Hotel Megha Sheraton (Delhi, India)
~Introducing an Old Favourite~ Before getting too stuck into this year's hotels from our India trip, I still have one outstanding from 2008 that I hadn't got round to writing up. One of my great mid-budget 'finds' from my last trip to Delhi was the Megha Sheraton in Old Rajinder Nagar. Prior to that trip, one of my ... favourite hotels in Delhi was the Madonna which is also in Rajinder Nagar and just a block away from the Megha Sheraton. Neither is particularly plush or fancy but I love them both because they share an owner who is a very nice chap. For our 2008 trip we decided to take notice of the credit crunch and trade down from the Madonna to her sister hotel known as the Megha Sheraton. This place comes in at around the $50 a night mark which is at least $30 less per night than the Madonna and it's just a few doors away.
One of the key reasons for choosing to stay there is that we love the area. It's not a fancy area - I'd guess it's a solidly middle class district with lots of gated houses with name plates for doctors and dentists - but it's very convenient for the metro and the nearest station is a five to ten minute walk away. The area is a lot quieter than the much better known district of Karol Bagh which lies to the other side of the road on which the Metro station stands. During the daytime and evening there are lots of small shops along the streets but once the shops close, it's very quiet at night and this is unusual in Delhi where so many hotels are disturbed by constant traffic noise.
We booked the Madonna for one night when we arrived in Delhi and the Mega Sheraton for two nights when we got back from our trip to Bhutan and Darjeeling. The owner throws in a free hotel pick up or drop off if you book the Megha Sheraton for at least two nights and this is an excellent deal. Just make sure you send him your flight details so that they don't miss your arrival and don't be too surprised if your driver goes missing. He'll turn up in the end.
~How does the Megha Sheraton Shape Up?~
The Megha Sheraton is a bit older and more run down than the Madonna. The owner explained to me that for a long time he couldn't do any upgrading on the hotel because it was under threat of being knocked down over some strange planning infringement. Now that threat is passed, I fully expect to see the Megha Sheraton getting better soon.Our room was large and decorated with the same sort of furniture we knew from the Madonna. We had two ceiling fans (one worked, the other didn't) as well as an AC unit. The floor was tiled and the walls were magnolia. I'd love to know who does their plastering because each time I lay in bed looking at the ceilings I was stunned by what a smooth job they had done. Our big bed was two full-sized singles pushed together and they were decorated with a fleecy blanket and clean but slightly worn sheets and pillow cases. I know some people freak about Indian hotel sheets, but it's important to remember that they don't have big industrial laundries like many European or American hotels would use. Often your sheets have been washed by hand and without all the artificial bleaches and brighteners that are needed for pristine white linens.
We had a desk, a mirror, a fridge, TV with cable, a wardrobe and a suitcase stand. The bathroom was small and slightly battered but was clean and adequate for what we needed. Keep in mind that hotels in India don't provide a lot of towels or change them every day - we always bring our own. Other facilities are a bit sparse - you can get room service 24 hours a day but I don't think there's an actual restaurant. Internet access is available and you can get your laundry done and the staff will help you with good value travel arrangements - a car and driver for the day is about £15.
Breakfast is available but I struggle to deal with Indian food quite so early in the day so we generally pick up a cake or sandwich from the lovely bakery just up the road. You can order in food but we usually go into the city centre to eat. When we tried to do an online check in for our return flight from the internet cafe nearby the owner very kindly took us into his office and let us use the computer there. When that still didn't work (it was all Virgin's fault - they were awful), he gave me his personal laptop to use, ordered teas and bottles of cold water and told us all about his family history and his plans for the business. We felt like we were visiting an old friend rather than staying in a hotel.
~2010 - Time Passes, People Get Greedy~
I intended to go back again this year but unfortunately we were arriving just after the Commonwealth Games finished and the prices that were being asked by the hotel booking companies were ridiculous. I wrote to the owner recalling that he'd promised he'd have a room for us if we came back around the time of the Games - he didn't even reply to my mail. At $50-60 a night I'd certainly have booked here but when I was looking to book about 6 weeks ago, the prices were over £100 a night which is way more than the place is worth. Today the prices are back down to a very reasonable £36 which I'd have paid if it was on offer at the time - so not replying and not offering that rate has lost the Megha Sheraton a total of ten room nights. It's a shame because a bit of temporary greed and an attempt to cash in on people staying on after the sport was finished means we're going elsewhere this time and if we like the new places, we may well not be back.
