Diana and Gary.
That was close! So lucky with our timing. Thank you both for arranging such an amazingly memorable experience. The driver was excellent. We felt totally safe, he was always on time, he had a good sense of humour and the car was always immaculate. When you spend so much time together - I’m sure you agree - an excellent driver adds to the experience. The agents were also very good. We felt there was always help if needed it and we were chaperoned at the crucial places. Either end of the train journey from Varanasi to Lucknow made less chaotic for instance. Guides knowledgeable and interesting - we had supper in the home of our guide from Groovy Tours. The street food tour was unreal in a good way and yet another dimension to the trip. We saw four tigers. And the Ramathra Fort the highlight hotel stay. As you imagine I could go on. As a company, as an offering, I hope you survive and eventually continue to create such memories.
Paul & Tracey Austin
Paul and Tracey were able to complete their holiday and returned on the same day we were getting other customers home early.
We are home safe and sound. Thanks so much for your hard work in sorting out the arrangements for us to get home, as you say it was absolutely the right thing to get us back then.
We had an amazing time, we were a bit apprehensive before we left but everything went so smoothly and we enjoyed our stays at all the accommodation. I think the standout one was Nelpura, a lovely place and lovely people, we were shown round their beautiful garden and Mr. Chacko took us to the paddy fields and explained about the rice growing. We also went on bikes and Richard bought a pair of sandals in a village shop which turned into quite an event with photos all round.
Finally we were very happy with our excellent driver Sanil, he was patient and good humoured.
Sue & Richard Scuse
Sue and Richard were in India when the ban was announced so we had to change their flight so they could return early.
Thanks for your email, particularly as you took the time to do so while dealing with the various impacts of Covid 19.
Yes, our return was uneventful and very comfortable. It was surprising to see absolutely nothing about Covid 19 at Heathrow. We just breezed through the various stages of officialdom without a single Notice or warning/advice.
I will be sending you a full report on our holiday in due course. It will mention the excellence of Bennet and the unseen support from the Trivandrum office.
Thank you for all the work you did to keep us going....
Mark travelled with his wife and another couple. There was another person on their flight that tested positive so they were held in isolation for two days while the test results came through. They were clear so able to continue their holiday and flew home on the planned date (Monday).
We arrived back on time this morning without any hitches along the way. It was a strange way to end a holiday when it wasn’t really the end! I am so, so disappointed not to get to Shimla, but I am more than happy to be home and not stranded in Panama or Grand Canaria for weeks or a month as friends of ours are. We really do appreciate the hard work you ALL have had to put in over the last week or so.
You will need a holiday yourself after all this, but unfortunately you won’t be able to go anywhere!
Mary and her husband were touring North India when the advisory came through and we had to fly them home early. They lost a week of their holiday.
Just a quick message to let you know I have returned home safely.
I would like to thank everyone involved in offering help and advice, their time and support a big Thank You. Anil did a stirling job driving through the night to get me to the airport on time. He deserves a medal!
I will be contacting Nethaji (Periyar Villa) personally to thank her and the family for the moral support they offered me at would have been a more difficult and upsetting time if she wasn’t there.
Sue was travelling solo and returned early due to the COVID-19 situation.
Gary - I think it was probably the best holiday we ever had – and that is partly down to you. From our very first contact you listened to our requests and preferences then patiently put together the package we wanted.
Thank you for helping provide us with so many wonderful experiences and very happy memories.
Trish and Mark Handy
Booked through Responsible Travel. Their best scores were for Efkay’s Homestay in Mysore but all homestays (Kayal Island Retreat, Royal Mist and Francis Residence) scored well. Our local agent (Companion Holidays) and their driver (Shibu) also got top marks.
Our holiday was brilliant. Our driver Siji deserves a special mention as he provided a very efficient and friendly service. Ginger House Museum Hotel – very good. Niraamaya Cardamom Club – excellent accommodation. Purity – great. Premium Houseboat – the cherry on the top of the holiday cake! Xandari Pearl – tranquil, peaceful location and lovely spacious villas. The holiday was really good all round and quite an experience. We will certainly return and book with you. Once again – thanks.
Barry and Jean Norman
Sincere thanks for all of your help in planning a wonderful vacation! You made the planning process easy, and each of the four places you suggested for me was incredible. I hope to work with you again, and will certainly recommend you to my friends.
I loved my trip, and am so very grateful to Gary and the team at Kerala Connections! You understood what I was looking for, and your suggestions were absolutely on target. You made the process of trip planning easy, and thought of everything. I felt very well supported, and confident knowing there was someone to call on if I needed anything. Every single place I stayed in was wonderful, and just as you described them. I also really enjoyed the train ride, so thanks for that suggestion too. I can't believe how much I got out of just a week.
