Such potential but disappointing. The hotel is in a splendid location, right on the ghats. It has been recently meticulously restored at great cost I expect, but alas it is not being maintained. The hotel only opened at the beginning of this year 2012.
India is dirty by Western standards but it does not have to be. Many areas of the hotel were grubby which is probably unnoticed by the staff but I am sure the owners would be concerned that their investment is being neglected. Do not misunderstand me, the hotel is not dirty just grubby. There seems to be no sense of pride by the staff. This hotel has so so much potential with proper strong management and discipline and training of the staff. It does not need much more money at all spent on it. This hotel has the potential to be the best on the river and indeed it probably currently is but it could be and should be absolutely amazing.
The room we had, whilst small was furnished well and with stone walls. It was on the third floor but slightly set back, nevertheless we still had a river view. Remember this is a refurbished old building. Some of the ceiling paper had started to lift in the bathroom, there were small cracks in the joins between the wall and ceiling. Nothing major and what one would expect after a major refurbishment. Most people would have these attended to but it seems as if they are just being ignored. There would be very little cost to remedy these tiny issues.
We were here for three nights including Dev Deepvali, an absolutely amazing experience when all the ghats are lit with hundreds of thousands of candles. It is a must to see it from the river and for the boatman this day is the best day of their year. They can charge ten to twenty. times more than normal for a boat ride. It is though one of those things that you just have to do and if you can afford to stay here then you can afford to be exploited by the boatmen. We had a two hour trip booked to go up and down stream. When we returned after 1 1/2 hours the hotel manager Manish was on the steps as we entered back into the hotel. He asked why we had returned early, we told him that the boatman said out time had finished. Manish said we had paid for a minimum of two hours and spoke with the boat owner who immediately put us back into the boat for another journey.
There was one frustrating incident which I hope was a genuine mistake. On one of the days my wife and I returned to the hotel for 15 minutes with our guide. We ordered three teas, two for us and one for our guide. He was sitting in a beautiful lounge area outside the main door of the hotel (Wonderful to sit and watch the world go by). Our teas were delivered to our room. We were changing into something warmer for the evening boat ride. When we went back downstairs our guide told us is tea had not arrived. Very disappointing but hopefully a genuine mistake.
Breakfast is from a small buffet with eggs being cooked to order. Lunch is al a carte and dinner a buffet. There is a small selection of continental and Indian foods, which implies everything is freshly cooked daily. But why oh why do they sit you down on tables with dirty tablecloths?
My wife and I unfortunately became very ill probably with food poisoning. It occurred after we had been there for 48 houirs and almost certainly we got it from the only oher place we ate away from the hotel. I was so bad that I called for the doctor in the middle of the night. Reception said that they could not call him until teh morning and he could not arrive until about 9-30am. Glad it was not a heart attack!
Manish the hotel manager was superb and constantly contacted my wife to see how I was.
In conclusion the hotel has wonderful views and the best location on the river. I just sincerely hope that it is exploited to its full potential.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- WelcomHeritage Jukaso Ganges at Varanasi is built on a sloped embankment called the ‘Guleria Ghat’ on the banks of the Holy Ganga River is typical of the riverfront architecture of Benaras. Sandstone quarried from the Chunar Area has been extensively used in the structural beams and columns of this property. The property has 15 Well appointed rooms and most of them are east facing which provide the guest with the advantage of a river view and a soothing breeze blowing off it. ... more less
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