We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“BETTER THAN THE TAJ”
Review of Hotel Alka

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 5 more sites!
Hotel Alka
Ranked #6 of 79 Hotels in Varanasi
Certificate of Excellence
washington, dc
Level 6 Contributor
181 reviews
148 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 289 helpful votes
“BETTER THAN THE TAJ”
Reviewed August 9, 2013

I have been traveling in India for months at a time since 1992, so I know about what I speak when it comes to India. Travel in this country is not an easy proposition, there are frustrations, complications, disappointments, miscommunications, and vast amounts of misunderstandings. That in mind, it is necessary to understand that the negative reports of some unhappy folks who have perceived their experiences at the Alka to be unhappy ones, should be not really be taken into account when deciding on this property, as its many great attributes very far out way any possible disappointments. IT IS A GREAT PLACE TO STAY - REALLY THE BEST CHOICE IN THIS TOWN.
HERE IS WHY:
Location: the alka is located very near to the center of all riverside activity - commercial and religous - right on the ghats of the Ganges - only steps away from the major religious activity and facilities for the resident and tourist. High above the river, but right on the banks of it, the Alka is in the middle of the actions, but at the same time above it all,so as to make a tranquil island of retreat when desired, between the infamous burning ghat and the activity of dasaswamed ghat. One can see it all from the lovely terrace and dip into it when desired.
The Alka has a variety of room types and costs, so can be enjoyed by many types of travelers. it is not a luxurious place but simple and clean and attractive, with enthusiastic service from a committed and English speaking staff. wifi and internet service is provided. There is an adequate restaurant on the terrace overlooking the river - a meeting place for travelers and residents over meals, snacks, and drinks. (it is a non-alcohol, non veg hotel).
There is internet reservations via Rajesh at the front desk. Sightseeing can be arranged on a personal basis with the tourism manager Munna. AC is in some rooms, all rooms have color TV. En suite bathrooms available.
One really MUST stay on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi. That is really important. The more upscale hotels that are on the banks of the river are up at Assi Ghat which is muddy and not in the medieval city, far from the interesting activities, and frequented mostly by foreigners, so the Alka location is the best of all.

Room Tip: variety available
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank FROOOM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,183 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    430
    473
    159
    65
    56
See reviews for
217
362
220
14
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (327)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Dortmund, Germany
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed August 5, 2013

I booked a room with AC and private balcony with river view. I did not book in advance what was no problem after all (+). The hotel has direct Ganga access and a nice river view. It is adjacent to hotel Ganpati. It makes a sterile impression without any charm (the walls are white, plastic chairs in the restaurant).
I paid around 2400Rps for one night. Although I tried hard, I could not get the price down (it was off-season and flood!) (-) but of course I paid for the river view too. From the balcony I had a view to the southern ghats. From the terrace/restaurant you also get a clear view to the Ganges.
Entering the room, the bed had no sheets. Only after asking I got a dirty and holey bed sheet. The AC was louder than any fan and could not provide any cool and fresh air (-). Otherwise the room was fine.
The receptionist arranged a rickshaw sightseeing tour for me (including all the sights in and around Varanasi). He wanted 700Rps. I again tried to bargain hard. He said it is a fixed price and the rickshaw driver is a reliable good person and they always book with him. No bargaining about the price. So at the end I paid the 700Rps what is very much overpriced for India for a rickshaw-tour but I sought it might be worth it as the driver was supposed to pick me up from the hotel and to show me all the places plus some explanations. Also I was tired and had not much time so I accepted the offer. The driver picked me up on time but could not speak any English and was busy chewing his tobacco all the time. It turned out that what I really booked was not a sightseeing tour but a half-day temple tour what I clearly did not want to have. So I had to ask the driver with my few words Hindi to drive me to some other non-temple places as well. That annoyed him quite obvious, I guess he wanted to finish the temple-tour as fast as possible. In conclusion if I would have booked a rickshaw on the street and not with the hotel, I would have paid something like 200-300Rps and with a bit luck the driver can speak English (-).
In the restaurant they charge 180Rps for a MRP 100Rps beer (-).
The location is easy to find (I do not understand the people here writing it is hard to find - maybe travelling is nothing for you then). In the rainy season you have to access the hotel from the alleys (what might be a bit challenging but with a little sense for orientation no problem - or ask someone!), otherwise its easily accessible from the Ganga-walk. It is near Dasaswamedh ghat. For walks to the northern ghats or southern ghats or the old town the hotel is a perfect basis (+).
In summary if you want to spend a little bit too much money for what is being offered this might be okay for you. The location is top! The rooms are okay. The view nice. Do not go for a rickshaw-tour arranged by the receptionist (he might get commission for ripping you off)! So if you are fine with an average hotel with very good location and okay-rooms but without any heart, go for it. There are much worse hotels in Varanasi/India, this one is at least average (measured against western standards less than average, measured against Indian standards average or slightly more maybe). ;-)

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Manuel_Dortmund
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Delhi, Delhi, India
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 30, 2013

We stayed at Alka Hotel for 4 days and had a very happy experience. There was a pick-up from the station, and though one has to walk part of the way because vehicles do not ply after a point, but it is all part of the unique experience of Varanasi.
Varanasi is a fascinating city and Alka Hotel is situated right on the Ganges so that you can sit all day and watch the river from your room, or go down the steps to Meer Ghat, and lose yourself in the life of the Ghats.
The hotel itself was reasonably clean and comfortable. Its USP is the terrace/central courtyard where you could sit out and never tire of the river flowing beneath, while endless tea, coffee and snacks were served fresh and hot. The staff was always friendly and helpful. Most unforgettable was Munna, whose role seemed to be to make everybody comfortable, and he did that very efficiently! The way he found an answer/solution to all questions, and always with a warm smile, will be our reason (as for many others) for going back to Alka Hotel.

