We stayed here for 2 nights jut before Christmas. It is very remote and the scenery is beautiful. We were happy to walk around the grounds and also around the area - not much to see other than natural habitat, but we were very happy with that as it is stunning. There was no swimming pool that we could see, but that didn't bother us. We arranged an auto rickshaw, via the manager, to get to the main bird sanctuary and it was quite easy to arrange one by ourselves to come back. Our rooms were comfortable and clean - we didn't have any hot water however, and we weren't able to resolve this with the staff. This didn't spoil our stay, but other people may be less happy.
The food was excellent and we had dinner there both nights. It wasn't clear to us that we would have to have the buffet dinner when more guests arrived - personally I would have preferred to have had a choice about this, but it was fine and the food was equally good. The breakfast buffet was also really enjoyable.
The only criticism we had was around payment, and I haven't decided whether this was due to a language barrier or something more deliberate. When we were presented with our final bill, we queried the amount as it was twice what we were expecting to pay. We went back to our room to check our on-line booking, and returned to query this with the manager. What we had agreed to pay at the point of booking was printed off on an email and presented to us - but someone had hand-written 'x 2' on it (as we had 2 rooms I assume), and hand written a different final amount underneath it. When we came back with our copy of the booking, we somehow managed to relay that we were not willing to pay more than we had agreed on line, and this was accepted - without argument.
I really don't want to think this was a deliberate attempt to mislead us, as we have not had that experience in India in all our travels there, over several years. However I'm not sure why someone had gone to the effort of handwriting on a print out of an email, and changing the final amount owed - this may have been a misunderstanding? The manager's English was certainly better than my ability to speak in his language - however it was a problem when trying to challenge our bill, and I wonder how we would have resolved this had he not agreed to what we were wiling to offer. We were also told when checking out that the hotel was no longer able to take a card payment, so we had to arrange to go the the local town to find an ATM, and hand over the cash to the staff member who followed us. We duly did this, but we weren't provided with a receipt for this payment and it caused us some inconvenience.
My advice to other travellers would be to retain a copy of your booking confirmation, and check the bill before payment just to ensure there hasn't been any confusion. It is also worth asking about methods of payment, as this also changed during our stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located near the Thattekad Bird sanctuary, Soma Birds Lagoon is an exquisite combination of nature and luxury. A nest that cuddles you in the lap of Mother Nature. Being quite close to the sanctuary, guests at Soma Birds Lagoon have the privilege of watching more than 300 odd species of birds that is found in this vicinity. The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary commonly known as The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary is also home to mammals like leopard, sloth bear, deer, elephant and porcupine besides a phenomenally diverse bird and butterfly population. Special care has been taken while building Soma Birds Lagoon, to preserve the village ambiance and ecological balance of this haven. So while providing all modern amenities, our cottages do not lose their rustic air. Soma Bird's lagoon is also an ideal place to experience Ayurveda and rejuvenate your body mind and soul. ... more less
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