[Hotel Review] – Svelte Hotel and Personal Suites, Delhi, India (15 – 17 Jun 11)

Location

The Svelte Hotel and Personal Suites is well appointed on top of the Select City Walk Mall in Delhi. The shopping mall is also interconnecting with the Metropolitan Mall and DLF Place. There is no lack of eateries and shopping around the location of the Hotel. The nearest Metro Station is around 15 mins walk from the hotel.

Entrance of the Hotel
The shopping malls that is connected to the hotel
The shopping malls that is connected to the hotel
The shopping malls that is connected to the hotel
Select City Walk Mall

The Suite

Living Room

I checked into the one bedroom apartment suite. Upon entering the room, a living room was immediately spotted. The living room comprises of a 2 seater couch and single seater chair, together with a nicely designed coffee table. There is a large LCD TV placed in front of the living room. The design of the living room is very contemporary in nature and the furniture placed inside are functional.  It doesn’t feel clatter nor one can find any useless piece of furniture in the living room.

Contemporary Living Room

Kitchenette

Connected to the living room is a kitchenette, which has a stove and microwave oven.  It is sufficient for guests to do simple cooking. Together with the kitchenette, cooking utensils such as pots and pans are also available in the room. In between the kitchenette and the living room is a simple yet functional bar table for guests to do their dinning. There is also a study table next to the kitchenette where one will be able to do some work and connect to the wired internet. Wireless internet is not available in this hotel.

Kitchenette and study area
Beside the study table is the microwave oven and the fridge

Bathroom

The Bedroom is situated after the Kitchenette area. This is where one will find the entrance to the bathroom. The design of the bathroom in this hotel again seem to scream of functionality, as with the other areas of the room. I find it a tad disappointing that the bathroom does not have a bathtub, instead a walk-in shower was installed. Nonetheless, the walk in shower still does a great job in keeping me cleaned. There is also the toilet bowl, which is next to the walk in shower and a sink area just opposite the toilet bowl. Directly opposite the entrance to the bathroom is the wardrobe and safe, for guests to stow their belongings.

Walk-in Shower and Toilet Bowl
Sink area

Bedroom

The centrepiece of the bedroom is the queen size bed. The bed is placed in the centre of the room and does provide an excellent sleep quality. Sleeping on this bed enables me to fully recharge from all the walking and exploring in India. The pillows are just nice and not too soft. There is also another TV in the bedroom, which is rather thoughtful as guests can relax on their bed while watching TV. There isn’t much furnitures in the bedroom. All fixtures has a purpose. One can get pretty good view of the shopping mall area from the bedroom.

Entrance to the Bedroom
Comfortable bed

Service

Staffs in the hotel are very professional. They make a point to ensure check in is fast and so does check out. They also provided me with a name card of the hotel for me to show the cabbies in case they do not know how to get to the hotel. This is a very thoughtful gesture, especially for first time visitors to India.  The staff also greeted me whenever I walk past the reception and offered advise on what to do and see in Delhi. They are never stingy with information about Delhi and its attractions. The helpful staff even helped me secure a transport to the airport, and ensured that check out was fast as well.

Overall

The hotel surpasses my expectation of it. The room is functional and contemporary, the sleep quality is great. The air conditioning in the room is powerful to dispel the heat from the mid summer sun. The only thing I find disappointing is the lack of bathtub in the room. The hotel is conveniently located on top of the shopping mall, which is both easy to find (just have to tell cabbies which shopping mall you want to go) and also no lack of eateries and things to do around the hotel.

[Hotel Review] – Howard Plaza Agra, Agra, India (13 – 15 Jun 11)

Location

The location of this hotel is great, it is near to the south gate of Taj Mahal and has several eateries around the area. It is located in a quiet area of Agra.

