Do I need to pre-book hotels

Old Dec 7th, 2009, 01:33 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 41
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Do I need to pre-book hotels

We will be traveling to India for our first time, with another couple, from about November 26, 2010 to January 2, 2011. We will have a driver for the majority of the trip. We will start in Delhi then travel up to Amritsar then work our way down through Rajasthan - over to Calcutta and up to Varanasi.

My question - do we need to book hotels ahead? We want to stay in basic mid-range hotels or guest houses. Not fancy, but hopefully clean with hot water. I don't mind booking ahead, but would rather not be tied too tightly to a schedule. We have a basic itinerary, but given the uncertainty of things in india and the fact that we may really want to spend extra time in a place, I'm concerned about not having flexibility. However; I also don't want to be stuck without decent accommodation.

So, you experienced India travelers - should I be concerned enough to book ahead?

Look forward to your responses.

L
mistygirl is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2009, 03:25 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've spend a year in India, never booked anything in advance. Always stayed in basic hotels, no problem.
psycling is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2009, 04:27 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,924
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What constitutes "decent" for accomodations in India is certainly a matter of opinion. I have stayed at 5 star hotels in India that would be 2 to 3 stars here in the US.

You could probably always find "something" at the end of each day, BUT...it may be more bare bones than you want. Do your internet research before your trip and have a list of places for each city with all the contact info.

Also, keep in mind that November to January is peak travel time in India so hotels, trains, and flights are heavily pre-booked.
Jaya is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2009, 07:46 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In the major tourist towns in Rajasthan in that period, and in major cities like Delhi and Calcutta at most any time, you might have an issue with “decent” accommodation unless you have a reservation. That being said, however, you may be able to make a reservation without advance payment or with a refundable deposit, esp at smaller places; so contact hotels you are interested in and see what they require. You can then cancel as necessary as you go along.

I would recommend that you get a book called Special Places to Stay India, by Allistar Sawday. There is also a website at http://sawdays.co.uk/, click on the book for India. A lot of these hotels are in the budget range, and all seem interesting and several, like the Imperial in Delhi, are outstanding (but it‘s not a budget hotel by any means).

I would agree with the above that the star rating for hotels in India is essentially meaningless, so it is hard to say what you will be getting unless others have been there and can provide solid reccos, or it is a well-known operator like Taj, Oberoi, etc. But the Sawday book may be helpful. I can’t stress enough that India (or Asia for that matter) is not Europe where you can choose any 2 or 3-star hotel and know that it will be clean, although simple. In India the budget hotel concept and family pension really do not exist yet; and while you can find inexpensive hotels, they can be quite uneven in terms of even basic things like cleanliness. And a “5 star” hotel can have that rating because they have a beauty parlor and room service, even thought they may not have replaced their bedding in the 25 years since they opened.

Two good operators generally in India are the Oberoi group (http://www.oberoihotels.com) and the Taj group (www.tajhotels.com. There is a small Indian chain called Neemrama which operates a number of unique hotels in palaces and other old buildings and could be something to consider if you want a different experience. Go to http://www.neemranahotels.com. Sheraton and Marriott run a number of good hotels in India as well, generally in the major cites. In the cities, you may want to stick with the better-known Indian or international chains, although they will cost more. (If for nothing else than to avoid having the constant electricity outages; the chains have their own generators.) In the countryside, you will find hotels less expensive to begin with, and should be able to get a better class of hotel with a lower budget.
Cicerone is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2009, 06:50 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 24
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
hello misty if you want to book your hotel its good idea and first you have to read review of the hotels ant then you can book or if you dont want to book your hotel now you can gat there and and book this good idea and just gat 2 star and 3 star bcoz thy are good then 5 star
DelhiBelly is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2009, 08:43 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
India for the first time is not easy - as a matter of fact, it's the most difficult country I know, unless you're staying at top level. Then it's easy.

You will find yourself in the grip of multiple forces, more than you can imagine, just when you need to make an informed choice. The very worst thing you can do, until you're more street-wise, is just rock up somewhere and then have to run around an unfamiliar city looking for a hotel.

BUT - if you do some research before you go, get to know any one of a dozen great internet travel sites and carry your own internet link it can be done. You really need a mobile phone. Do you really want to do that?

As you 'want to stay in basic mid-range hotels or guest houses. Not fancy, but hopefully clean with hot water...' the Taj, Oberoi and Neemrana hotel chains mightn't apply. lol.

Here's an interesting option that you mightn't have thought of. Go here:
www.mahindrahomestays.com/Pages/home.aspx

this will show you many options:
www.wego.com

Here's a very cool, 100% reliable chain of cheapo, really great, totally cool hotels that are, oddly enough, a lot more Indian than anything:
http://www.lemontreehotels.com

Tell me if I'm on the right track. You might be two 90 year-old couples, you might be twenty-five years old. You may have never traveled anywhere - you might be highly experiences. I dunno.

First trip to India - mmmm - I'd be playing it safe - certainly get your first ten days locked in before you hit the ground. That'll give you time to find your feet.

I'm in Mumbai now, making it up as I go along. It's taken me a really long time to get to that - yet I see backpackers in Colaba every day - doing the very hard yards, trudging from cheap hotel to hotel, burdened with backpacks and the ever-present leech hustler - which makes your loose schedule idea look positively luxurious. lol.

So, examine yourself, decide which of you will take on the stress of 'where to stay next' and ruin their holiday - THEN decide. It's not about whether you need to, [you don't], whether it's possible [which it certainly is], whether it's easy or hard [both] - it's about your group ability to roll with the situation on the road, your stress levels, your research and your communications.

You have to have ALL four under control. No, three out of four won't work.
dogster is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2009, 08:48 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I just noted that your trip isn't for a YEAR. Relax. You sure don't have it book it now. Do lots of research - you might enjoy the surfing a lot. Share you with your buddies. You have lots of time. Have fun on the net first, then decide.
dogster is offline  
Old Dec 9th, 2009, 09:59 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 41
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow, thanks for all the information everyone. Dogster....once again - such great info and so entertaining to read!!!! Look forward to a new trip report.... Enjoy!
mistygirl is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2009, 08:22 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am in USA but originally from India. I travel there frequently and must warn that take care of yourself in the sense that take proper immunization shots and do carry your medications for common ailments. I get sick each time I go but one has to be very careful. Each time I come back and say that I am not going back again but again the culture pulls you back.India is a vast country with very different cultures and dialects. I am still learning new things every time I go.I advise people that one must go themselves to that part of the world and see how people live in such chaotic conditions but still are happy and at peace.
anand is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2009, 08:35 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you have time on your hands then you can take a good travel guidebook and book your trip up as you go along. This gives you real freedom to stay a while if you find somehwere you really like, but occasionally you can get stuck somewhere you do not particularly want to linger in as the trains are sold out for example: Agra - once you have seen the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort - the city does not offer much else but hassle!

If it's a shorter visit and during a busy time then at least book up your first few nights to take the stress out of oyur arrival and give you a chance to find your travelling feet.

It takes time to adjust to Indian ways. Accommodation comes in so many differing standards. Budget accommodation can be plain awful or simple, good value and luxury accommodation can be really overpriced and unfriendly.

You have plenty of time to read up and do your research.
damou is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
igemini48
Asia
11
Jun 5th, 2008 09:58 PM
Herminator
Asia
15
Apr 24th, 2008 10:14 PM
jandj
Asia
6
Nov 14th, 2007 02:09 AM
indianapearl
Asia
7
Apr 16th, 2007 10:48 PM
nmlhats
Asia
7
Oct 5th, 2006 06:30 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information