Lets set the scene;
We stayed at the Moonlight for 15 nights in early April, along with other guests staying for varying lengths of time. The guests ranged from, two retirement age couples traveling together (usually seen at breakfast and then they were off for the day), a couple with early teens daughter (they had been to the resort many times over the past 20 years, and stayed at this hotel before), numerous Indian families usually staying just one or two nights, a younger trendy English couple who just stayed a few nights, a couple of French speaking families with small children, again stayed a couple of nights, a larger than life north Indian businessman named Siti (he and his wife stayed for about a week and he was very interesting to chat with), and then of course there was us two who have visited the area many times in the past (my wife 40 something and me late 50ish).
We arrived at about 5.00am, and as arranged with the hotel a taxi was awaiting for transport to the hotel about 20 minutes away, cost 800Rps because it was a night pickup, had to pay the hotel the next day because we did not have any local currency when we arrived. The front desk manager (Agnelo) said we must be very tired and not to worry about checking in until we had rested in our room, he then instructed Munu (the boy) to show us to our rooms. Next morning we got up and went to the reception where we completed the check and went for the complimentary breakfast this had officially finished but that did not appear to bother them.
I have included the above just to show how friendly and willing to help all the staff are, nothing is too much trouble and you are always greeted with a broad smile and good morning, afternoon or good night. The staffs English is not brilliant, but much better than my Malayalan, we found that if they did not understand what you were asking then a description with your arms or showing an example usually did the trick.
We had a room at the back of the hotel with a large balcony which overlooked some gardens, you could also see the lighthouse which was spectacular at night. Some rooms at the front of the hotel overlooked the main road; well this road is quite small a windy but it is the main one to the beach and car park. This road does get very busy, and as you know Indian drivers love to use their horns at every opportunity, so it gets very noisy at rush hour, this is just before and after the sun goes down.
Now the hotel itself;
The hotel is up a small incline some 200 metres from the beach, there are numerous gift, souvenir, food shops and money changers very close by, with as many cafes and restaurants as you would ever need within a ten minute walk, these are all very similar all selling the same sort of thing.
The room was large with all the prerequisites, A/C which you could leave on (none of those stupid plastic keys which turns all the power off when you leave the room), ceiling fan (even one outside on the balcony), fridge, TV (cant say if this worked or not, we did not turn it on), good lighting (fluorescent tube, much better than the very low wattage bulbs usually used), the bathroom was a good size (there is a bath that has been scrubbed until the backing is showing through, with a hand held shower attached, also a full shower but this does not have a cubical, the whole bathroom is a wet room, not to every ones taste).
You do not get the shower caps, mini shampoo and soap bottles like more expensive hotels, (just take your own). The towels and sheets have not been pristine white for some considerable time, but when changed they are clean, as is the whole room.
The pool is a good size with the area around it a little tired, some cracked tiles around the pool but not in it, the pool filters were turned on each day about 4.30ish and at the same time the pool level was topped up. The sunbed areas need a good sweeping and tidy up, but he sunbeds are serviceable and work as they should, the two sunbed umbrellas are very old with the canvas almost certainly liable to fall apart if you touch them.
The complimentary breakfast was served in the restaurant by the pool; this was across a small road from the main hotel, the waiter like everyone else associated with the hotel was brilliant and always had a smile The breakfast was anything from the menu provided they had it, we plumped for the continental breakfast most mornings, this consisted of three slices of toast with butter and marmalade (served in small dishes not individually wrapped items, OK for us) tea or coffee and eggs done however you like them, also some freshly squeezed fruit juice provided the power was not off at the time, how fresh is that!
We ate just once at the hotel in the evening, it was very good in deed, but again it may be on the menu but you could only have what they had got.
There are many good things about this hotel, and only a few negative ones which can very easily be rectified. Be prepared to ask if something is not right, (extra towels, loo paper, have the room cleaned more often, pool towels etc.
Yes we had the same problems as others with paying the bill with a card, (machine not working) we just said it was the only card we had and we could not get cash with it, so they just took us the same money changer we had been using throughout the two weeks and he used his card machine, (simple really).
You can read all the other comments about this hotel, and taken in context with the price and the minor niggles that some people have highlighted, remember its not expensive and only two stars maximum so, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!
I suppose the question everyone will ask is would we go back? The answer is absolutely certainly, and we are already planning a longer stay next time.