The Room

Sleeping Area

The room is rather aged and has definitely seen better days, with furnitures and designs that seemed to be done in the 80s. One will be greeted by a small corridor that extends into the bedroom as one enters the room. The room design, despite aged, gives one a cosy feel. There is a small furniture that allows one to stow their luggage at the end of the corridor. The centrepiece of the bedroom is the king size bed. The  sleep quality of the bed is fair, though not that ideal, the bed still does its basic function of providing guests a well deserved rest. The design of the bed looked rather old, and has 2 side tables.  Opposite the Bed is the CRT TV, which only shows local channels. The TV is housed on top of the mini bar fridge. There are coffee and tea provided. However unlike other hotels, there is a little note that reminds guests that there is an amount of 40 Rupees chargeable should there is a need for refill these amenities that are usually provided free in some other hotels.

Bedroom

At the window is located at the far end of the room, covered by thick red curtains. In front of the window, one can find the study table tucked on one side of the room. The placement of the table faces the door, which is a great way of placing the furniture. On the other side of the room, one can find a couple of armchairs and a small coffee table, facing the TV. These chairs are placed in a direction that faces the TV, which is rather ideal for guests who prefers to sit and watch the TV.

The recreation area in the room

Bathroom

To the left of the main, one would find the wardrobe. The storage space in the wardrobe is fairly sufficient for 2 persons to store their clothings. Perhaps due to the age of the room, the wardrobe has a foul smell and the door is hard to open and close. There is also a small safe hidden in the wardrobe. To the right of the main door is where the bathroom is located. The bathroom has a rather small bathtub sufficient for one person to soak in. The Bathtub seemed dirty with brownish stains in the room I was assigned. The shower head is located with the bathtub. In front of the bathtub is where one will find the toilet bowl. The bathroom has a single sink for guests to do some wash up.

Bathroom

Throughout my 2 nights stay in this hotel, there are a total of 4 blackouts. The internet does not come free and is rather pricey.

Service

The service in the hotel is almost non-existence. It felt as if the staffs are not interested in providing hospital service and just go about doing their job. Requests are being handled in a sluggish manner and it takes them forever to respond to a request. The check in process was a breeze, mainly due to the staff not wanting to engage with guests.  Overall in terms of service, the hotel seemed lacking.

Overall

The aged hotel is tucked in a quiet area of Agra, which allows guests to ply the area without much disturbances. Rooms looked aged, screaming a need to do a facelift. The bed provided guests with decent sleep quality. Guest service is lacklustre and seemed non-existent. The only plus point about the hotel is its close proximity to Taj Mahal, otherwise there is nothing great about staying in this hotel.

[Hotel Review] – Royal Orchid Central, Jaipur, India (11 – 13 Jun 11)

Location

The hotel is located outside Jaipur city itself.  In terms of location, this hotel isn’t that fantastic. There isn’t much eateries nor sites around the hotel. One would have to either grab a bite in Jaipur city or eat at the hotel. It is about 20 mins bus ride from the nearby MGF Metropolitan Mall, where one will be able to find eateries.

The Room

Bathroom

The room in the hotel is fairly large for the class of the room. Once entering the room, a corridor leading into the sleeping area welcomed me. To the right of the corridor is the bathroom area. The bathroom comprises of the standard bathtub, which is has the shower head together with it. The tub is placed right next to a huge glass wall, which was somehow tainted to provide more privacy. Next to the bathtub is a single sink, which is placed rather close to the tub.  The toilet is situated in the other corner of the bathroom. The bathroom is just the right size and is rather functional.

Bathroom

Wardrobe Area

To the left of the corridor that ushers guests into the room is the wardrobe. The 2 panelled door wardrobe is sufficient for one to unpack their luggage. There is also a safe inside the wardrobe. After the wardrobe is the minibar area, where one would find the standard fridge and some cups for the complementary coffee and tea provided by the hotel.

View of the room from the couch area

Sleeping Area

Further into the room, one can find the king size bed, a couch tucked at the far corner, next to the ceiling to wall glass panel, as well as a study desk. The TV is situated opposite the bed as with other hotels. The study desk seemed to be clattered with all sorts of phamplets and information on the hotel, which means one would have to clear the table in order to do some work. The sleep on the bed was fair, however it serves its function by providing guests a decent night sleep. The pillows are however too soft for my liking. Lighting for the whole room is just nice, not too bright and not too dark.

