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
Our holiday to India was fantastic. We stayed in eight places over 21 days, and had excellent variety. We enjoyed sightseeing in cities for part of the holiday as well as being in the countryside and at two national parks, being on the backwaters, and taking the toy train in the Nilgiri hills.
Kerala Connections did an excellent job at putting together such a varied itinerary. All the transfers worked out perfectly. We enjoyed talking to the three different drivers that we had, and also the train journeys.
The accommodation was great, again a good variety of luxury and mid-range places. Staying at Aakriti homestay was a highlight for the brilliant hospitality we received from Ravi and Renu; we became good friends over the three days we spent with them and were sad to leave. Another highlight was Evolve Back -Kabini, fantastic location in lovely scenery; we enjoyed the safaris. There were lots of other highlights that we haven’t got space to mention.
We thoroughly enjoyed the holiday and would like to thank Kerala Connections for organising it so professionally.
Julian and Beth Welbank
All the accommodation earnt high scores – Xandari Pearl at Marari got top scores for all aspects. Mr and Mrs Welbank booked through Responsible Travel so further feedback can be found on that website.
I really have nothing but praise for everyone who was involved with my holiday. People were courteous, punctual, efficient and very friendly everywhere. The places I stayed in Kerala were delightful and I could not have been better cared for!
The food at Tranquil was tremendous, it was a perfect ‘hideaway’ for me for a few days, with plenty of time to relax, gentle but diverting walks.
Neeleshwar Hermitage was different but equally friendly and efficient and it was pure luxury to be by the pool or to walk for miles along the deserted beach in the late afternoon.
The 'organised independent' stay was quite a unique experience for me. Normally I travel independently but try to arrange everything by myself. This time, I could summon neither the will nor the energy to do this - but I wanted a holiday along with the work I was doing in India, which was why I put myself in your hands. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, having never placed myself in such a position of dependency before. And I did have one or two (quite unfounded) anxious moments when I realised the level of this dependency — what on earth would do, for example, if there was nobody there to meet me when I stepped off the plane? But there always was - and it’s surprising how quickly you get used to things working smoothly — even in India!
So no regrets, no complaints and a big thank you for facilitating a really enjoyable break.
Faultless service and excellent organisation. Our favourite hotels were Ranvas and Dev Shree – very personal service, great rooms and food. Leopard viewing is very exciting. A truly wonderful holiday.
Mr and Mrs Slack
Mr and Mrs Slack gave top scores to all aspects of the organisation of their holiday (ie us their tour operator and Silent Leopard our local agent in Delhi). All eight of the hotels used on their tour scored at least three top scores and four hotels scored 5s for all four aspects (hospitality, comfort, cleanliness and food).
We had a most fantastic time. The organisation could not have been more perfect. The Marari coast is beautiful. I think the cost of the holiday was very reasonable considering what you provide.
This is just to say how very much we enjoyed our holiday and all the arrangements you and Kerala Connections made for us. It was a great trip, full of so much to see and do and we met many lovely people in the process. The Grande Bay, Palais de Mahe and Visalam all provided first-class accommodation and kind, helpful service. We loved the food and the beds were very comfortable. Meeting and transfers all went smoothly.
So thank you to Kerala Connections for a very interesting and well organised holiday - unreservedly recommended !
Pam Scott-Clark and Sue Hawke
Our driver Shibu was wonderful - nothing was too much trouble for him. He was polite, always on time and spoke excellent English. He was very good with my husband who has limited mobility and helped him up steps etc. We were surprised how conscious Tamil Nadu were about the environment. For example all single use plastic is banned. One of the places we stayed Rajakkad Estate was very environmental friendly. Their staff were employed from the local village. Also they used all their own grown produce for meals. Cardamom House was also the same and a lot of the staff there had been there for years. We rate Kerala Connections as very good. They put together a very good itinerary for us. The places we stayed were all very different and we liked the fact that most of them were small and away from towns.
Mr and Mrs Callaway - booked through Responsible Travel and their full report may be found on that site.
We had a fabulous time and the trip far exceeded our expectations. We really enjoyed the experience of designing the trip with Gary. Once we got to India we could not believe how coordinated and professionally run all the services (especially the drivers) were. We felt that we got the best room at each property which we liked! The communication with Companion Holidays was excellent. They were quick to respond to questions and to provide all necessary information - we were never left wondering what was happening.
Our stay with Renu and Ravi at Aakriti Homestay was a real highlight - they are the most welcoming and hospitable hosts you could imagine. Rajat was also a great guide and host.
We really enjoyed staying at Efkay's Homestay in Mysore - it is a very elegant experience with wonderful staff. The host Jyotsna was so charming and we really enjoyed meeting her.
Secret Garden I think might have been our favourite accommodation.
Gary was right: he couldn't understand why we would spend a night in Bangalore... now I know why! Gary advised us to do two nights on a houseboat - excellent advice. The second day gave us the opportunity to get out in a canoe into smaller canals and to stop and see some of the sights.
We have so many excellent memories of this trip and cannot thank you enough for creating such a great experience for us. Bottom line is that we really, really enjoyed it and thought you and Companion Holidays did an amazing job.
Kaye Melliship & Ian Wilson – from Canada