Holiday review by Mrs. Joy Longmuir

Name: Mrs. Joy Longmuir

Date of trip: 05/03/2018

Number of people: 2

Hard to know where to begin.....we loved it all especially the food, both the quality, variety and quantity. We loved the people as every one was so friendly and helpful and we always felt safe wherever we went. Even the airports were better than we expected having been warned by so many people how bad they would be. If we have to pick a special moment Andrew's highlight was getting to ride on the back of a Royal Enfield with one of the guides and my highlight was the birdwatching day in Munnar as the guide was so knowledgeable and friendly.

  • Taj Coromandel lobby


  • Luxury suite at Taj Coromandel in Chennai


  • Taj Coromandel Prego Restaurant


  • Outdoor pool at Taj Coromandel


  • Vivanta by Taj Fishermans Cove


  • Sea view cottage at Vivanta by Taj Fishermans Cove


  • Vivanta by Taj Fishermans Cove lobby


  • Villa at Vivanta by Taj Fishermans Cove


  • Palais de Mahe at night


  • The pool at Palais de Mahe


  • Palais de Mahe bedroom


  • Palais de Mahe cafe


  • Svatma, boutique hotel in Thanjavur, South India © Svatma

    Svatma, boutique hotel in Thanjavur, South India

  • Visalam at dusk


  • The pool at Visalam


  • Visalam courtyard


  • Guest room at Visalam


  • Heritage Madurai bedroom and deck


  • Heritage Madurai lobby lounge


  • Meenakshi temple near Heritage Madurai


  • Bedroom at Heritage Madurai


  • Planter's Room at Windermere Estate, Kerala, India © Mayan Dimensions

    Planter's Room at Windermere Estate, Kerala, India

  • Kerala Houseboat


  • Piloting the houseboat in the Kerala backwaters


  • Watch passing traffic from your Kerala houseboat


  • See shrines and temples as you cruise the Kerala backwaters


Tribes Overall:

Overall it exceeded our expectations with all arrangements going to plan and so many different experiences and memories. It was a well planned trip with the right mixture of temples and culture and quieter destinations to enjoy the peace and wildlife.

Tribes Service:

Excellent as ever!


The local agent who met us at Chennai airport warned us some of the guides might be better than others but we found them all excellent especially the one in Pondicherry (think he was called Laurence) and Nishan in Kochi who was outstanding.
We enjoyed the company of our driver, Mr Jose, and although his English was limited he made up for it with excellent driving, timekeeping, a big smile every morning and made us feel very safe. It was a bonus when we were met by him again after our backwaters trip as we weren't expecting to see him again.
The two birdwatching guides were also outstanding especially Jusin (I think) in Munnar. We were expecting an hour walk before breakfast and would have been happy with that but it ended up being 5 hrs in the morning and another 2hrs in the afternoon. We saw and learned so much from him and really enjoyed his company.
The 2 hr birdwatching boat trip from Philipkuttys Farm would probably interest a lot of non-birders as the guide was very informative and is was a chance to see some of the backwaters at a very leisurely pace.

Social & Environmental Responsibility:

Hard to answer but we tried to buy locally and from the smaller shops so our money was going to the local people. Our birdwatching trips showed there is a market for customers interested in the environment so, hopefully, will encourage greater protection of their country.

The negative side was the number of plastic water bottles we got through! Some hotels provided drinking water and we never had any health problems so encouraging all hotels to provide safe drinking water would be beneficial. On our houseboat we never saw/used any plastic so that was excellent and proved it can be done.

The places you stayed

Taj Coromandel lobby

Taj Coromandel


Hard to comment as we were only there for a quick breakfast and rest after our flight.

Vivanta by Taj Fishermans Cove

Vivanta by Taj Fishermans Cove


We loved the location with our cottage overlooking the sea and the staff were very helpful and friendly. An excellent place to start our holiday.

Palais de Mahe at night

Palais de Mahe


A lovely, smaller hotel with very friendly, well trained staff and a perfect location for exploring Pondicherry.

Svatma, boutique hotel in Thanjavur, South India © Svatma



The standard of the hotel facilities was very high but slightly let down by the limited english of the staff. Many were being trained and were working very hard but needed a few who had a better grasp of english.

Visalam at dusk



An outstanding hotel in every way. Well trained, knowledgeable staff and lovely food served in a beautiful setting. We would thoroughly recommend a stay here to any one.

Heritage Madurai bedroom and deck

Heritage Madurai


A more functional hotel with less personal attention from the staff but fine for one night and the chance to see the magnificent temple. Perhaps point out to them their pool is not an Olympic size pool.....just the same size as every one elses!

The Lounge at Windermere Estate, Kerala, India © Windermere Estate

Windermere Estate

Munnar, Kerala

We stayed 3 nights here and could have stayed longer as it was so peaceful. The rooms were more basic than other hotels we stayed in but this was more than compensated for by the location and views overlooking the tea plantations and the food and service was exceptional.

Kerala Houseboat

Kerala Houseboat


This exceeded our expectations particularly with regard to the catering. The chef was producing meals that matched any thing we had experienced in all the large hotels we had stayed in and all without the need for plastic bottles.