Holiday review by JPTH

Name: JPTH

Date of trip: 04/02/2020

Number of people: 2

Walking up through the tea gardens onto the tops and Munnar, with the wise early start, was scenically magnificent. Jaipur and Cochin - starkly contrasting - were each superb. The Bharatpur walk was a bird-feast. Everything was fascinating. Only mild disappointment was Bundi.

  • The roof terrace at Colonels Retreat

     

  • Colonels Retreat bedroom

     

  • The entrance to Colonels Retreat

     

  • Colonels Retreat pictures

     

  • Chambal Safari Lodge outdoor dining

     

  • Imli Serai bedroom at Chambal Safari Lodge

     

  • Rear sitout at Chambal Safari Lodge

     

  • Indian skimmers near Chambal Safari Lodge

     

  • Bhainsrorgarh Fort Hotel, India © Bhainsrorgarh Fort

    Bhainsrorgarh Fort Hotel, India

  • Bundi Vilas

     

  • Terrace view at Fort House Hotel

     

  • The courtyard garden at Fort House Hotel

     

  • Fishing nets by the shore in Cochin

     

  • Veranda at Fort House Hotel

     

  • 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

     

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Tribes Overall:

Our driver, Balbir Singh, had a phrase 'This is India', when anything unexpected or unusual happened. I schooled myself to repeat it when hiccups happened.
The combination of N and S India worked extremely well, giving us excellent contrasts.
With the exception of Bundi (see narrative report) our itinerary was well chosen and well met our stated aims. It was entirely our own fault we did not spend longer in Jaipur as, with hindsight, we would have done.

Tribes Service:

Two quite major hiccups: standard of train journey Bharatpur/Kota (as against what was asked for and promised) and failure to provide for transfer between airports in Bombay prevent me from rating it excellent (as otherwise I would).
PC certainly knows his stuff and was able to provide many insightful suggestions for the itinerary.

Guides:

Balbir Singh in
N. India was superb.  I cannot praise him enough and I would particularly
ask that you pass this on to Travel Inn. He was fun, informative, very good
company and there was nothing that he would not do to help us.  His phrase
‘This is India’ passed immediately into our lexicon.  We hugely valued him
and were extremely sorry to part company at Jaipur airport.  Anyone who
has him as their driver is lucky indeed. Quite simply, the best.

Social & Environmental Responsibility:

Unable to comment; not sure what this targets.
We greatly enjoyed both Chambal and Hornbill, which are 'eco' experiences, I guess.


The places you stayed

The roof terrace at Colonels Retreat

Colonels Retreat

India

You may want to encourage them not to put your guests in rooms that give onto the communal area downstairs. That said, though I feared disturbance, none in fact happened.


Chambal Safari Lodge outdoor dining

Chambal Safari Lodge

India

The wedding celebrations (two of them) rather impinged on sleep one night. Guides were very good indeed.
Wine price was far higher than anything encountered anywhere else (double same wine at some other locations!)
Rooms fine and milieu delightful.


Bhainsrorgarh Fort Hotel, India © Bhainsrorgarh Fort

Bhainsrorgarh Fort

Rajasthan

Dithered between good and excellent - principally for its location. A thoroughly worthwhile evening walk through the fields on other side of river. Nearby Hindu temple complex was stunning.
Having a room rather than a suite meant having a side position, not facing direct out onto river.


Bundi Vilas

Bundi Vilas

India

Placed in windowless room at first. After protest, got moved (but only because someone else had moved out, dissatisfied with their room; I found it fine)


Terrace view at Fort House Hotel

Fort House Hotel

India

Saddened that their chef said he was unable to supply sandwiches at lunchtime (never had that at a hotel before) but happy side effect was to discover the excellent Seagull restaurant next door


Kerala Houseboat

Kerala Houseboat

India

See narrative report to Paul Cook.
Experience should have been magical (and when not irritated by what happened, it was) but for what was in effect one full day plus a half day, it is simply not acceptable for Evergreen Tours to say that setting off at 10 am on the full day was standard. It was v hot and humid, moving in the freshness of the morning would have been a tonic, and they were perfectly capable of setting off at 9 am on the final day.