Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra
10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
A perfect Christmas at the Surya Samudra
"We absolutely adored the Surya Samudra. We stayed there for a week over Christmas, arriving 21 December and it could not have been more perfect. As our daughter was with us we stayed in Cinnamon Garden, which is one of the bigger cottages - a wonderful old Kerala wooden house, spotlessly clean and beautifully maintained. The food in the restaurant was so delicious, especially the local prawns and lobster which were cooked in Southern Indian style. The pool was lovely but we love to swim in the sea and on days when it was a little rough a pool attendant would come down the steps with us to the spotlessly clean and empty paradise beach to ensure that we were totally safe! There were all sorts of activities in the hotel - a beautiful new spa centre with Ayurvedic treatments, private yoga sessions at sundown, trips with an elephant, an enchanting child magician who visited, demonstrations of Kerala culture and dance, and much much more, but all in a lovely relaxed manner, so no visitor was forced to participate against their will.
This is an enchanting place, and our thanks go to the wonderful management and staff for making our stay so special."
- Travel date: Sun 5th of February 2006
"The hotel has asked us to write a review for this website if we had a good experience at Surya Samudra. Unfortunately our experience was disappointing but it seems even more important to write the review. We had high expectations after reading all the positive things other persons said about Surya Samudra and after paying so much for our room.
Do not believe the nice pictures on the website. Your room will not look anything like the photographs unless you rent the Octagon room which is even more expensive than the others. The gardens are a dirty mess and not the beautiful tropical forest you see on the website. Surya Samudra needs some good gardeners and designers (for landscape and interior) to turn the resort into what you see on the internet. Each time you step outside your bungalow you pick up the dirt from the pathways which is difficult to get rid of and soon covers the entire floor in your room.
We had similar experiences as some of the others who wrote negative reviews. In particular we wondered why the hotel does not clean up the garbage on the beach. It is very difficult to climb down to the beach (my boyfriend twisted his ankle when he climbed over the rocks where the stairs end) but not worth going there if they do not clean it up. The restaurant was also disappointing. The staff (at least some of them) tries to be helpful but they do not seem to get enough training.
Altogether a frustrating experience. This could be a wonderful hotel - the location is fantastic and certainly the management makes enough money with these room prices - but is not a good choice at this moment."
- Travel date: Tue 17th of January 2006
For those who value natural over man-made environments
"The essence of the Surya Sumudra is that it gives one maximum contact with the natural environment, while at the same time providing everything necesary for a wonderfully relaxing stay.
This was our 3rd visit to this hotel, and we will certainly go back again. We have stayed at the over-blown, over-the-top hotels that India is famous for, but we have never come across any hotel anywhere in the world that leaves us feeling so relaxed, so re-freshed and so healthy in body and mind.
We loved the simplicity of our cottage, Beach Cottage North, with its outdoor shower, and the verandah with view through palms to the sea. We loved the natural setting of the pool, and the superb service provided at poolside. We loved the views from the pool, which is perched on a cliff over-looking 2 superb beaches. We loved the beaches, where the fisherman set out to sea each morning in wooden boats made of pieces of wood held together by ropes. We loved the unbelievably fresh food at the restaurant. We loved the spa, and in particular appreciated the care of the masseurs. We loved the attention to detail of the hotel management, and their interest to bring Keralan culture to the fore.
This hotel is not for everyone: if you're looking for an entrance foyer with a massive chndelier, and a room with airconditioning and electronic door locks, etc, etc, then this hotel is not for you. But if you're looking for something beyond man-made luxury and want to be touched by nature, and enjoy being in an environment where the staff appear genuinely to enjoy their jobs, and care about your well-being, then you will not be disappointed."
