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“Comfortable but nothing special”
Review of Hotel Willow Banks

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Hotel Willow Banks
Ranked #18 of 114 Hotels in Shimla
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 14, 2013

Stayed two nights. Nice stay in spacious room with balcony. View was nice but partially obstructed. Good shower, comfortable beds. Nice breakfast the first morning. The second morning we required an early breakfast. It was nice that they were flexible about this, but it was brought late and included sandwiches made with stale bread. Service was always professional but not especially friendly. Great location, close to restaurants and old buildings along The Mall. However, using the lifts to get up to the Mall isn't ideal for an early start – they didn't start running until 8am (it was a Monday). Wifi did not work at all during our stay. Good overall but nothing special, especially given the price range.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank RaniX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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352 - 358 of 500 reviews

Reviewed May 12, 2013

You can’t go wrong booking willow banks as its one of the decent hotels close to the lift at Mall road. It is situated just before the Clarkes Hotel on the right side of the lift. And even if you haven’t booked in advance, don’t worry they will still offer you a good rate ( discounted – if bargained for ) if rooms are available.
Our check in was pleasant, and the staff was really helpful. The lobby was neat and clean and almost had a Royal look. ( though it’s a small hotel)
The views from all rooms are nearly the same, all hotels overlook the valley, which has a host of clustered building. We were in room 401 which was right on the corner. The room was comfortable for us ( triple occupancy) but the TV was not working fine. Inspite of reporting the problem to the Reception Desk the problem was not solved during our stay.
We opted out of the Buffet Breakfast as they charge 500 per person for the breakfast , and on the other hand the A la carte menu was quite decently priced. ( barring the package deal items on the menu). Food Service was good, and the serving size was also decent. However “service with a smile” was noticeably missing.
They have outsourced their travel desk to Rajeev a good and polite person, who will offer you good rates for taxis. However I suggest that one must also cross verify the rates at the taxi stand ( near the lower part of the Lift entrance).
Another good thing was that the bathroom were neat and clean and had Hot and Cold water in abundant supply. It also had a good hair dryer.
Wireless Internet was not complementary, and the use of the business centre internet café was Rs 50 for half an hour.
Well overall a Good Option !!!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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Thank DivinePrince
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

After browsing Tripadvisor for few days and contacting several hotels, we decided to go for Hotel Willow Banks. Even as we booked the hotel, we were not too sure how it might turn out to be as we had been thoroughly confused after reading the reviews. But there were two reasons why we chose it- first, their rates were reasonable and second, it appeared to be very approachable. Since, this would have been our first visit to Shimla, we didn’t want to lose time and money in getting lost.
We reached Kalka by Shatabdi and from there we took a taxi( at fixed rates from the taxi stand just outside the railway station) and were later glad that our reservation in Himalayan Queen did not get confirmed. Why? Read my other review on Himalayan Queen.
As had been advised by other reviewers, we asked the taxi driver to drop us at the taxi stand located at base of the tourist lift. As you come out of the lift, you have to turn right on the Mall Road and walk barely for 100m. There is absolutely NO need to hire a porter as the hotel is downhill on that road, and if you are carrying trolley, it's pretty easy to pull your luggage. Hotel is right next to the famous Clarkes Hotel.
The rooms are very good, clean and match the standards of any good hotel. But don’t expect good view from any room. Anyone who has posted that premium rooms offer good view is simply lying, because there can’t be any view in any hotel located on Mall Road, not even Clarkes Hotel, because of the location. All that you see from the balcony of the room is the hill side chequered with houses and hotels. But since during our stay it was rainy and extremely cold, we never sat in the balcony, and we never saw any monkeys either, though it's a pretty common sight on the Mall Road.
We stayed in premium room. Our room was large and spacious, and though it was right next to the lift, there was never any noise or any kind of disturbance. Beds were clean and comfy.
Breakfast buffet is decent, though not much variety but it was ok. Avoid South Indian stuff as the preparation is not good. The muffins though are tasty. Outsiders will find the breakfast rates pretty expensive, but we had it included in our package. If only the person attending the guests could manage to smile once in a while, it would have been so much better !! We never saw him smile even once during our 4 days stay.
We had dinner in our room on the first day and both the preparation and the cost were decent. Portion size was also good.
Service is prompt and good. Wireless Internet is very expensive but we never used as we were on vacation and never wanted to check our mails.
Bathroom is clean and though the rooms had bathtub, you can not use it. Not only do they ask their guests not to use it, they also have removed the plug so you can't even fill the bathtub, even if you wanted to. They do provide hair dryer and the toiletteries are of good quality. One thing that I didn’t like was that water almost trickles from the shower, without any pressure ( I guess one of their efforts to save water), so bathing is no fun at all. They should do something about this.
Why should you go for it?
1) Decent rack rates and easy booking process through mail.
2) Very good standard of rooms
3) Good food
4) On the Mall Road( must visit for every first timer to Shimla)
5) Easily approachable
6) Near the taxi stand from where you can hire taxi to anywhere in Shimla

They do have spa facilities but only for women, which I didn't use. During power cuts, the basement where its located is quite uninviting.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank CoolIndiantraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2013

It is a nice hotel located 150 - 200 mts as one gets out of the lift on the left side. Rooms are decent size, clean and good toilets. View from balcony is very good but be aware of monkeys. Morning breakfast doesn't have much option but the food is ok in taste.

Room Tip: Have room on the higher floor.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank RohitDube
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2013

An enchanting experience while staying in shimla.The summer was just on the corner in our city-Gandhinagar,Gujarat, but here the need was to have protection from cold.The central heating system helped a lot.Hot shower was good for the day to start. Breakfast of PARATHAS was homely, continental was also nice though south indian snacks needed to be upgraded. Surprisingly ,juices were not freshly squeezed and were served from the tins. The restaurant offered good food.
The only regret was the balcony-though overlooking the vally's multiple layered residences, it was just close to the fast food terrace, and constant presence of people and workers robbed much of our desire to sit back there and relax.
so take second floor, if you want unhindered access to balcony from your premium room.!
EXCELLENT OVERALL.

Room Tip: if going for premier room go for higher floor
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank manojoza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2013

Over all a good & satisfactory one.
One should visit the hotel if has the sufficient budget. Restaurant services are very costly, compared to this there are other very good restaurants where u can have good food in much more cheap rates.


  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with Cleartrip
Thank Kapil P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2013

This place is great if you want to stay on mall as it is just 500 meters from the malss center point i.e. is ridge. We also liked it since it is just 1 min walk from the life. Good place if you are with young kids .... The tariffs are slightly on the higher side compared to the facilities you have but rooms are really big ...you with a primium room get a balcony with a view but you feel bad seeing the poor side of shimla ....alot of garbage ,...concrete jungle etc....Food is ok but since it is just start of the season and less occopancy level we got a good personalised service,.

Room Tip: Ask for a premium room which has balcony
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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Thank nitin_anan
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:
#7 Spa Hotel in Shimla
#7 Luxury Hotel in Shimla
#11 Family Hotel in Shimla
Price Range: $97 - $176 (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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