A short stay at the Leela Kovalam, Kerala

21 Aug

A little bit of luxury doesn’t hurt anyone and every traveler, even a budget one such as myself, deserves a bit of luxury travel sometimes. Early this year I got my chance when we had our office offsite in Kerala and that too in one of the best luxury properties there i.e. The Leela Kovalam.

We flew into Cochin from Mumbai and then took the hotel coach for the short 20 – 30 minute ride to the property. Upon our arrival, we were welcomed in the traditional manner with tikkas (vermillion bindis), seashell necklaces and fresh coconut juices. Since our rooms were not ready and lunch was, the staff invited us to have lunch and then relax around the hotel till they could get the rooms arranged for all of us. So we had a sumptuous lunch and generally walked around the property to get a feel of it.

Views from the lobby

Views from the lobby

My first impressions of it – the property is huge with wooden slanting roofs, that is the local design for all traditional Kerala houses. It can also be divided into two parts – one part is on the hill with a view of the beach and the second part has villas at the beach level. The rooms are at some distance from the lobby and there are small buggies that take you all around. The property has a spa, a gym, swimming pools, yoga classes and all kinds of beach activities available too. However the thing that immediately strikes you here is the beautiful views of the sea and the beach from every window that you look out of.

The Lobby

The Lobby

We got our room on the hill (within a short buggy ride) with a view of the entire beach. Some of us had the standard room that everyone felt was very small. And the bathrooms were also old and definitely needed renovation. Still the room had a certain quaintness about it and the stunning views, so we quite liked it. We also had a small seating space outside the room.

Views from our room

Views from our room

After quickly freshening up, we all got together and went for a backwater cruise to Poovar. You can read more about it at – Backwaters of Poovar.

Post the cruise we all got back to the hotel, had dinner at the restaurant, spent some quiet time at the beach and then a small group of us ended up chatting away to glory till early morning. 🙂

Our room

Our room

Early the next day we set off for the business part of the trip and spent the entire morning till lunch at work. The business facilities here are good and they have an entire section for it. After this we all had lunch and then we split. Some people swam in the pool or dozed away in the afternoon while the more enterprising ones, went shopping for spices. I being part of category 1, chose to relax in my room :). Trivandrum is pretty close and you can take a local bus to it from the main gate of the property. Also the hotel provides cars to drop you till the main gate (as it’s about a 10 – 15 minute walk). However there is a small market even near the main gate and if someone doesn’t want to go all the way to Trivandrum, they can easily shop for some gifts from there.

The building with our rooms

The building with our rooms

We then spent the entire evening (till dinner time) alternating between the beach and swimming in the sea. While this is a long beach and open to the public, a small section of it (adjoining to the property) is kind of being maintained as a private beach for the Leela. Just after the beach, they have a beach side restaurant with sun beds and umbrellas and a small space for all beach activities (beach volleyball, etc). After all this fun, we spent this evening too like the previous one – dinner, some-time at the beach and long chats going all the way into the night. 🙂

Kovalam beach

Kovalam beach

Now, dining at the Leela was a great experience and we had nearly all of our meals at the poolside restaurant – The Terrace. The food here offers many options in buffet – Indian (North and South) and Western, but it’s also possible to order an a la carte. The spread always had numerous items right from condiments, starters to main course and deserts, and the food was good. The staff was very courteous and went out of their way to accommodate the guests. One night at dinner we wanted to try a Malabar parantha, but it was not in the buffet or on the menu. So we just asked the chef about it and they especially made it just for us. Its these small things that I guess just kind of seal the deal for a property.

Flowers around the property

Flowers around the property

Along with dinner, the hotel also organizes some type of entertainment every night; and during our stay we saw a Kalaripayattu performance, a Kerala martial art form and the oldest fighting system in existence. And it was amazing. The performers were so light on their feet and jumping so high that I was spellbound. Their clashing swords would send sparks and made the whole performance pretty realistic.

The next morning I woke up early and managed to complete some shopping from the local market and some photography around the property, before it was time to leave for Mumbai. Overall we had a good weekend stay in one of my favourite places, Kerala. You can read more on The Leela Kovalam here.  