Another issue is that the expansion of the Metro network to cover much more of the city in preparation for the Commonwealth Games means that the benefit of being close to the Metro is not worth as much as it used to be although we spent two of our nights on this year's trip in a B&B in the south of the city which we thought would be fine but for which the Metro journeys soon became interminable and torturous. The 3-stops to the city positioning of the Megha Sheraton is still a valuable benefit.
My recommendation is that if you can get this place for $50 or less including an airport pick up or drop off, it's still great value. But if you can't get a decent price, don't go much higher.
Read the complete review
Saket Bed and Breakfast, New Delhi
When I started planning our trip to India I didn't expect Delhi to be a problem. I know the city quite well and have a number of places I've stayed and would happily stay in again. It should have been easy but I hadn't counted on the impact of the Commonwealth Games (CWG). The Games finished on the 14th and we flew over on the 16th. I ... like to have everything well organised and booked well in advance but the hotel owners of Delhi clearly still thought that the visitors would flood in and make them all rich on the back of the big event. Some no doubt thought that the tourists coming for the games would stick around and have a holiday after they ended.
We were travelling with my sister and her girlfriend who were making their first visit to India. My sister can be a bit picky about cleanliness (she still tells horror stories about the filth at our Aunt's place in Tasmania) so I didn't want to throw her in at the deep end on her first night. Whilst I was happy to book a budget place for our return to Delhi, I wanted to at least start the trip with something a bit nicer.
The hotels I had in mind were listed on all the hotel booking sites at ridiculously high prices. I'd have paid the normal rates of around $55 to $80 for the last two places I've stayed in the city but the booking sites wanted considerably more than double what I've paid before. So in some desperation I looked for alternatives and came across the Bed and Breakfast and so-called 'homestay' sector. I had never considered these before since they tend to be a bit out of the way. I contacted three or four of the more popular B&Bs listed on one of the established travel review sites. One was too expensive, one had no availability for our dates and one didn't reply until I'd already booked the one we chose - the Saket B&B in the south of the city.
~Location Location Location~
Saket is quite a long way south of the city centre and I would never previously have considered going so far out but one of the big benefits of the CWG has been the rapid expansion of the Metro system. Last time we were in Delhi, just two years back, there was a lot of building work going on but only the three basic lines were in place. In just two years the network has been extended and the line going south now brings the southern suburbs into play as potential places to stay. Between confirming my booking and actually getting to Delhi, the Metro station at Saket had opened, just a couple of weeks before the Games. Knowing the Metro was just round the corner from the B&B meant it became feasible to stay further from the centre.
The area is very quiet by Delhi standards and is a gated complex (although the gates aren't closed) and most of the apartment blocks have their own security people. It's clearly an affluent area and a very clean one too although you'll occasionally get the waft of blocked drains drifting past. We were not the least concerned to be walking around at night (although bring a torch for the short walk back from the Metro station as the lighting isn't very bright).
Rooms were charged at 3500 rupees per night including breakfast. At the time I booked that was £50 or $75 but we never achieved an exchange rate during our visit of better than 66 rupees to the pound. To confirm our booking for two rooms on two separate nights, I was asked to pay for just one room-night in advance and the B&B sent me a paypal invoice to enable me to do this. Communication with the B&B was efficient, fast and always polite. Most importantly it was also clear and unambiguous - Anand from the Saket understood me and I understood him. That's not something you can really take for granted when booking in India.
On arrival at Delhi airport we took a cab to the B&B, booked from one of the pre-paid taxi counters at the airport and charged at 520 rupees (about £8). The driver got us to Saket in about 30-40 minutes and then had to ask a passer-by to narrow us down to the right street. As we stood in the street looking slightly baffled, a neighbour clearly spotted that 4 tired white people standing in the street must mean we wanted the B&B and he directed us to the right gate. We headed up the spotlessly clean staircase and were greeted by Shashi, one of the owners and (as far as I could tell) Anand's mother. She sent someone down to bring up our bags and led us to a smart sitting room to complete all the registration formalities and to wait for our rooms to be ready. Cold water and hot drinks were offered and we relaxed on the comfy sofas under the fans and the icy blast of the air conditioning.
