January 29, 2015

My TripAdvisor Review No.63: Club Mahindra Poovar, Kerala.

“An enchanting tropical resort.”
4 of 5 starsReviewed yesterdayNEW
Club Mahindra’s Poovar Resort is located at the extreme tail end of the beautiful state of Kerala. It is ideally located for exploring places in the southern tip of India. We used it as a base to go to Kaniyakumari, Suchindram temple, the Padmanabhapuram Palace in Tamil Nadu, and Kovalam, Thiruvanathapuram and Varkala in Kerala.

We went by the Kaniyakumari Express from Pune and disembarked at Neyyattinkara, a small town about 10 km from Poovar village. Even though we reached Neyyattinkara at 10.30 am we couldn’t find a cab and had to squeeze into an auto-rickshaw to get to the resort. The resort is located about 2 km from Poovar village at the mouth of an estuary, on the banks of the Neyyar River. The last 1 km of road to the resort was in a very bad shape.

We reached the resort by 11.30 am and were very happy to be allowed an early check-in. We had booked the 1BR villas which had a private swimming pool, and enclosed by a compound wall to give you a cosy feeling of exclusive privacy. The rooms are well furnished but do not have a kitchenette. The villas have a sloping tiled roof typical of the Kerala countryside. We immediately jumped into the pool and refreshed ourselves after the long train journey.

The resort is well laid out with the Studio rooms housed in conical tiled cottages with a small sit-out. There is a large swimming pool which can be utilised by all the guests, and a table tennis table near the lounge. The Fun Zone and Travel Desk are located near the Restaurant and Reception. The Boat Club was at the sea-side end of the grounds on the banks of the estuary. We could not walk directly to the beach from the resort, and had to take a detour through the village outside the gates.

We enjoyed the a-la-carte meals at their restaurant ‘Kerala House’. Their ‘Karimeen Pollichattu’, marinated fish wrapped and cooked in banana leaf, was excellent. Buffet meals were also available in the main restaurant but priced on the higher side. There was one nearby restaurant outside the gates, ‘Chef Elias Hot Cafe’ serving Kerala and Chinese food at reasonable rates, which was good for a change. Other shops and restaurants were located at Virali village which is 1 km from the resort.

We booked a cab to take us to Kaniyakumari, which is about 80 km from Poovar. On the way we stopped at the Padmanabhapuram Palace, and the Suchindram Temple. It was a full day trip. On the day of our check-out we visited Kovalam Beach, Trivandrum city, and Varkala on the way to Ashtamudi. Travel Desk at the resort can help you plan your sight-seeing trips.

One highlight of our stay here was a fascinating boat ride through the mangroves and backwaters surrounding the resort. We observed the water birds and forests while quietly gliding through the backwater canals. We stopped for breakfast at a river side restaurant on the Neyyar River, and then rode to the mouth of the estuary where the river meets the sea. We walked on the Golden Sand Beach and dipped our feet in the Arabian Sea.

The service at the resort was excellent. However, on one rainy day we encountered some leakage from the ceiling, and the maintenance crew were unable to rectify the problem. We had to keep a bucket to prevent the water from spreading.

On the whole, we had a nice stay and enjoyed our holiday experience at this tropical paradise.
Room Tip: Go for the 1BR 'Pool Villas'.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2014, travelled with family
      • 4 of 5 starsRooms
      • 4 of 5 starsCleanliness
      • 5 of 5 starsService

    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

    January 26, 2015

    My TripAdvisor Review No.62: Kalyani Veg Restaurant, Pune.

    “Popular restaurant serving wholesome food.”
    4 of 5 stars Reviewed 24 January 2015 NEW
    This popular vegetarian eatery is located in Kalyani Nagar just opposite Big Cinemas (Adlabs), and across the Aga Khan Bridge coming from Koregaon Park. It is always crowded at meal times and you may have to wait your turn till you get seating. There is very limited parking space for 4 wheelers near the restaurant.

    Take the help of the usher to find you a table. He will find you one within 5 or 10 minutes in the general (non ac) section, if you don’t mind sharing the table with other diners. Once seated you are served within 10 to 12 minutes after placing the order. There is an ac section too, with about 10 to 12 tables, but with a slight mark-up in the menu. The tables and service are better in the ac section, almost akin to a fine dining restaurant.

    Coming to the food, this restaurant serves both South and North Indian, Chinese and some Continental dishes. However they are best known for their Udipi fare and the idlis, wadas, dosas, utthappas served with the traditional sambar and chutnies are excellent. Their Punjabi dishes served with tandoori rotis, rice and biryanis are also very good. They have a variety of tasty Pao-bhajis, including a Jain Pao-bhaji. I cannot comment on the Chinese food as I have never tried it here.

    The restaurant opens at 8 am and closes at 11 pm. One can visit them for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even for an in-between snack. With so many offices, shops and commercial establishments nearby this restaurant is always crowded and bustling with activity and probably the most popular restaurant in this locality. The prices of the items are also reasonable and good value for money.
    • Visited January 2015
      • 5 of 5 stars Value
      • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
      • 5 of 5 stars Service
      • 4 of 5 stars Food
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

    January 22, 2015

    My TripAdvisor Review No.61: Hotel Shivashakti Palace, Haveri, Karnataka.

