Both Chhavi and I were quite tired by the time we reached The Apple Blossom Fagu which is a HPTDC hotel. She perked up seeing snow on the side. I was happy that she found something to look forward to in spite of being tired. We spent three nights there and The Apple Blossom Fagu review is based on our personal experience when it had low occupancy in February 2015.
The Check In: We had a smooth check-in as there was no one else arriving that late in the evening. The staff took my luggage to the room. Rakesh the kind person that he was, he quickly switched on the heater correctly guessing that we were cold.
First Impressions: The room was big and spacious. However, it had a carpet as well. Now as a rule I do not like carpets because many hotels do not keep it clean and the room stinks. At the Apple Blossom the carpet was certainly old but they managed to keep it clean, so the room had no funny smell. After that I started breathing a little easy. As the weather was cold they had provided a thick quilt.
The Room: The room had a comfortable double bed with clean linen. It had a mirror and a dressing table, table and chairs for food and a work table. There were side tables by the bed as well which is very handy to dump things like mobile phone, books earrings etc just before going to sleep. However what stumped me was the lack of plug points for charging. In the room the TV socket was the only option for charging gadgets. There was a functional plug point in the bathroom too.
I took the lowest category room and it was a big, clean and functional room. I have no major complaints.
The Bathroom: The bathroom was once again absolutely clean. The amenities were sparse, it had two clean towels, two sachets of shampoo, two small soap bars and bucket and mugs. There was a shower too which we didn’t try. There was plenty of hot water so we were good for our entire stay.
The Food: The hotel has an in-house restaurant and we had all our meals there. They made excellent soup, parathas, paneer, french fries and noodles. They make Maggie too! However the cheese omelet was just about OK. The food was always fresh and as good as homemade food. They were happy to serve the food in the room at night as it would get quite cold out there. They make good tea.
The Ambience: The hotel has a huge courtyard at the back which is an excellent place to sit on a sunny day and do nothing. In a shady area there was a reasonable deposit of snow which was the favorite place for kids to muck about! From this courtyard you can take an exit and start exploring the nearby hillocks.
This and That: I guess on two nights Chhavi and I were the only guests at the hotel. The staff was so well behaved that at no point I ever felt unsafe. I ordered room service for all three dinners and I could confidently do so.
The hotel would get quite busy at lunch time as cabs stop with their guests who were exploring places around Shimla.
Their location is excellent but then government hotels usually have the advantage of the location. There are many birds around the hotel. The bird in the picture is a rock bunting.
The Verdict: If you are looking for a clean and no frills hotel, you would enjoy your stay at The Apple Blossom Fagu. I will happily stay there again. The only thing I want is more plug points in the room, preferably next to the side tables by the bed. If that is not possible then near the work table so that people can charge their various gadgets easily.
When I arrived at Narkanda there was snow everywhere. I was so tired at the end of the journey that I was happy I didn’t had to walk through snow to reach the hotel. The taxi dropped me right at the doorstep of the Hatu which is a Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Development Corporation (HPTDC) hotel. At the check-in was a young boy who could see I was tired and cold. He completed the formalities quickly and assured me that chai and pakoras would arrive soon right in my room. But to my retreating back he did ask, “so are you alone?” To which I simply said yes.
Here is a short clip of the Hatu, Narkanda. The room I stayed in was clean though not fancy. At all times, I felt safe. The staff was courteous. After the initial curiosity even my traveling alone was no longer much of an issue.
Narkanda is a small town. There were a few small shops in the main market where I would sit down and have tea after my strolls. I had all my meals at the hotel. One day I asked for a local dish and I was given Gobhi Palda which was a kind of cauliflower kadhi. It was good. I had parathas for breakfast everyday! I think I paid more for tea than I paid for breakfast!
You can book a ski package with the hotel depending on the snow conditions. I was asked if I would like to ski but I was determined not to do anything on this vacation! I managed to keep my resolve till the end. I had many conversations with the guy I met at the reception, Pankaj Sharma and the ski instructor. I told them about my trekking adventures and they told me about the possible treks in the region.
When I was leaving on the last day, they told me, ma’am fir aiyega (ma’am come back again). I am already planning to take Chhavi and Vasu (my niece) for skiing next year at Narkanda. And if I can get a room I will surely stay at the Hatu again.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quite my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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