Now that our trip is over and we are home, i wanted to write about our hotel. i have tried to consistently never talk about things (airlines, hotels, clinics, etc.) until i have finished using them, so now i can review our hotel and identify it.
for the duration of the three weeks, we stayed at Grand Residency Hotel & Serviced Apartments due to its proximity to our clinic. we had visited it briefly on our first visit, as we had stayed at a hotel that was farther away, and knew we would not want to take a taxi or tuk tuk almost every day to the clinic, especially since there was potential that i wouldn’t feel great from the shots (or from other stuff, as it turned out).
the hotel is a smaller, “boutique” style hotel with not very many rooms, but a variety of rooms. it has smaller studio type rooms and basic rooms and then larger rooms with kitchenette and separate living space and two bathrooms. this is the size we had, and we were very lucky, because we had never needed two bathrooms more in our entire lives.
the hotel staff is very friendly, they learn your names, they are willing to accommodate any request, from room service, to laundry, to housekeeping, to providing boxes of bottled water, to allowing us to use their front desk computer to print forms for FRRO or airline boarding passes, to getting cabs, to booking tours, whatever. they all spoke English quite well and were great to deal with. on more than one occasion, we sat in the lounge and chatted with the hotel manager, he was extremely friendly and great to talk to. the whole hotel had a family type feel, with the staff getting to know you and being so personable.
the room we had was very clean and everything worked, though there was a bit of a drip from the A/C unit. there was separate A/C in both rooms, separate flat screen TVs in both rooms, and the kitchenette was functional with a microwave, toaster, two burner hot plate, kettle, and nearly full-sized fridge with freezer. the “living area” had a desk with a chair, a small sofa, a comfy chair, a coffee table, and a kitchen table with two chairs. there were two balconies you could go on (if you signed a waiver), so you could check the weather and temperature. the bathrooms were modern and the shower was great; the water pressure rivaled ours at home, and we had really great showers. the rooms both had blackout curtains, so you can get a good sleep without any light getting in. the bed was a king size and VERY comfortable. there was a side table on each side, with lighting for each side, and a large wardrobe with a few drawers and hangers to put your stuff. the room also had an ironing board and iron for your use, plus hair dryer and the usual shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and soap.
the neighbourhood was good also. there were many restaurants, small shops, coffee houses, and even a western style grocery store close by, so when we were sick we could get some foods we felt safe with.
as far as negatives are concerned, there were very few. the main one, which won’t be an issue for long, is that once we arrived there was some fairly heavy renovations going on in the hotel, so there was major banging and hammering from 10:00 to at least 18:30, sometimes 20:30 every day except Sunday. at my sickest, i had to call the desk and beg them to make it stop, and they were fairly fair about doing so. we understand that renovations need to occur, but for three weeks, it became unbearable. we would have appreciated if the hotel staff had let us know ahead of time, so we could have a) made an informed decision or b) asked for a different room farther from the noise.
second negative is that our room faced a convent school, and while it’s very cute to see and hear little girls swarming around at certain times of the day for a few days, it became uncute pretty quickly. no big deal though, it was for an hour at 13:00 and an hour at 18:00. the car horn honking goes on for many more hours in the day in Mumbai, so you get used to noise pollution to a degree.
third, we could hear every single door bell on our floor, and maybe some below as well. it is a very distinct door bell, and by day two we were SICK OF IT! it would be great if the hotel would turn down the volume, so the residents can only hear their own. we think the elevator also made the same chime, so it would have been nice not to hear that as well.
fourth, the internet was fairly expensive. you have to pay a daily rate, and you can only have two devices on it. therefore, we couldn’t connect our phones or camera to it unless we paid more. the daily rate was pretty expensive too, though the manager was willing to negotiate a bit on this. the internet in India is a bit less fast than in Canada, so you have to be fairly patient, but all-in-all we had mostly constant connectivity.
lastly, we aren’t sure if we became sick from the hotel food. we aren’t going to say yes, because we certainly ate other things at first, but we just aren’t sure. we only drank bottled water, but we have heard horror stories about bottled water being re-filled with random water and resealed, so who knows if that was the culprit. the restaurant had a variety of western foods, indian foods, and chinese foods, and we tried quite a few at the beginning. for the most part, they were very delicious, and always arrived hot to our room. in particular, the cottage cheese corn balls were divine (sounds strange, i know… but yummm!!!).
so, had the renovations not been happening and had we not been sick, we would have loved our hotel stay. we would still recommend this hotel to anyone, just call ahead to make sure there are no renos happening. because we were staying for three weeks, the manager negotiated with us to provide a better rate, which was also really nice. this was a very nice hotel, very comfortable, very clean (no bed bugs either, trust me, i checked!!!), courteous staff, we didn’t feel badgered by staff for tips (like at other hotels), and we felt like we got our money’s worth. don’t hesitate to stay at Grand Residency.