Hotel Varuna, Varanasi, was one of the biggest mistakes I have made in the recent past, in choosing a hotel to stay in.
I had a one night stay for business purpose at Varanasi and I began by searching for a Hotel near Varanasi Railway Station as I had a train out from Varanasi. Owing to its close proximity to the Station, this Hotel came up on a search engine and I visited the website of the Hotel.
The First Farce - The Website
The Website is fairly beautifully done up with pictures of "Lush Green Gardens", which were not there, a "Lounge Cafe", which was a basic 14 feet by 14 feet room with 3 - 4 sofas and a dining table in the middle, and "Cozy Rooms", which could make one feel as cozy as a pig feels in his sty - There were cracks on all the walls, which were crying for a touch of paint, the bed and linen thereon was dirty; and the toilet was a shambles. The website hides all these facts by putting up beautiful pictures which are far from reality and generally the website portrays a picture of professionalism, which is far from the truth; for the "Hotel" itself is basically a Bungalow in a Residential Area, with the Bedrooms converted into rooms and suites.
The Second Farce: The Tariff
For the innocent traveller, the Tariff helps one to gauge the quality and standard that can be expected of a particular Hotel. This is not true for this Hotel at all. In fact the misleadingly beautiful website couples with the overpriced Rs. 3,000/- range of Tariff for “Superior Room“ to lead one to believe that this would be a decent 3 Star Property, which it is not.
The Third Farce: The girl on the phone
If basis the website and tariff, one decides to go ahead with this hotel; and makes the call, there is a fairly well spoken girl who answers the phone and talks in good English asking questions about your stay and your preferences therein – leaving an impression of professionalism that can be expected at the Hotel. I was in for a rude shock, when I was greeted at the desk by an unshaven, shabbily dressed Manager, who looked like a thug and asked in a gruff manner about my stay, details of which I had already given to the aforementioned girl on the phone. He said that based on my conversation with her, I was entitled to a particular class of room at the rate agreed and I was ushered into a coffin of a room, 70% of which was occupied by the double bed in it. Miffed by now; and with realisation dawning that I had been conned, I looked up the booklet etc lying around the room to discover that I had been holed up in the most basic “Studio Room”, while I had agreed on the Tariff for a “Superior Room”. Further shock came when I called up the girl again seeking clarification; and was told “why don’t you talk to the guy who is there and tell him your problem, he will sort it out”. Anyway, I took it up with the guy showing considerable vexation in my tone and was awarded another room without much further ado.
The Fourth Farce: The Room itself
I think that I have amply exemplified the state the hotel was in, so a similar description can be expected of the room itself. The first thought that struck me upon entering the “Superior Room” was: "this kind of a room should be available for 1,000 - 1,200/-
The Fifth Farce: Billing Instructions
Owing to my company’s accounting policy, I generally ask hotels for an airport pickup and clarify at the onset that I would like to have the charges added to the total bill, which amount I would pay by Company Credit Card when settling my dues. During check-out, the gentleman at the desk had already prepared my bill in a fashion that best suited his whims and demanded that I pay the taxi fellow in Cash for the previous day’s ferry (the Taxi guy was summoned and now stood in a corner expectantly). When I told him that I had agreed to staying at this hotel, under very clear billing instructions, he looked up and glared at my temerity of suggesting that he should do away with the bill he had made and make a new bill as per the instructions already agreed to. Whereupon I considered that it would be easier for me to submit clarifications to my own company’s accounts department than to engage in further combat with this thug or challenge the sensibilities of the girl on the phone. Wanting to keep this ugly experience as short as possible, I paid up in cash and departed with a resolve to submit this write-up on a forum which could help save other travellers from the con I had just been subjected to...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Varuna is a 3 star boutique hotel located in the Sigra area of Varanasi. It is at a distance of a kilometer from the Varanasi Junction Railway Station. The hotel features spacious and modern rooms, exquisite Lounge's and restaurants, beautiful Gardens and is well-equipped with banquet facilities ideal to host conferences and weddings.Free Internet Access is provided over a Wifi Network throughout all areas of the Hotel. The hotel's contemporary architecture, warm hospitality and top-notch services are sure to please travelers for business and leisure. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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