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Mid-range Indian hotels: Gateway, Ginger, Keys

Mid-range Indian hotels: Gateway, Ginger, Keys

Old Dec 27th, 2010, 05:54 AM
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Mid-range Indian hotels: Gateway, Ginger, Keys

Rather than just burying this in my TR, I thought I'd put up a separate post for those looking for mid-range hotels in India. I know some Fodors posters are happy to pay several hundred dollars a night for a heritage hotel, but some of us would like something rather cheaper, without having to go all the way down-market with Lonely Planet's budget listings! It's not always easy to find somewhere that fits in the 1500 to 4000 INR/night range, so I was pleased to see three new chains when I was booking my current trip.

Gateway Actually, this isn't really a new chain, it's the Taj re-branding their cheapest hotels. I stayed at the Gateway Mangalore and the Gateway Coonoor, and unfortunately I think this concept needs some more work. Both hotels needed some renovation, although the dressing area and bathroom in my upgraded room at Coonoor had already been renovated. Aside from a couple of snafus on checkout in Mangalore, which nearly caused me to miss my train (and for which I've received an apology), the service in both hotels was excellent. All the hotels have the same menu. This means no afternoon tea at Coonoor, which apparently used to have a colonial vibe - I found that vibe decidedly lacking, especially compared to the Windamere in Darjeeling. Also, Coonoor really wants you to eat off the buffet. In Mangalore, ordering anything other than Indian dishes proved a big mistake - the chef had no idea how to prepare anything else. I think these hotels currently have an identity crisis, and are overpriced unless you can get a good internet deal. Wifi is ridiculously expensive at 600 INR/24 hours plus lots and lots of tax.

Ginger This is a business hotel chain run by Tata. I found it much more basic than I expected, and you need to check the locations very carefully. I stayed at the Ginger Mysore, which wasn't walking distance to anything, but was at least within rickshaw range. I just checked the Ginger Trivandrum, and it's way out of town. The Ginger Chennai is also inconveniently located for tourists. My room was clean but stark, and the linens looked a bit tired. Oddly for a business hotel, wifi is 300 INR/24 hours plus a moderate amount of tax. Food is buffets, less than half the price of the Gateway's, but with limited choices. There was also a Cafe Coffee Day, which knew how to make a proper macchiato.

Keys Another business hotel chain, pricier than the Ginger, but much nicer. Good-sized room, with double bed, easy chair, desk and desk chair, flat screen TV with lots of channels including BBC, safe big enough for a laptop, free wifi (although sometimes down). I had to have the bed linens changed when I arrived, but otherwise everything is clean and the service, while not at the Gateway level, is friendly and competent (and they just called and gave me a grace period on checkout). Rack rate for Trivandrum is 3000/single and 3500/double, although I paid rather less. The buffets have better choices than the Ginger and aren't much more expensive. The ala carte menu is short, but the French fries are great.

Recommendation - if you want a clean and comfortable hotel at a good price, pick the Keys. No charm, of course. If you want to go even cheaper and can book well ahead, you could consider the Ginger, but while the Keys is minimalist chic, the Ginger is just minimalist.
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 06:30 AM
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Can I add the Lemon Tree chain to thursday's excellent post.

http://www.lemontreehotels.com/

Highly recommended for young, keen and enthusiastic staff, great food and new, clean rooms. This is a get-up-and-go organisation that I wouldn't hesitate to stay in any time I'm back.
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 07:55 AM
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thanks for this info... i may be requested additional hotel info from you as i proceed with trip planning for my fall trip..
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 02:04 PM
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The Lemon Tree chain gets great reviews (the greatest from you, dear Dog) but i think most of their hotels are over the 4000 INR/night mentioned in the OP. From my admittedly limited (compared to many of you) experience, raising that upward amount to 5000 INR will always get you somewhere good and clean: Lemon Tree, or alocal non-chain hotel. If not a hotel--a well-recommended homestay should do it, and usually for less than 4000 INR.

I'm like Thursdaysd. Those recommendations for $300 to $500 + per night hotel --dear Lord! The thought causes a case of Dogster hollow-laughter syndrome.