Jerry was very responsive and helpful. Raj and Manoj were both excellent drivers. Our conversations added a lot to my experience of Kerala.
Munroe Island - I loved this place! Vijeesh and his family are wonderful, and the canoe trips he and his dad took me on are experiences I'll never forget. The hospitality was exceptional, as were the meals cooked by Vijeesh's mother. I really enjoyed the sights and sounds of being in the midst of village life. This is the place I think about most often, and definitely want to return to!
Francis Residence - Mr. Francis and family are so lovely and warm! They went out of their way to welcome me and were always available to answer questions and provide advice as requested. They make you feel like you're part of the family. The accommodations were the nicest of my trip, and the breakfasts were multi-course wonders. Great location too.
Bird Song - What a setting! My room overlooked a pond with mountains in the distance. The food was excellent. Vinod is an amazing bird guide; the experienced birders in my group practically cried when he pointed out a couple of rare birds; they were well hidden and we would never have found them. At the same time, he was patient with a novice like me. He really knows what he's doing; visitors are in excellent hands with him
Rasa Gurukul - Again, a lovely setting and a unique one, in the midst of a working farm along a river. I enjoyed the activities: yoga with a wonderful teacher, a demonstration of making traditional brass cooking vessels, a bullock cart ride and a music concert. The food is truly exceptional.
I've traveled to many places where I thought people were welcoming, but never to the extent of the people of Kerala. They are so kind, so open and so justly proud of and eager to share their culture. I can't wait to go back! Have already raved about you to my friends, and hope to send some of them your way in the future. THANK YOU!
Stephanie was a solo traveller from the USA. She had booked two weeks at an Ayurveda Resort and asked us to arrange a tour so she could see a bit more of Kerala. Photograph - Stephanie on the Chinese fishing nets in Cochin.
Many thanks! We had a really great holiday. All the information you sent us was so helpful - everything worked out as it was supposed to and the holiday exceeded our expectations. Our lasting memories will be of the amazing friendliness of our hosts in all the places we stayed in and the hospitality we received - not only from our homestay hosts but generally from all the people we met walking around the localities - Kerala and the Keralites are amazing!
Bill and Justine Foster
Photograph shows Mr and Mrs Foster taking a sunset canoe trip from Nelpura Homestay.
Our first accommodation was Beach Gate Bungalows - the hospitality was superb, the rooms were excellent in comfort and cleanliness. Our chef Shintu provided us with very exquisite fish soups, curries and other super meals.
Our second accommodation was Vismaya, where again the rooms were excellent in comfort and cleanliness. We enjoyed the sunrise and sunset with photographic beauty across the lake. Again, food prepared by our chef was a pleasure and enjoyed.
Our third accommodation was Indian Summer House at Muvattupuzha, was this perfection? Yes indeed! It was a beautiful setting and again the rooms were so comfortable with air con and fans for your own choice, a very special feature being your outside shower, a treat! Our chef Rajesh cooked some georgeous food and we had a lesson on his sauces so we can try to implement them at home! A treat visit was to a Tea Plantation and factory!
All our drivers were polite and very informative.
All in all my husband’s comment was 'the best holiday ever!' Thank you Gary and Diana for your help and I can say on behalf of the party we would love to visit God's Country again!
A huge thank you to Leon and Lorraine for spoiling us!
This was Paula and Leo’s first visit to India – a gift from their son. We are so pleased that all four of them enjoyed their time.
This holiday finished off our previous aborted trip (after 5 days). We weren't disappointed. Mary's cookery class was very good. Coconut Lagoon really has the wow factor and the Lakeside Villa with private pool was a great choice. Marari Beach Resort is excellent and the early morning fish landing is well worth doing. The two nights on a houseboat was a wonderful experience. It is really important to do the two nights to get further into the backwaters.
Overall it was a great holiday and we would definitely recommend you to friends etc. (already have done).
John and Helen Ellerby
John and Helen had to abort a previous holiday 12 years ago. This holiday was intended to complete that earlier holiday.
Thank you for the planning and execution of our trip. It all went really very smoothly. Our main driver Jess exceptional, courteous and fulfilled every need. Shorter time with Vincent but also very good.
Rajakkad - Excellent hotel and staff. Lovely walks, although felt more like a trek to the hilltop! Lovely food delivered to your room.
Kayal - Wonderful. Maneesha came to see us and rang me before departure to make sure all well. That’s a host!
Houseboat - Superb. Lovely crew, excellent cook.
The above all got top scores as did Efkay’s Homestay in Mysore and Amaryllis in Wayanad.