~What to Expect~
Saket B&B appears to be a small block of luxury apartments and Shashi and Anand seem to own the four floor building. In total they offer 8 guest rooms and presumably keep some space for themselves. Each floor has either two or three large, bright en-suite bedrooms, a dining area, a kitchen and a large comfortable living room packed with sofas and arm chairs and a large flat screen TV. Almost all of the rooms have balconies. With registration completed the rooms were available and we went back down to the first floor. My sister Aileen and her girlfriend Joyce had the larger of the two rooms which had two single beds plus a third spare on in an alcove, and we had a good-sized room with a large double bed.
The rooms were in immaculate condition and certainly the best decorated with the best furniture of the six places we stayed in on this trip. In addition to the bed we had a good sized bedside table each side, a large built in wardrobe with a safe inside and plenty of hanging space, two chairs, a wall mounted flat screen TV and excellent lighting. The air con unit was modern and very quiet but we mostly just used the ceiling fan. Floors throughout the apartments are white marble - a bit like the Taj Mahal! Free fast wi-fi is available and this was the only place we visited where it worked all the time.
When we were on the first floor, Joyce spent half her time running back and forth to the kitchen making cups of tea (clearly her Irish roots showing through) and chatting to BJ (I'm sure he must have been Vijay, but Joyce swears he wasn't) the first floor 'attendant' and begging him to let her make her own tea. The B&B has a great water filtration system so it's safe to drink their water and can save you quite a lot of money if you do.
The bathrooms throughout the Saket B&B are gorgeous - with red granite counters and floors and highly polished limestone tiled walls. A large mirror stretched the length of the room and the lighting above it was good. The shower enclosure was of wet-room type and had a fabulous high powered shower and - so long as you put the water heater on 10 mins before you needed it - plenty of hot water. The towels were thick, luxurious and whiter than the Taj Mahal and sheets were equally impressive except on the second visit where we only had a base sheet and no top sheet. Even if the cotton bedspreads are being washed after each visitor, I still think a top sheet is quite important. As we'd had them on the first visit, I suspect it was just a mistake perhaps caused by wanting to get our rooms ready quickly.
Breakfast is served each morning on the 2nd floor and is available until noon so you can sleep as late as you like. The food includes juices, muesli or cornflakes, freshly cooked eggs and toast and lots of tea or coffee. Basically as long as you keep eating, they'll keep bringing food. If you want lunch of dinner they also can offer a fairly basic vegetarian meal for about 250 rupees.
Our second visit was later the same week and we rolled up after a night train from Haridwar at about 9.30 in the morning to be met by Anand. We'd taken the Metro from the railway station which is quite an adventure in itself - big bags on crowded trains don't win you many friends.
Anand explained that the rooms weren't ready - which we didn't mind and hadn't expected - and let us sit around in the living room whilst we waited. We asked if we could have breakfast which was available as an extra for just 200 Rp (about £3) and helped to pass the time. We were allocated the same room position as on our first visit but on the second floor instead of the first. This was not as good because the second floor was much noisier due to it being the floor where all the food is prepared and where the staff tend to all hang out. The noise went on until late in the morning and started again quite early and with all the marble floors and hard surfaces, even small sounds are magnified. My advice would be to ask for a room on a floor other than the second, although my sister's room on the front of the building was a bit quieter and had the bonus of not one but two balconies.