Things that I Liked about the property

  • The amazingly courteous and accommodating staff that will go out of their way to help / accommodate you.
  • The stunning views of the infinite expanse of the blue sea and the beach from all around the property.
  • The good food and the coffee, both in terms of variety and taste.

Things that could be improved about the property

  • The standard rooms are very small and the bathrooms need to be refurbished, as it was cracking in many parts.
  • Since the property is huge and widely spread, you need a buggy to reach the lobby, the restaurants, etc and at times that service gets very slow. Once we ended up waiting for 25 minutes for one.
  • The beach is meant to be private but since its part of the larger public beach, it’s not private at all times.

Have you stayed at the Leela Kovalam anytime then do comment on your experiences below or tweet at traveler_budget. 🙂

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24 Responses to “A short stay at the Leela Kovalam, Kerala”

  1. The Battle Maiden August 21, 2013 at 20:53 #

    auww the scene is just too wonderful!!

    Like

  2. Chirag Murdeshwar August 21, 2013 at 20:55 #

    Its surely beautiful! My ship isnt yet ready to sail to the coasts of Kerala 😦

    Like

  3. Ben August 21, 2013 at 21:27 #

    Looks like a great place to stay. That’s a shame you need to use a buggy to get around the resort. Can’t beat a sea view though. I’ll be indulging a bit in Thailand later this year and can’t wait!

    Like

    • getsetandgo August 24, 2013 at 21:11 #

      It is a beautiful place and the sea views are to die for. I look forward to reading more on your Thai adventures 🙂

      Like

  4. Fae's Twist & Tango August 22, 2013 at 06:15 #

    Snigdha, The landscape/beach is absolutely beautiful and the hotel is marvelous! Thanks for taking us there! 😀

    Like

  5. indrani August 22, 2013 at 06:17 #

    Kovalam was always a day trip for me. Nice place, thanks for the pics.

    Like

    • getsetandgo August 24, 2013 at 21:16 #

      Thanks Indrani. I have always been to Kovalam as a day trip too but this time I discovered some beautiful early morning activities here of the fisherman on the beach, which was really nice 🙂

      Like

  6. Sunil August 22, 2013 at 08:46 #

    Awesome narration and nice snaps..Though i have been to Kovalam couple of times, never stayed there. You can also try the North Kerala circuit including Wayanad and Kannur sometime.

    Like

    • getsetandgo August 24, 2013 at 21:19 #

      Thanks Sunil. That circuit is on the list too and I hope to be there soon 🙂

      Like

  7. anyone4curryandotherthings August 22, 2013 at 10:08 #

    Your first time to Kovalam? Many of my friends from Mumbai, Bangalore, Jaipur etc. come down to enjoy Leela’s Spa treatment or at the VIVANTA by TAJ (where we always stay) nearby. Like to see my 3-part post on Kovalam this year log into my site if you like. To go for drinks (and yes, service is dreadfully slow) and watch the sunset from their terrace at the Leela is wonderful. The view is incredible with literally hundreds and hundreds of tiny lights from the fishingboats far out at see blinking at you – really eerie. Glad you had such a good time. Carina

    Like

    • getsetandgo August 24, 2013 at 21:21 #

      No, this was my second time in Kovalam. You have lived in Kerala? I so envy you if you have and check your posts too 🙂

      Like

      • Carina August 25, 2013 at 11:14 #

        Yes – for the past 12 years!! now – nice 🙂 🙂

        Like

      • getsetandgo August 25, 2013 at 12:56 #

        wow 🙂

        Like

  8. Satyender S Dhull August 22, 2013 at 11:14 #

    beautiful and informative review of the destination and property. Hope to be there sometime soon. Thanks for sharing.
    http://www.bnomadic.wordpress.com

    Like

  9. Harsha August 22, 2013 at 17:16 #

    Nice Time to read this Post as this weekend I am heading to Kanyakumari and If I can will be in Kovalam also.. 🙂

    Like

  10. Renuka August 24, 2013 at 14:16 #

    Well, really nice place, nicely captured! I like the fact that you mentioned the things that need improvement. Good.

    Like

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