I really hate reading bad reviews that have been exaggerated so I will try to keep this as factual as possible.
I was arriving in Mumbai at 2am and had an outgoing flight the same night at 11pm. As I was only in transit and did not need to stay the night, I arranged via email to stay at Anjali Inn, to pay for 1 night only, and to check in whenever I arrived (likely around 3-4am) and check out that same day, likely around 9pm. They arranged their "free airport transfer" to pick me up after my flight landed at 2am. This was all confirmed over email.
As I arrived in Mumbai airport I had some trouble with my visa (my passport allows issue of visa on arrival). The airport didn't have many staff on when I arrived at 2am, so my processing took a little longer than usual. I was stuck in immigration for maybe 1.5 hours.
When I finally exited the airport, I didn't expect the driver to still be there. I was right, he wasn't. An airport staff member asked me who I was waiting for, I said Anjali Inn. He called them for me and gave me the phone. Here's the conversation, verbatim, as far as I remember (this just happened a few hours ago).
Them: Hello, Anjali Inn
Me: Yes this is Brendan, sorry I've been stuck in immigration, I'm finally out now though. Can you send a car please?
Them: *change to angry voice* No, he was waiting for 2 hours. Catch a taxi yourself. Your check in time is now 12 o clock.
Me: We already agreed that I can check in when I arrive. Can you send a car please?
Them: No, we've changed your check in to 12 o clock. You need to catch a taxi.
Me: You said my room includes airport transfer.
Them: We were waiting for you for 2 hours. You have to catch a taxi now.
Me: I'm sorry, it wasn't my fault, there was an issue with my visa.
Them: Well you can catch a taxi yourself.
*silence, thinking for a moment what to do*
Me: OK, I won't be coming. Thank you.
Them: (starts screaming at me). Whaat? Whaaaat?
Me: I won't be coming. Thanks. (hang up).
I have absolutely no problem with the driver leaving after waiting 2 hours, or even after 1 hour, or even half an hour. But if I call and let them know I'm finally out of the airport, I would expect them to send a driver. I surely didn't expect a reaction like the one I got. Surely if there is one place in the world where you should be prepared for an unexpected delay, it is an airport. What if my baggage had been lost? Or there was a backlog at customs? Surely, a hostel should understand this. Not to mention, Anjali is a 5 minute drive from the airport. About a month ago I had a similar delay in Ethiopia and my guesthouse had no issue at all sending a car back. In fact, when they arrived they seemed to have been genuinely concerned something had happened to me.
After standing there with the airport staff having a laugh, they helped me find an actual hotel near the airport for a similar rate (only $12 or so more). Free transport, and no issue to check in at 4am and leave at 9pm. They also didn't seem to think much of Anjali Inn. "Anjali Inn is very small rooms, for just a little more you can get a real hotel room!" I also suspect he was getting a kickback from the hotel he sent me to, but the rate was good (around $35) and lower than the rack rate which was about $50.
I am now reasonably well traveled and was comfortable enough at night in a foreign country to deal with this situation. Had this happened to me 3 or 4 years ago, I'd have been stuck in Mumbai with no transport and no hotel at 4am in the morning. An opportunist's dream.
I cannot recommend Anjali Inn. There are many other transit options to choose from.
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