Wednesday, January 07, 2015


Below is feedback from past 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. 

Our customer is very excited about their holiday, just what she was looking for.  As I am not very good on India I was kind of dreading how to do this holiday but you made it very easy and we will be back to you.   
Travel Agent

We have had a look on the Indian Visa website and the eTV appears relatively straight forward so we are going to go for this option, however if we change our mind and require your services we will be in touch.

Can I just take the opportunity to say we have been very impressed with your company to date. Having travelled to India last year we had a good idea of what we wanted and sent the itinerary off to 7 travel companies for prices and although Kerala Connections were not the cheapest we all thought that Gary's attention to detail, ideas, quick responses and professionalism made the company stand out head and shoulders above the rest.

We are all very excited and looking forward to the holiday.
Aileen Petrykowski

Wonderful holiday - thank you so much.  My husband had never been before and was apprehensive.  But we had a really most amazing time.  I genuinely enjoyed dealing with you.  It was apparent that in India you are deeply respected and people are proud to be working with you.  I would be very happy to speak to people and tell them what I thought of your services if you would like me to. 
Mrs Nolder

The Premium Houseboat we would definitely recommend, really great crew and fantastic food.  The backwaters were wonderful. Pirkko (Aanavilasam) was very welcoming and a very warm lovely hostess.  The food was excellent.  Many thanks again for a great holiday - we will be back! 
Mr and Mrs Kreppel

Our driver Manu was excellent as always.  Another Excellent trip thanks to Kerala Connections and Companion Holidays.  
Mrs and Mrs Alcock

One of our group was ill and Siji (our driver) was exceptional in his devotion and help with hospitals - he became one of the family.  Without him it would have been scary! 
The Robertson Family

Many thanks for organising our trip.  Everything was well organised and the venue you hose were wonderful. 
Celia Davies

Everything you organised was very efficient.  Thank you for helping make this a trip of a lifetime!

Excellent service, we will use you again.  The Tour Information booklet was very helpful – especially re tipping.

Local agent was very helpful and made our travel arrangements run smoothly and hassle free.  The guided tour was excellent. 
Members of the Sian Galanis party

The treks in Munnar and Wayanad were well organised and enjoyable.  Mr Kumar (the local agent) is truly amazing – made sure everything ran without a hitch.  
Mr and Mrs Stacey

Marari Villas 5 out of 5 – perfect! 
Mr and Mrs Bowen

Everything was wonderful with the holiday.  We had a most enjoyable time including my husband who didn’t want to go to India - he has been impressed with how smoothly everything went and the friendliness of the Indian people.  We were highly impressed with how the strike was handled by the local agent - we were informed and given a choice of times to go on the boat or stay at Spice Village.
 Mr and Mrs Pullen

Very well organised.  Drivers/tour guide, airport transfers perfectly arranged and on time. There is nothing that I can complain about.  Thank you very much. 
The Perlwitz Family

Fantastic trip, well planned, all came together very well.  We would definitely use Kerala Connections again and hope to return to Kerala to enjoy more of the delights we experienced this time.  We enjoyed ourselves enormously and have loads of great memories. 
Mr and Mrs Hill

Absolutely superb. 
Dr and Mrs Prasad

Hello Gary, I just wanted to relay our thanks to you for arranging such a magnificent holiday through Kerala Connections for Chris and me at such short notice. Over the 3 weeks we enjoyed so many interesting and varied experiences of Southern India, from French Pondicherry to the Periyar National Park, the many temples, the amazing cruise on the backwaters and Mararikulam beach. We loved the variety of hotels which were all comfortable and had their own idiosyncrasies.  Our drivers, and Sheebu in particular, did an amazing job of getting us through the traffic - I'm just so pleased that I wasn't behind the wheel! - and provided us with timely pick-ups and drop offs on all occasions.
But the highlight has to be the Aakriti home stay in the Nilgiri Hills. A brilliant choice. Such a comfortable atmosphere with the Kumars who provided a real experience of Indian life with home cooking, discussions about India and trips to market and tea processing plant etc. They could not have done more to make us feel at home. It is a great credit to all involved that everything came together over the three weeks we were there. I could go on but I'm sure you get the picture that you provided us with a holiday to remember. Many thanks again.
Pat H

I want to say how much we enjoyed this trip - I cannot thank you enough for introducing us to Kerala and to the wonderful places you arranged for us to stay in. You won't be surprised that our favourite was Dewalokam homestay - it was quite outstanding. As was Marari Pearl in which we felt very privileged to stay.  That said, we weren't disappointed by any of the places in which we stayed - and would go back to any of them!  I was so pleased we went for fewer different locations and longer in each - we didn't regret it and others that we met were wishing they had done the same!  Just one more thing - our driver was brilliant. He was friendly, helpful and drove safely (I hadn't been looking forward to the driving bit!). A real gem! 
Geraldine Stone

