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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Kali Wilderness and Adventure Lodge: A Jungle Lodges Property that is dropping in status!!

I am sure most of us know Jungle Lodges’s iconic status among the wildlife properties of Karnataka. Personally, I have stayed at most of their properties across Karnataka and am a big fan of them. But, this time around when I stayed at their Kali Wilderness and Adventure Lodge in Dandeli, my opinion was not that good and in fact my experience was worse compared to ten years ago when I stayed at the same place. This review is based on my recent experience of staying 2 days and 2 nights here.

1) The most surprising thing for me to see that this property is not treated like a wildlife and adventure destination, but more like a normal business hotel.

2) The wildlife guides and naturalists are very good though and love their local wildlife and birds.

3) While I was there, a large corporate group shared the property with me and they were so loud after their drinks in the night that I couldn’t sleep till late after midnight. I think it was jungle lodge’s responsibility to have told them to tone down their voices as it could potentially affect the other customers who have to rise early for their morning birding or wildlife safaris.

4) My package with jungle lodges included a long distance coracle ride on the river Kali, but when the time came for them to arrange my coracle ride, they simply mentioned to me that all their vehicles were busy with river rafting trips. I did not understand how such a marquee hospitality chain as the Jungle Lodges could pass such a statement. Worse, they never bothered to arrange an alternate arrangement for me.

5) The food here at Dandeli is just run off the mill. It would have been great if they could have included one or two local specialties.

6) The last time I was staying at this property, it was located in pure jungle. Today, after 10 years, the Dandeli town has grown a lot and even around this property. This means that you hear a lot of vehicular noise in your room all throughout the day. It is not my idea of a quiet jungle getaway.

7) The reception, the dining, the help desk and basically the entire staff are fairly lethargic in nature. This happened to me at multiple times. On one occasion, I searched their entire property for the coffee serving place, but found nothing and upon asking the front desk, no one seemed to have any clue and started playing the blame game. On another occasion, I asked the service staff to replenish the drinking water in my room. It came 24 hours later after 5 reminders.

8) The wildlife and adventure arrangements made by the property are fairly all right. Nothing special to say about it and nothing bad either.

9) The place doesn’t have internet connectivity, but who looks for internet connectivity in remote jungle areas these days. I need internet for work and hence carry my own data card. Speed is a bit slow though.

10) Unlike other Jungle Lodges property, this property looks very neglected and can do with a lot of maintenance. It misses out on a lot of green cover too.

I love Dandeli and would love to go there again, but am not sure if I want to return to the Kali Wilderness and Adventure Lodge.

Courtesy: My stay at the Kali Wilderness and Adventure Lodge was booked through www.dandeli.com

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