Saturday, January 09, 2016

2016

Below is feedback from our customers. If you would like to add your own feedback about a Kerala Connections holiday - scroll down to the bottom of the relevant year and click on COMMENTS. Our ON-LINE QUESTIONNAIRE can be found at the top of our home page.
Scores are 1 - 5 with 5 being the top score.




Enjoyed the holiday and it was superbly organised.  Thank you.  The holiday was really well planned and organised and tailor-made as to my requests.  I would stay in homestays in future - not travelling alown for so long.  Unless you really like to travel solo the trip would be much enhanced if you can share with another.  Meals were lonely affairs  Your advice on tipping was very helpful (and to others I met!).  My driver (Jess) was exceptional! I was quite overwhelmed when on my birthday he presented me with a birthday cake and garland.  I have recommended Kerala Connections to three people and hopefully two will get in touch soon.  Ann Force who travelled solo


This was a memorable holiday which exceeded our expectations. Thank you so much for your advice and guidance.  Companion Holidays were outstanding and reassuring. The drivers were always punctual, had good English and a great sense of humour. They always drove safely and with great patience! Thank you all, for giving us such unforgettable memories.  Trevor and Mary Russell


They had the most amazing holiday, the best ever and really want to return.
Report from Liphook Travel Agent re their customers Mr and Mrs Allan.
 

We thank you for all of your organisational skills regarding our recent trip to Kerala.  The driver and guides were courteous, knowledgeable and helpful making our visits to the historical sites immensely interesting and entertaining.  Their time keeping was excellent and their driving skills incredible.  We felt safe and secure.  We were very pleased and impressed by the hotels selected which allowed us to rest and experience the wide range of cuisine that India has to offer.  Credit must also go to the Houseboat crew who made our days on the Backwater such a treat.  The document detailing our day to day itinerary including advice regarding tipping, anticipated weather and activities at each location is first class.  We happily, will be recommending your company to our family and friends who are interested in the trip that we have just completed. Martin and Rosario Hunt who booked through Sunways Travel



Hello Gary

We have had an absolutely wonderful time, and we really appreciate the help we had from you and Diana in organising what was a fairly complicated itinerary.  Dewalokam was as special, welcoming and delightful as when we last visited. What a hard-working family they are. And we appreciated also how well they treat their staff: ‘happy working’ one of the domestic staff said to us. And the drivers love coming here – they do not always get as well-treated as they are at Dewalokam.

Diana’s help obtaining our e-visas was invaluable and much appreciated. The whole system seems to work quite efficiently at the airport too.

Our driver, Shibu, was extremely good, and we felt very sad when we eventually had to part. He looked after us with diligence, care and humour. A lovely man.

We loved the Maison Perumal hotel in Pondicherry. All meals cooked to order, so it’s slow, but worth the wait.

Mantra Veppathur was stunning.  So much effort has gone into this site we wish it well. It did seem a bit quiet. Not many tourists.

Your Tour Information document was very, very good. The booklet was much admired by some other travellers who were coping with large files of documents and sheets of photocopied information as they moved around. 

Thank you again for all your help. You are very good at what you do, and your efficiency and professionalism is much appreciated.  You may well be hearing from us again in the future!  Colin and Shirley Brown




Beachgate Bungalow - beautiful house, garden and pool area.  Dewalokam – highly enjoyable and beautiful garden; Spice Village – immaculate site, beautifully maintained lodges and lovely garden to sit in.  There was a very good mix of pre-planned visits and those suggested at each site.  Agent – faultless organisation and highly professional.  Our driver (Winson) was excellent.  Professional driver, polite and helpful, yet remained discreet.  He often helped us to find interesting places.  We found the information prepared for us by Kerala Connections extremely helpful – especially the policy for tips.  Thank you very much.  Fiona Morison



We had the most fantastic time in Kerala and your company’s services were superb, much better than my previous India Tour Operator.  I will try to find the questionnaire - but it was all 10/10   
Regards, Phill Deschamps



Companion were excellent.  Jerry and Sanil went out of their way to show us lots of interesting sights.  The cooking lesson at Aakriti was amazing.  Kaav is a first class loge – we highly recommend it.  The houseboat on the Northern backwaters we would thoroughly recommend.  Instead of thousands of rice barges in the southern backwaters we saw only 3 other barges.  Chera Rocks – an amazing place.  Could stay here for weeks.  Can’t recommend it enough.  Many thanks to Gary for being there when we needed him.  A first class company.  This was probably the best holiday tour we have had in all our nearly 50 years of travelling abroad.  
John and Julia Mitchell