- Travel date: Sat 14th of January 2006
An amazing stay
"I have just returned from Surya Samudra and cannot believe the reviews I have read on Trip Advisor. Surya Samudra is a small collection of Keralan-style bungalows dotted around over 20 acres of garden. It is situated on a promontory between two beautiful, private, white sand beaches. The main area with the pool and restaurant is located right at the tip of the promontory, with amazing views over the sea and a coconut grove. The only other building you can see from there is a striking mosque on a small spit of land stretching out to sea in the far distance. Our party occupied four rooms, and although all were very different, they were all beautiful, interesting rooms. From the reviews below I note that people were unhappy with the lack of 'Taj' style luxury. When visiting countries I like to feel as though I am actually in a foreign country, rather than in a luxury hotel that could be anywhere in the world. Surya Samudra provides the perfect mix of a small, boutique hotel with the feeling of 'barefoot luxury' - stunning views from the beautiful free-form 'rock' pool, incredible outdoor bathrooms (ours had a banyan tree in the middle) and a wonderful relaxed, laid-back atmosphere (hammocks are dotted everywhere). The service, although not as friendly as at the sister hotel Shalimar Spice, was definitely not slow or rude, and the food was absolutely wonderful. A very helpful guy from the restaurant would visit us at around 6 every evening to discuss the day's specials (locally caught fish and seafood) and to plan our evening meal. The restaurant overlooks the beach and has live Keralan music each evening. In addition to this, we would be provided with fresh fruit mid-morning and tea and cake in the afternoon. About an hour after tea it is sundowner time and in my mind there is nothing better than relaxing in a hammock with a sundowner, watching local fishermen in their boats and seeing the sun set over the crashing waves. If you want a sterile, generic beach hotel with restaurants and bars all around, then Surya Samudra is not for you. If, however, you want to relax in one of the most beautiful places on the Keralan coast, in incredible surroundings and with wonderful fresh food, then I cannot recommend Surya Samudra highly enough. I will definitely be returning."
- Travel date: Wed 11th of January 2006
Loved Surya Samudra!
"Sad to see some other people had bad experiences at Surya Samudra - we stayed for 4 days in December 2005 and absolutely loved it. Admittedly it does not have all the trimmings of many 5 star hotels but in my opinion it is so much better off for it.
We stayed in the very cheapest accommodation - beach cottage north - which is certainly more basic than some of the villas but was still lovely and plenty spacious enough for a couple. The bedroom contained little more than a (very comfortable) bed, writing desk, fridge, and tea/coffee facilities but what else do you need? The veranda had a day bed with a gorgeous view of the coast and the outdoor bathroom was a particular treat and was very well appointed. The whole cottage was kept spotlessly clean and we didn't see any creepy crawlies during our stay. The mosquitos are kept at bay by nightly fumigation which along with mosquito nets meant we weren't bitten once.
If booking here avoid the garden cottages which have no view whatsoever.
The pool is beautiful and the pool staff are always ready with a clean dry towel whenever needed. There was no problem getting a lounger at any time of day, although the resort wasn't full when we stayed.
The restaurant food is top quality - expensive by Indian standards but no more expensive than other similar quality resorts. There aren't many other places to eat within a short distance of the resort so most guests seem to eat all their breakfasts and evening meals here. The restaurant staff - particularly the maitre'D Sunil - were really helpful and pleasant.
The only negative thing I would have to comment is that the ayuverdic treatments, whilst perfectly acceptable, are not as good as some of the other resorts we stayed in and were relatively expensive. Overall though we loved it and would highly recommend it."
- Travel date: Wed 11th of January 2006
"I started off hating this hotel. The location was miles from anywhere of interest and the lobby was tiny and dull and I could see that all the loungers by the pool had been bagged by greedy fellow guests who seemed to have gone off for the day. The room itself seemed unimpressive and it smelt of damp inside and rotting fish outside. I cmae up with these views on the first day but soon began to change my mind. I was in a garden cottage which was quite a way from the main area and had no view to speak of. It did however have a huge terrace and what would have been a nice garden if it wasn't just a square of mud as it was at the time. I was also very impressed with the bathroom which is half inside and half outside with the shower under the stars - very nice. The setting is fantastic with a brilliant view of the sea and the coastline and the hotel has access to a very quiet and idyllic beach below it. the service here is terrible- slow and not particularly polite. But I think if I were to have a better grade of room then I would have enjoyed it a lot more than I did. All in all a good hotel."