    “Decent Place for an overnight stop.”
    3 of 5 starsReviewed 1 week ago
    We were driving from Pune to Bangalore and needed to stop as it was getting dark and we decided to rest for the night rather than do it all in one day. Haveri is a small town about 520 km from Pune and 70 km ahead of Hubli, towards Bangalore. We located Hotel Shivashakti Palace on Google maps. I had to drive left off the main highway into Haveri town on the old PB Road.

    The hotel was well lit and we parked in the side road leading to the entrance. The reception and rooms were on the second floor. There was an elevator available, so we didn’t have to climb up the narrow staircase. We were lucky to get an ac double room for Rs.950 (taxes extra), and agreed to pay extra bed charges of Rs.150. Non ac rooms were already occupied.

    The room was cosy and big enough with an extra divan, TV, intercom, and a working ac, but the bathroom fittings were not up to the mark, with the flush handle dangling loose.

    We decided to order our dinner in the room, since the restaurant was located on the ground floor. The food was tasty albeit a bit spicy, but we were surprised to receive an inflated dinner bill. On inquiring I was told that the menu card was an old one.

    We had a good night’s rest but were woken around 8 am by a musical band playing on the ground floor. It seems that a marriage ceremony was being conducted in the banquet hall below.

    We had our baths with lukewarm water. We ordered our breakfast through room service, and again the bill did not tally with the prices marked on the menu. Anyway, we settled our bill and were on our way to Bangalore after a refreshing night’s rest.
    • Stayed December 2014, travelled with family
      • 4 of 5 starsLocation
      • 3 of 5 starsRooms
      • 3 of 5 starsService

    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

    January 14, 2015

    My TripAdvisor Review No.60: Ujwal Family Restaurant, Bengaluru.

    “Surprisingly good!”
    4 of 5 stars Reviewed 13 January 2015 NEW
    We were in the Sanjay Nagar area looking for a good place to have lunch, and noticed this restaurant on the main road. There was lack of parking space on the main road so we parked our 4 wheeler in one of the side lanes.

    The family section of the restaurant was on the first floor and the seating was quite comfortable. The ground floor served as the bar section.

    We ordered ‘alu methi malai’ with nan and roti, green salad, and a chicken biryani, and the service was quick and efficient. The food was quite tasty and the three of us enjoyed the preparations. We paid about Rs.380 and I would say it was value for money.
    • Visited December 2014
      • 4 of 5 stars Value
      • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
      • 4 of 5 stars Service
      • 4 of 5 stars Food
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

    January 8, 2015

    My TripAdvisor Review No.59: Aspen Woods, Bengaluru.

    “Serviced Apartments with a homely atmosphere”
    4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW
    We had some trouble finding this place as it is tucked away within the confines of the bungalow colonies and leafy environ of Anand Nagar and close to Hebbal in North Bengaluru. You have to turn in to Anand Nagar Main Road from Bellary Road near Bangalore Baptist Hospital. Then ask for Venugopal Layout Park and you will find Aspen Woods, which is a two storied bungalow at the end of the road.

    We were welcomed by the caretaker of the Apartment and allotted a studio room with an extra mattress since we were three of us. The charges were quite reasonable since it was an ac room. There was a common hall and dining area which was well furnished. The apartment had a very homely atmosphere, and being located in a very serene residential locality there was not much traffic noise from the main roads.

    Breakfast was complimentary and we were served with eggs, toast, butter, jam and/or cornflakes. Lunch and dinner are optional and chargeable on a per head basis. We ordered dinner on both the nights that we were there and were served with home cooked chapattis, vegetables, dal, rice and curd.

    They also have the facility of getting your clothes washed in their washing machines on a chargeable basis. We were served well by the boys who seemed to be from North India.

    Aspen Woods Apartment is definitely a better alternative than staying in the small confines of a hotel room.
    • Stayed December 2014, travelled with family
      • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
      • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
      • 4 of 5 stars Service
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

    My TripAdvisor Review No.58: Hotel Ruchi Park, Satara. (on NH4, 28 km north of Satara)

    “Highway 'dhaba' on NH4, near Satara.”
    2 of 5 stars Reviewed 29 December 2014
    We were driving from Bangalore to Pune and needed to stop for lunch after passing Satara. About 28 km from Satara moving towards Pune we saw a somewhat decent looking restaurant on the left side of the road and decided to have a bite here.

    I ordered a mixed vegetable with tandoori roti and it was tasty enough. However when my wife asked for sandwiches she drew a blank even though it was listed on the menu. It seems they serve sandwiches only for breakfast! We also asked for buttermilk, which at Rs.25 a glass seemed exorbitant.

    Before resuming our drive I wanted to use the washroom. A good highway restaurant must maintain a clean washroom to separate it from the ‘dhabas’ of the world. Unfortunately ‘Ruchi Park’ failed the test as the washroom was not well maintained and all the faucets seemed to be leaking, probably due to overuse by the multitude of bus passengers which were stopping here.
    • Visited December 2014
      • 2 of 5 stars Value
      • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
      • 2 of 5 stars Service
      • 3 of 5 stars Food
    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC