20 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
How important is the food?
"A very charming resort which was experiencing a change of chef and resulting problems. Whilst the environment was wonderful, we encountered some food problems which made meals more of a chore than a joy.
Smoking is allowed but alcohol is not sold which is curious as it is billed as a healthy resort.
Mosquitoes were a problem as there is still water on site.
Security needs to be tightened up in some areas.
Many people go to Bethsaida because of the financial link between the resort and its orphanages, mentioned in the brochure. However more facts and figures need to be provided for guests.
The pool is lovely - the chlorine not excessive - hair does not go dry ,the beach is excellent and the accomodation very good. Massage with feet the best.
Overall, slightly chaotic but the staff were friendly, helpful and anxious to please."
- Travel date: Fri 2nd of January 2009
Nice spot for conferences, work and holidays
"Bethsaida Heritage is certainly one of the best addresses along the Arabian sea in Kerala.
A little more than a half an hour drive from TRV airport, the hotel is nested in a small cove of a rocky coast, Bungalows and rooms are on la slope under lush vegetation in a well cared garden. Rooms & bathroom without a/c but well ventilated are of high construction and very large.
Welcome is warm, staff members are all kind, nice, helpful and professionnal. Food, especially local keralite cuisine is just delicious.
All for good holidays not far from many interesting tourist spots (Trivandrum, Kanyakumari, Padmanabapuram, etc.).
For work, Bethsaida offers complete convention and conference facilities with all technical equipment (sound, beamer, wifi, etc.). Most helpful staff contributed to the success of our conference, which could be organised from abroad including the production of all necessary banners, prints, writing material etc."
- Travel date: Mon 15th of December 2008
relaxing hidden gem
"This is my second visit to this hotel. I do not normally go back to same hotel, but I did, as I really liked this hotel.
The location is great if you want to relax. The hotel is just in front of quiet small beach. Only few indians are swimming. When you arrive, you will be suprised a small oasis.
It is about 25mins from Kovalan Beach and 40 mins from Trivandrum by taxi.
The room is fairly big and clean. There is not air condition in this hotel. If you are visiting cooler season or during monsson, it is ok.
If you do not like spicy indian food, the hotel food is good for you. But I like authentic spicy indian food, so I ate out a lot outside of hotel, in kovalam and trivandrum. Breakfast was nice, mixture of indian and western breakfast. Not big selection, but it was good enough.
The hotel staffs are always friendly and helpful. There are so many staffs working and I liked everybody.
I did ayurvetic massage. It was really good. I really like massage and have done ayurvetic massage before. I recommend the massage at this hotel."
- Travel date: Tue 25th of November 2008
"Beautiful hotel on own small beach. Feels secluded although other hotels next door. Very pleasant and generous rooms (no aircon but ceiling fans). Nice grounds, swimming pool, friendly staff, the owner is very laid back and easy going, he even lend us quite a bit of money out of his own pocket just on our word.
We stayed at the begin of our trip around Southern India for 3 days to get acclimatised and finished there for a week at the end to relax, it was ideally suited for this.
Only drawback is the restaurant and other travellers have commented on this. The menue lacks variety and there is better fare to have nearby. I also never got it why you have to pre-order dinner as the menue is no different from lunchtime. Although, it is very pleasant to sit up there in an open building and watch the sun go down with a couple of drinks...
A very quiet place to relax, but Trivandrum, Kovalam or other resorts are only a taxi/rickshaw ride away for day/evening/night out.
The hotel supports an orphanage which can be visited, just walk up between the ajurveda treatment huts; you will hit a dirt track, follow it to the right uphill; the orphanage can't be missed - it's big and pink. We are supporting another orphanage in Andra Pradesh and visited some during our trip, compared to these the one at the Bethsaida seems quite well appointed and apparently benefits from this regular source of income."