Information booklet very helpful. Gary did a very good job of tailoring the trip for us and making suggestions that worked well. Arrangements made by the agent behind the scenes were very good, slight changes to the itinerary were managed effortlessly. 
Mr and Mrs Chamberlain


Just a brief e mail to say we are back from a fantastic holiday. Kerala Connections (and your local agents Companion holidays) have performed faultlessly!   
Jim Morison




Great help from Kerala Connections on the eTV application.  Top scores for Kerala Connections and our local agent/driver. The hotels on this holiday (Marari Beach Resort and Old Harbour) were given scores of excellent and good for all aspects.   
Mr and Mrs Adams



We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday and thought it was brilliantly organised.  Very many thanks. This was my first visit to India.  I hope I shall have the chance to go again, and will of course be in touch again with you if I do.  The homestays: these were all good, and all our hosts were vey welcoming, and very helpful in giving us advice and organising activities for us.  The highlights of the holiday for me were the elephant and bullock cart rides, and the martial arts performance in Periyar, the bike ride in the misty morning along the lake at Red Earth, three massages, seeing the Maharaja's palace lit up in Mysore, the visit to the tea plantation and factory in Coonoor, lying in a hammock overlooking the river, and the cooking demonstrations at Dewalokam, and the marvellous food everywhere. (These are just some of them!)  
Katrina Mortimer



Dick Down



For us there were two extra special parts of this holiday, both of which were on our bucket lists. Firstly spending two nights on the houseboat in the backwaters, we were treated like royalty by the crew and loved watching the world go by in peace and tranquillity. The second was visiting the temples of Tamil Nadu. No peace or tranquillity here, but so beautiful.  We very much enjoyed this holiday, completely met and often exceeded our expectations. This was in no small way due to the staff of Companion Holidays who could not have been better. The hotels were well chosen.  Overall, this was one of our best holiday experiences ever!   
Mr and Mrs Noble (booked through Responsible Travel).



We are in awe – amazed.  Not looking to find fault but there were none – breath-taking.  Best holiday I've ever had until you book the next one!! 
John Davies



The homestays were great especially the communal eating ones.  We would love to return to Dewalokam - amazing place.   
Mr and Mrs Fairfax



Bennet (our driver) being friendly and obliging.  Made excellent suggestions for visits.  Metropole Hotel – exceeded expectations.  Orange County, Kabini – fantastic hotel with wonderful food.  Vivanta by Taj, Malabar – excellent hotel.  Houseboat – a highlight!  Glad we had two nights.  Amazed by the quality of food produced from such a small galley.  Dewalokam – was not expecting such spacious, light, airy and spotless accommodation.  Food was delicious and abundant.  ‘Farmstay retreat’ undersells this beautiful place.  Swimming in the river was another highlight.  We had a wonderful holiday, thank you.   
Mr and Mrs P (booked through Sovereign Travel)



A superb holiday - just what we wanted - Thank You.  Very helpful little tour brochure.  
Mr and Mrs Jonas



The time on our houseboat was idyllic. We were waited on hand and foot and ate far too much! This was a really relaxing part of the holiday and comes thoroughly recommended.  A Beach Symphony - there is really nothing to do in this area but that was fine with us. The staff were lovely and our room was perfect.   
Kelvin Ramsey and Joanna Milton (honeymoon – booked through Premier Travel)


Just a quick line to say that all has gone like a well-oiled wheel. The Emirates flights were excellent, both bits of luggage turned up in Bangalore and whilst the immigration procedure was, well, Indian, it was nothing we didn't expect. But most important of all, Jess, the driver was there to collect us - Bangalore traffic is not for the faint-hearted!  Gitanjali Homestay is brilliant! Yamuna is a delight, so is her daughter, and both sat with us during a delicious meal. If the rest of the Homestays are half as good we won't be disappointed.  Thank you for all you have done to make it possible.
Trevor and Mary (this sent to us from India)


We duly returned from Kerala this morning.  We really did have a wonderful time and a really memorable experience and holiday, thanks entirely to you and all your help.  Needless to say the organisation was faultless!  Each place that we were lucky enough to stay in (or, in the case of the houseboat, ‘on’!) was great in its own way, The activities /experiences that we got involved with a lot of fun and our driver, Shibu, really super and helpful.  As for Anil and Jeeva (Royal Mist) - what a really charming couple!  All in all, one of the very best travel services we have ever experienced in all respects - from planning through to all the service and information you provided.   So….. a very big 'thank you’ indeed from us both.  All good wishes for your continued success.  We shall definitely hope to return again before too long.  And, needless to say, renewed thanks too!!  
Jane and Mike Stephens


