We stayed at the Alka Hotel for 4 nights in early May, after having spent 2 weeks in Bhutan. We arrived in the chaos that is Varanasi and our driver was waiting for us at the airport. Be advised it is about an hour's drive from the airport, we weren't expecting this. As other travellers have remarked, it's then about a 10 minute walk through the maze of the old town to the hotel, but the hotel provided porters for our backpacks, so the walk was fine.
We took the best room in the place, seeing as it was 45C and we had travelled all day, and this room has the best balcony in the hotel. The other cheaper rooms advertised with a balcony (which we had booked) have balconies, but there is a wire mesh covering them so we felt a little too clausterphobic with this and changed our room. Our room's balcony was shared, as it's immense and is the one that has the best views (you can fit about 30 people!), but we had it mostly to ourselves except for 1 or 2 nights, when there was a large tour group staying at the hotel. The hotel also made sure to remove the guests from the balcony at 9:30 or 9:45 so that we could sleep without any noise from the guests!
The restaurant was convenient and good and I would recommend eating there. The front desk staff were also helpful in getting us a tour agent to arrange plane and train transport for the remainder of our India trip, and this was at very reasonable prices.
However, the thing that makes this hotel is Moona, who was the nicest, most helpful and cheerful person we met in India. He basically runs everything at the hotel, except the front desk. We booked a tour with him, which I highly recommend. He protected us from all the hawkers and people as he negotiated the alleys of Varanasi and was always attentive to us and checking if we needed anything. Moona is certainly the heart and soul of this place, without him, we would not have the fond memories we have of the Alka Hotel!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Alka, a synonym for customer-oriented services from years, believes in providing an adorable environment to its guests, where not only they find peace in dwelling but also experience a the highest degree of dedication from the staff. And what more can one ask for? Hotel Alka is located right in the core of Varanasi, a place where even holiness is re-defined. Its evidently a must visit place for all in life. Varanasi (the ancient Kashi or the medieval Banaras) is one of the oldest cities of the world and is considered to be favourite, of even the almighty. Varanasi's prominence in Hindu mythology is virtually unrivalled. Mark Twain, the celebrated English author , who was enthralled by the legend and sanctity of Banaras, once wrote : "Banaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together." ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Alka Hotel Varanasi