We were booked into the Soma Palmshore by our tour agency, and, as was often the case, we got a superior room. The hotel is mostly a rather ordinary tourist hotel built on a steep slope down to a private beach. But we were given the cottage, which sits off by itself half way down the slope, far from everything. We even had a small lawn overlooking the beach, and all we heard at night was the pounding surf.
If you are physically not able to handle climbing lots of steps, then this hotel is not for you. But the restaurant was fine and the pool was sparkling. The hotel is just up the hill on the road leading down to the lighthouse where all of the beachside restaurants are found. The hike back up is a bit tough, but we found a shortcut. There was a public path that cuts across the middle of the hotel property right beside our cottage that eliminates half of the climb.
There are a row of around 6 older rooms at the level of the pool. These would be my second choice.
Though i hated the experience- i would start with whats good about the hotel- little old but nice property on 'private small beach'. Book a cottage as rooms are not worth the price. Staffs are very good and polite.Food very average am a big fan of Kerala cuisine but the food taste very ordinary for Indian/Kerala cuisine. 5 mins walk from light house beach.
I booked Soma Palmshore through Tripadvisor/Agoda for 4 days in Jan. I read few reviews on Trip advisor on guests been moved to separate property by Somatheeran group in Kovalam.
Since I was travelling with my aged mother and reaching Kovalam late evening, i wanted to avoid these mishaps hence started writing emails to Soma as soon as booking was done (around 5 Dec). they kept saying my booking is confirmed at the cottage and i wont face any issue. My last email was on 17-Jan , again confirming my arrival.
On my way to Soma Palmshore hotel from Trivandrum airport on 18 Jan (around 8:30PM)- i called hotel to check the route- they inform me THEN that there is some plumbing problem with my cottage and they will move me to Somatheeran resort which was some 6KM from Palmshore and asked me directly to go there. Since it was quite late I didnt question them and went to the other property. There the guest officer informs since my mom is aged and to reach our cottage we need to go down the hill, next day they will move us to Soma Manatheeran resort. I put my foot down and said lets talk on 19 Jan.
19 Jan was my Moms 72 bday for which we planned the trip- and we ended up moving between various hotels- absolute disaster of the day. At somatheeran - to reach beach we need to walk down the hill for 15-20mins - so i didnt like the lodging. I went to see Manatheeran which was again some 2KM away from Somatheeran. Absolutely secluded unlike light house beach where Soma Palmshore was. They shown me a cottage is other side of road and again quite far away from sea.
I got agitated and said I want to move to Soma Palmshore as the area wise its next to Light house beach, and my cottage near the sea. after much discussions with Somatheeran folks - they revealed Soma Palmshore was overbooked, they dont know how reservation is managed etc etc - all vague reasoning and no one take ownership of the problem. I wanted to speak to GM -Mr Subhash Chandra- they just refused to give me his contact number. finally they said ok- we will move you to a Sea facing room at Soma Palmshore on 19-jan evening and on 20-Jan 2PM i can move into the COttage.
Upon reaching Soma Palmshore they said cottage is available only from 21-Jan-I again said let me speak to GM, and they keep giving excuses. again after much no pleasant discussion they convinced existing guests to move out earlier!!!
This entire fiasco was utter non-sense and is a repetitive behaviour by the hotel. You can read Trip Advisor to figure same out.
My POV- people who are going for leisure prefers Soma Palmshore because of location and they tend to overbook and then try to move them to other properties which are Ayurvedic treatment resorts and at a remote location. No doubts from hotel facility perspective other two are better but they should understand what Guests want!! There was no plumbing issue as all the cottages are booked for past couple of weeks!
Few things i definitely call out - hotel paid for extra amount to taxi as i booked taxi till soma palmshore. after asking for complimentary drop to airport they did provide me same. for 18 th they didnt do any refund but for 19th jan they reduced 500 INR when I asked for same. However my trip was ruined and i didnt get any email response from the hotel upon the complains. not to mention the hotel is pricey to what they offer (bare minimum toileteries,torn towels etc)
We arrived to the hotel converting the back water boat which was very nice and tasty food ,but enough for one day ( no more), we expected nothing and it was just beautiful place facing the lake water,
Lovely gardens, good stuff, good massage. Reasonable price. I enjoyed.
We booked a deluxe room, no mention in their site that the hotel is built on three floors, without any lift and lots of stairs to climb!! because we heard about this we requested a room on the first floor - it was clean & nice size with a balcony, but very very basic furniture that in an immediate need for renovations! the AC was noisy, we got two thin towels that have seen better days, one closet and that was it!! we asked to move to one of the cabins in the garden, which we saw upon our arrival visiting the hotel's pool and garden, they looked lovely with a little balcony and a better view of the sea. one of the guests invited me to see his room, they were similar in size and decor to our room, but could not get to move us, as we were told that the hotel was fully booked. The noise on the first/lobby floor was loud and with continuing stream of people coming and going. we decided to check the Ayurveda's Spa, which is located on the roof of the building in a very shabby setting - when I went into the room, which is actually several huts attached somehow to each other. You can hear what is going on in the outside, noisy and not a relax atmosphere at all!! the woman who attended to my massage was lovely and very accommodating, but the room is not set for her to do her job properly or for me to enjoy the massage! First, one needs to lie down on a mattress that was opened and cleaned while waiting, for the first part of the massage. Second, when I was lying down for my massage on the mattress my face was facing the floor and the room was not clean - the whole impression of what they call Spa, was of a very run down area that does not suit to conduct proper relaxing massage or to enjoy it. very disappointed I stopped the massage in the middle - never did that before!!
we packed ourselves and left the hotel after a two hours stay - our tour operator tried to get refund from them, but they did not agree .
I visited Kovalam in first week of Feb and stayed in this hotel for 3 days. I opted for deluxe room with sea facing view. The room is basic but it has a big balcony where you can have a breathtaking view of the sea which is very refreshing. The hotel has a private beach which is very clean. It is hardly 1 min walk from the hotel. This beach is open until sunset.
The hotel's restaurant is good too which has a variety of all the cuisines. The hotel is at a walking distance from the lighthouse beach and Kovalam beach.
The hotel also has a variety of massage options but you need to take an appointment one day in advance.
The hotel staff was very courteous and kept asking us about our choice of food and they always had smiling faces. The room service was pretty fast.
They have a swimming pool too which is very clean. There is a guy who is always there at this swimming pool with clean towels.
It is a big property and the only thing which I would like to mention is that they should improve the interiors of their rooms which will make this hotel one of the best.