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“Stairs everywhere”

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Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Chowara
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Stairs everywhere”
Reviewed 10 March 2012

If you like to knit your own yoghurt and hug a few trees in (mostly) peace and quiet, then this is probably the place for you. The whole hotel is geared up to the Ayurveda philosophy, offering massages and oils and a vegetarian diet. Each room is an individual little cottage, consisting of a bedroom and bathroom. The standard rooms are not air-conditioned and none of the rooms have either a fridge, TV or iron. There is no swimming pool on site, you have to walk through to the hotel next door (confusingly named The Somatheeram Ayurvedic Resort), to use theirs. You also have to go through the other hotel and past the pool to reach the beach.
The setting and landscaping are attractive and the staff are friendly and willing to try to accommodate any request. The restaurant is unlicensed, but they will allow you to keep beers and wines purchased outside in their fridge.
The hotel is situated about 12 kilometres from Kovalam, so if you want to go somewhere a little more lively, it entails a taxi ride. The hotel will supply a taxi for 600 INR, but if you go to the taxi rank just outside the gate, you can negotiate that down to 250 - 300 INR. One of the taxis supplied by the hotel did not have a front seatbelt, and we had to demand another vehicle.
The hotel is built on a cliffside, so if you have ANY mobility problems, do NOT go there, as there are stairs everywhere. For example, from my room to the pool, there were 49 stairs and from the pool to the beach there were another 162 very steep steps.
I travelled with my brother and sister, and we booked 5 months in advance, but even so, they could not give us rooms near each other, in fact, I think my room and my sister's were as far apart as it was possible to get. If you like to sleep beyond 5 a.m., then take some ear-plugs, as the crows that are everywhere, start their raucous crowing around then. If you are unfortunate enough to be on the side of the site that my sister stayed, then you will be awoken at 6 a.m. every Sunday by the church service that takes place immediately behind room 254 .... ear-plugs or not.
Checking out was such a nonsense that I actually asked if we were on a hidden camera show. My sister had settled her bill earlier, but they then found another treatment that they had not included on the original bill, so she was asked to pay that. My brother had spent the previous 3 days querying a double charge on his restaurant bill. At check-out, the extra charge was still on the bill, and they expected him to pay it. This led to a heated discussion before they agreed to drop the duplicated charge.Charges for taxis appeared at random. We were told that the charge related to when it was billed, rather than when we actually took the taxi! On my bill, I noticed that one of the taxi journeys had been charged at 700 INR, rather than 600. I was told that the extra was for "an air conditioned car". When I pointed out that we had not asked for an air-conditioned car, I was told that it was because we had changed the original car ..... the one without seatbelts! That was eventually removed from the bill. I used my American Express card to settle the bill, but the hotel's terminals were not working. I was asked if I would take a 4 kilometre taxi journey to their "sister hotel" and pay the bill there. NO!

To sum up, the hotel is very good if you want Ayurvedic treatments and nothing else. If you want something a little more mainstream, or if you have mobility problems, avoid it.

Room Tip: Avoid around room 254. Very noisy church behind it.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
11 Thank SE228
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Moscow, Russia
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 February 2012

I have stayed in Somatheeram in Feb 2012 (the one with red sun logo), probably on the border of the high season, as in March-April it starts to be much hotter and it is going to be difficult to sustain the heat. The acommodation was in Deluxe Kerala House for a 15-day manasanthi (stress management) program. Pleae note that in Deluxe Houses you actually have neighbours next door, who are sharing the houze with you, so if you want privacy, I recommend special cottages, not this one. The cottages 401-409 are definitely the best, since 401-406 are overlooking the ocean and have fresh breeze daily and 407-409 have a very lovely green spacious area in front of them. Any other special cottage I would not recommend, so please look carefully at the plan. The garden cottages and standard houses have more privacy, but standard houzes are veery small, so if you are travelling with someone, you might find it uncomfortable. The doctors in the high season have not a lot of time to dedicate to you, so you have to be very active in getting it. The quality of English is not very high, so you have to be ready for that as well. Therapists generally speak no English. The food is strictly vegetarian for those who is serious about ayurveda and is ready to follow the meal plan, so you have to be ready for it. Of course you can have fish and chiceken and sea food, but this is not advised by the doctors and can cause some issues (I had a skin rush and the first thing I was asked about was whether I ate non-vegy food). The best treatment time is 12-00, because you can do meditation and youga in the morning, have breakfast and then go to the treatments. Later if you take 14-00 or 16-00 or 18-00, it conflicts with either meals or any other plans you might possible have (beach, travelling to Kovalam etc.). One thing that bothered me a lot was the quality of sleep, since I hate to sleep under moskito net and ther were a lot of moskitoes in the houze at night. Bring good anti-moskito creams with you) The only other comment is that there is very little space to walk in the evenings, and the territory has lots of stairs, so the only promenade you can have is walking up and down 170 stairs which lead to the beach gate. Ah, wifi is extremely slow, if you want to have it more or less decent you have to go to reception.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
19 Thank ice_queen_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2012

