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“Hotel OK - but laundry failed!”

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The Gateway Hotel Ganges Varanasi
Ranked #4 of 73 Hotels in Varanasi
Certificate of Excellence
Aberporth
Level Contributor
70 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Hotel OK - but laundry failed!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2013

Hotel on the whole was good, and the food was very enjoyable, especially the breakfast! We stayed here 2 nights on our tour of India & Nepal, and I decided to have some laundry done. I telephoned reception and was told they would come and pick it up, but when we returned from dinner, it was still in the bag waiting, and there it remained!
The bar was a lovely area, but unfortunately the barman didn't seem to want any of us to be in there, and was extremely grumpy, and kept checking his watch waiting for us to leave - it wasn't incredibly late, about 10.45 pm.
More disappointed with the laundry not being done as we were living out of our suitcases.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank PugseyAberporth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,477 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Colchester, UK
Level Contributor
237 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 306 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 2013

Unless you are a Hindu pilgrim, I guess the main (only) reason one visits the Hindu holy city of Varanasi is to see the morning and evening ceremonies at the ghats (stairs) down to the River Ganges. These ceremonies are a humbling, perhaps emotional experience, which you will share with thousands of Hindu pilgrims who flock to the city on a daily basis through the grime, smells and bustle of the city. You will need a comfortable albeit slightly faded haven, even more so if you visit at the time of the Kumba festival and experience 25mm. rain in 24hours, as we did. The luxury Varanasi Gateway provides that, most of the time.

The hotel is located in 30 acres of splendid gardens. Entering the hotel grounds - as elsewhere with International hotels - means passing through several security layers, the first of which comprises hydraulic metal posts at the entrance. On arrival, Gateway staff were friendly and helpful. However, when we came to check we were told that the hotel could not provide us with a double room - even though the reservation had been made about one year ago. Anyway, after a considerable amount of argument, the duty manager, then the manager, finally finally offered us a premium double, from which we would not need to move after one night (another belated concession, after too much prevarication and resistance. This is supposed to be a high end chain, right?). Anyway, after too much unnecessary argument, we got to where we should have been half an hour before - and we got a nice cup of chai. The room was spacious, but with a small, rather awkward, bathroom (albeit with a pretty large shower), small closet and fairly large safe. The hotel provides reasonably reliable wifi, but at a cost (140INR for 0.5 hours, 320 for 2 and 620 for 24 hours). But, why does a supposedly high end chain charge? Why not also charge separately for electricity, water, cleaning? Frankly, it's petty. We tried to ascertain whether one could log off and log on again to use remaining time, but got no answer from the IT people to whom the front desk transferred us. No one answers the extension on the website and the website does not say. I think the answer to the question is No. Facilities in this premium room included a useful desk as well as a couch, but no ironing board or iron. The view from the room was uninspiring and included a rusty fire escape, no sign of the beautiful grounds.

Notwithstanding our premium room miraculously appearing from nowhere, the hotel was pretty full with some large (very friendly) international tour groups, who reserved numerous tables in the nice, large, dining room opening out on to the gardens for breakfast and dinner. The buffet breakfast included a range of "western" and Indian fare with friendly and attentive staff ready to provide coffee and extras, and opportunities to chat with other tourists. The dinner buffet at 1,000INR a pop is reasonable value, although the food is hardly haute cuisine. Salads and pulses are available, and quite a range of Indian main dishes, which change somewhat from night to night. Some of them, notably the lamb dishes, need better preparation as they are something like 80% bone. Fish and chicken are usually better choices. Maybe there is a chef management issue with the lamb dishes.

Apart from these problems, we were also surprised to find a high-end hotel providing beds with springs protruding. Our double bed was uncomfortable. Finally, despite the front desk staff being very helpful, friendly, and obliging, there were several occasions when we had to follow up on our requests, and sometimes no one answered the telephone. Same with getting a second cup of coffee in the dining room.

Nonetheless, when you have had to walk through filth, rain, and goodness knows what else for a couple of kilometres to the ghats, when your car cannot get you any nearer because of the high volume of Kumba pilgrims and police controls, you will surely appreciate the Gateway.

I guess there are few alternative options in Varanasi, if one really wants to go there.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JohnEO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
leeds
Level Contributor
419 reviews
93 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 200 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2013

This is a smart hotel with very big grounds. I got a bit grumpy with the staff as my suite wasn't ready when on arrival - I hate that! The room wasn't as nicely furnished as some Indian hotels in this price range, a bit stark for my taste but comfortable enough. I think having shelled out $140 per night extra for a suite I expected more somehow. Anyway, the reception and door staff were friendly enough and (once we got booked in) efficient for the rest of the stay. In common with several other hotels encountered on this trip they don't seem to be able to do breakfast service very well with long delays getting a refill of coffee etc.
There's a nice cheap place to eat just up the road - Brownies - any taxi or tut tut will know it and you can get nice art and handycrafts if you want. No pressure, if you see it and like it then buy it.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank imacbeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Level Contributor
409 reviews
123 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 336 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2013

This older, former grand hotel was a welcomed oasis from the hustle and bustle that is Varanasi. It is clean and comfortable but somewhat worn. Rooms have small, updated bathrooms. Beds are comfortable and the lighted headboard really cool. We originially only had 2 towels and 1 washcloth in the bath but after we requested more, Seema left us plenty plus rose petals on the bed! There was no clock radio in the room. There were the usual short power outages we encountered in many of our Indian hotels. Binod was the best bartender, making wonderful cosmopolitans and mojitos! Taramoni was a gem of a waitress in the casual restaurant where we had a custom-made pizza. The breakfast buffet was good. The fancy restaurant, Varuna, had the best lentils and biryani on our trip, although they were very spicey. I must add that we only found mosquitoes in Varanasai during our two week trip in India, especially down by the Ganges River.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Teramo48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2013

We loved staying at this hotel. While the room was clean and basic,it was really the ground that made the stay. The hotel was a fantastic retreat at the end of a day exploring the Ganges. We played Badminton and Croquet, sat by the pool and played card games, walked through the gorgeous garden. The breakfast was great, and the concierge organised all our transport and guides which was really helpful. It was quite expensive but by far the best choice of everywhere we saw while there. Would recommend anyone visiting Varanasi stay here.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank AanaMP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Falls Church, VA USA
Level Contributor
118 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 10, 2013

The Gateway Ganges is a good choice for travelers who want peace, quiet and nice grounds onsite. The guest rooms are well appointed and clean, although the decor is a little dated. Service was good; food in the cafe was good. I stayed only one night so I did not have much time to experience the property.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank lynnzie513
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chichester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 7, 2013

I think I must have been in one of older rooms as needed an upgrade and not as good as previous Taj hotels I've stayed in. Excellent breakfast buffet. Try the orange chaas. Beautiful and extensive gardens and vegetable gardens. Pool lovely and attendant shooed away onlookers and brought me towel to drape over immediately. Away from the frantic pace of Varanasi ghats area so a welcome retreat and relatively peaceful.
Free wifi not available . Unacceptable.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jeannette W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Gateway Hotel Ganges Varanasi

Property: The Gateway Hotel Ganges Varanasi
Address: Nadesar Palace Grounds | Cantonment, Varanasi 221002, India (Formerly Taj)
Phone Number:
Location: India > Uttar Pradesh > Varanasi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 73 Hotels in Varanasi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — The Gateway Hotel Ganges Varanasi 5*
Number of rooms: 130
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Group-oriented mid-rise hotel centrally located on Raja Bazar Road at Nadesar Palace Grounds, on the banks of the Varuna River. ... more   less 
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