost around £0.50 about 20 steps outside the front gate. I would recommend eating on Kovalam beach if you like authentic Indian food and avoid spending a fortune back at the hotel. It was a shame really as the hotel could be fantastic if it were not for the staff and prices, it is a beautiful part of the world however.

35

Rating

  By jim1664 on Nov 11, 2009

When I think of a 5-star hotel, I have certain expectations. When I think of Leela, I expect 5-star service and facilities.

The rooms near the beach are very out-dated. These rooms are removed from the main property. To get to the main hotel you have to cross a main road. I was disappointed with these rooms. Fan was very dirty. TV was old. TV remote did not work.

If you choose Leela Kovalam, make sure you ensure that you are not in these rooms. I understand the other rooms are updated and better maintained.

Food was fair. Service was fair to sub-standard. We ate at the terrace restaurant and the service was lacking efficiency and attentiveness. Food was just OK., nothing fabulous.

Overall, not what I would have expected from a 5-star - Leela hotel.

35

Rating

  By WeTravelA... on Sep 09, 2009

We stayed in The Leela Kempenski Kovalam from 9th September 2009 to 12th September 2009 (3 nights) and would like to share with you the following experience:-

After 4 hours long drive from Alleppey, we were heartily welcomed by the staff of The Leela Kempenski Kovalam in a traditional way. Red tilak, a garland of shells, a warm ‘namaste’ and cold refreshing coconut water are the first few things by which the guests are greeted here. We were asked to relax at the lounge area until the front-desk executives were completing the check-in formalities. The hotel staff was well dressed in the Indian attire and was extremely polite. Bang, there comes our first disappointment, the room was not ready even though our check-in time was 12:00 noon and we had reached there at 12:45. We had to wait for a while until we got our room.

We were upgraded to a ‘Beach View Superior Room’. To be honest, there was nothing superior about it. C’mon guys, when we talking of The Leela, we are talking to 5 star luxuries, and when you see a small television (not even a flat screen) in the room, you start thinking whether you are at the right place or no. The remote control of the television remotely worked. The room was smaller than what we had expected. If you have more than two suitcases, please don’t select this room as you won’t be able to move around at all. The furniture is worn out and the light fittings will surely hold antique value in a couple of years. The reading lamp didn’t have a bulb too. The only good part about the room is the view which one could die for. We just fell in love with it. Also, they have sachets of decaffeinated coffee next to the tea maker which we really appreciated. The washroom failed to impress us. Though well stocked with toiletries, it was too small with squeaky doors. A special note to The Leela Management, the rooms are crying and yelling, “Please refurbish us and give us a new life”. The worst is not yet over, the air-conditioner was leaking and as a result, our luggage was all wet by late afternoon. The water kept moving from the air-conditioner to the wooden ceiling and as a result, there was fungi formation on the wood (picture posted). After complaining on three different occasions, the air-conditioner was repaired but nothing was done about the fungus on the wood. We kept requesting the staff to clean the same, but nothing was done until we checked out.

The highlight of this property is the location and the swimming pool. If you love to relax by the poolside, there is no better place than this resort. Let me admit and appreciate, they have the best infinity pool I have ever seen in my life. And we suggest you should not miss the sunset from this place, it truly gives you a heavenly feeling. That’s why we have named the review, ‘The Pearl of the Arabian Sea’. But the poolside food service is awful. They need to work on it.

This property has a nice gymnasium with more than two attendants at any given point of time. It is stocked with bottled water and fresh towels. But it is small and cluttered. There is no Jacuzzi, Steam or Sauna in this 5 star Deluxe Property. We guess they must have put all this in their spa to earn extra bucks.

The resort has 2 restaurants:

‘The Terrace’ is their 24 hours coffee-shop. We suggest that one should go for an all meals package as it turns out to be economic. The food here is good but the service is miserable. The management has to employ more people before it gets too late. We once got the food after 1 hour 20 minutes of placing the order. This is not expected from The Leela.

‘Tides’ is along the beach and serves Oriental food. The food here is awesome but the portions served are too small. The ‘Sky Bar’ is their open bar which was shut due to monsoons.

Let us move to the good things, the resort premises (not rooms) are very well maintained. They play the tradition Indian music which is very soothing and creates a positive energy. You are always greeted by a ‘namaste’ by every member of the staff which we guess has become their signature greeting. The executives at the ‘travel desk’ are very helpful. There is a buggy service that takes you in and around the resort which is very quick and efficient.

Our last disappointment was at the time of check-out. After finishing all the formalities, when our luggage was being loaded in the car, one front desk executive rushed to us saying that there was a ‘consumption’ (apple juice) from the mini-bar which was not settled. We had consumed nothing from the mini-bar. Such unprofessional behaviour surprised us to the core. We told them to recheck the mini-bar and decided to wait until then. But their senior manager immediately realised that there must be some blunder created by the house-keeping staff and told us not to worry about the same and to proceed to the airport. This gives such a negative image about a 5 star property like Leela and high-time they get professional.