Overall we were very happy with the holiday and impressed by your service and organisation.  Siji (our driver) was very efficient, friendly and had a good sense of humour. He was key to the success of the holiday – highly recommended.  All guides were good.  We will recommend you to anyone who may be interested.   
Tim and Anne Hughes


As apparent (from the scores) we enjoyed the holiday enormously.  We can’t overstate how much Siji (our main driver) plus the other two drivers contributed to this enjoyment.  They answered endless questions and were extremely forthcoming about all aspects of Indian life.  Your booklet (including the tipping advice) was very useful.  We discovered, talking to our hosts, that Kerala Connections are very prompt payers (far faster than some of the other UK tour operators) and also pay their drivers better – and that was good to hear. 
Mr and Mrs Moxham  (who started arranging their next holiday with us as soon as they arrived back – instructions are that Dewalokam and Xandari Pearl must be included)



All the arrangements went very well.  The hotels (Grande Bay, Palais de Mahe, Ideal River View, Radisson Blu) were all lovely – contrasting but all good.  The journeys were interesting, the train journey was a highlight.  
Dr and Mrs Ironmonger and family



Thank you Diana for organising such a great holiday – we loved it all – such an amazing experience.  Spice Village was our favourite hotel.  Very impressed with Daniel and Jerry – when we wanted to change plans he was excellent at rearranging and very polite.  Sunil (our driver) was great, we could have had a nicer guy.  We will definitely recommend you to anyone who wants to go to Kerala. 
Alison Mitchell



It was the first time I used ‘homestays’ and it was a really good experience.  I travel on my own so conversations with like-minded people over a lovely home-cooked dinner beats evenings at a solitary table in a 5 star hotel hands down!   
Mrs Srivastava



Diana - I want to tell you that we had a wonderful holiday in Kerala. Probably the best family holiday so far.  The arrangements went without a hitch. The accommodation was fine.  Siji (our driver) was helpful and knowledgeable. When we arrived at Olive Brook we thought we were in heaven. Beautiful colourful garden. Lovely rooms. Shalimar Spice Garden was a tropical paradise. We loved the rooms and the pool and took advantage of the spa. The backwater cruise was the most calming experience that I can remember. I loved it. We saw so many birds. The staff were good and unobtrusive. The food was wonderful with something for everyone. We saw the way of life on the water’s edge.  Francis Residence is a lovely house with the cleanest bathroom of all, the best breakfast and charming hosts. I would recommend Kerala Connections to anyone. Thank you for all your efforts.   
Gill Cook



Companion Holidays made us feel safe, secure and valued.  Xandari Harbour – great place.  Houseboat – highlight of our break, excellent comfortable experience.  Wish we could have stayed forever.  Coconut Lagoon – the staff were all great, accommodation comfortable and loved the outside shower.   
Mr and Mrs Deacon



We recommend minimum of two nights on the backwaters, otherwise you are never clear of the other houseboats!  Your organisation was splendid – seamless and with not hitches.  All agents and drivers, charming.  Your suggestions for tipping were invaluable (most thumbed page of our booklet!).  Dewalokam was the icing on the cake – as marvellous as I remember plus extra touches.  
Mr and Mrs Rexton



Organization and trips were well planned. Thank you for all your assistance - Kerala is a truly beautiful place and we would love to return.   
Sandra Moloney



We really enjoyed this holiday - we particularly enjoyed Visalam and the Spice Tree at Munnar. Anil's driving was exemplary despite the road conditions and his consideration and patience greatly enhanced our enjoyment of the tour. We are looking forward to planning the next one!  
Gaynor Gordon (who gave all the hotels – Secret Garden, Maya’s Beach House, Houseboat, Spice Tree, Heritage - Madurai, Visalam – Chettinad, Ideal River View, Maison Perumal and Radisson Blu – Mamallapuram) top scores for all aspects. 



We had a marvellous time, loved it.  Everything got better and better. Glad we went to Madurai – well worth it and the hotel (Heritage) was great.  Cardamom County we could not fault – good service, friendly staff.  The agents were spot on.    
Sue Lavery



We returned home safely from what has been the most fantastic holiday!  Everything was just spot on – the itinerary, the accommodation, the vehicle, our driver (Siji).  We return to the UK with our eyes and ears and noses full of sights and sounds and smells of India - and over 900 photos! We will send you the feedback form over the next few days, along with a few comments on each of the places we stayed that might be helpful, but wanted to send you our thanks straightaway for arranging such a great trip for us.  
Andy and Tricia Wood



Thank you for a brilliant holiday.  It is a real privilege to have a driver to yourself and to have every journey carefully organised.  Well done Jerry at Companion.  We have a particular thanks to Dewalokam – it is something special.     
Mr and Mrs Sara (who stayed at Secret Garden, Dewalokam, Royal Mist, Purity, Houseboat, Marari Beach Resort and Teak House – gave top scores to all). 