~Who Stays at the Saket~
Most of the clientèle at the Saket are local or international business travellers and we got the impression that they weren't well established with tourists. In part it's because the place is still new and not well-known but also I think the set up at the B&B is rather 'hands off' and requires that you either be working in the area with colleagues nearby to entertain you or that you be pretty knowledgeable about what you want to do and where you want to do it. Unlike more central budget hotels where the reception staff will be really keen to arrange taxis and sightseeing visits and sell you the odd tour, there's nothing of that type available at the B&B. Yes, there are several old copies of the Lonely Planet guide to India tucked on the bookshelf beside the thoughtfully provided boxes of Ludo and Scrabble, but you can't actually get any help or advice from the owners. If the Saket asked for one piece of feedback from me it would be to get some tourist pamphlets in, publicise what's available such as the new Hop on Hop off tour that has been in place a couple of months and actually stops in Saket somewhere (we never found out where but it would be handy to know), and maybe draw up some lists of what to see, where to go, cinemas, restaurants etc. perhaps with the name of the nearest Metro. The Metro is a big benefit - so why not exploit it more fully? And perhaps have a word with a local taxi company who can offer a car and driver service for a day or half day. There's no need to take responsibility for it all themselves but I think that there's a big gap between annoying your clients by being far too pushy (like the hotels tend to be) and being so hands off that guests may not get much out of their visit to the city.
When we asked Shashi about the Metro she admitted she'd not used it but thought we needed platform one - oops, only two to choose from and that was the wrong one. When we needed to book a taxi to the airport for a flight south during our second visit, Anand was happy to provide a number and even to let us give his mobile number for the cab company to confirm the booking, BUT if he'd just been willing to go a tiny bit further and book the bloody thing for us, we'd have avoided my husband stomping around all day like a stressed out water buffalo because he'd twice been cut off whilst trying and just KNEW that there was no way the operator would understand where he wanted picking up (he eventually got one of the kitchen staff to speak to them and explain where we were).
The location really is just a bit too far out for a lot of tourism. It's about 10 Metro stops from the centre of the city or round about 30 minutes. Since much of the time that's 30 minutes wedged into someone else's armpit, it's not as much fun as it should be. It's a great location if you want to visit the Qutab Minar, one of the city's best attractions which is only one Metro stop out from the B&B, but since the place is in a bit of a gated community, there aren't any auto-rickshaws passing by on the look out for business. We also discovered on the evening of our second visit that Saket has one of the best shopping malls and liveliest restaurant scenes in Delhi - sometimes knowledge comes just a bit too little too late
I wanted to stay somewhere clean and tidy in a nice area for our first night in Delhi so that Aileen and Joyce wouldn't be too horrified by the place. Saket B&B exceeded all expectations in terms of cleanliness and the standard of accommodation. The state of the art bathrooms and elegant living space were on a par with anything you'd get in one of the fancier hotels in the city for just a tiny fraction of the price. The location however was a bit of a drag and the Metro journeys were starting to get me down by the end of our second stay. Whilst I can recommend it highly for people returning to the city who already know their way around, or to local Indian travellers perhaps arriving with their own transport and wanting to know their car will have a secure place to park, I can't suggest it as ideal for anyone on a first visit to India or Delhi who might be hoping for a lot of help in finding their way around. We knew what we were doing, what we wanted to see and how to get there but if you're on a first visit, it might all just be a bit too overwhelming.
Read the complete review
Hotel Doon Castle (Dehra Dun, India)
~I'm a Mountain Girl at Heart~ When my sister Aileen and her girlfriend Joyce decided that the only way they'd go to India was if my husband and I took them with us, the gauntlet was thrown down to me to come up with an itinerary that would work for all of us. The obvious thing would have been to drag them round the well-worn ... route of the so-called golden triangle - Delhi, Agra, Jaipur - or further into Rajastan. However, we'd done that all before (I'd done bits twice over) and I knew that the extreme 'in your face-ness' of Rajastan would be more than they could handle. Instead I came up with a pretty weird route that would take us into Delhi, up to the foothills of the Himalayas, back to Delhi and down to Aurangabad, the closest city for visiting the ancient cave temples of Ellora and Ajanta. Then of course we have a few days back in Delhi for some retail therapy.
Getting to the mountains is always a bit of a challenge. We'd been to Shimla three years ago and had pretty much covered all there was to do there. Then two years ago we'd gone to Darjeeling - one of the most fantastic cities on earth but expensive to get to and quite time consuming. I checked my guidebook for Himalayan India went for the easy option and booked trains to Dehradun. It's not actually 'in' the Himalayas but a good jumping off point from which to access the hill station of Mussoorie.