We were dropped to the airport in a Nissan Xtrail. The chauffeur was very courteous. There were mini bottles of water in front of every seat, which was very thoughtful.

To sum up, we suggest this place for an excellent pool scene and the scenic location. Apart from this, the resort has to really work hard to move on the path of professionalism, and the rooms desperately need a facelift. We may visit this property again in future if we hear that the rooms are made more presentable and refurbished.

35

Rating

  By kunkee on Sep 09, 2009

I stayed in this hotel couple of days last week with my family. Upon arrival the Baggage were handled well and the security guards in the porch were very welcoming.
Upon arrival at the reception, welcome drinks were served - well presented Tender coconut water, check in was smooth, the Front Desk personnel, Shobin was very attentive and professional. Infact I was very impressed with his customer service skills.
My room was 2201, Beach facing – Amazing View, Spacious room, Great Balcony with stunning view of the Beach, Good Bathroom (No Bathtubs – But have a separate shower area), Good amenities. The Rooms were built in such a fashion that you will have un-interrupted view of the ocean and your view is not blocked by other rooms/ balconies. The First Impression was “ Just Perfect”. The Location, The building, the infrastructure, the architecture and the Landscaping (Hardware) were just Perfect. I had opportunities to stay in some of the best hotels in the World. Here at Leela Kovalam the Hotel is as comparable to any of them. But the Service skills need lots of improvement.

The Cleanliness of my room was not as per a five star hotel. Stains in the Water Glasses, Rain shower seemed to have not cleaned for ages, The bathroom drain was blocked, the leather dustbin in the room was torn !!!!, Rust marks and insects brewing on the light fittings @ the Balcony. Room Service orders were delayed. The DND card was torn. No Opener @ the Mini Bar even of you have bottled beverages. The Phones were never picked up (We called the Front Desk, Room Service and the phones just rang and rang…. ). We placed the “Torn” Clean my Room card @ the door while we went out to the beach one day and when we returned after a good 4 hours, the room was still not cleaned. One evening the Housekeeping personnel came for evening service while we were in the room, he just came in changed the Bathroom amenities and left. He did not bother to do a turn down service @ the bed !!!

For dinners the hotel had arranged for different local entertainment which was a refreshing change. The restaurant ( The Terrace) was crowded. Service was VERY slow.
The Breakfast @ The Terrace was good. The Location of the Terrace was very well placed, excellent view of the ocean, Great Great ambience. The Breakfast Spread was simply great, Good Varieties of Breads, Fruits, juices, smoothies, cold cuts, Live south Indian counters. Food was very tasty as well. Service was appalling. Waiting staff were un-attentive, orders were half served, tea served in cups without tea spoons and no sugar, eggs served without any cruet sets, had to remind the staff all the time about each and everything. The restaurant has Buffet for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (Good Spead on all the meals). If you need fast service, one should prefer the Buffet. We made the mistake of ordering Alacarte for dinner and it took ages for service. The Waiters are very un-attentive and lack professionalism. More over The Order was wrongly taken and wrong food was served. Upon confronting the waiter, the same was replaced. We had to wait a long time for our food to be served. The Food was Great, but service was much below our expectations.

The Gym was well located and well equipped with precor treadmills. The GYM attendant was attentive and professional. The Hotel has a infinity pool, clean water and attentive life guards.

The Hotel has a small private beach. The walk to the beach is just simply awesome. The Hotel also provides Buggy service. Besides the walkway the hotel has provided few seating arrangements along the cliff where you could get un-interrupted view of the ocean. The hotel also has a speciality restaurant near the beach area. Since the location was far from the main building we did not try the food in this restaurant.

Overall it is an amazing hotel. Wish the Service was also equally good…..

35

Rating

  By AJose012 on Sep 09, 2009

I had occassion to stay at the Leela Kempinsky at Kovalam this year. The Hotel was well located and was close to the beach. It also had a nice small private beach of its own. But thats about all that I found positive about the Hotel.

The first disappointment was upon arrival itself. In spite of the advance booking, the rooms were not ready at the check-in time of the hotel. The last thing you want is to arrive at a hotel and have to wait a couple of hours for your room.

The second let down was the food. the buffet spread at the restaurant for lunch and dinner was quite elaborate but consisted of predominantly vegetarian food. There would be barely a couple of non-vegetarian dishes. The taste of the food too did not appeal to me. One of the evenings, I finally went to the nearby Taj Hotel for dinner and the food there was a class apart.

