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“Good location”
Review of Hotel Willow Banks

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Hotel Willow Banks
Ranked #16 of 116 Hotels in Shimla
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 7, 2013

We booked the superior room overlooking the valley. The room was large and the bathroom was in good condition. Room also had a balcony. Heating started at 5pm and shut down at 8am. We were also provided with a electric space heater.

Arrived the day after a storm so Mall road was iced over, and roads above Shimla were closed. It was a pain to get to the hotel as we had to take the elevator (stairs were coated with ice). The coolie took our bags to the hotel. The area by the elevator was iced over and crowded, and of course with our luck only one elevator was working. Peak season you are better off taking the stairs. The hotel is located close to the elevators and the stairs.

Hotel is on the quieter side of the Mall road. The hotel had very few guests at this time so buffet was not available. However you could order a la carte and the food and service was really good.

Since we traveled during winter, the Mall was not as crowded (relatively speaking). I am not sure if I would stay at this hotel in peak season. You may be better off getting something away from the Mall. Shimla has become over commercialized so finding a hotel in one of the nearby villages/areas might give a better overall experience.

Room Tip: Choose room overlooking valley; 2nd floor and above.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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Thank TPatNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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370 - 376 of 503 reviews

Reviewed February 18, 2013

Got down from our vehicle at the lift and carried our bags up to the top. Make sure you have luggage with wheels. Don't bother with a coolie as they will probably walk with your luggage along the steps. The lift is much more convenient and cheaper (10 rupees per person and heavy luggage)
Once on top, take a right from the lift exit on Mall road and walk about 5 mins max. There you arrive at Willow Banks.
This hotel is perfectly located. Bang on Mall road, but on the much quieter end. Visited the second week of Feb.

To summarise what could be a lengthy description.

Why should you stay here?
1. Perfect location. On th Mall road where all the action is.
2. Very Close to the lift, if you need to go down to the car park.
3. Quiet part of the Mall road.
4. Great service by the Staff,
5. Central heating from 6 pm to 8.30 am.
6. 24 hour hot water.
7. Served the complementary breakfast in the room as we had to check out early.

Don't stay here if:
1. You want A great view. The premium rooms have a valley view, though it is restricted. Still it may have better views than other places.
2. You have your own vehicle. Nothing to do with the hotel. Vehicles are not allowed on the Mall road, and you need to take the lifts or walk every time Down to the parking lot. And parking is scarce and expensive. You may prefer a hotel with its own parking.
Not an issue if you have a car with a driver who took care of his staying and parking.

Nearly gave 5 stars. Wish they hadn't charged me for a few printouts. Kinda dampened the hospitality part a bit. Given the perfect hospitality till then it did come as a surprise.

Would I stay here again?

Yes. It's an easy choice due to its location and hospitality.
Food is average, although there are plenty if places to eat on the mall road. Rooms are not new but decently maintained and clean.
Overall a wonderful experience at the Willow Banks.

Room Tip: Premium rooms have a valley view. Take the lift to the mall road if you can manage your luggage. L...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Shayne P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2013

stayed here for 1 night in January. situated right on the mall road near the staircase. we did not take the life as there was a long queue. The room and bathroom were clean and adequately stocked. However, we got a room in the new wing which basically meant we had to take a walk in the cold to reach the room.

the premium room was big and we had taken an additional bed since there were 3 of us.

breakfast was typical but the spread was good. we also ate dinner in the restaurant and quite liked the Indian food.

the manager also helped us book a cab for travel to nearby places at good rates.

would recommend staying here because of the location.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank gean2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2013

The best thing about this hotel is its location. It's right on the Mall road - the main hub of shimla. One could just walk from the hotel and cover most of the key places of interest. The hotel is in the style of a quaint old colonial boutique hotel. It is small but has a charming air about it. Service is quite quick and efficient. We wanted the central room heating to be checked and it was promptly done. Room service was fast and everything that we ordered was served in a reasonably quick time. The front desk personnel was kind of helpful but I felt that he could have been a little more attentive. A porter was sent to meet us at the parking lot to guide us and drop off our luggage at the hotel ( chargeable service). Instead of taking the tourist lift which has a long waiting, one may save time by walking up a long set of stairs through the hill and reach the hotel on the mall road. If you are traveling with elderly people or kids, then I would suggest the lift though it may be more time consuming.
The breakfast spread was average but the food was good.

One big drawback is the non availability of parking space in the hotel. Mall road being a vehicle free zone, tourists need to park their cars in the paid public parking lots around the tourist lift road. The parking lots were choc-a-bloc even for this time of the year and we had a very tough time finding a spot. Needless to say, the private parking lots charge a lot.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Krithika_Sriram
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

We couldn't have picked a bettter hotel. It was very stylish. Our premier view room was large with a lot of space between the two beds and with a modern bathroom and right on the Mall. The food in the restaurant was also very good and the staff very pleansant and helped us arrange drivers et cetera. Dawn and Ali from Australia

Room Tip: Do take a premium room with a view over Shimla and Christ Church.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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Thank BibiSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Ambiance of hotel is good, and the hotel is quite though it is located on the Mall Road. And the most plus point is it has Central heating system, and close to the Lift.

Walk able distance to all the major locations, and the most beautiful mall road.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Bharath_Jaladi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2013

Surprisingly very good hotel. We never thought it will be so beautiful. Very good rooms and bathrooms. Excellent food served at their restaurant. Breakfast served was fan static. Location fanstatic and recommended for everyone.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Shivanginidhi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Willow Banks

Address: Opp Tourism Lift, Shimla 171001, India
Location: India > Himachal Pradesh > Shimla District > Shimla
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Luxury Hotel in Shimla
#7 Spa Hotel in Shimla
#11 Family Hotel in Shimla
Price Range: $86 - $219 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Willow Banks 4*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Willow Banks was established in the year 1871, a landmark estate which spells history and exemplifies an era of gracious living. Originally owned by Arthur James Craddok, "Architect and Builder of Shimla," in a fitting tribute to his memory the building has been redesigned into a hotel, endowed with all modern amenities and comforts, effortlessly blending into the surrounding pine trees, landscapes and enhancing its beauty. The hotel is located on The Heritage Mall Road, a pleasant walking distance from the famous Ridge, Scandal point, Lakkar Bazaar, Gaiety Theater, Ancient Kali Bari & Jakhoo Temple, High Court, Secretariat, C.M. Residence and Raj Bhavan. Amidst the age old Deodar and Pine trees, Willow Banks Estate on the Mall Road overlooks the lush green valley, the majestic mountains and the complete well lit town of Shimla. The hotel is easily accessible from the High Court Parking and the Tourism Lift, making staying a convenient proposition for one and all. The charming walking trails of Shimla are a pleasant stone's throw away from the hotel. Whatever the purpose of your visit, relaxation away from the busy city life, exploring natural beauties that the town has to offer or pumping adventure trips, Hotel Willow Banks at Shimla guarantees to make your vacation worth remembering. The blend of extremes, modern facilities in a heritage estate and picturesque views at the Mall Road level, make Willow Banks arguably the best hotel in Shimla. Also rated by TripAdvisor as amongst the top 10 Jewel Hotels of India. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Willow Banks Hotel
Willow Banks Shimla

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