- Travel date: Sat 7th of January 2006
"A reviewer below said that it is not Taj style luxury. It sure isn't but they certainly charge Taj style prices."
- Travel date: Tue 20th of December 2005
"My wife and I knew we were in trouble when we arrived at the hotel reception â a small room exuding the charm of an Indian police stationâ¦ We had selected the Surya Samudra based on its website, which describes a âlush resortâ with cottages surrounded by âluxuriant foliageâ and a âfine beachâ. The photographs on the site depict what appears to be a luxurious property consisting of charming, light-flooded heritage cottages with beautiful interior designs. And with charges of 200 to 280 Euros per night for most rooms (a lot more than, say, The Aryani in Malaysia or the Damai in Bali â both amazing boutique resorts), surely this had to be a top-end hotel?
Unfortunately not. The Surya Samudra is at best a mid-range resort, with several serious flaws: The grounds were in a dilapidated state, with muddy pathways connecting the various structures. The beaches were hardly accessible and covered with trash. The restaurant, advertised as offering âexcellent Indian and European cuisineâ, had nothing of the refined atmosphere shown on the website and disappointed with unimaginative dishes and unprofessional service. The biggest disappointment were the accommodations: Our sea front room turned out not to have regular windows but only partial wooden shutters, making it impossible to keep insects out. Some of the furniture was visibly worn, and the towels were shoddy. When we asked for a room that would at least permit us to properly close the windows, we were offered a larger, but much darker cottage that was damp and smelled strongly of mold â at an even higher price.
We checked out within hours of arriving at the Surya Samudra. To add insult to injury, the hotelâs management refused to refund any of the room charges, which we had been required to prepay weeks in advance. (We are still in the process of sorting this out with the help of local authorities and our credit card company.) A senior official at the Kerala tourism department in Trivandrum, with whom we discussed our experience, confirmed that the Surya Samudra has long lost its status as one of the top choices in the area â âpoor managementâ, was his impression.
Bottom line: If you are looking for luxury accommodation in this neck of the woods, stay as far away from the Surya Samudra as possible. Try the Leela instead or, if you prefer a heritage hotel, check out the villas in the nearby Travancore."
- Travel date: Wed 7th of December 2005
"We spent 6 days here and it was perfect! We stayed at the Mosque View a 500 year old orginal Kerala teak house which overlooked the ocean. The pool, service and food were amazing! We were deciding between the Surya and Somatheerum and were so happy we chose the Surya. BUT we did get our ayervedic massages at the Somatheerum (10 min walk away) as they were like a hospital and had the best massages. Its not luxury Taj style but a perfect mixture of Hip hotel and culture. WE LOVED IT!"
- Travel date: Tue 5th of April 2005
A good time was had
"Just back from Kerala. Spent 6 days at The Surya Samudra.
Great Location. Good Pool. Nice beach after the steps down were negotiated. Food was the best we experienced during our Kerala Trip. My experience of the Cottages/Villas at Surya are as follows.
The Garden bungalows are pretty basic and not in the best locations. The air con is good to have however until you get used to the climate. After 2 nights we moved to the Cinnamon House Heritage Bungalow. The hardwood traditional nature of this bungalow was great and a real experience. Not A/c so a bit hot during the night despite the claim of cooling sea breezes. A bit of housekeeping maitenance is also required.
There is nothing Traditional or Heritage about a worn toilet seat or a leaky shower head. Still I would be happy to recommend a stay at this hotel and having popped into one or two other places close by I would definately come back here."
- Travel date: Thu 20th of January 2005