There are many options available at Chikmagalur when it comes to accommodation. One can find many home-stays, budget and luxury hotels to camp during your trip. During our recent visit to Chikmagalur, we had our bookings done for couple of nights at the “Taj Gateway hotel” – which can be positioned as an entry level luxury resort.
The drive from Bangalore to Chikmagalur was very relaxing and we reached the resort at around 2:30 PM (Read my following blog about the drive from Bangalore to Chikmagalur). The resort is located off the NH64 highway and is designed in a colonial-style architecture amongst tropical gardens. The resort is perched over a small hilltop and is located in the outskirts of Chikmagalur (around 10 Kms).
Taj hotels over the years has been able to build multiple sub-brands under their “Taj hotels” brand :
- Taj Palaces & Taj Exotica are the upscale luxury resorts that do not compromise on any aspect of hospitality
- Vivanta by Taj are the next level of luxury resorts
- The Gateway hotels are the next range of hotels which offer good facilities but can no where be compared to Taj Exotica & Vivanta chains. You will not find grand lobby’s and staff waiting for you at the drive-in to unload your baggage from your car.
- The Ginger range which is their range of budget hotels
I had set my expectations from the resort based on the fact that it was a “Taj Gateway” hotel. As we were visiting Chikmagalur during monsoons (which is generally an off season), we got a good deal. Check-in was a breeze and we were guided to our Standard room which was at ground level. Initially they had allocated a garden facing room. We did not like the view of the view (was facing the car park) and requested for a change in the room. They quickly managed to move us to a pool facing room which had a much better view.
The rooms are neatly laid out and have amenities like, minibar, safe lock and other basic add-ons. The rooms though looked a bit tired and cries out for renovation – especially the bathroom which had old fittings and tiling. Now-a-days, one of the key aspects that travelers look for in a room is a modern bathroom. But as I mentioned above, you get amenities and services based on what you pay for 🙂
The pool looked decent and inviting, but we ended up avoiding it as the water was very cold. The pool and the area around it also needs a bit of renovation – especially the tiles and the sun beds need some attention. The view from the pool area though is amazing – we had a great time sipping hot beverages sitting by the pool and overlooking the clouds that were rolling over the mountains.
Many travelers were extremely critical in their reviews about the quality of food being served here. Having read those reviews, we were a bit concerned as we were travelling with our 1 year old daughter. But to be honest, we did not have any such issues when it came to the quality and taste of the food. The food might not have be lip-smacking, but in no way bad as described in the reviews. Our package included buffet breakfast and Dinner and the food was decent – the spread though was very thin. The prices of the dishes seemed a bit on the higher side.
There is a neatly laid out lawn near the dining area where one can take a leisurely walk. Unfortunately, it was very windy during our entire stay and we were unable to utilize this lawn to the fullest – an ideal place for campfire and for kids.
The one aspect where this resort won our hearts was the hospitality. I always feel bad for the staff of a resorts where the facilities are not top notch. Inevitably, the staff have to make up for this shortcoming and go that extra mile to keep the guests happy. If I had to rate them on hospitality, I will give them 5 stars as they practically ensured that we did not have any issues during our stay. They tried their level best to entertain my kiddo, provide quality freshly made food for her and all this with a smile.
There are few areas of improvement that the resort need to focus on to make it that much more appealing and comfortable for the guests. The Ayurveda treatment room desperately needs some attention. It would be great to have convert this into a full fledged SPA and improve the overall ambiance. Currently the location of the treatment room and the look and feel is a bit down market for a resort with the “Taj” brand.
Overall, we had a great stay at this resort and would recommend it to anyone who can scale down their expectations usually associated with the “Taj” brand. If you are the type of traveler who cannot compromise on luxury and need a fully loaded resort, you might not find this resort up to your expectations and should look more expensive options like “The Serai” Chikmagalur.
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