Hotel Times

I love traveling and we try to get out at least twice a year, if not more. We travel within India; foreign tourism is just too expensive for our pockets. Even within India, we are budget travelers. I like my hotel room to cost somewhere around Rupees 500 to 1000 (one dollar is roughly equal to 45 rupees) in more touristy places and less than 500 in less touristy places. It is rare that I shell out more than 1000 rupees for a room but there have been occasions when we have done that too. But there are hardly any decent budget hotels in India.

In India, what I have found out is that hotel business is run pretty much by individuals and there is an absence of hotel chains or groups in mid-priced or even in lower priced rooms. Some of things that are constant across budget hotel rooms is:

If, there is a carpet the probability is very high that it will stink. This experience has been repeated so many times that I now prefer staying in rooms without carpets. There have been a few exceptions to this rule but then the hotels are usually new and their carpets have just not gathered enough dirt as of now. I remember visiting Auli (those days I did not had a digital camera, so no good quality photos to upload). There are just two accommodations available, a private resort and a government owned facility. We stayed in the government owned facility and all the rooms (highest to lowest priced dormitories) gave out such a stench. So much so, for getting better facilities for a price.

A friend made a comment once, all a traveler needs is a clean bed and some hot water. Let me add, minus the stench of the carpet. My second pet peeve is about hot water. Many a times there will be water but not hot. Some hotels charge extra for giving you a bucket of hot water. But remember I am talking about budget hotels here. My traveling life could become a lot easy if Indian budget hotels understood this basic need. I remember paying Rupees 1000 for a room and getting no water in the toilet for many hours in a day. Repeated complaints brought no improvement and we had to shifted to another hotel within a day.

Toilets and bathrooms are the most neglected areas in Indian budget hotels. The lesser said about them the better.

The attitude also of the owners sometimes can be so unprofessional. They may not think twice about disturbing you in the morning hours just to inquire whether you are leaving that day before the check out time or not. We had a knock at 7.00 a.m. in the morning in Manali and told very bluntly to vacate the room by 12.00 noon. Why the hell at 7.00 a.m.? And what is the need for rudeness?

I wish I took a few photographs of the hotel rooms too in this trip to Ladakh, they would have substantiated my claim.

I also feel that whatever I said above is on an average is true of the more touristy places. In smaller places, the rooms might not be clean and the carpet may still stink but people are not rude.

I have stayed in budget hotels at Modena (Italy), Groningen (The Netherlands) and Athens (Greece) and of course my rooms were small and did not offer me a view but they were spotlessly clean, at least the first two. In Athens, the room was not as good as the other two but in Indian terms, it was superb. Oh! And I visited these places for academic conferences (that means most of the time, sponsorship) but did manage to see a few places too.

What has been your favorite hotel horror story?

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21 thoughts on “Hotel Times”

  1. i just returned from manali and i hate it because of the crowd! people do not have a sense of aesthetics as far as hill-stations are concerned.a small area of civilization with a scenic beauty n rustic atmosphere is what my idea of manali was.i was very disappointed. i would rather go to lansdown or even mussoorie,but not back to manali.

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  2. Please visit Ladakh if you can. I was in Manali this summer, because I was going to Ladakh and we travelled by road from Manali. I have ranted like crazy about Manali everywhere. I can understand your disappointment. Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Hi.. went to leh abt an year ago..and it was beautiful..did a bit of trekking .. and teh expnase of land.. with nothingness around seemed so eaceful.. its goo dteh driver had a composed mind. else the route is a shortcut to heaven.. loved watching the yaks .. and the lake was so beautiful.. wil def return there again !

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  4. Wow! A hotel with no hot water? Smelly carpets? No water in the toilet?!!! … I might prefer camping out! LOL! The worst place I ever stayed was actually at someone’s River-side cabin. It had been closed up all winter, and it wasn’t cleaned or prepared for the summer season. We walked in and it LOOKED lovely. But then when it was time to use the bathroom/toilet and bedrooms, we noticed there were mouse droppings all over everything!!! The bed covers had mouse droppings and mouse urine, too. I didn’t sleep ALL NIGHT LONG!!! I had to strip the bed down and curl up in the center and had terrible dreams all night long! Ughghgh… I hope to never ever have an experience like that!

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  5. We too tried trekking in markhs Valley but had to turn back after Ganda-La base. I had an upset stomach and it refused to get OK, whatever medicine I took. Funny thing is it was not altitude, I had it from Delhi itself but ignored it. I have to go back to Ladakh.

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  6. Hmm, so horror stories occur in any part of the world! Thank you so much for sharing it. I guess that is why my husband and I trek so much. Then we can sleep in tents.But let me not scare you out of visiting India at some future date. Many hotels are nice, particularly if you are willing to shell out a little bit of money.

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  7. it as not as if cleanliness would make them over-priced but still they won’t. all the major religions of india harp on cleanliness being next to godliness and we all know how seriously we take our religions, ha, and yet civic sensiblites regarding cleanliness are almost absent. If you are travelling by car, using a restroom en route is a nightmare and the toilets in the trains etc are equally useless.

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  8. hey im liz nd im 16 yrs old..have you ever thought about going to kerela sometime. i myself am from there but am living in london. the scenery there is absolutely beautiful..it really is worth going there…and the people are really friendly.

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  9. uhmm actully weneva my rents or family goes travelling anywhere,we have always only taken high budgeted rooms,so i havent really had any such horror incidences.. but yeh india really needs to have cleaner restrooms..n i agree with liz kerela is awesum

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  10. hi! i got here through news.bbc.co.uk! i’ve enjoyed going through your blog – some great pictures and well written too! i’ve trekked a bit in the leh area and also in manali. love the himalayas. i’ll come back to your blog!

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  11. Hello, Mridula. My husband and I are planning to spend 5-6 weeks traveling through India starting in December. We plan on traveling budget so I look forward to reading your blog for your excellent tips and insights.Also, I was thinking about doing a volunteer program with Cross Cultural Solutions if I can raise the funds. Being in education, do you know anything about them?Thanks

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  12. First of all thank you everyone for stopping by. It is from your comments I came to knwo that my, imagine my, blog got featured on the BBC. I am finding it difficult to believe it.

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  13. Ganga, did I say that money seems to be the only motive of bus operators and hotel owners? I think not, but that has been top most in my mind. Thanks for pointing it out.

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  14. Hi Liz, thanks a lot for stopping by. I have never been to Kerela but definitely sometime soon, I have to visit it. Though I keep going to the South India particularly Bangalore. I will try to squeeze in Kerela sometime. Thank you so much for the suggestion.Hi Pearl, I have to agree with you. The hotels leave a lot to desire but many places are just so beautiful and travel is such fun that I have to take it as it is. Thanks a lot for stopping by.Kafka On the Shore, I came to know about my blog featuring on BBC from the comments only. It is weekend in India and I am visiting my sis and was not going on net at all! Suddenly I saw so many comments and I thought what happened really? Then I saw the comments and I am so surprised. Thank you so much for stopping by.Avik, I have stayed at some GMVN properties and I think they are better managed but it was an absolute horror story for me in Auli.Hi Lily, what places are you planning to visit in India? I would love to discuss anything about India you wish but unfortunately I have not heard about the volunteer agency you ask about. Sorry about that.

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