Beautiful DREAM Meets Dangerous NIGHTMARE!
Ahhhh….where to begin?? This place is a classic case of Dream meets Nightmare.
Let’s start with the dream. If you love art, antiques, and eclectic accommodations AND if the movie “Best Marigold Hotel” romanticized you into traveling to India, than this is the place for you! When we entered the grounds, we felt like we had entered into another place and time. Birds were chirping in the mural covered courtyard, a lotus was flowering in their garden fountain, and authentic antiques were everywhere. It was much more beautiful than their outdated website and horrible photos would lead you to believe. We booked a standard room but since they had so few guests, we were very grateful that they upgraded us to a deluxe room at no extra charge.
However, after settling into the place a bit, the dream started to turn and we began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into. The place is run by an odd cast of misfits, especially the restaurant server. Unfortunately, we visited during the hottest week that they had experienced in ten years so all the shades and doors had to be closed to keep the interior as cool as possible. As a result, the rooms were dark and dingy with dim lights. Although the management assured me via advanced email correspondence that the rooms had AC, what we found was that it did not work well enough to cool our room. Other common rooms like the restaurant did not have any AC on at all. With it being 115 degrees Fahrenheit, this was a problem. All around the property, we could see the need for renovation and indeed there were signs that such efforts were being made, but at a snail’s pace. Taped off rubble led us to the swimming area where hoses and cleaning equipment had been left at the bottom of the pool. There was a general unkempt and unclean sense about the place. Being the cultural adventurous travelers that we are, we could have dealt with most of these things but the clincher that made us leave, after staying there only one night, was the dangerous electrical issues. As I turned out the light switches in the bathroom, I unknowingly turned off the geyser (hot water heater hanging on the wall.) This caused the geyser to shoot electrical sparks across the room! Fortunately, I was walking out of the room at the time or I would have been seriously injured. My husband who is an engineer described the event as an arc flash and sited it as the cause of the worst electrical injuries. We told the staff what happened and made arrangements to leave the hotel immediately. Although they sent repair people out to our room, they expressed little concern for our safety and made no attempts to offer us compensation.
One of the highlights of our stay was meeting an artist who was restoring the murals, repainting them in great detail. He toured us through several of the back rooms to show us his work in progress. We were fortunate to purchase several of his paintings that he sold from his outdoor kiosk, located on the grounds.
Recommendation to future guests: If you are brave enough, only pre-book for one night. Only go during the cooler months when you can really enjoy the outdoors. Be sure you are grounded and wearing fire protective clothing while in the bathroom.
Recommendations for the Proprietors: Reinvent your business as a "historic site being renovated." Partner with art schools, museums, curators, designers, and restoration programs. Have them help you offer opportunities for guests to stay, and learn as they help restore your Palace to its former grandeur. Have master crafts persons in residence teach multi-day classes in art preservation while improving your property at the same time. Make your location be a destination for a historical art preservation experience. Guests will surly want to come from all over the world just to be a part of the ongoing project. Update your website and get more professional staff. And of course, update your electrical ASAP!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Bissau Palace original building dates back to 1787AD & it was rebuilt in 1919AD as a Guest House & started operations in 1965 as the Oldest Heritage Hotel in Jaipur. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bissau Palace Jaipur
- Hotel Bissau Palace Jaipur