- Travel date: Mon 24th of November 2008
Beautiful place, Great Value, shame about the food
"We stayed at Bethsaida for a week , having read the reviews on trip advisor. Compared to other resorts nearby and hotels we had stayed in further North it definately represents value for money. We stayed in the spacious sea view room which has the advantage of being very near the pool and the beach as well as the communual hammocks. The bathroom was basic but clean. The pool was excellent and the beach clean and quiet (compared to kovalam). The treatments were also good value and offered a wide variety. The staff were always friendly and accomodating though sadly were not permitted to serve drinks by the pool. The only major complaint we had was the food quality - breakfast being cold toast and porridge as well as vegetarian indian food which given we only had the option of curry for lunch and dinner was a bit too much to stomach. The flies in the morning were a problem. To gain some variety we headed to Mollys (serving excellent Mexican and English food) in Kovalam one evening. The atmosphere was relaxed with good music which Bethsaida lacked. We also tried the Taj which served a good variety of meals and cocktails and the Leela which is well worth a drink at the skybar on a Friday or Saturday evening. We understand Bethsaida are getting new catering facilities so don't let these comments put you off - we thought it was a wonderfully relaxing retreat and a world away from a busy chain hotel/resort (if that's what you are after ..)"
- Travel date: Sun 16th of November 2008
"My wife and I traveled from Portland, Maine, USA to travel through Southern India. The highlight of our trip was staying at Bethsaida Hermitage.
The hotel grounds are magnificent, with a private beach, large pool and a restaurant overlooking the ocean. The rooms were very large and comfortable. The food excellent!!
The service was top notch, they even let us borrow their laptap, free of charge, so that we could keep in touch with our family back home. We can't guarantee this for everyone as we stayed in mid-June, the low season for Kovalam, but a perfect time to travel to Bethsaida.
Best of all, our stay benefits the community through supporting a local orphanage and school.
We plan on returning and bringing our whole family with us next time. We loved staying at the Bethsaida Hermitage."
- Travel date: Mon 21st of July 2008
Paradise - was the best way to end our fabulous Keralan holiday
"I have been meaning to write this review for while and after reading the reviews made since our visit - I definately need to share our wonderful experience...
We had planned to spend 5 nights on the beach at the end of a couple weeks travelling around Kerala. We originally aimed for Varkala and while we enjoyed it we felt it wasn't the beach paradise we needed to end the holiday with. So on a whim and a good review in our guidebook we booked into Bethsaida Hermitage. Was the best thing we did. The grounds were beautiful, the rooms were tastefully decorated and the staff were friendly and helpful.
I can possibly understand some peoples frustrations in later reviews on the kitchen and food situation as we were there at the start of the season and it was a very quiet period. I will say that the food we had was fantastic - the best aubergine curry by far. I raved about it so much that the chef gave me a personal lesson in how to make it! Also - in SukandMuk's review they thought it odd that the staff came round with a menu to get orders at 5pm - this also happened to us and we thought it was a great way to get the kitchen prepared for the night. No point in having food go to waste! Perhaps - when the new kitchen building is complete the issues raised on these reviews will be sorted out.
Bethsaida Hermitage is a very special place. It's certainly not for people who like polished luxury or a party type atmosphere. It's a quiet, thoughtful place to wind down and recharge your batteries. I was frustrated to read of complaint like 'no aircon' or 'no ice' or 'limited alcohol selection' - if that's important to you on your holiday do one of 2 things:
1. do your homework before you go and work out which time of year is the hottest and then avoid it
2. Book into somewhere like the Hilton!
Lastly - We enquired about the orphange and was given a lot of history and very useful information by Kai the yoga instructor . They don't brag about the charity but if you ask - you are given information.
Sorry for the length of this email - but just wanted to defend a place we think is unique and rare - not to mention doing a good thing."
- Travel date: Tue 3rd of June 2008
More of A Health Retreat/ Auveydic Centre
"The hotel grounds are lovely, beautiful view from our room looking onto the sea, rooms were adequate, large bathroom, rooms were very hot, as we had no air-con, only had ceiling fans which were very noisy,no tea or coffee making facilities or fridge which we would have apprecited as they do not know what ice is!!! The restaurant was below par, they catered more for the people who were on health treatments, the staff seemed reluctant to give the choice of the a la carte menu, if we had'nt been told by the reception we would not have known there was a la carte to choose from, they seemed intent on only wanting to serve from the buffet. It seems the kitchen is far too small to cater for the size of the hotel and as it was fully booked they would not be able to fulfil orders from the a la carte. We had been informed the building work was for a new kitchen dining room which is desperately needed. We atet breakfast here but other than this we ate mainly at the hotel next door Surya sumudra or the Coconut Bay which we can recommend both.
The only alcohol you could buy was beer and wine, which all was served warm!!! no room service! The pool was very nice, drinks at the pool were very limited again served warm. Also not enough sunbeds, the towel brigade were much in eveidence.