Thursdaysd--we loved the INdian food in the restaurant at Gateway Coonor. Glad we didnt try for Western style! So no tea--but just walking through the paths behind the hotel, and seeing that lawn area in front, or seeing the bar and lobby--didnt that give you a "British " vibe? reminded me of the pub hotel where i honeymooned 4 decades ago in Banbury Oxfordshire!
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 02:13 PM
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oh to be in banbury today on a snowy afternoon with tea by the inn fireplace, and a good cookie or two also..
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 09:09 PM
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Yes, I just checked the Lemon Tree Chennai, and for my date in January the best available rate is almost 6,000 INR. I really aim for under 3,000.

Sorry CaliNurse, but I didn't get a British or British Raj vibe from the Gateway Coonoor (and I grew up a Brit). Could have been because I'd just come from the Gateway Mangalore, which certainly wasn't going for that vibe and was part of the same chain. Or because almost all the guests were Indian. Or because I'd just come from Coorg, where I'd also had green grass and flowers. But mostly because my standard was the Windamere, or the Windamere in 2001, which really was going for that atmosphere. See http://www.windamerehotel.com/ and http://wilhelmswords.com/asia2001/index.html - Steaming to Darjeeling
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 09:44 PM
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Well then, Thrusday,when we're in Darjeeling one of thse yrs, we'll have to have tea at the Windamere!!Thanks for the websites (it, and yours)
Rhkkmk--seriously--you know Banbury? The place i referred to is the White Lion, and I pray it is still there!
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 03:03 AM
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The Ginger Hotels are quite basic business hotels of the Taj group. The concept evolved to provide an affordable accommodation to the travelling sales people. I have stayed at Ginger a number of times at the New Delhi (Rly. station), Haridwar & once in Ludhiana. The rooms are nice, furnished with a TV, mini bar, tea-coffee maker etc. The linen is also ok though on a couple of occasions I needed to have it changed for some ugly patches visible. The bathrooms are clean. However, the surroundings at Delhi hotel are poor & very noisy. The rooms at the other two locations are just about similar. The service is fairly good at the reception / housekeeping. No room service is available.
The hotel restaurants at Delhi & Haridwar are suspect, in my eyes, for I have seen rodents in the dining hall. I have stopped eating here. At Ludhiana, we did enjoy our Breakfasts. They have an interactive kitchen.
The Taj Gateway Hotels are nice middle range hotels, well appreciated by most travellers. Quite right, the dinners & wifi card are expensive.
A Happy 2011, Ladies & Gentlemen!
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 05:46 AM
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vp_singh - are there any midrange hotels that you recommend more highly? It is good to know that I am not the only one on Fodors looking for a more reasonably priced hotel. Thank you Thursday for starting this post.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 08:21 AM
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To clarify this post: thursday is looking for hotels in the US$33 - $88 range - at the height of the India tourist season. Which does make things extremely difficult, particularly in the cities and on the tourist trail.

Travel on the cusp of the season and everything changes.

Before we just abandon the Lemon Tree chain, based on a single booking attempt, a check on most of their hotels around India for January showed about 3,500 - 4,000 a night. I stayed at the Chennai property late last December for Rs 2976. But it's all about supply and demand.

thursday, did you ever look in this site?
http://www.mahindrahomestays.com/Pages/home.aspx
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 11:12 AM
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Great rec, Dogster, to try for homestays. As I wrote above, a good homestay is often in the required $ range, and the comfort level and personal attentiveness is, by definition (you are in someone's home) far better. Some "homestays" are more like small hotels. As with hotels,no guarantees- the two where i stayed in kerala--well, one was fantastic, one not so much--and both were more expensive than the $88 upper range.
Hey all--should we start a thread of some favorite non-chain hotels around that are in the OP price range? It would give a general idea of what is available
I think those local ones are probably the best deal for hotels...assuming one finds GOOD surprises in them!
I've also stayed at some in the $100 range that were very disappointing.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 11:30 AM
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Darn Dog, did you hAVE to put up that link again? Those places are so tempting, every bit as enticing--or maybe more so--as a posh hotel. The heck with my chores for the day.