We booked Somatheeram in October 2011 for a 14 day package from January 22nd 2012. The website booking conditions stated that a deposit was necessary and would be refunded if cancelled at least 30 days ahead of time. We paid a 30 per cent deposit of €1764. Unfortunately we had to cancel on December 21st 2011. We were extremely taken back to receive an email saying that they would deduct a €100 "fee" from our deposit. We pointed out that there was no mention of this in their booking policy online, which clearly stated that the entire deposit would be refunded if cancelled 30 days ahead of time which we had done. Remarkably, they then sent us a PDF of a policy document we had never been shown before and made reference to a cancellation fee on "page 10" of that document! We replied that this was unacceptable and that the full amount should be refunded but they failed to respond.
Staggeringly, we then received another email saying they were too busy to refund our deposit then and that it would be refunded in January! When I followed this up towards the end of January we were told that the money had been refunded to our bank account on January 17th. It had not. Eventually it transpired that they paid us on January 27th - over a month after we made the cancellation, and with €100 deducted.
Again we have requested the €100 back as this "cancellation fee" is not mentioned on their website. Again, they have failed to respond to us.

Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
23 Thank GRandJK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vandiperiyar, India
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 January 2012

The wonderful experience with ayurvedic retreat and very calmful atmosphere with a good service and the keralite style guest relation near the capital city of the state and the international beach. You can easly reach the airport and the bus station from here and also the shopping centers.

Room Tip: the atmosphere with beach and ayurvedic
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Johnchamathackal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
136 reviews
93 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 January 2012

First, there are 2 Somatheeram resorts side by side but with different management as Nora has pointed out. This could be quite confusing, and the one I'm reviewing is the one without the pool (but had access to the one next door), and that has the orange sun logo. I stayed for 7 days in December and had the Ayurvedic rejuvenation package: food, treatments, yoga, accommodation, transfers and a day trip all inclusive.

The positives: I thought it was good value, in a beautiful setting, delicious food, friendly staff, very pleasant accommodation. Some people may expect more luxurious accommodation but the garden cottages were pretty and nicely decorated. I enjoyed most of the yoga classes, and the dining area which overlooked the beach below.

The Ayurvedic treatment - I have nothing to compare this with so a certain amount has to be taken on good faith. The massages were very pleasant and relaxing, but the medical staff didn't speak a lot of English and I really would've liked much more information about my treatments and about the Ayurveda approach to health. It was surprising that an Ayurvedic resort had very little information or even any books about Ayurveda, particularly when it's geared to the western tourist market. The again, I'm a researcher by training so perhaps needing to know is more important to me than it might be to others. When on one occasion, I asked my doctor about my pulse ( a standard method of diagnosis) and diet - he clearly became rather irritable, as if it wasn't the patient's role to ask questions. Despite this, I got the sense that the Ayurveda was very squarely aimed at the western tourist and less palatable treatments such as drinking loads of ghee each day were omitted from any regime.

The yoga was generally very good and well paced. However, I had a lower back problem and as a yoga practitioner I know what positions might aggravate it. Despite letting the instructor know about this, when doing a particular asana which required me to bend a lot he insisted on pushing my back forwards - a complete no no!! I think there may have been a cultural attitude of the instructor/medico knows best, something that in the west doesn't always sit comfortably.

One last thing - I traveled alone and had hoped that there'd be opportunity to meet others traveling alone, but this wasn't the case. The dining area was set up for couples, the majority of guests, but a communal table would've been good for the few single guests. There really wasn't other opportunities to meet people, which made my stay there rather quiet.

Room Tip: The garden cottages were worth the little extra
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
10 Thank emstar3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort

Property: Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort
Address: Kovalam, South of Kovalam, | South of Kovalam beach, Chowara 695501, India
Region: India > Kerala > Ernakulam District > Chowara
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Chowara
Price range (per night): $91 - $290
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 89
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Somatheeram is the world of authentic Ayurveda. A serene Aryurvedic resort by the sea in South India. Here you can benefit from traditional Ayurvedic therapy as well as yoga in a blissfully peaceful environment. It is one of the best tourism spots in Kerala, India. Located at Chowara Beach on a hillock 9 km south of the famous Kovalam Beach, Trivandrum, Kerala with over 15 acres of greenery all around.And for houseboat trip in kollam u can visit our kollam allseason backwater resort .. search for allseason kollam ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Somatheeram Ayurveda Hotel Chowara
Somatheeram Ayurvedic Beach Hotel
Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort Kerala, India - Chowara

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