From previous reviews regarding the orphanage, there was nothing dispalyed within reception regarding this, also did not see or hear any children other than which were staying at the hotel. Would not stay here again!"
- Travel date: Mon 14th of April 2008
"I have just returned from my first stay at Bethsaida Hermitage, where i enjoyed a wonderful week. The resort is absolutely stunning and the accomodation is large, spotlessly clean and totally unique. The rooms have many individual touches, such as wooden carvings and four poster beds. All the rooms seem to have private terraces with views of the beautiful private beach.
The resort is excellently maintained and is surrounded by coconut trees and manicured gardens.
The food from the open-air restaurant was freshly prepared and really delicious. They use fresh produce from their own garden and the fish dishes i sampled were particularly tasty.
However, the best thing about my stay were the friendly and helpful staff. Having gone on my own (my first independent trip) i was slightly anxious about how i would fare but i needn't have worried - all the staff went out of their way to make my stay as enjoyable as possible. I was always met with a cheery smile and friendly greeting and they really looked after me.
Whilst i was there I also took advantage of some of the ayurvedic treatments and meditation classes which they offer, and i'm certainly glad i did - i returned home feeling totally chilled-out and rejuvinated!
I would highly recommend Bethsaida for those looking for a truly relaxing, unique and memorable holiday."
- Travel date: Sun 6th of April 2008
"The gardens and accomodation are very highly maintained and presented. We had the most basic room but even so it was HUGE! with a massive bathroom and dressing room and a cute veranda with a front lawn. The gardens are gorgeous, the pool is lovely and it has its own private sandy beach which is so much better than the busy black sands of Kovallam next door.
The only let down we had was the availability of the menu (the whole tandori 3 page section was unavailable) and the food was overpriced with stingey portions, I had one prawn in my prawn cocktail the rest was gloopy tastless cabbage. Stick to the veg dishes or curries (not the chicken as mostly bones)
We witnessed the biggest tropical thunderstorms we have ever seen, the thunder made your heart skip a beat so definitely take an umbrella and a torch!"
- Travel date: Fri 28th of March 2008
Our favourite place!!!
"This was our second stay at the Bethsaida and it just gets better. We have travelled all over India over the years and stayed in all sorts of accomodation but this is easily our favourite place. Everything is beautiful: accomodation, beach, people and location. A fantastic place to relax during a holiday in Southern India. And best of all your money is going to a charity ..the ultimate holiday in our books. We will be back again next Xmas! Our 9 year old son simply loves it as much as we do."
- Travel date: Fri 14th of March 2008
Not Impressed at all!
"This resort on the face of it is spectacular, The resort is done up great. When you walk in you feel you made the right choice by staying here but then the problems come out and there are major problems. We booked a cottage and it was nice and secluded however it wasnt a reflection of the outside at all. There is no AC in the rooms and it is boiling hot in Kerala. There are only fans that arent really that useful. We found it very difficult to sleep. We were meant to stay for 6 nights and checked out on the 2nd day. The other problem was that they have a kitchen the size of a hut, (for such a big resort) so the staff come around at around 5pm asking all the guests if we will be eating in or not. ( I am guessing so they can start preparing our dinner early) We found this very odd. Also the breakfast was not included which is fine but we ordered something like orange juice and they didnt have it! how can you not have orange juice in India??? We got so fed up of ordering things on the menu that they didnt have, we eventually settled for Museli and guess what they didnt have it either. So we got cornflakes in the end which took them an hr to serve us. So we advise not to have breakfast here. Its not worth it at all. The resort is quite secluded which for some would be nice but if you are younger and want to be by a few shops and restaurants, then find a place by the beach in Kovalum. Its amazing. There is alot more buzz and maybe the hotels arent be 5 star but they are basic and so much more cheaper, and you will enjoy your stay. In particular the Marine Plaza Hotel. The manager there is absolutely brilliant and went out of his way for us.I really would not recommend this resort to anybody as you will get very bored and have to keep on paying for taxis and rickshaws in to Kovalum which is not really worth when you can get a hotel on the beach. Ok so some good points are that there is free internet and it is peaceful, they do have a full aureyvedic centre but to be honest they have that in Kovalum as well and the prices are cheaper. The staff are very freindly as well. They dont have Tv's in the rooms either, so really it wasnt great on its amenities and facilities. Sorry for the long review but we just wanted people to know."
- Travel date: Sun 9th of March 2008