Name of property: Lotus Suite Service Apartment, Pondicherry
Location: The website will not give you the correct location. When you call the front-office and ask about the location of this service apartment, they will say that it is in a ‘very posh locality’ and right on the main road (ECR). That is not factual information. Read on the detailed review to know the location along with photos.
Type of property: Service Apartments (2 and 3-bedroom apartments). Cooking is not possible / allowed.
Duration of stay of the reviewer: 24 Dec 2012 to 26 Dec 2012.
Rating (on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the least and 5 being the best): 1 (The rating of 1 is given only because this website does not allow the rating below that and also because of the handy care-taker).
Positive Points: The care-taker Mr. Yuvaraj is a nice person and he will go out of his way to fetch you anything you need from shops on the main road (like water bottles; bread and other groceries). He does not understand anything spoken other than in his native language – Tamil. So if you don’t know Tamil, you need to rely on sign-language or break your English sentence into very simple words.
1. Location is a big put-off with big stagnant water puddles right at the entrance of the property. Look at the pictures and decide for yourself. If you don’t have a vehicle of your own, you need to be very careful navigating this water pool while entering into the property.
2. There is no drinking water facility. If you give money to caretaker, he will run around to nearby grocery shop (which is on the main road and is about 10 minutes-walk both ways) and fetch you that on need basis. We got a stock of water bottles on day-2 morning for ourselves.
3. Approach to Property: Contrary to what the front-office says, this is actually quite interior. Let me explain. If you are aware of Pondy city, this will help you pin-point exact location. On the main ECR road, there is a police station called “Muthialpet Police Station”. Bang opposite that, you have a small temple. Adjacent to the temple, there is a small lane which goes inside. This is “Ganapathy Nagar”. You will see a cement-concrete road of approximately 20 – 25 feet width. If you go on this road for a couple of minutes (or walk for 5 minutes), the road ends in a T-junction. Right at the junction, this property will be there on your left hand side. Please note that though the approach so far is a cement-concrete road, when you have to enter the property on the left side, you need to get onto the mud road and then enter. Check the photos below for a clear picture.
4. No facility to lock flat from inside. The main door does not have latch or any other locking mechanism from inside. So you are not sure about the safety – especially during night time when the household sleeps.
5. Balconies that don’t open – There are small balconies (visible from outside), but they are permanently locked. The caretaker does not like to open them. When you insist a lot, he will promise that he will come later and open the balconies, but then that really happens only if you are hell bent on getting this done.
6. No Wi-fi. Front-office folks keep giving you a password, which does not work. They refuse to believe that internet is not working. They say that everybody else is able to use the internet here in lobby. BTW, the front-office is situated in other Lotus property. So there is safety of distance here. You cannot physically go to lobby and show that you are not able to connect to network. When you persist, they admit that “it is not working only from 5 AM today and we are working on setting it right. You can try after one hour”. That one hour never comes. Towards the end of day, after multiple calls to front-office, they finally declare “We don’t have wi-fi in the service apartment”. When I point that the website mentions that there is wi-fi and that throughout the day they had been talking about getting it repaired, they don’t have an answer. (Please also see point 13 on transparency and professionalism).
7. Misleading photos / video on website – The photos shown on the website are of the other two Lotus properties. Since those photos are swanky, you tend to believe that this property is also similar. You can check the actual photos of this service apartment below.
8. Ac remotes that don’t work – There are 3 ACs in the flat, but only one remote work. The helpful caretaker promises to fix that in the morning, which never happens.
9. Hot water on request – Whenever you need hot water, you need to tell the care-taker so that he can ‘on the geyser’ few minutes before.
10. No intercom to caretaker – If you are expecting that there will be an intercom because this is a 3-floors property with a dedicated care taker, you have high hopes. You need to make a call from your mobile every time you need something. (To be fair, the care-taker is extremely responsive though).
11. Other Minor irritants – Don’t expect LCD TVs with set top boxes to be there. All the 3 TVs are old-gen TVs (Samsung DNIE.Jr Plano brand). Don’t expect some sort of cloth hangers or hooks to be there. Don’t expect the wooden cupboards to be there. Lot of mosquitoes due to stagnant water in the surroundings.
12. Price – Actual price is 7,750 per night (service tax @ some 7.4% extra) for a 3 bedroom flat. Per the website, they had some 44% discount offer running now, valid upto 27th December. But that information is very unreliable. When I called one day, they offered me a price of 4,060 and promised to provide the link to make payment. When they did not call me back with the details of link, I called them next day and found that they are now charging me 4,808 per night “as a special offer”. After looking at the photos, you can decide for yourself how much it is worth.
13. Transparency and professionalism of front-office – When we landed in Pondy and looked at the property, it was a huge shock for us as we were comparing with the photos on website. Also, when we had spoken to front-office before the reservation, he (one Mr. Simon) had promised that “it is very close to Hotel Atithi and right on the main road, in a posh locality”. The children were put-off even when we were navigating to the place. We called up Mr. Simon (do you remember that there is safety of distance here as the front-office for all 3 properties is located elsewhere. So you really don’t have anybody, to talk to directly on the property except the Tamil-speaking caretaker) and requested him to cancel the booking. He said that it is not refundable in a quite blunt and unfriendly tone. We don’t have a choice but to stay there and spoil the vacation. We atleast have the satisfaction that this is well recorded along with actual photos so that other travelers are not put to inconvenience.
On seeing the photos in internet, we got carried away and called the staff on phone for reservation. On knowing that we are a family with children, he (one Mr. Simon from front-office) suggested that we take the service apartment. The same front-office deals with reservations of all 3 Lotus properties in Pondicherry. We had booked this apartment, seeing the photos on website.
I have clicked many more photos than attached here. In case you need an exhaustive list of photos, you can write to me and I will share them.
We had stayed at some excellent service apartments. But this is the first time, it was such a complete flop.
So, my dear traveler, you now have sufficient information on this service apartment. Take an informed decision when you are about to book for your next vacation / business-trip. As for me, I am never going to book again in this service apartment.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Lotus Comfort Hotel is designed with 22 Centrally Air-Conditioned Double Rooms with LCD TV, Smart Door Lock System, Multi-Cuisine Restaurant, Complimentary Wi-Fi access, Complimentary Breakfast etc., Hotel is centrally located in White Town of Pondicherry and is a leisurely stroll to Beach and several other exciting tourist attractions. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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