All transfers worked very well with helpful, polite drivers, and local travel agent was excellent.  Palais de Mahe in Pondicherry is a fabulous hotel and we loved it.  Looked at other hotels but this one is the nicest and food is great.  We loved Le Colonial (Cochin) it was like staying in someone’s home with fabulous food and very helpful, friendly staff.  Although it is half board they are flexible about whether you have lunch and dinner and do ask you what you would like. We thought Kovalam was not nearly as nice as Cochin or Pondicherry – both of which have a great deal of charm.  Thank you for all your help in organising our holiday. 
Sarah Green

All four of us agreed it was a brilliant holiday.  There is very little we would have changed.  Two nights on a premium houseboat was a good call.  Very relaxing and we left the on-nighters behind.  Crew could not do enough for us.   Special mention to Sanil (our driver) who was fantastic and great fun.  We genuinely appreciated all of your expertise and knowledge and this is what make the difference between choosing someone like Kuoni and a company like Kerala Connections.  Thanks very much, we had a great time. 
Helen and Robert Steele, Marion and Nick Jenkins

Thank you so much for arranging a wonderful trip. The local agent and even the drivers were all fantastic - the roads and other drivers (well can't change that - exciting and hair raising) but we had so much fun and most of that was down to not having to arrange or worry about connections. Please pass on this message to Mr Daniel, he was a lovely, patient man.  The backwaters houseboat was the highlight for me - the staff were brilliant and the food was fantastic.  When next we go to India I will be contacting you.  Thank you again. 
Jann Neilson 

We had an incredible holiday and many wonderful memories of a truly fantastic country. Already working on the next itinerary!!!!! Thanks to Gary  (Kerala Connections) we got this year’s itinerary just right, a good mix of 'things to see' and lots of down time in the pool!  Perfect.
The Intrepids
(three ladies who regularly travel with us).

All of the homestays contributed to making this a wonderful holiday for me. 
Roger Humphreys

As usual, your arrangements all went extremely well and fundamentally we had an enjoyable and interesting time.  We have run out of superlatives for Dewalokam  - our prime reason for returning to Kerala this year.  It did not disappoint. We had a great time with Sinta, Jose and the family. Had a visit to the local town with Sinta to purchase a urali and for Paul to get a haircut. Of such adventures are lasting memories made. If you cannot relax here, you will not relax anywhere. We greatly enjoyed this, our second visit and would highly recommend this home stay.
Jim Chapple

We liked all the places we stayed at very much. Everyone very friendly and helpful.  Dewalokam was our favourite because all guests encouraged to mix and to sit together at same table.
Philip and Lindsay Layfield

I enjoyed every minute of the holiday.  The stay on the backwaters was a highlight and being so well looked after by three wonderful crew.  Another highlight was the Bullock Cart Ride – we saw so much during that trip.  All the homestays were excellent.  Thanks so much.
Jackie Greening

We cannot speak too highly of our holiday.  It was as near to perfection as possible.  Our first driver was particularly special.  He had a great sense of humour and anticipated all our needs – including removing the front passenger headrest for a clearer view for us.  All but one place we stayed at was excellent.  Chera Rocks was superb; the hosts at Dewalokam were delightful and food fantastic; the houseboat and three crew were perfect in every way and Mr Walton (Walton’s Homestay) was delightful.  We would definitely use Kerala Connections again. 
Mr and Mrs Carrigan

Generally super hotels, excellent organisation, specially nice driver for first week.  Ideal Beach Resort was better than expected/your description;  Manayth Heritage was very peaceful with very friendly and helpful family; Houseboat very relaxing and worth having two nights.
Mr and Mrs Beale

Lovey rooms at Palais de Mahe, spacious room at Heritage, Madurai; best meal at Raintree Restaurant in the Taj Connemara; best hotels – Paradisa Plantation and A Beach Symphony.  Bennett our driver was very good. 
Mr and Mrs Brough