Mike Witt and Christine Davies
Quiet by the River lived up to its name. A small island in the middle of a river, approached by wooden canoe. Girish and his team looked after our every need, always with a smile. Girish leads mini treks around the island and across the river to view the diversity of birds morning and evening. The lodge was very well appointed with a terrace overlooking the river and an infinity pool. The stand-out highlight was the cuisine of chef Matthew using locally grown organic ingredients to create exceptional local dishes. Easily the best food we have had in Kerala. We highly recommend this place.
Julia and Philip Lowndes, Cambridge, England
Mr and Mrs Lowndes are our first guests to this new CGH Earth property so we are delighted that they enjoyed it so much.
We arrived home safely yesterday evening after a truly wonderful holiday in Kerala.
Everything about the trip exceeded our expectations: the flights went smoothly; the pick up from the airport was reassuringly trouble free; the accommodation was wonderful everywhere we went, as was the food and the service we received; the drivers were courteous, knowledgeable and friendly and Kerala itself is wonderful and colourful and now firmly in our top 5 places in the world.
We have returned home healthy, relaxed and with enough joyful memories to last us another 30 years.
Thank you so much for organising such a wonderful holiday for us
Philippa and Andy (Green)
We can't speak highly enough of Kerala Connections. We visited India to celebrate my 50th birthday. Kerala Connections thought of everything and couldn’t have been more helpful or responsive. From wonderful friendly accommodation to train journeys and great IPL tickets they looked after us from start to finish and helped us have the holiday of a lifetime. We have recommended them to anyone thinking of travelling to India.
Andy booked through Responsible Travel and he gave us 5 stars and supplied them with some great feedback – including: we recommend you to use Kerala Connections. Perhaps the best holiday ever. Great people, lovely places to stay and visit, really thoughtful travel agents who couldn't do enough to help.
Hey Kerala Connections (and Gary Tree if he is still there)
We booked a wonderful private one month vacation to Kerala with you in 2011. The best trip ever!! We realize one of the reasons you are so good at what you do is that you focused your talents on Kerala. Having said that..... we are thinking or traveling to Sri Lanka in Spring 2020 and wondered if you had any information on great agencies like your that offer travel to Sri Lanka?
Grant and Marilyn Seifred
Lovely to hear that our customers are still saying that a holiday taken with us 8 years ago was their best ever.
Wonderful holiday. We all enjoyed it all. Bennett provides a wonderful service, is an excellent driver and is full of knowledge about the areas. Secret Garden was very comfortable – as always. We very much enjoyed seeing the temples at Hassan. Amaryllis is fabulous. The food and hospitality as Sea Shell, Kannur was absolutely amazing – they couldn’t do enough for us – wonderful people.
We had a fabulous time, unearthing precious family history which Gary gave full attention to, researching much for us and giving us the appropriate contacts. We are very grateful to him for the research and time beyond the call of duty which he gave us. I would like to think that I (we) would use your company again for such a trip. The agents, guides and drivers were all excellent; we felt very well looked after and safe the whole trip, and I fell in love with India!
Best regards to you and Gary,
I just wanted to say we had the most wonderful of times on our trip. All hotels were good and La Maison in Kotagiri was outstanding for us. Having previously travelled to North India with you, where you use a different and satisfactory local agent, I can say that Companion are truly brilliant and I have total confidence in them! If anything goes amiss or changes, I know they will sort it. Shibu was the best driver we have ever had. Overall we had an amazing trip and regularly recommend you to other people.
Well done for matching, and this time totally exceeding, our expectations.
Linda and Ivan Boyd
This was Mr and Mrs Boyd’s 4th holiday with us. See the short video of the wild elephants they saw on You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-LYgp2kLrc
We are back and what a wonderful time it’s been. When we came back from Kerala in 2017 we didn’t think we would ever find a holiday to match it, but Tamil Nadu certainly did. The arrangements went without a hitch and the support from Jerry and his team was excellent; but the holiday really came alive for us because of our driver, Sanil, who was superb. His knowledge and effort allowed us to discover aspects of Tamil Nadu we would otherwise never have seen or experienced, all with a delightful sense of humour. Some of the highlights Sanil found for us were:
The accommodation was very good, and special mention must go to the Rajakkad Estate, which was divine; such a wondrous location and a truly delightful staff.
The local guided tours were excellent and gave us a far better understanding of the temples at Chidambaram and Mamallapuram than any guide book ever could and the tour of Chennai was certainly an eye-opener. The StoryTrail guides in Madurai and Puducherry were really good too and we would recommend them to anyone who’s interested in getting under the skin of these places; the Madurai Food Tour was particularly good, giving us the chance to sample over 10 different street foods and drinks; a great introduction to local Indian life and cuisine.
So it was a really wonderful holiday which we will remember fondly for a long time, and we are already thinking of where to go next.
Please pass on our thanks to Jerry and all the local team.
Stephen & Helen Nickson