~What's in a Name?~
I was a little bit in love with the name. Dehradun sounded like a mystical town clinging to the banks of a Scottish loch. Perhaps I'd got it muddled up with Brigadoon - even the locals call it by the nickname 'Doon'. The lilting sound of the name was decidedly enticing. I knew it was the home of India's finest military academy and also the place where well-to-do Indians send their children for exclusive and expensive private education. I was thinking 'Sandhurst meets Eton'. It was only when I'd already booked our train tickets that I set about finding a hotel and realised that the same accessibility that drew us to the city has probably destroyed whatever charm the place once had. When I was trying to find out where the hotels were, I realised (thanks to google maps) that this was no small town. I'd just booked us a trip to a sprawling messy monster with a population of nearly half a million.Dehradun calls itself the Queen of the Hills which is hard to see today. It's barely even worthy of a minor money-grabbing royal like Princess Michael. It's big, noisy, dirty and - so far as we could tell - almost entirely lacking in charm.
I narrowed down the choices to four hotels. One ignored my enquiry, one came back so cheap that I was concerned for the quality, one was a tad on the pricey side for what was on offer and that left the Doon Castle. I'd already learned from Tripadvisor that this was their top user-rated hotel in Dehradun. That seemed good enough for us.
~Not like Windsor Castle~
As hotel names go, Doon Castle fits nicely with my imaginary Scottish location. And just as my imaginary little town is actually a sprawling, noisy, scruffy place, my castle is far from castle-like which is OK because I booked it with my eyes wide open. I knew that it was a modern place located on a rather noisy T-junction in the south of the city. The traffic is pretty bad from about 7 am until around 11 pm, especially if you are on the road-end of the hotel. However, it's fair to say that most of metropolitan India sounds exactly like this and soon the duck-quacks of auto-rickshaw horns, the revving of motorbikes and the general hustle and bustle become no more intrusive than the sound of your ceiling fan or air con unit.
If we made a mistake it was perhaps in booking in this part of town when our prime reason for visiting the city was to go north into the mountains. It took about 40 minutes just to get across Dehradun to the road to Mussoorie. Also there was very little around our hotel itself - a scruffy looking market, a shop flogging snow-white chickens from little cages and a unisex hairdressers in a lock-up over the road.
We arrived at the railway station at about 9.30 on a Sunday evening. The area in front of the station was filled with taxis and auto-rickshaws but nobody seemed particularly interested in us. That's unusual - not that we consider ourselves spectacularly interesting, but tourists are usually viewed as wallets with legs. Perhaps not in Dehradun.
A pair of young guys approached us smiling and waggling their heads in greeting. I asked them if they knew the Doon Castle hotel. The one who seemed to be in charge said something back to me that left me baffled and waggled his head in that uniquely Indian 'maybe I do, maybe I don't' sort of way. I asked again - he repeated back 'Hotel' and I thought to myself that he could be about to take us just about anywhere. I got out the booking details, showed him the address, established that the hotel was already booked. He repeated parts of the address, nodded more clearly and smiled. "How much?" I asked and when he said 100 rupees (about £1.30) we agreed to go with him and loaded our bags and ourselves into his Piaggio auto-rickshaw.
Fortunately, Dehradun is a town of big autorickshaws that will take four European-sized adults and four big bags. Less fortunately, this chap's vehicle had a back seat that wasn't properly attached and no suspension. We hared through the late evening streets bouncing up and down and banging against random bits of sticky-out metal. I was very pleased to arrive.
It's quite a small hotel with just a ground floor and two more above. I doubt they have more than 2 dozen rooms. The hotel stands on its own plot with a small car park at the front. I've read reviews that say it has a nice garden - I think the person who wrote that was somewhere else or thought a dozen pot plants on the terrace constituted rather more than we did. It's a clean looking place with a smart little reception and smiley reception staff whom we more or less understood and who more or less understood us. We went through the usual check in rigmarole with passports and lots of paperwork and were issued with keys for rooms 201 and 202 on the second floor. At the moment this is the top floor although there's an intriguing staircase at the end of the 2nd that leads up to.....nothing at all. Perhaps one day there will be a 3rd floor but for now the flat roof above the 2nd floor is giving them some serious problems.
