Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stay at Gangtok, Sikkim: White Conch Residency

I must begin by saying that as far as hotels in hill stations are concerned, the expectations, as per my experience, are pretty low. They are so far from the plains and not really easy-to-access. It would be too much if one has expectations as from the hotels in a bigger city.
Hence, when we went to Gangtok, we were prepared for a not-so-great accommodation. But when we stepped into the room, we were all smiles when we saw the size. Huge! And all the three beds ready and prepared. Here's a pic of a room that we were allotted (from Tripadvisor):

White Conch Residency, Gangtok

Pretty decent, don't you think?
The pluses of the room was the size, neatness and came equipped with all necessary furnishings. We weren't into the pricing details as the accommodation came as a part of the package that our tour operator provided.
The room was quite well-lighted as it has glass windows all around. The view from the largest window is that of the Kanchengunga mountain range and it is a sight worth waking up to! This teeny town has its greatest and one of the two shopping complexes, on the MG road very close by. The wooden floor helps absorb cold and you can dare walk bare foot despite the cold. 
A huge plus is the size of the double bed and the excellent mattress used. Quite firm and gives you a comfortable sleep. 
The staff is very courteous and try to help you in which ever way they can. The manager at the desk is quite informed about Sikkim and it is a pleasure to interact with him.
The minuses: Despite the fact that this is a hotel in the capital, they don't have the amenities provided in a larger city. Apart from the toilet roll, a soap and a shampoo sachet, there really isn't any other more-sophisticated stuff in the bathroom. And you don't really mind. That they have hot water from all  taps 24/7 is enough. The best part is that the manager knows this and admitted that they, of course, can't compete with hotels of a bigger city.
Another funny incident was that when we left the room, we had agreed for a room service. They seemed to have outsourced this stuff to a couple of cleaning ladies. When we came back, we found that all the plastic covers which we used to carry our extra pair of shoes, all the bigger 2 liter empty bottles which we kept as stand-by, all were thrown away. The ladies had gone around the room with a comb and trashed all that they thought needs to be. LOL! During travel, I am wary of throwing away anything till just before the last leg of the journey and was now at a loss as to how to wrap my extra shoes. This concern was more so as Sikkim, blessedly, doesn't allow plastic at all. When I told about this, the staff provided me some cloth bags. So if you go there, rule out room cleaning, especially if your stay is short like ours was.
We had agreed to this hotel as it had advertised itself as a hotel with a vegetarian restaurant but when we went there, there was no restaurant at all. It was supposed to be under renovation. Our lunch, on the first day, was brought from outside and arrived after an hour of ordering by which time we were like half-starved to death. 
For all other meals, we ate at the MG road before we came back to rest at our room. They provide a breakfast free with the package, though not a buffet.
By our Hyderabad standards, this hotel might not stand a chance but as per Sikkim standards, I would rate it a 3.5/5. This is for sheer courteousness of the staff.