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.
- 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