The hotel is in the middle of a renovation - or perhaps more accurately a repair - programme at the moment and we passed lots of small men squatting in the ground floor corridors repairing the walls and glimpses through slightly ajar doors to some of the rooms showed that work was going on inside. Despite this we weren't disturbed by noise inside the hotel from any ongoing work.
A porter grabbed two of our bags and we carried the others up to the second floor. If you don't travel with a manageable quantity of luggage, it's worth being aware that there's no lift. Our rooms were right on the front of the hotel and I suspect this was because we'd booked 'king-sized' rooms and these were all at the front. There was awful music piped into the corridor which gave me some cause for concern but they turned it off when my husband asked for it to be turned down later in the evening.
Our room was large with a laminate floor (much easier to keep clean than carpet) and decorated in shades of brown and beige. The bed was so enormous that it was like my husband and I were sleeping in different time zones. It came with clean sheets both on the bottom and above (believe me - not something you can take for granted) and was decorated with a brown and gold shiny bedspread over a thick woollen blanket. There was a wooden headboard and two matching bedside tables, each with a fairly dodgy looking fringed lamp with an even dodgier electrical connection. The curtains were in a shade of oatmeal and covered a large window that overlooked the street outside and was great for people watching - or more accurately people, traffic, goats and pig-watching,.
We also had a small coffee table and two chairs which came in handy at breakfast time since this was only available in the room. Additionally there was a desk with a large TV set, a mirror over the desk, a tea and coffee tray and a fridge-sized cupboard (without a fridge inside). A small wardrobe was squeezed into a corner of the room. The air-con unit blew straight over the bed and rattled like only a developing world A/C unit can. The ceiling fan was much more to our taste and didn't wobble, which is always a bonus when you're lying underneath wondering what damage a rapidly rotating blade could do if it fell off the ceiling.
The bathroom was clean but a bit warm. There was a proper bath with a well powered shower over it and ample hot water day and night. The sink unit was surrounded with an attractive red granite work top which offered lots of space. Shampoo and soap was provided as well as a branded Doon Castle comb. Toilet paper ran out on the first evening and we used our own tissues after that. The lighting was OK but a bit tricky to fathom out where the main switch was. Towels were small but clean and bright white.
~Damp, Damned Damp~
The hotel has a big problem with damp on the 2nd floor especially on the even-numbered rooms. Luckily we had room 201 and although we could pick up a slightly damp smell (what I think of as the 'smell of India' since it was pretty much all I smelled on my first visit to the country 14 years ago) it wasn't enough to really impact on our ability to be in the room. My sister's room - 202 - was awful. It really did stink and even the bedding felt moist. The menu that had been left on the coffee table have visible dampness on it and the cupboard in the corner of the room had both black mould (which was on a lot of the walls) and even MUSHROOMS growing inside. After we'd had our dinner I urged her to ask the hotel to give her another room. She should have tried earlier because it was almost midnight by the time she was trying to negotiate a move and it was a local holiday too, so nobody really wanted to be there so late. They didn't have another room ready and available but promised to move them the next day.
~Food and Drink~
We arrived around 10 pm and had been told that dinner service ended at 11 so we dropped our bags and headed straight down to eat. My sister's face was a picture when she asked the waiter for beer and he gave her a 'does not compute' face and offered her mineral water. We later discovered that the restaurant doesn't have a license, but if you ask the manager nicely he'll send a 'boy' out to the off-license to get some for you. You just have to keep the bottles under the table and not get too rowdy. If offered a beer collection service, it's worth knowing that the local brand is called Godfather - it's guaranteed to make you wake up feeling like there's a horse's head in your bed - and comes in two strengths. The true Godfather is about 8 or 9 % alcohol so I recommend to ask for the 'Light' beer which still packs a 5% punch.
On the first night we ordered starters, rice and garlic naans and four different vegetable curries. We also had lime sodas and lassis. The service was 'far from elegant' as my sister commented when the waiter threw a fork at her but luckily the food was more reliable. My husband and I had tomato egg-drop soup to start which he loved but I found a bit disappointing. It was like Heinz tomato soup with scrambled egg in it. My sister and her girlfriend went for a mixed vegetarian tandoori platter which looked great and included tandoori mushrooms, paneer, stuffed potatoes and some rissole-like things.
