Review – Crowne Plaza Kochi, India
Note: Earlier this year I completed a fifteen day press trip through Kerala, India which was sponsored by the state’s tourism bureau. I have not been asked to write about any specific topic related to the trip. The words and ideas in this review are my own.
Overview & Pricing
I had the pleasure of staying at the Crowne Plaza Kochi on the last official night of the Kerala Blog Express. The hotel is clearly geared towards business travelers and normal rooms run between $100-$150 USD per night. If redeeming points, the Crowne Plaza Kochi costs 30,000 IHG Rewards points for a night, meaning it isn’t the best redemption value.
The Crowne Plaza Kochi is located about 8 miles from Fort Kochi, which is the main tourist area in the city. At times the traffic in Kochi can be horrendous, so it can take anywhere from 20-45 minutes to reach Fort Kochi depending on the time of day.
Other then being far from the main tourist drag, the Crowne Plaza Kochi has a decent location. It is located on one of the city’s main roads and backs up to one of Kerala’s famous backwaters. For reference, the much older Le Meridien is located directly across the street if you are looking for another hotel option in the same area.
Lobby & Check-In
The Crowne Plaza Kochi has a vast and modern lobby with a number of unique seating areas. The lobby area contains the check-in desk, a few shops along with a lounge and two restaurants. If I had to describe it in one word then I would use massive.
Since I arrived as part of a group of media, we were all pre-blocked into rooms. After being greeted immediately after entering the lobby, I was handed a room key to a normal room which overlooked the backwaters. I inquired with the agent if the fact that I am an IHG Platinum member would make a difference and she asked for my card number and told me to head to my room and she would check.
About five minutes after I arrived in my room, she communicated that she had verified my membership (they made a point to tell me that they checked) and that she would upgrade me to an Executive Room.
Both the regular and executive rooms were incredibly modern and well appointed. The defining feature of both rooms is the large bathtub with an open window looking into the room. Much like the Courtyard by Marriott Kochi Airport, there was a shade which could be drawn, but I had no need considering I was traveling alone.
While the normal room had a small desk, the executive room was about twice as wide and had a sofa in addition to the work area. I cannot convey enough how comfortable the room was. After traveling hard through Kerala for the past couple of weeks, I wanted nothing more then to stay in the hotel for a few days. Unfortunately I did have to leave the next morning!
The only issue I had with my room came when I went to take a bath before leaving the hotel for dinner. After turning on the water and heading into the room to do something, I eventually looked through the window to see the bathtub was full of yellow water. Pee yellow! (Photo at the end.) Since I had to leave soon for dinner, I informed the front desk and they had me moved to a new room when I returned.
Their claim was a pipe malfunction had something to do with the color of the water. The new room they moved me to was directly below the other one and did not have the issue. None of the other 15 people I knew staying in the hotel had that issue either. I will just chalk it up to bad luck!
The Crowne Plaza Kochi has two main swimming pools. One pool is up on the lobby level and features an infinity edge. The larger pool is down a level and backs right up to the backwaters. You really can’t go wrong with either one.
One little oddity I noticed by the pool area was a large concrete open space which isn’t occupied. I’m not sure if something was originally going to go there, however it is a bit of an eyesore. Also, the hallway that leads from the large pool to the elevators is completely white. It felt like I was walking through an institution. Not sure why they didn’t decorate it like the rest of the hotel.
In addition to a pretty standard business center, the hotel has a well equipped gym with all of the equipment you would expect. The gym comes with a nice view of the backwaters, which I appreciated.
Finally, the Crowne Plaza Kochi has a very nice spa. As a IHG Rewards Platinum member I was given a complimentary 15 minute foot massage. This is the first time I have ever been given anything like that at a IHG hotel and I appreciate it. I did confirm the free massage was for my IHG status and not my media credentials. None of the other media there received the massage.
The hotel has two main restaurants on the lobby level. Trilogi serves local chef inspired dishes from Kerala & the surrounding states. The second restaurant is called Sky Grill and serves a variety of grilled foods. The hotel also has a buffet called Mosaic which is located on the second floor.
I had the opportunity to eat at Mosaic for lunch and it was easily the best buffet meal I had during my entire time in Kerala. In addition to pre-made foods, they also had freshly cooked dishes which could be ordered. Everything was delicious and the ingredients were of a very high quality. They also had some amazing desserts as well. (Lots of photos at the end!)
As was the case just about everywhere I visited in Kerala, the staff of this hotel was friendly and accommodating. After helping me check-in, the front desk staff remembered my name and greeted me each time I went through the lobby. Additionally, the staff in the spa and the buffet were incredible as well.
The greatest test of a crew is their ability to handle a problem. While the bathtub issue could have been one that was mishandled, they made sure to switch my room and test it before I returned from dinner. I appreciated that tremendously.
Perhaps it is just me, however most Crowne Plaza properties in the U.S. (and other places) are rather dated and I haven’t had the best experiences with the brand in the past. With that said, I really loved the Crowne Plaza Kochi. It is probably my second favorite Crowne Plaza behind the one in Singapore.
Everything from the decor to the actual furniture and bedding in the rooms was so incredibly comfortable. I can’t completely overlook the yellow water though. It was an issue and a troubling one. At least I know others who stayed there didn’t have an issue so it doesn’t seem endemic.
To sum it up, I would stay at this property again. Even with the one issue I had, I still left happy. The hotel really is that comfortable. I do wish that the points redemptions were a better value, however at around $100 a night, paying cash is the way to go.