“Mostly excellent but a bit of room for improvement” I stayed on a deluxe houseboat with my husband for one night on our honeymoon.
Let's start with the positives (of which there are many!)
- Great efficient booking via email with Kence - he was excellent with communication
- Really lovely boat - some of the furniture is a little tired and the bedroom very basic, but this is to be expected on a boat rather than a hotel! It was otherwise well maintained with plenty of room.
- The fresh coconut milk upon arrival was a really nice touch
- We loved that there was a wire to hook up an ipod to the speakers so we could play music as we cruised along!
- The 3 crew members on the boat (both drivers and the chef) were lovely - very polite and friendly, but also not at all obtrusive, we felt very able to relax
- The food is WONDERFUL. A very talented chef indeed. They made lunch of a huge array of amazing dishes including some fish, and in the evening they cooked an amazing vegetable korma (as we don't eat meat), again with lots of accompanying dishes. Breakfast was more basic - pancakes with grated coconut, toast and great fresh fruit juice.
- The air conditioning in the bedroom was very effective, and it was very hot and humid so we're very happy that we went for that option!
- I'd 100% recommend spending a night on a houseboat to anyone visiting Kerala - it's a must! It's a very unique experience, and so tranquil to be gliding along. There was lots of wildlife and birds to look at too.
A little room for improvement with some aspects also ...
- When I was arranging the trip with Kence via email, he suggested a round trip starting and ending at Kumarakom. However I'd read and been recommended by other people to start in Kumarakom and end in Alleppey, so I told Kence that's what we were looking for and whether that's something his company offer. To begin with, he said we should stick to the round trip as it would be more convenient for our onward journey, but I insisted that we didn't mind ending up further away from our next destination and he then finally agreed to our desired route, so we got it all booked.
However, when we arrived at the houseboat, he was there to greet us, and he showed me a map and was saying again that the best thing for us would be to do the Kumarakom round trip. I felt very under pressure and on the spot like this, so I agreed to that. The reason for us preferring the trip that ends in Alleppey is that with a Kimarakom round trip, must of it is spend crossing the huge lake, whereas ending in Alleppey you get to spend more time in the backwater channels which we much preferred, with more to look at and enjoy from the boat. The next morning, it was only a 30 minute journey back to where we started and they moored the boat up there for us to eat breakfast then leave at 10am. We were a bit put out by this, as we had expected the trip to end at 11am as it says on the website, and had assumed there would be a couple of hours that morning travelling on the boat. It wasn't ideal to eat breakfast whilst moored up back at the boarding place. Kence arrived while we were still eating and with everyone just waiting around for us to finish, we felt pressured to eat up and leave. I must admit that I was left wondering whether the main reason for insisting that we do a Kumarakom round trip was to save them time/fuel etc.