We wanted to celebrate our New Year with another couple at Kodaikanal, one of the Hill Stations in South India. We browsed the internet and after numerous inquiries and browsing narrowed on Hotel J's Heritage (www.jsheritage.com). The web site and and the manager to whom we spoke over telephone promised facilities like 24 hour running hot and cold water, room service, satellite television in the room, telephone facility in the room, multi-cuisine restaurant etc. Here is what we finally got:
1. We had booked for two standard double-bedroom rooms at their hotel. When we landed there on 30th December morning, we were offered a cottage at their resort to be shared between the two couples at no extra cost. But the real catch came at the time of check-out in the afternoon of 1st January. We were asked to pay extra for the cottage. The manager finally relented to charge the rate of the standard roomsonly only after we stood our ground.
2. 24 Hour running hot and cold water - We literally had to "run" behind the housekeeping people for hot water and that too sometimes supplied in a bucket. And at temperatures of around 10 degrees celsius in the night there is no hot water at all. So if you have to answer "nature's call" in the night do not even think of using any water.
3. Room service - what's that asks J's Heritage ? Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner can only be had in an open air buffet. Even if it is freezing cold the guests should come out in the open and have their food. By the way, room service will serve coffee, tea and snacks in the room i.e. if you are willing to wait for an hour for that!!!
4. Telephone in the room - don't even talk about it. If you want to call the room service, call the manager on his mobile from your mobile and he might take pity on you and respond.
5. Satellite TV in room - we were provided an old 14 inches television which had just over a dozen channels repeating over and over.
6. Restaurant - restaurant is only in name. You don't have a choice of food. You can have only what is available. Since it is a resort outside the town and there is no restaurants nearby, you don't have a choice. We had only dinner from here (because we had no other choice) and breakfast the day we arrived. By the way the breakfast is complimentary. The rates are sometimes charged arbitrally. Breakfast (if it is not complimentary) is Rs.45 (around 1 USD). Dinner is usually Rs.75 (around 1.50 USD) for vegetarian and Rs. 90 (around 1.75 USD) for non-vegetarian per-head. But on the 31st December night we were presented a dinner bill of Rs.250 (around 5 USD) per-head. This was supposed to include music, a lousy discotheque, liquor and camp fire (which incidentally was a small fire on the road). When we said we were least interested in anything else other than the food, the rate was immediately reduced to Rs.200 (around 4 USD) and then to Rs.150 (around 3 USD) per-head. This was for the lousy food we had for dinner !!!
By the way, we are extremely thankful to J's heritage for having given us such a "memorable" new year. We will always have such "lingering memories" about it. If any one wants to plan a holiday at Kodaikanal, please keep off this place.