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.

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?