Thank you for organising what was a fantastic holiday with everything going to plan and your service (together with that of Companion) being exemplary throughout.  Malabar House - lovely atmosphere and great place to start.  Swiss County - lovely room/view but restaurant average and noise from hotel next door could be a problem. Clean and friendly and we were not expecting 5 star comfort.  Spice Village - probably our favourite hotel with lovely staff and a very pleasant vibe - would stay again. 50 mile meal good and we liked the “colonial” bar.  Houseboat - exceeded expectations and food exceptional.  Vivanta by Taj, Kovalam - lovely setting and food good especially fish restaurant.  Overall a once in a lifetime experience and one we won’t forget. Thanks again for all your hard work. 
Alison and Malcolm Roberts

Gary Tree very helpful – did his job well.  Dewalokam was stunning; the yoga teacher at Punnamada was particularly good; the three crew of the houseboat were thoughtful and looked after us very well; the staff at Marari Beach were exceptionally kind, warm and attentive.  Your info was really helpful eg about tipping was invaluable and saved any embarrassment.  
Dr and Mrs Brown

The planning of the trip was excellent – thank you Gary!  All the drivers were wonderful and really helped make the holiday very special.  We loved the variety of accommodation – each different from the last and all enjoyable in their unique ways.  Hospitality always exceptional and welcoming.  We highly recommend Kerala Connections. 
Kathryn Hawkings and Christine Tait

Overall, a fabulous trip.  An excellent choice of hotels – many thanks.  Vismaya was our particular highlight – what a special place.  Aanavilasam and Marai Villas cam a close second.  Old Harbour Hotel was a great place to start, with a friendly welcome and excellent service.  
Jim Bolton and David Barnett

The most enjoyable holiday yet.  No two places were the same but all provided the highest levels of hospitality and interest.  This was really a great holiday.  Thank you so much, your selections and experience is greatly appreciated.  See you next year! 
Mr and Mrs Boulton

We had a wonderful time in Kerala, and were entirely delighted with the service provided by your company. I'm sorry I haven't been in touch with you sooner to thank you. The reason is that at the very end of the trip I fell and hurt my back. The ground team you provided proved very helpful in arranging wheel chairs at the airport etc. We'd definitely like to return to the Vivanta by Taj at Kovalam - the staff were wonderful, and we couldn't fault it in any way.
Best wishes, Linda Drake

We loved Maison Perumal.  The food was excellent and we enjoyed the cookery demonstrations.
We enjoyed our time in Chettinad - great hotel (Visalam), wonderful staff and excellent food.
Rajakkad - we thought this was a highlight of the trip. It is a lovely place and we enjoyed relaxing there.  A guided walk was offered each morning and it was good to eat communal meals in the evening.  We'd endorse what you say about the friendly locals.
Aakriti is a wonderful place and the Kumars were great hosts.  The accommodation was as generous as the family, who could not have made us more welcome.  We enjoyed the programme they had prepared for us and were particularly impressed with the way they reacted to our interests
Gitanjali is a delightful place with a lovely garden.  Another interesting cuisine to try! 
Red Earth - We loved it!  The accommodation is good and the grounds spectacular.  Ravi and Rachael made sure that we were well looked after.  The manager, Tony, and the naturalist were on top of everything and coordinated our activities.  They, like everyone else, were very friendly and available. The food was geared to Indian rather than European tastes and was really good.
Tranquil - Two nights in the tree house was a great way to end our holiday and the place was everything we hoped it would be.  Like most of the accommodation you arranged, we'd love to go back.
Thank you for the advice you gave us whilst planning this trip and for everything you did behind the scenes to make this such a pleasurable experience for us.  Talking to others who travelled with other companies makes me aware that not everyone does as well.  This will not be our last trip to India so we will be in touch again.
Alan Brown

An amazing way to get an insight into the many sides of India. Trains are a brilliant way to see the countryside and talk to Indian people. Kerala Connections were the most helpful travel company I have ever dealt with and I highly recommend using them.
David Jelley
David booked through Responsible Travel.  For his full report go to:

Thank you so much for fixing up such a wonderful holiday for us.  We had an extremely good time and the driver was exceptional.  Our favourite place was Dewalokam, lovely family, fantastic food and cookery demonstrations, great area and plenty to do.  It is such an interesting, friendly place and river swimming was fantastic.  We would have enjoyed staying even longer.  We thought that 4 or 5 nights would have been perfect.  Perhaps we will go back! 
Wanda Slack

Bennett (driver) was great.  He really made the holiday.  Encouraging us to do mor adventurous things than might have been our normal way.  He was funny, thoughtful and well informed.  We loved him.  The people at Cardamom Club were lovely and the food was excellent.  We had a really great 2 weeks. So many lovely people and delicious food.  Stunning scenery.  We really loved it all. 
Sanna Dancy