We had an extremely enjoyable holiday. There were no problems at all in any of the arrangements.  The agent was extremely efficient.  All of the arrangements were very smooth and on time.  The drivers were excellent and the guides were very good.   
Mr and Mrs G



Great honeymoon; the backwaters are stunning in terms of scenery and smiling people.  Dewalokam a very welcome beautiful place.  The houseboat was extremely enjoyable and the company (Lakes and Lagoons) should be commended. The loved the intimate nature of Royal Mist and felt so at home.  We would like to thank Gary for his excellent advice, friendliness and prompt replies prior to our fantastic honeymoon.  Shibu was a lovely friendly, helpful and knowledgeable driver.  Nothing was too much trouble and a great sense of humour.  We have been telling so many people about Kerala Connections – excellent!   
Lesley and Robert Toy



Drivers and guides were great.  The food was generally very good… but so much of it! 
Robert Germer and Rebecca Swainston (booked through Meadway Travel)



Drivers were punctual; good sources of local information and helpful.  We were impressed by how smoothly everything ran and felt well cared for.  Dewalokam – exceptionally warm welcome and beautiful grounds.  Houseboat – could not fault this!  One of our best experiences – a view held by others we met.  Secret Garden – Loved the accommodation, good yoga. 
Mr and Mrs Rapley



Just to let you know that everything so far couldn’t possibly have gone better since we landed in India!  The careful driving and attentive interaction with our driver is a major contributing factor to our enjoyment.  More evaluation later, but though you might like a preliminary report. 
David Lewitt and Louise Rawlins (sent by e-mail while still in India).



For us a very good choice of homestays, each having its own character and charm.  Jose and Sinta at Dewalokam run an exceptional homestay, one which we enjoyed especially as it was our third visit.  Amaryllis is for your discerning clients – and Victor and Jini’s hospitality is outstanding.  It was good to visit Philipkutty’s Farm again (last there in 2006) – the food was excellent. 
Mark and Wendy Bostock



We had the most amazing time.  All worked perfectly, the drivers all very good and polite.  Diana – your name (and that of Kerala Connections) is revered! 
Elizabeth Appleton (booked through Symphony Travel)



We loved Kerala and our holiday is one of our best.  Everything went very smoothly and without problems.  All connections were on time.  We were kept well informed – excellent.  Each element of the holiday was interestingly different and we felt that we saw and enjoyed much of a beautiful country.  We shall show all our friends our photos and recommend you to them. 
Richard and Jane Hood



All fab!  Can’t wait to go back…  North India is on my list.  Dewalokam was a highlight (particularly wonderful) wish we had longer there.  Jez (our driver) was fantastic.  Very efficient and helpful 10/10.  Thank you. 
Dr and Mrs Keith



Grande Bay, Mamallipuram – stylish.  Houseboat – we were surprised and very pleased at how comfortable it was and how good the food was.  Francis Residence – an immaculate homestay with helpful owner.  All in all a great holiday and we shall recommend Kerala Connections to our friends. 
Geoffrey Sumner



Thanks to Gary for putting together such a fab trip for us.  It all went so smoothly.  We really had a ‘holiday of a lifetime’.  I’m already planning my next trip… 
Suze Mathews



Can I just thank you for an absolutely fantastic holiday I cannot stress enough how much we all enjoyed it and most of that was down to your planning behind the scenes to make everything so seamless.  As you may recall on the 2nd of December we found out about the horrific floods in Chennai and at some point on that Wednesday/Thursday I think we all felt that was the end of our holiday as we were due to fly out on Sunday 6th.  I cannot thank you enough Gary for all the phone calls and arrangements you made during that time to save our holiday and in fact we all thought you actually made it better as we would have never experienced the things we did without your intervention. 

The documents you supplied were perfect providing us with day to day guides of what and when was due to occur. We were met at the airport by Jerry who was lovely explaining what was going to happen and escorting us to our first hotel and introducing us to our driver Siji.  What can I say about Siji, what an absolutely lovely gentleman he was, with a fantastic sense of humour who knew instinctively what we wanted and went out of his way to provide us with experiences and memories we will never forget. At the end of our holiday when we had to say goodbye to him we all actually felt quite emotional as though we were saying goodbye to a friend or family member. He is a fantastic ambassador and I hope you will continue to use him in the future. 

