My friend and I wanted a respite from budget hotels and sleeping on trains so decided to treat ourselves to something more upmarket! We presumed the Shree Laxmi would fit the bill because of the price, which was relatively expensive for India, (2000R nightly room rate or 3000R with a/c, the option we went for) and from the description in a widely used guide book.
Our immediate impression on arrival was of a pleasant enough setting, amidst lush paddy fields and golden boulders but it was all downhill from thereon in. When we were shown to our room, we were so appalled we asked if there was any other alternative. The only other room they claimed was free, was equally bad and without a/c so we stuck with the original option. As it was by now dusk, we had been travelling all day and had booked an all day excursion starting early next morning, we had little choice but to tough it out.
The room was filthy, caked in dirt, festooned with spiders, alive and dead, with a bathroom to match including badly stained walls and fittings, a barely attached loo seat and a hole in the wall behind the shower controls which housed an ants nest. Inspection
of the sheet revealed it to be grubby and dotted with dead midges despite the saggy, dusty mosquito net over the bed. So on our way out that evening, we asked the owner to change the sheet. On our return he proudly announced that he had done this, but the new sheet was 'thinner.' We discovered that what he meant was that a single sheet had been stretched over the double circular bed so that only the top half of the cheap yellow foam 'mattress' was covered at all. We spread out 2 single duvet covers we found to serve as the rest of the sheet.
On our first night we had no hot water, the temperamental loo flush packed up entirely and for most of the time, including the whole of the second night, there was no electricity. Without a/c or even a fan the small room was stifling and airless. I thought even the frog that frequently popped out of the basin plughole may have had enough, so eventually caught and liberated him.
When we complained we were met with total indifference by the owner. He remonstrated, that if we'd wanted hot water we had only to come and ask him! Apparently Hampi Island only gets electricity for 12 hours a day and this varies on some kind of rota basis. However even during the 'on' period there are lengthy failures in supply, and without a back-up generator the a/c was a largely theoretical facility. Even the owner recognised the latter point with some persuasion and agreed to charge us the non a/c room rate, the only price concession we could negotiate. Given the heated exchange of a similar nature I overheard him having with a group of German guests we were obviously not the only dissatisfied customers.
And do not be enticed by the promise of the pool allegedly under construction. Given the cracked tiles and weeds, work on it was abandoned long ago and it has been left to decay with the rest of the hotel.
Would I recommend this hotel to a friend? Only as a rather cruel practical joke, although I must say it is one of my most memorable stays ever!