We stayed in the new Hotel Sandhya, Manali for 3 days (24/May to 27/May). 3 families with total of 6 adults and 6 kids. Before the full story, let me summarise it in one word: appalling.
The disaster started upon arrival itself. We had booked and paid advance for a 3 bed "cottage" as per their website. But when we landed, it had magically converted itself to the top floor of a regular hotel building. When we entered the rooms after a long tiring drive from Shimla, found everything covered with a thin layer of magical manali snow. Only that it was not snow and just dust from painting or something. All rooms, furniture, beds, everything!! Apparently, the rooms were brand new and nobody had even bothered to check if it is in inhabitable condition. Based on our complaint, a bunch of guys soon arrived and cleaned up the place, while we waited.
On the plus side, the rooms were spacious, restrooms well designed and kids had a fun time bundled in the hall room in their extra beds. Only if they had bothered to clean and check things before our arrival.
From next day, started a long string of problems. No hot water, no room service unless explicitly called, no towel replacements...nothing. The excuse from management for everything was "its a brand new hotel sir". Maybe we should have paid using brand new handwritten IOU notes. The brochure also mentioned kitchen facility in the cottage...yes, there was a kitchen space, but a nice cache of brick and mortar pieces were delivered to us thru the chimney opening within afew hrs of our arrival. Maybe its a new experimental construction technology.
We put up with all this nonsense as we were still having a good time with friends and kids. Then came the jewel in the crown. On Friday, all 12 of us came down with severe stomach infection. We had food only from the hotel and nowhere outside, so the source was pretty obvious. We also met 3 other families staying there who hit the same problem. Imagine a 14hr bus journey to Delhi to manali with kids and adults all sick. We got thru this only with gods grace. And pampers diapers. Guess the hotel managements response..."its a new hotel sir".
All of us are senior managers in multi nationals like IBM, Cisco, Nvidia and can understand the business interest in opening up a not 100% ready facility so that billing can start. However, the response to the issues we faced were below expectation. So was the request for cash settlement about 1hr before our bus leaves. (Who the hell does not take plastic these days??!!)
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