Kodai By The Lake @ Kodaikanal

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Kodai By The Lake, our home away from home for 4 days! We made a host of good memories during our stay here…

When we were discussing holiday ideas last month, we had kept either Kodaikanal or Ooty as our options. As both of us were tied up with work, we left the choice for the city and the resort to our travel agency. This agency has been booking our trips for what seems like ages and hence we were confident he would pick the right one for us. And he opted for Kodai and a Sterling Resort by name Kodai – By The Lake and here we were.

To be quite honest, we were a bit apprehensive about Sterling as their properties had acquired a not so great name in terms of facilities over the years. However, our agent assured us that after the merger with Thomas Cook couple of years back most of the properties were now spruced up.

Kodai By The Lake is situated near the Kodaikanal lake on Gymkhana road. Check in was a breeze and we were settled in our room within no time. The apartments and cottages were styled in a pleasing manner with well manicured lawns and small gardens at intervals. The whole property was dotted with pine trees and the girls were making plans to pick some pine corns already!

We had opted for a Premiere Suite and the suite was all that we had hoped for and more. A spacious drawing cum dining room, a quaint old bedroom, a kitchenette and a nice bathroom made up the suite. The décor followed an English cottage theme and was warm and inviting. The quaint armchairs were so inviting that we were literally taking turns for the same while reading! Both the rooms were equipped with room heaters for the night and the bathroom with a geyser for hot water. The kitchenette had a microwave and a mini refrigerator along with a coffee maker and continuous RO water supply.

The resort was dotted with garden chairs and benches at intervals, each giving you views entirely different from the other. They had a small yet well equipped play area for children near the lobby. The resort also had a holiday activity center with board games, puzzles and video games. There were a whole host of paid activities like paintball shooting, cycling, hiking, safari, pool table and well, the works. Our little girl wanted to do glass painting while the older one wanted to try her hand at paint ball and the pool table and both were organized pretty well. They had dedicated staff for the craft activities and they were quite patient and warm to the girls. We went cycling together on two days and you have the flexibility of choosing your cycles. They follow an hourly rental rate which was ideal for us as it took us almost an hour to take a full round of the lake on both days.

The resort offered a multi cuisine restaurant as well as an in room dining service. A food truck near the play area offered traditional options for evening tea like hot bajjis and pakodas. We  tried their room service for dinner once and the service and the food was impeccable. The sandwiches, the biryani, the dessert everything was top notch and plated beautifully. Coming to the restaurant, service is quite slow. We tried their a la carte lunch on one occasion and the food was quite good.  Armed with this experience, we decided to try their combo breakfast and dinner buffet once and ended up having a miserable experience. Their buffet focuses more on vegetarian food and as a result non vegetarians bear the brunt. The breakfast buffet had only “eggs to order” as a non vegetarian dish. On inquiry we were informed that dinner would have a good spread of non vegetarian dishes and decided to give them a second chance. However, the choice was quite limited with just a soup, a starter, one curry and a not so great biryani. Moreover, the breads were not served on the table. So you end up spending half the time waiting at the live counter. We did raise a complaint and the chef and the restaurant in-charge heard us patiently and wanted to make amends then itself. As per their explanation, one could request for dishes of their choice and those would be served at the table itself. We found this weird as the whole point of a buffet goes for a toss then. Even though we refused their offer to make something special for us, they served complimentary strawberry milkshake to the girls then and there itself. And knowing my love for tea, they sent me a pot of the same to go along with my night reading. We were checking out the next day and were pleasantly surprised when they gifted us sandwiches and cut fruits nicely packed to feed a whole army. We didn’t want to seem rude and took a box of each for the girls. Though we were initially quite miserable after the dinner buffet, the profuse apologies from the staff and their thoughtful offerings did make it all up in the end. One learning out of this whole episode is to get crystal clear clarity on the buffet menu if you are strict non vegetarians like us!

The overall service at the resort was pleasing, warm and attentive. However, the restaurant service  was sub par. It was quite obvious that the restaurant was severely short staffed to handle the crowd during peak hours. Coming to the tariff, they have different plans for members, non members and the like. And you can opt for a room based on your budget. the drawing room in our suite had a sofa cum bed. The food charges were quite economical too with our a la carte meals coming to just 1000rs and odd. They did have separate combo plans for the buffet like breakfast and dinner combo was one rate, breakfast and lunch combo another and so on.

Overall, Kodai By The Lake is a charming little property. The resort’s proximity to the Kodaikanal lake makes it easier for sightseeing. As everything was nearby, we were checking out each and every attraction at the children’s pace. Maybe that’s why they have termed this vacation as their “one of the best ever”!

Kodai – By The Lake, A Sterling Holiday Resort

Address: P.B. No. 44, Gymkhana Road, Kodaikanal

Phone: 04542-242380

 

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