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“Warning: this place will ruin your stay elsewhere”

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Ram Bhawan Kautilya Society Residence
Ranked #13 of 215 Specialty Lodging in Varanasi
Certificate of Excellence
San Antonio, TX
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Warning: this place will ruin your stay elsewhere”
Reviewed February 5, 2014 via mobile

Never have I found a place as cosy as this. The beds are nice, and the staff is very helpful. Mangla is AMAZING and provides excellent and speedy service even offering to cook for the guys and I when we arrived late for lunch ( we declined for her sake) Arnath booked a last minute taxi for us to the airport (tip: book it a day in advance so the staff isn't running around for you)

The rooftop is great although the cafe/restaurant needs to be advertised and developed more. But the breakfast and lunch provided is so substantial and so good that u don't even need dinner except for maybe some snacks.

The airport pick up was flawless, and recommended. Some of the staff speak no English but always try to understand with sign language.

As for the cultural exchange, yes we all spoke to each other about our own cultures but I would've liked some cultural offerings from the society and the local workers, but you'll get plenty of that outside anyway.

If you stay here, please respect the staff and please be considerate with your requests so that their friendly demeanor doesn't wane. I've seen good guesthouses go bad because of great reviews, large flocks of backpackers that act like a-holes and the staff becomes jaded and embittered. Be friendly, polite and considerate and you will ensure this place remains amazing for other people and probably for yourself in the future (Varanasi is insane but this place will make u want to return)

Stayed February 2014, traveled solo
Helpful?
1 Thank Jd_murcia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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175 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brussels, Région De Bruxelles-Capitale, Belgium
Level Contributor
28 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 13, 2014

This is not a hotel, nor a guesthouse! We felt like we were at home! The staff (that also stays in house) is super friendly and helpful, the complimentary breakfast and lunch are homemade and, thus, very tasty, the other guests are also international travelers, so you get to meet with people from all over the world and hang out in the common area! The place is amazingly decorated, very clean, the rooms are cozy and spacious. It is also very conveniently located - right behind the Munshi ghat (Ganga river). I also very much appreciate all the efforts the Kautilya Society does to protect the cultural and natural heritage of such a historic city like Varanasi. Kudos and hope to be back soon!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Maria B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 11, 2014

A true cultural exchange here. Sure the place is an incredibly clean, very comfortable, and in a great location. Sure the breakfast and lunch included are both delicious. And sure the view of the Ganges from the stellar rooftop cafe is special. But beyond all that, it is the friendly staff and incredible social atmosphere set up here that make this the best place to stay in India and one of my top three hostels in all the world. (I've spent more than a year travelling and staying in hostels across europe, north and south america, and some of Asia.

This place is a safe haven from the intoxicating madness of Varanasi. A peaceful oasis from the frantic energy all around you, and a home away from home. So many great conversations shared about India and the rest of the world, about life and everything else with interesting and intelligent people from all around the world.

I ended up staying 8 days and am honestly hoping to come back for 6 months or a year while teaching in Varanasi, which is the most amazing place I had the privilege of exploring in my 5 weeks in northern India. We had an amazingly entertaining new years eve party up on the rooftop and just general good times over the whole stay. I felt like I was leaving home when I finally left, so much so that a 14 hour train delay was a gift instead of a curse.

If you're in Varanasi, or really anywhere close to it, you should be staying here and enjoying a rare and special experience in the best hostel in India.

Room Tip: The dorm is spacious and a great deal with only 4 beds in a space that could fit 12. The rooms are...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank Luke R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
43 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2014

I stayed here with a friend in December in the 2-bed female dorm room. The female room is through the 4-bed male dorm, with a shared bathroom/shower in the hallway. It does essentially work out to e private double though and while it was slightly inconvenient to go through the male dorm, it was more disruptive to them than us. We did meet great people staying here! The place is clean and homey and provides breakfast every morning, family style and lunches on the weekdays that are all complementary and delicious. The location is tucked off the main road but a very easy walk to the river. We also arranged our sunrise Ganga boat tour through them at one of the cheapest prices we found. They also arranged a taxi to the airport for us. Cute rooftop cafe and beautiful common areas. Definitely recommend this place. It is for a younger group at least in the dorm rooms, 20-30s. There are private rooms available though.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank CTravs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed December 5, 2013

This place leaves me wishing I could stay for three months... The entire building is beautifully decorated & has unique, spacious bedrooms with desks. Delicious home-cooked meals and many fascinating discussions with other travelers at the breakfast table. The wi-fi was a huge plus. The beautiful roof-top cafe has a remarkable view, including the Ganges River--not to mention the affordable food & numerous hot/cold drink options. The location is literally just steps from the ghats. A true gem. I truly hope to come back again for an extended stay.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank YogaGirlCLT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Delhi, India
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 2, 2013

The rooms, bathrooms were very neat and tidy, the whole ambiance very friendly. While my reservations about Banaras itself only grew, Ram Bhawan was like an oasis. The staff members are exceedingly friendly and the 4 dogs outside (they are no longer pups, Srimanta) complete the picture. The terrace is lovely as well as is the food. All in all, a wonderful experience.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Arpan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Holmfirth
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed November 28, 2013

I had such a wonderful time here, I could have stayed for weeks and weeks. Cheap, amazing free food, my room was a writers paradise, great location, kitchen facilities, hot showers, GREAT Wifi, dorm rooms, plenty of friendly backpackers to talk to, lovely staff... I almost don't want to tell everyone about it so it stays a secret. Stay here, it will make Varanasi even more amazing than it already is!!

Room Tip: I stayed in the Female dorm, it was lovely!
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Annapurna M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ram Bhawan Kautilya Society Residence

Property: Ram Bhawan Kautilya Society Residence
Address: Munshi Ghat D 20/21 | Old Varanasi, Varanasi 221001, India
Location: India > Uttar Pradesh > Varanasi District > Varanasi
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 215 Specialty Lodging in Varanasi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ram Bhavan is the hospitality structure of the Kautilya Society. A four floor building architected in a traditional style in the historical area near Dashashwamedh Ghat, with a terrace with a wonderful view on the river and the city. It is the residential facility for members in Varanasi, providing accommodation with half board and lodging throughout the year. At Ram Bhavan members can enjoy the warmth and protection of a family-style environment, as well as the good and reliable meals of our personally-trained cook. ... more   less 
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