I do not feel the urge to rate every accommodation on my India trip, but this one is connected with so many emotions, I cannot resist. Originally, my intention was to book a room in the nearby Ajay Guesthouse as recommend by Lonely Planet, but they did not response my request for an airport service within a reasonable time. Keeping in mind all those warnings about dubious taxi drivers and the danger of arriving at two o'clock in the morning, I decided to search for an other accommodation. Vijay answer my email promptly, so I booked a deluxe room in his Arjun Hotel. Ironically, I was not able to recognize the driver he sent to pick me up at the airport and so we missed us. I was required to call Vijay, but my prepaid account was almost empty due to the horrible data roaming I forgot to switch off. A helpful soul let me use his own mobile, so I tried to call again but heard only music. No one picked up the phone. I was distressed. The helpful man who supposedly just came for his brother, offered me a seat in his car that has plenty of room for all three of us and luggage for both. I did not entertain suspicion until they explained, the whole Main Bazar area had had been closed because of election. They passed me to a Tourist Information Center. I knew to be presumably in a trap and started to hate me for my naivety. But the pleasant thirty-something who appears to be the manager, offered a call to my hotel, so I gave me a try. Now, a voice answered, that all rooms are sold out because of election and that they were very sorry not had been able to send a driver or inform me in advance. Subsequent calls to other hotels confirm the picture of an almost sold out town under an elective state of emergency. As a way out, the manager offered a trip to Agra or even further throughout Rajasthan, with a private driver and cheap accommodation. Of course, I did not accept such an offer and did not even think about to sign any contract. I realized, that the voices on the phone sound all somewhat similar and just want to leave this shady place. But they did not let me go, instead insist to pay some fantastic price for the taxi service. Lucky enough, I had only 20 Swiss-francs in my pocket I could gave them, though still to much for Indian relations. Anyway, I was free. A nearby motor-ricksha driver confirmed to bring me to my hotel for 50 rupees. I was eased. As we entered the Main Bazar, a police man rejected us, said the whole quarter was closed because of election. I want to leave the ricksha and go by foot, but the men held me back and I could not leave. The driver brought me back to the “Tourist Information Center”. It was immediately clear that both, the policeman and the driver must be members of this mafious organization. I almost cried. First time in India, at four o'clock in the morning after a long intercontinental fly, in an industry quarter in the middle of nowhere; my nerves were at breaking point. I insisted to bring me back near the hotel, but the fake policeman appeared again and I could not leave the ricksha. This time, I decided to escape whenever and wherever possible. As the ricksha went slower, I flew in an illuminated hotel lobby close to street. Shaking like a leaf, I told my story and the desk clerk informed Vijay, who picked me up. Of course, none of my calls ever reached him, they were all fakes. Conversely, he could not contact me, because the roaming policy forces me to pay even for incoming calls. What a pity!
I wrote my story in full length, to demonstrate how you could have been cheated even if you are careful and informed. Later on my trip, I met two Austrian guys who experienced the exact same story in Delhi, and even worse, a Japanese couple that lost over thousand dollar in a similar trap. It hurts me to say, but just ignore Indian people anywhere on the street in Delhi. They want to misguide you to an other “Tourist Information Center”. For example, if you want to buy a ticket at the New Delhi train station, just go straight to the first floor ticket office and ignore everyone left and right. There are contingents for foreign tourist, so you can buy tickets as a foreigner even if a train has been sold out for Indian people.
Vijay deeply apologized for the inconvenience and offered his best room as a free upgrade. I could not resist, even though I would never need such a big room as a single. I stayed there like a king, enjoyed the beautiful bath and clean sheets, which are not a matter of course in Indian budget hotels. The room was completely calm, in surprising contrast to the noisy Main Bazar street. Wi-Fi is fast enough for high quality Skype in the room. Vijay and his staff go to great length to make my stay as pleasant as possible. It was so relaxing! The kindly staff helped me organize my trip further. And instead of the budgeted free water bottle a day, they offered me water, orange juice and tee every time I entered or leaved the hotel. I was so happy that I decided to stay two days longer.
Beside of the kind and engaged hotel manager Vijay, I want to thank sunny-boy Anand for his good advice and the whole team for their great service. Unfortunately, I forgot to give tips as I left at 5 o'clock in the morning. Please take this as an appreciation of your work. A special thank goes to Vijays right hand Ravi, who organized a day-trip throughout Delhi that opened my eyes not only for the tourist attractions, but also for the hidden beauty and mystery of this vital world capital.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Warm hotel with 14 rooms: Superior Rooms - Quality upholstery, flat screen TV, intercom, electric kettle, hot and cold shower with comfortable beds and a table and chair. Some rooms have a street view, air conditioning or air coolers and refrigerators. 24 hours Wi-Fi is available for hotel guests free.Basic Rooms - Rooms with TV, hot and cold shower, intercom, comfortable beds, table and chair. 24 hours Wi-Fi is available for hotel guests at a nominal price. ... more less
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