View of the room from the corridor

Sound proofing of the room is quite bad as I could hear kids running along the corridor from the bed in the room.

Service

The service level of this hotel is top notch. I did not expect them to be able to address me by my last name the first time I walked up to the reception for checking in. This goes to show that the staffs bothered to look through the records of the list of guests checking in and memorise by their last name. Checking in was a breeze and rather speedy. The staffs provide guests with sufficient information about the hotel and the surroundings, yet not too much information that hold up the guests’ time. The doorman, Mr Hukum Singh, is a star in the hotel. Not only he opens the door for guests, but he seemed interested in finding out where you are going and how to help you get to your destination. His knowledge of Jaipur enable him to provide well needed advise when I was visiting Jaipur.

Overall

If one is looking for a hotel in a convenient location, with a range of eateries and shopping, this hotel is probably not for you.  The infrastructure in the room is pretty much standard and pales in comparison with international hotels. However the lighting is great in the room and the rooms are always kept clean. What I like about this hotel is the staff who took pride and understood what it means to be customer-centric.

[Hotel Review] – Aura Hotel, Delhi, India (10 – 11 Jun 11)

Location

The location of this hotel is near to the New Delhi Railway station (about 20 mins walk), and it serves as a good pit stop for travellers who are going to head out to the other parts of India via rail. The hotel is located in an alley that is buzzing with activities, even to the night. Guests will have no problem in finding food nearby the hotel. However it is located a tad far from the other sights in Delhi.

Facade of the hotel
Street where the hotel is located

The Room

Sleeping Area

From the outside, the hotel does look a little run down, from the reception to the lobby to the lift. However do not judge this hotel by what you see. Once I got opened the door to the room, my impression changed tremendously.  A huge king sized bed welcomed me upon my entrance to the room. The room is a tad small and has no windows . However the non existence of the window does not bother me too much, it might be better given the hot weather in India at this time of the year. The sleep quality of the bed was perfect. The comfortable bed enabled me to have a great sleep through the night. In front of the bed is the LCD TV, which broadcasts international channels such as National Geographic and BBC news. Though the room is a tad small, but for single occupancy, it is sufficiently spacious. Beside the bed are the standard bedside tables and a couch for one to rest in. The hotel has one of the most powerful air-conditioning around as it cools the room down relatively fast in no time. The fee Wifi internet is reliable and speedy. 

Stairways in the hotel
King Size Bed
Entrance and TV

Bathroom

Next to the TV is the door to the bathroom, which comprises of a sink, a bathtub and shower combo and a toilet. The bathroom is just nice for one and the presence of the bathtub is surprising. The water was nice and warm, however it turns cold quickly when running in the bathtub.

Toilet
Bathtub and Sink area

Service

Despite being a 4 star hotel, the service rendered by the staff matches those of 5 star international brands. Upon arrival, the staff sprung into action and checked me in quickly. The helpful porter even offered to help me with my luggage without even asking.  After being assured that I was brought to the right room, the porter returned within minutes with 2 bottles of 1L cold mineral water, with complements from the hotel. Such thoughtful and personalised acts are to be applaud for.

The staffs greeted me the next morning when I was leaving the hotel to do some sightseeing in Delhi. They even checked where I was heading and volunteered information on how to go and what to look out for.  They even helped me to hail a motorised trishaw and instructed the driver where to drive me in Hindi,  ensuring that I reach where I want to go. Upon my return to the hotel, they even checked how was my day and was interested in what I had seen for the day

Overall

Despite the unimpressive facade of the hotel, the hotel proves to be a hidden gem once guests got inside the room. The room is comfortable, though slightly on the small size, it has however everything that one needs for a comfortable stay. The windowless room was a tad depressing. Overall, this is a hotel that is worth staying and the sincerity displayed by the staff makes it a good choice to stay.