The Tower House
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- 98%History Buffs
Member Reviews (1)
- The Tower HouseMember ofHistory BuffsOutdoor EnthusiastsFoodies+ 1First to ReviewDec 24, 2013
One of two Neemrana properties in the historic centre of Fort Cochin, slightly set back from the waterfront and Chinese fishing nets, overlooking the bustling Vasco-da-Gama Square and ideally located for exploring most of the main sights.
It’s a handsome colonial style building, like a smaller version of Singapore’s Raffles Hotel, thoughtfully restored and decorated tastefully to evoke the 1920s feel of when this property was a family home.
Both the public areas and rooms are mostly spacious, adorned with art and objects inspired by both the history of the region and its many faiths.
There are just 14 rooms / suites, four on the ground floor: one either side of the entrance courtyard and two overlooking the veranda, where meals are served. There are a further 10 on the first floor, though it may be an exaggeration to say that any of these enjoy a sea view, given the thick foliage of the trees in the square.
I looked at 12 of the 14 rooms during my three-day stay and chose to avoid all of those on the ground floor, on account of a lack of privacy and damp which was evident in at least one of the rooms.
There’s a mid-size pool, shaded by bamboo but with only five deck chairs, so relaxing there could be challenging if the property is at more than a third of its capacity – luckily it wasn’t when I stayed.
On to food and service, the poorer points… Breakfast was basic but adequate. We had both lunch and dinner on our first day and although these were reasonably priced (by western standards) the food was unremarkable. Poor management of the hotel is evident in so many respects, from nobody offering to help with luggage on arrival, through to tables on the veranda being left uncleared from dinner the night before even by lunchtime the following day.
An error with our reservation meant the suite we’d booked wasn’t available on our day of arrival and although we were offered a suitable alternative, the handling of this could’ve benefitted from a bit more charm and graciousness on the part of the front office team.
Although the waiters and housekeepers were all very pleasant, there wasn’t a hint of any pro-activeness (from an extra pillow for the room to clean towels for the pool, everything had to be asked for, often more than once) suggesting poor training and supervision. On a cultural level, this may not be untypical of four-star hotels across India, though I’ve encountered superior service at much more modest places elsewhere in the country.
There’s no mistaking, the hotel is a local landmark and the prices aren’t unreasonable. Neemrana’s philosophy of finding distinctive historical properties and ensuring their continuity, while minimising their negative impact on the immediate environment is something to be celebrated and supported. Prices per night here are altogether more reasonable than some of the other higher end properties around Fort Cochin.
If you’re seeking superior service, more intimate surroundings and better food, you may prefer to choose Neemrana’s newer, sister property a short walk away, Le Coloniel (see separate review).
In summary, the atmosphere, décor and price were huge pluses. Food and service were poorer but not disastrous. We’d stay here again, albeit with revised expectations.Recommended for: