People of my generation in India typically tend to avoid like the plague everything that has to do with the government, or any public sector undertaking. We bank with the private sector, employ private vendors for our telephone and broadband needs, choose private carriers for flying, and so on .... So, when I told some of my friends that we were going to stay at a West Bengal government-run hotel in Baharampur, they were more than a little shocked - it turned out that their shock was not misplaced.
Right from the moment we set foot on the hotel we came up against the absolute cussedness of the staff. We had booked a Deluxe room for 3 nights some two months in advance. On the appointed date, with the check-in time at 12:00 noon, we turned up at around 2:00 pm, expecting to be shown into a room after around 6 hours of a not-so-comfortable drive from Kolkata. Of course, the room was not ready, since the hotel had already allotted it to another family. So, I, my wife, and our 4-year-old son had to brave it in the hotel lobby for the better part of an hour, during which the staff told us they were trying to oblige us by getting that other family to "evacuate", so that we could stay in the room that we had booked, for the entire period for which we had booked. This done, we were informed of the small inconvenience that the toilet in this room would not flush, and we would have to make way for a plumber who would come in at his convenience, but hopefully pretty soon - "Is that clear, sir?" - hectored the trade-union-type at the front desk.
That was, of course, just the beginning. The hotel has taken care that you cannot call the service bad - simply because there is no service at all. If you need water, you would have to go downstairs and fill bottles and jugs yourself. If you are travelling with a family of three or four, you shall be rationed only one towel - if you want a fresh towel every day, the hotel shall make you feel that your request is something unheard of. Should you happen to be travelling in winter, be prepared to sleep with your woollens on - you would only be assigned one skeletal blanket per adult - and even if you manage to usurp a fresh towel during the course of a lucky evening, every request for extra blankets would be meticulously turned down.
The rooms are generally dirty, the bathrooms even more so. While the walls of the room would have cobwebs for company, those of the bathroom would have soot-stained curtains - just check out the photos. The "complimentary" breakfast would have an omlette, with just 2 slices of bread, and if you do not specifically demand for tea, you are certainly not going to get any.
The only disappointment of this long review - I cannot really comment on the food served for lunch or dinner. But that is not for lack of trying - we did order lunch once from our room. With no room service available, we were told to go and wait in the dining room. After having done so for about half-an-hour, we were asked for our order again - and told that it would be ready within just 30-45 minutes more, and the cooking staff would start cooking the rice, and start chopping the veggies right away, if we so desired. Needless to say, we decided to give this culinary adventure a miss.
So, to summarize our advice for this hotel - Avoid. If you know of someone who is planning to stay here, Dissuade. And if you ever find yourself in the vicinity of this hotel - Simply Run! Certainly, by a long distance, the worst hotel of our lives - even in a place like Baharmpur you can surely do much better.
- Also Known As:
- Baharampur Tourist Lodge Murshidabad, West Bengal, India