Before posting on this forum, i held back. It didnt feel "right "for me. LIke, it was out of my league. Too many recommendations for the hundreds of $ per night hotels--some of the "Oberoi and Taj bubble" or perhaps people whose business accounts contributed to the room rate. I wanted to shout, "Do you realize that for 99.99% of the world's people--even in the richer Western countries -- $500 and more, for one night in a hotel, is unaffordable--or even insane?

Glad I 'm not alone. Aiming for less than $100/night is more my style.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 11:47 AM
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Dog sets himself a $100 limit in India per night. Max. His owner, however, has been known to spend more. Then the canine strikes back and spends less. Balance is all. In my opinion, thursday is cutting it a bit fine at this time of year but she's more of a trouper than I am... or a glutton for punishment.

The homestays look great, eh? There is also a link for an all-inclusive homestay tour. Check this out and then click on 'itinerary' at the top of the page for more.

http://blog.mahindrahomestays.com/go...le-india-tour/
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 12:13 PM
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Very interesting private tour option, dogster.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 12:42 PM
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OH, that tour sounds lovely, Dogster.
IN Jaipur,I'd alredy decided when i get there, to stay at Rawla (recommended onyour Mahindar Homestays site) as Iim currently reading the book written by the grandmother of the owner.

Faith (who's affiliated with your travel guys in Australia) often refers clients to Garden Villa in Agra,mentioned on the Golden Triangle itin.

To add to the homestay travel idea, below is a homestay-based itinerary in the South.
Cardomom House sounds right up your alley, Dog. Chris,the MD who owns it, is reportedly quite a fascinating character.

http://indianpanorama.in/205homestays_sth.html

Decisions, decisons: next yr trip, prob to gujurat. before or that: Assam/Sikkim? Rajasthan? Revisit the South and see more, and some previous favorites? Ah, to be younger and richer!!!!
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 01:04 PM
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VP---were the rodents dining there or were they hotel guests?


on a slightly more upmarket level, what hotel group could you suggest in the $90-175. range?? delhi-varanasi, upaipur, jodphur, and jaismer (sp) and in between... also kathmandu. other than the hyatt??
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 01:28 PM
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Can't remember where I read that the Cardamon House makes a memorable chicken dish.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 01:47 PM
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I've stayed At Cardamom House. It is exactly NOT up my alley.

Expatriate Brits running a private feifdom are to be avoided, particularly in India. Don't believe what you read. Not one word.
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 02:47 PM
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We stayed in the Delhi B & B for our first two nights. It was spartan, but clean, and we enjoyed breakfasting family style with the owners. They were very kind and attentive. We like B&Bs when traveling in Britain, so this met our expectations.

Ratan Vilas in Jodhpur was lovely and well under $100/night. It's a small palace and the maharaja roams around with his dog, Mallet.

We spent our last night in India at the Lemontree in Gurgaon. Can't remember the price (I was completely fritzed by then). It was over $100/night, but not much more. The room was quite small and the a/c kept cycling up and down throughout the night. The breakfast was great and the service excellent. There was a business center which I paid to use (Mr. Pearl took the laptop with him when he left in the morning).

The most we spent was about $180/night in Shapura Bagh and Gwalior. I felt deliciously guilty!

As a rule, I stay away from "chains."
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Old Dec 28th, 2010, 10:01 PM
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rhkkmk - the way these creatures were roaming about, were definitely guests of honour!!
You may try Hotel The Manor, Florence Inn (Karol Bagh) both in Delhi. At Varanasi, I am a great votary of staying on the banks of Ganges yet none of the hotels are particularly pleasant for a stay. The Rashmi GH is OK, with the super dlx. Ganges view room; At Udaipur, Jagat Niwas Palace have some fine rooms with Lake View suites my personal favourite; At Jodhpur, Ratan Vilas & if that is not available than perhaps Pal Haveli; At Jaisalmer, The Killa Bhawan is a very good option. The suites are elegantly furnished with fine views over the city. The small restaurant is vegetarian but one can eat out. This hotel exudes an ambience of stay in medieval times.
As for Kathmandu, my experience is limited to the high-end properties like the Radisson, Dwarika & Soaltee.
Hope it helps!
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