Great location, just 2 minutes walk from the beach.
Rooms are clean & comfortable, decided to stay for last 2 weeks of a 90 day tour. Big Mistake.
My wife ended up in Kovalam General Hospital as the poorly maintained swimming pool & pool area.
She went for a shower & slipped on the broken floor tiles, worse still the hotel management could not care less about her or me with & just carried on as though nothing had happened.
That takes some beating.
All down one side of her body was black & blue, fortunately nothing broken, lucky escape.
I asked for compensation they just laughed.
The restaurant is so filthy its beyond belief & should be condemned, burned to the ground.
Other niggles & annoyances.
There are many facilities that exist but don't work.
The wi fi exists but does not work.
There is only one computer that you will struggle to get on & is very slow when you do.
There credit card does not work so the owners son & i went to a local travel agent to pay the invoice for our stay.
The room cleaning service people either come very early eg 8am or 5pm when you are having a rest.
No telephones in your room so if you need something from reception you have to go down the stairs & inform the reception that eg you have only one towel or no soap has been left, it goes on & on.
There is a small Mosc very close by that you will be woken up by hearing them pray which is put on a loudspeaker several times in the day every day.
The aircon is fixed on one setting which is too cold or you turn it off then you will be to warm.
I could go on & on as the list of niggles is as long as you're arm.
There are plenty of other good hotels in & around so do yourself a big favour & go anywhere else but give this place a wide birth.
Generally they are good at taking your money but fail on too many levels where you would not expect.
My family and I recently had a stay of 3 weeks at this hotel.We had corresponded prior to arrival with the manager who arranged transport to pick us up from the airport. This went like clockwork and boded well we thought.
We were shown up to our rooms,both facing down the little road to the sea, The boy on the front desk had a problem opening the door to our room , the key was sticking.
We woke in the morning went for breakfast came back and our door lock was ceased. my husband . reported this for 3 days, at night there were lightning storms and we would have had great problems should we have needed to get out quickly. On day four we were told that the lock was now fixed. We entered our room all was good, 2 hrs later when leaving for dinner the lock again ceased leaving us locked in for half an hour having to shout from the balcony to passing people to let reception know. We would have phoned but the telephones in the rooms were not connected !
Eventually the manager came, fiddled with the lock entered our room and then promptly became locked in ! Next day New locks.!
This hotel has some lovely staff who try very hard to keep up with the cleaning. Our room was spotless with fresh bed linen every day and fresh clean towels. Sometimes 2 sometimes 4 and at other times staff forgot to leave any at all. We had good running hot water and a pristine clean bathroom but lampshades lacked bulbs as in my in laws room, they also were over run with ants which when mentioned to staff was never rectified.
Breakfast was a little ordeal every morning wondering if you would get what you actually had ordered. Although the young boys serving were lovely people , polite and ever smiling sadly the dining area needed a good clean down.
This hotel could be a lovely hotel with just some simple measures taken to make it so. It wouldn't take too much effort to take it back to its former glory, . It is in such a perfect position so close to the beach but needs to get its act together. My mother in law and I could soon whip it into shape.
Plus points were clean linens clean bathrooms
Negatives dirty breakfast room and lack of organisation
None of this detracted from our holiday at all we had a fabulous 3 weeks !
Our room in the Moonlight was clean, spacious and comfortable, with an excellent bathroom and balcony. We did not get the sea views that were mentioned when we booked but the balcony was large with comfortable seating. The hotel location is good for the beaches and restaurants of Kovalam.
We were supposed to have breakfast included in the tariff but found that the restaurant was not up to the standard of cleanliness we had experienced in the rest of southern India and Kovalam, the crockery, cutlery and tables were dirty so we ate our breakfast elsewhere, mostly at the Kingfisher restaurant which we found to be our favourite in Kovalam.
We were told when we booked that we would be able to pay our bill by credit card, when it came to checking out they said that this would not be possible as the machines were not working. Another guest told me that this had been the case for some time. As I had a printed document of the booking I was able to insist that it said we could pay by card, whilst they wanted us to go to the ATM some distance away. Eventually they agreed that we could do the card transaction at their sister hotel round the corner. I wish this could have been done in the first place without any argument.
We did, for the first time in southern India, have problems communicating with our hotel staff because of language difficulties, but all in all I would say that the hotel was good value for money and that the cleanliness and comfort of the rooms was most important to me.