Our four curries included palak paneer (spinach and cheese - I always order that), Dal Tadka (I usually get that too), a stuffed potato Kashmiri dish which was new to all of us and was served in a tomato-rich gravy and a Navratan korma which looked like vomit and tasted like slightly curried fruit salad. If I'd have cut one dish, it would have been the korma as the other three were all excellent. The two portions of rice were more than enough for four of us and we had two very tasty garlic naans with so much garlic on them that we thought we'd died and gone to garlic heaven. All of this plus a couple of bottles of water and the drinks came to 1250 rupees - a shade under £20 split four ways.
Whilst this might have sounded like a bit of a bargain, our dinner on the second night cost just 550 rupees (about £8 - again split four ways) for two biryanis - one mutton, one veg - and two dals with three garlic naans and a couple of bottles of water. Portion sizes were the most generous we found anywhere during our first week in India. The beer hidden under our table had cost us 80 rupees a bottle which we knew to be the going rate since my sister had bought some earlier at a liquor store (and caused a bit of a commotion by doing so - nice ladies, certainly 'pinkie' ladies don't go to liquor stores). We tipped the chap who went to the off license with enough for an extra bottle.
As promised, when we got back from our day trip to Mussoorie (organised for us by the hotel for £30 for the day for a car and a very good driver), they had a new room available and my sister moved to 101 which turned out to be a very nice room and not the place where all the things you most fear are kept. They were delighted with their new room and any bad feeling about the mould-palace of the night before were soon forgotten.The hotel arranged a car to take us to our next destination, offering a choice of whether we wanted to go straight there for 1700 rupees or go sightseeing on the way for 700 more. We opted for the latter but the driver - who never did seem to spot that we didn't understand a word of whatever language he was speaking - was stressed from losing his driving license. We only found this out after he took us to a petrol station where my husband found someone who understood both him and the driver who helped by explaining that the guy was scared silly about being caught driving without his license which he'd left somewhere earlier in the day. As it happened the sightseeing didn't materialise because the driver was so stressed but I think it was probably for the best since there was no way he could have told us what he was showing us.
Mussoorie was lovely and well worth a day trip and in terms of getting there, driving up from Dehradun was a solid option. The hotel was on the wrong side of town for going up into the mountains, but conversely the perfect side of town for our onward journey to Rishikesh - you win some, you lose some.
The hotel is clean, friendly and the rooms are of a good quality - but I suggest to write ahead and tell them you absolutely don't want any of the even-numbered rooms on the second floor. We paid a little extra for our king-sized rooms but the doubles also looked to be a good size so there's probably no need to pay the higher price. Our room rate worked out at about £25 a night for each room and I booked directly with the hotel on a deal where the second night was charged at 40% less than the first. We felt that was a good price for the quality involved.
Whilst I'm going to struggle to recommend going to Dehradun for more than a day or two (and only then for escaping to the mountains) if you do need a room in this city, the Doon Castle is a good choice.
Read the complete review
Asia Hotel International
Hotel International /
Hotel International /
Hotel International /
Hotel International /
Address: 477 Gion, Shimogawara-cho / Hotel International / Higashiyama-ku / Kyoto City / Japan - 10 unique guest rooms furnished in a traditional Japanese style.
Address: 8 / Hotel International /2, Rangnam Road / Thanon-Phayathai / Ratchathewi / 10400 / Bangkok / Thailand
Address: Mizpe Hayamim Resort / Hotel International / PO Box 27 / Rosh Pina 12000 / Israel
Address: 296 / Hotel International /24 Huayyot Tumbol Thapthiang Amphoe Mueang Trang Trang 92000 / Thailand
Address: 265 Khaosan Rd / Hotel International / Taladyod / Pranakorn / Bangkok / 10200 Thailand
Address: Sinquerim / Hotel International / Bardez / Goa-403 519 India - Built on the ramparts of a 16th century Portuguese fortress, this resort is part of a sprawling 73-acre complex overlooking the Arabian Sea.
|Asia Hotel International Recommendations 1 ... 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ... back next|
|dooyoo Results 91 - 100 of 1197|