I’ve probably bored just about everyone into submission with the tales of woe involving our hotel arrangements while in Kochi (read here and here if I haven’t). We wanted to be in the Fort Cochin area (the old part of town) and we wanted to not pay a fortune. I tried a few places and struck out. I was leery of the Sonnetta Residency, mostly because it was pitched at a price point (~$45/night, including air conditioning, booked via hotels.com) that could be a great value or a horrible nightmare. Fortunately our stay was mostly the former.
We had arranged in advance to have a car from the hotel meet us at the Cochin airport upon arrival. I didn’t see anyone when we came out so I called. The owner insisted that the driver was there so we waded back through the ranks of drivers and found one with my pseudonym, Manuel Mueller, and the name of the hotel. Well, maybe they misspelled my name, but so long as they got us to the hotel I wasn’t complaining. Turns out there was also a Manuel Mueller checking in that day and we stole his car; I didn’t run in to him during our stay but I hope my driver was there for him when he landed.
The hotel itself is a small property located in the heart of the old Fort Cochin area. It is on a small street between the park at the waterfront and the Basilica. Really a great location for basing explorations of the area. Then again, the neighborhood is pretty small so it would be hard to be there and in a bad location. With only 8 rooms and the owner living and working on-site it is easy to feel at home while at the Sonnetta. They were incredibly friendly and happy to help with arranging tours and such as requested.
The room was nothing special, but it was exactly what I expected at that price point. It was clean, the air conditioning was cold and only slightly too loud, and the bathroom was functional. And pink.
The beds were firm, but still had some cushion to them. My main complaint is that the wifi didn’t reach back to our room from the lobby, and the repeater access point was obviously missing on the wall where it would have worked. The included breakfast was just OK – a fried egg and some toast – but there are plenty of better food options for <$3/person in the area so that wasn’t a huge drawback at all. Plus he offered us up shots of his homemade hooch to celebrate Christmas morning alongside the breakfast.
Oh, and the proprietor screwed up our reservation.
Getting a room in one place for four nights across Christmas was a challenge. I thought we had scored big when the Sonnetta was available and we got it booked. And I was really happy with the room at that price point. But when the owner asked us to pack up and move out on day three of our stay it was quite a surprise. We ended up moving to the Vivanta by Taj, a much fancier hotel thanks to hotels.com taking care of us, but that wasn’t what the owner had originally planned.
As we were headed out to catch the ferry he finally figured out where things had gone wrong. Knowing that he was overbooked for that night he had arranged with another hotel to take us on for the one night, expecting that we would happily move over there and then come back for night number four. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the value of mattress running, but this wasn’t that situation. And the fact that he hadn’t asked if it was okay nor informed us in advance was rather inappropriate in my view.
The room was great, the location was great and the price was certainly right. Sadly, however, the SNAFU with the rooms was a rather noticeable strike against the place. Probably not enough to stop me from booking in again, but it was not as positive an ending to the stay as I’d expected.
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