Hello Diana  Wow!  What a wonderful time we had so thank you for organising such a great trip.  All the home owners (Harivihar, Olappamana Mana, Kandath Tharavad, Aakriti, Pranavam) were so lovely and friendly and our driver was great as well.  Food was fabulous in each place we stayed as was the accommodation, we really do not have any complaints whatsoever. The beach resort (Neeleshwar Hermitage) is rather special isn't it and a great end to the trip.  We will fill in your form but in the meantime thank you again. 
Linda Guy

India was not a destination we had considered but we decided to try it and visited Kerala for the first time in 2013. With the help of Gary at Kerala Connections we planned our trip and stayed in several different types of properties. The people are most welcoming and the food fabulous. We are now in the process of booking our third trip and can't wait to go back again. It's a really interesting country with beautiful scenery and we would highly recommend it.
Linda Grinham

A first class holiday.  I could never go on holiday as a member of a tour group after this.  First class treatment all the way with little touches that make such a difference.  What we didn't really appreciate beforehand is how safe South India is.  We expected it to be friendly.  Thank you for organising such a wonderful experience.
Mr and Mrs Edge

We are very impressed by your documents and love your little booklet (Tour Information). 
Helen Steele

So, we're back from yet another wonderful trip to India, fantastically organised again by Kerala Connections.  The wonderful Shibu was waiting for us with open arms at Bangalore airport despite our hideous arrival time of 5am. He really is an absolute treasure: caring, punctual, clean and with the best sense of humour; many laughs were enjoyed while he effortlessly (or so he made it appear) steered us through the country. A safe and exciting five hour drive to Mysore gave us the time to remember and revel in the reasons we came back to India.
Gitanjali Home Stay was the perfect spot to get over the journey.  Yamuna and family are wonderful hosts and the property is beautiful. Situated just outside the city means it's quiet and full of bird-life.  The gardens are pristine and the cabins spacious enough, each with its own veranda space. The meals are plentiful and tasty, dinners particularly. We opted to eat there every night.
Kaav Safari Lodge is superlative; luxurious and comfortable (the beds were almost better than mine at home!), the rooms each had their own balcony facing different ways so no overlooking of neighbours. The pool was divine and the food was all excellent.
On to our paradise of Chera Rocks.  To see the glorious Ali's smile in welcome and recognition was magnificent, and had been much looked forward to. The two rooms requested were waiting for us, as was the Arabian Sea, and it really felt like coming home. Ali's energy and unswerving hospitality and good humour were still in situ thank heavens, and his cooking and care for all the guests is an absolute marvel.
A rather uncomfortable overnight train ride, which took 20 hours, took us to Mumbai, comprehensively dissipating our Chera Rocks blissed out state, but we are glad we have experienced it - not to be done again though!.  The Sea Palace Hotel, although in a brilliant location just along from the famous Taj and slap bang in the beguiling South Mumbai old colonial district, is very much unloved; in fact dilapidated is the word.  Loved Mumbai though and the tour and guide were great, I would definitely like to return as soon as possible.
In conclusion, Kerala Connections, and Companion Holidays, has once again come up trumps. Everything (well, almost) was perfect and had been organised with your usual military precision and attention to detail for what your clients are looking for and expecting. Your pre-trip information is invaluable and we lost count of how many people we shared your tipping tips with as they were floundering on that particular aspect. Of course, we gave KC the biggest puff whenever we got the chance and several people were impressed, never mind us!  But, sorry to say, KC only comes second in our list of praise: driver Shibu and Ali at Chera Rocks have to be singled out as the pinnacle of what was a wonderful, wonderful trip.
Lucinda Martin

Raja (Bennet) is an outstanding driver.  We much enjoyed having him for 15 days and our trip benefited by his local knowledge.  We appreciated the benefits of a Kerala Connections/Companion Holiday trip when we heard of the problems experienced by customers of another UK tour operator.  Of the seven homestays/guesthouses, four were outstanding – Gitanjali, Tranquil, Amaryllis and Dewalokam due to the host families who were fully engaged with their guests.
Mark and Wendy Bostock
This was Mr and Mrs Bostock's fifth holiday with us.

Bennet could not be faulted. His driving was perfect, his knowledge of the area invaluable.  Overall people were trying to please and one cannot ask more than that. The variety in the holiday was impressive and although my 6th visit to India I learned a great deal more about Indian life than on previous visits. Thank you.
David Matthews

I did the Indian Visa process on line and the passports were back with us, with the 6 months tourist visa, within a week! It was surprisingly easy and without problem thanks to your wonderful instructions.  We are greatly looking forward to our holiday coming up soon.
Wanda Slack 


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