One of the the things that I was really looking forward to was water sports and activities and the advertisements of the hotel gave me the impression that the hotel is well equipped for such activities. Upon enquiring at the hotel I found that all that was just clever marketing. The hotel had no facilities for any water activities. At best they were willing to organise this through a third party with a caveat that the hotel is not responsible for their quality, safety etc. This was a huge let down for me.

I gave the hotel written feedback about my disappointment at the time of checking out, but so far, no one from the hotel has even bothered to acknowledge it.

I came back from my holiday having spent a bomb at the hotel and got little back in terms of value. I guess I will never stay in the hotel ever again.
shiva

35

Rating

  By sivabali on Jun 06, 2009

It was our 1st anniversary and my better half had planned out a series of surprises over the week! We started our day by flying out of Mumbai to Kochi .. ! An overnight stay at the Alleppey backwaters and next day we hopped in to Leela!

A very warm welcome at the reception and our first impression was its Beautiful! We hurried to our room 'Sea View Pavilion Room' got freshen up and ate our heart out at 'The Terrace'. The best restaurant of its all dining places.

As the sunset we enjoyed our time at the Sky Bar! One of the most memorable peaceful time that we could spend. It was the most beautiful sunset! They offer some amazing cocktails and mocktails!

The facility is very beautifully located and view is breath-taking from all sides. My sweetheart had arranged for the dinner at the Beach. 'The Tides' is where we were booked. I wouldnt like to comment on the food though. We stayed out late night and it was completely romantic!

Next morning everything so perfect seemed to be falling apart! The room 'Sea View Pavilion Room' had some water pump problem and the water that filled the tub was dirty! They readily helped us to a different room. Though this was one of the bad experience Overall we thoroughly appreciate the people at Leela!

35

Rating

  By raajimk on Mar 03, 2009

By pure chance I ended up at the Leela whilst traveling around Southern India ... I was intrigued to witness one of the branches that I've often read about but not experienced. In short, I think The Leela in Kovalam, India, must rate as one of the most inconsistent and infuriating hotels I've had the displeasure in staying at.

You arrive at The Leela and undergo a security check at the entrance to the hotel which makes you feel as though you're back at the airport - and two feet inside the doorway you undergo a further security check where weary travelers have to unlock all their luggage and a security man pointlessly passes a 'bleeper' over your belongings yet again - and even when the 'bleeper' bleeps alarmingly he does nothing about it, so why bother? I'm not exactly sure what I was going to smuggle in from outside the door to inside the door with an army of security watching over me? I fully understand heightened security after the Mumbai attacks, however I don't recall any Caucasian Westerners who have just arrived from flights from the USA and Europe attacking India. And I very much doubt I resemble someone who's just undergone a 6 month stint at a terrorist training camp in Pakistan.

First impressions: the large foyer is attractive, though more Thai or Balinese in design. But it is airy and bright and you think you've arrived somewhere special, though the large 'SMOKING IS AN OFFENCE' signs stuck on easels rather destroy the Zen ambiance. And then you're further made aware of the clientele by the Thomas Cook tour itineraries posted on boards. So, this is a package holiday hotel?

Whilst checking in we were offered the usual cold flannel, though no welcome drink. And then as a ruse to waste time and disguise that our room wasn't ready (even though it was 17.30) we were asked to further undergo another security check. Once all that pointless nonsense was out the way we were shown to our room. Enroute to all the rooms on each level you enter the elevator and exit at each floor that looks exactly like a shopping mall car park. Modern ugly dark concrete - and security guards. In the back of my mind I expected to see a barrier requiring my parking ticket.

This so-called 5 star establishment provided me with a Superior Deluxe room ... I've yet to work out what exactly was Superior or Deluxe. The room was quite claustrophobic, and the finish to the decoration shoddy and amateur. And heaven knows who decided mustard would be a good colour scheme for the bathrooms which one regularly has to sit in whilst dealing with the dreaded Delhi Belly ... mustard being a colour too close for comfort.
A strong word of caution - the old or disabled should stay away - and I'm sure children should not be left alone in the bathrooms. It's too hard to explain, but the bathrooms are of an accident-waiting-to-happen design with marble floors and a sunken round tub which it would be so easy to slip in to. And you have to gingerly navigate your way from wash basin to shower, circumnavigating the sunken bathtub, taking small cautious steps. And be warned, Kerala has evening powercuts everywhere every day - so god help the person who's in the bathroom during one. Which reminds me: this is the only hotel in the world where I have witnessed several people on crutches, and others with knee bandages. Either they had accidents whilst at the Leela, or the hotel offer discounts to recuperating outpatients?

Although this is not solely an issue with The Leela, it really irritates me to pay approx. GBP 10 / USD 18 for Internet access in Indian hotels ... and that's an Internet access that's slow and continuously fails to con