We truly enjoyed every aspect of the holiday but I just wanted to highlight a couple of things; The Dewalokam Retreat - what an absolute gem, I cannot praise this stay enough, Jose and Sinta and all the staff made our stay here absolutely wonderful, they repeated a number of times that the premises were not 5*, but in our opinion the rooms were lovely and clean and airy and the grounds were just magical, swimming in the river and the pool and sitting in the lovely gardens or passing the time in one of the hammocks was just fantastic.

The other Jewel of our holiday was at Talayar Bungalow, Prem and all the staff were a delight, he took us walking into the plantation explaining the growing seasons, the life of the tea plantation and the wild life around us, it was fantastic.  Again the food was outstanding, they really out did themselves. As I said at the beginning the holiday was fantastic and I cannot recommend your company enough, thank you again. 
Aileen Petrykowski



I've read through all the travel documents you gave us on Friday and everything is fine. In fact Kerala Connections' booklet is so comprehensive it covers things I'd never thought of asking. 
Mr Villiers (booking through Hallmark Travel of East Grinstead).


A wonderful holiday.  We were completely taken care of.  Everything from being met at the airport, local reps, hotels etc were first class.  The local agent was very efficient, always available.  Could not fault them at all.  Thank you for putting together a brilliant holiday! 
Mr and Mrs Macklinthese customers stayed at Old Harbour Hotel, Cochin, Dewalokam Retreat, Marari Beach Resort and a Premium Houseboat.  They gave top scores for all accommodation and for us and our agent. 



I want to say a personal thank you for organising such a fantastic holiday for us.  Without a doubt this holiday was one of the best we have ever had and this was helped because of your local knowledge.  The first two places and the house boat were amazing and can’t think of anything we would want to change!  And our driver was so very good and helpful.  The last hotel in Port Cochin was the only part that had a small glitch, but in fairness most places in the world at New Year, are noisy.  Thank you Diana - and thanks to your staff in India too.  Our holiday was wonderful. 
Anne, Steve and Qing Qing Neil



Fabulous holiday! Everything went to plan, hotels exceptional as was Anil our driver.  A big thank you for all your organisation which we couldn’t have even started to do ourselves.  The booklet you gave us concerning all the things we might need to know was invaluable and referred to often. Once again, many thanks.  You will definitely be recommended. 
Mary Battams and Hillary Croft


All accommodation except Planter’s Retreat were known to us from previous visits.  They are a delightful family.  Thank you for arranging the airport assistance – we were most impressed with their service. 
Mr and Mrs Marsh (regular customers of ours – they gave scores of 5 for virtually everything).



Your prices are very favourable with package tours.  I have been really pleased with the service. 
Susan Lavery



I have just filled in your questionnaire and submitted it. This email is to give a few additional comments. I would re-emphasise that we had a really great time and your agent and our drivers were really excellent and helpful. As you know, one of our party was taken ill, which meant some change of arrangements, and Jerry handled this very well, checking on which hospital to go to, extending our stay in one of the hotels etc. I know that you’ve been in touch separately with them about this, and I know they are very happy with the support they received.  Dewalokam Retreat was simply wonderful especially as a place to relax and get over our jet-lag. The owners and their children were personally involved in welcoming the guests, etc. The food (served communally) was really good and a great introduction to Keralan cooking. The whole atmosphere was really positive and unusual. Malabar House, Kochi was a good hotel in a nice location we thought the food was good rather than outstanding.  Punnamada Resort - again, very nice place. Friendly staff. Houseboat: brilliant. Lovely staff, good cooking etc. Seeing life going on in the Backwaters was really interesting.

Anantya Resort: really lovely, quiet place, with fabulous lake views, amazing infinity pool, great bird life.  Vivanta by Taj, Kovalam: huge, international-style hotel. Excellent facilities, but a bit anonymous.  Your tipping advice was very useful but it broke down in the big hotels, because there are many staff who expect tips for any service. 
Mr and Mrs Samuel


We had a new bus that was much better than expected.  Local agent did everything to help when we had a problem.  The holiday as very good – as always. 
Mr and Mrs Arnberg (regular customers)


Thank you again for the visa sorting. A huge help and an attraction to booking with the company!  
Ann Force


May I congratulate you on the very comprehensive Travel Documents, received today.  It's very reassuring to think that you appear to have anticipated all the questions that any traveller would ask as well as it being thoughtfully presented.
Trevor Russell 


Thank you so much - and for all the attachments.  You really have been so efficient and quick - and generally brilliant!!
Mike Stephens
 
 
 

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