Arriving after a day on a train in Delhi at half past ten at night, greeted by the usual array of auto-rickshaw drivers asking inflated prices, the only thing I wanted was to relax in a comfortable hotel room. And I’d booked ahead as I always seem to do these days. In fact I think this was the first hotel I booked for my trip to India – I knew that I was leaving after just one night in Delhi, so I wanted to make sure I stayed at a comfortable place.
The price was around $33AUD, so actually the cheapest room I had through my whole trip. But it looked nice online and the reviews were all positive. This was the classic lesson of how you can’t believe everything you read and particularly see on the internet. The way they can make rooms look so much better than they actually are with a quick tidy-up, the right angle and the right light is, I guess, impressive.
The Paraganj is the most popular place to stay in Delhi for the international backpacker. I’d stayed there once before at the Star Plaza Hotel, which was around $10-$15AUD a night at the time (2004) and had a nice room and been very happy. I wish I’d stayed there again to be frank. After a slow journey via auto through Delhi, where at times I wondered if we’d ever get there as the traffic was at a standstill, there’s nothing more crushing at 11pm at night than to find your hotel falls far short of your expectations.
I was the only foreigner staying there, which is odd for the Paraganj but I was well down the far end of the Paraganj well away from Delhi Train Station. It had two major issues I guess – cleanliness and noise. Well into the early hours of the morning the music from across the street kept me up. The room was dark, the tiling in the bathroom was black, it feels like a colour to cover up dirt and I think that’s why they went with it. Even my photos don’t seem to show the reality!
Bits and pieces were falling apart. The unit around the TV had pieces of loose wood about to drop to the floor, but yet I couldn’t access the TV to turn it off – it had the little ‘no signal’ thing floating around a black screen. In the end I risked fire and hung a blanket over it.
The bed was unusually low, the lamps didn’t all work, it was really musty but the noise was more than enough without opening the window, so I wasn’t going to do that! The room was cramped and it didn’t promote sleep easily.
There was a rooftop restaurant and I think breakfast was included in the price. I had a chicken sandwich which was tasteless as I was hungry after not having a proper meal all day. It was, again, a little dirty and everything was crammed into the space. Not very welcoming – although this doesn’t mean the staff who were reasonably efficient and helpful. No issues with the staff.
And the location was good, even if the far end of the Paraganj. On the plus side to that it was close to the Ramakrishna Ashram Marg metro station, three minutes’ walk in fact, which connected me to most places in Delhi without the need for a taxi or auto-rickshaw.
But all in all, I certainly would choose a different place if I was to return to Delhi.
Value for Money : 2.5 /5
Thanks for reading, May the Journey Never End!