South India 14 day tour with private car & driver

★★★★★
4.6 / 5
94.8% of users recommend this

dianagray's review of Citrus Holidays www.citrusholidays.co.uk

★★★★☆

“South India 14 day tour with private car and driver”

Written on: 11/02/2019 by dianagray (1 review written)

This is definitely the way to see India, much less stressful than travelling independently. We booked this tour about 6 months ahead and as others have mentioned, information from Citrus holidays was very sparse. We too had our flights changed 3 times and with a week to go I had to phone Citrus twice to get travel documents. At this time they sent the advice re getting the E-visa, much too late! Fortunately I had taken the advice of a friend and already had this. As the travel agent, they should be much more proactive.
We flew with Jet Airways due to flight times. Avoid this airline. It is AWFUL. I will be writing a separate review about this.
The tour with our wonderful driver, Krishnakumar, was great. He was very patient and knowledgeable and helpful, would help us find anything we needed (eg. a pharmacy as I was a bit unwell for a time) His driving was very careful ---and the Indian roads and traffic are something else!! He was able to tell us about everything we passed from the buildings to the wildlife to the social environment and the car was spic and span every morning. He too, provided water and snacks. He was also very flexible with timings and the sights we visited. The specialist guides we were provided with in Mysore and Kochi were also excellent.
All the hotels were a reasonable standard, some described rather more enthusiastically than they should be. eg. the Casino Hotel in Kochi, the 'flagship' hotel of the CGH Earth group. Described as 5*--- not so, It was old, scruffy, dirty and stained. Needed a deep clean of all upholstery and furnishings as they smelled. The first room we were shown had the bed placed against the wall leaving the headboard on its own! Our bed in the second room did not have proper sheets, just old torn ones laid across the mattress. Not impressed. It definitely needs modernising, especially the bathrooms. The staff were kind but not very efficient. Perhaps it was a training hotel?
The Isola di Cocco hotel in Poovar was billed a 3* but much better, lovely grounds and pool but no beach. The 'beach' described where you could relax, swim and sit in beach cafes was actually a sandbar with a few coconut sellers. Disappointing. Also, on the 3 nights we were there, there was loud music and noise in the evenings until you phoned reception and asked them to intervene. The problem with all the hotels chosen for this trip apart from the city ones was that they were very isolated. You couldn't walk anywhere from them. Be warned that the road up to the Wayanad Wild hotel is a very rough sick-making track, so bad that they have to take you up there in a jeep.
The staff, service and food in the hotels was very good.
We enjoyed the tour, it was a good experience even though as others have mentioned, some of the journeys were very long. For some reason we were woken at 4 am on the last day and driven to Trivandrum airport and left there 1 hour before check-in even opened. Unnecessary when you are facing an 18 hour journey.

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