Room Tip: The rooms looking onto the river are of course the best and most expensive. But the central courtyar...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Krishna031
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2013

A beautiful guesthouse with a gorgeous view of the Ganges, a nice relaxed atmosphere and lovely, helpful staff. Food is not bad either. There is a nice guy called Munna working there who will give you a great tour of the city with interesting commentary for 800 rupees

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Seamar_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels, Belgium
Level 6 Contributor
239 reviews
162 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 160 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2013

Luckily we booked transport via the hotel on forehand. We were picked up from the train station where a staff member showed up with a sign from the hotel. We had to pay 150 Rupee per tuk-tuk. As the hotel is not reachable by tuk-tuk, you need to walk the last 2km through; first a car-free street (what a relief, no horning) and then through narrow streets filled with shops and cows. Take that into account if you travel with heavy suitcases; don’t. When Varanasi is your first destination in India, you’ll be in for a shock walking through the dirty streets avoiding cow-dirt.
At check-in we heard that the rooms were already available. We had one with the Ganges view. The rooms are basic. Small bathroom, at least in 101, no amenities , not even toiletpaper. The cold water also becomes warm after a while. Airco just has an on and off, no intermediate setting. So, we switched it off for the night. Luckily it was windy during our stay so we could easily survive the 30 degrees minimum night temperatures with just the fan on.

You pay 100 Rupee for the strong wifi, no matter how many devices you use and how long you stay. The separately owned restaurant serves an ok meal. Although not on the menu, beer is available. If you want to have a decent meal, go to Dosa café, a 3 minutes walk. It is #1 on Tripadvisor.

Reception staff is friendly. As we were leaving Varanasi by plane we ordered a taxi via the hotel for 1000 Rupees. A staff member will bring you to the taxistand then. When you do the same, leave around 3 hours before, because you need to walk a bit, and get through traffic.

This hostel only deserves it ranking because it is close to the main ghat and burning ghat.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank simonsmidt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
toronto
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2013

Ganges is pious , alka is calm;
Lanes r mystery , temples are the charm;
O varanasi , alka call me again n again......
Entering the hotel , was not new ;
All the staff waiting for the crew;
The benefit of reserving the room in advance;
U won`t like to lose ur chance;
O varanasi , alka call me again n again......
Facing the balcony , is a swift moving river ;
And the sunlight makes it more dearer;
Enjoy the cutlet , with a glass of cheer;
Excellent arrangements, nthng to fear;
O varanasi , alka call me again n again......
Friendly staff , all wide breadth;
Feel the peace , take a long breath;
Avail their varanasi long tour;
I bet u wnt be willing to rest;
O varanasi , alka call me again n again......


Sry for my poetry style, but my words end where their generosity starts....i was not
Well and they arranged me evrything ....hats of to you.....
Their are few left in this gruesome world , who actually cares selflesslly.....
Book your room in advance and enjoy their....my father visited this hotel in 1996 and took the
Top most room on 3rd floor from the restaurant, facing the ganges.....i took even the better one
On 1st floor ,....their best......the owners are as simple a man in earth...

Hope for next visit soon

Room Tip: Just book a room in advance on their website , but do avail their pick up service....,
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank bandanatoronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin
Level 6 Contributor
282 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
Reviewed July 23, 2013

It’s my third time to return to this Hotel, it’s so easy to stay here with the beautiful views of the Ganga, the calmness of the whole place is just wonderful. The rooms are spotless clean, the staff very friendly. The restaurant has the most amazing views with excellent service, the food is quite basic & a little bland, you can overlook all of this as the staff are so polite, adding the perfect location & views what more can you ask for.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Dublinblueeyes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Travelers also viewed these Varanasi hotels
0.0 mi away
Ganpati Guest House
Ganpati Guest House
#2 of 79 in Varanasi
2,086 reviews
1.5 mi away
Hotel Ganesha
Hotel Ganesha
#25 of 79 in Varanasi
190 reviews
0.3 mi away
Brijrama Palace
Brijrama Palace
#1 of 79 in Varanasi
281 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
1.2 mi away
Hotel Heritage Inn
Hotel Heritage Inn
#11 of 79 in Varanasi
519 reviews
0.3 mi away
Palace on Steps
Palace on Steps
#17 of 79 in Varanasi
431 reviews
0.9 mi away
Suryauday Haveli - An Amritara Resort
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Hotel Alka? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Hotel Alka

Property: Hotel Alka
Address: Meer Ghat D 3/23 | Dashashwamedh, Varanasi 221001, India
Location: India > Uttar Pradesh > Varanasi District > Varanasi
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Restaurant Room Service Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Varanasi
#2 Spa Hotel in Varanasi
#3 Best Value Hotel in Varanasi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Alka 3*
Number of rooms: 36
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Priceline, Travelocity, Cheap Tickets and Hotwire so you can book your Hotel Alka reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Alka Hotel Varanasi

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing