Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hotel Studio Estique

Pune, though not far from my city, has so far been an unexplored arena for me. An impromptu plan of meeting a few of my classmates from school triggered a frenetic lookout for hotels to stay. I shortlisted three and finally selected one: a 3-star rated Hotel Studio Estique. Compared to the Gujarat hotels (on my previous vacation), I found Pune hotels rates on the higher side and therefore decided to try Airbnb. The rooms, I found were okay, but then most of the amenities not even close to the ones offered by hotels. My selection would be decided by
1. Room rate
2. Flexible check-in, check out timings
3. Provision of complimentary buffet breakfast
4. Availability of Wi-fi
5. Proximity to the railway station
I had almost zeroed in on a room with airbnb, albeit reluctantly because of its distance of 7 kms from the station, when son found a very sweet deal through makemytrip which would knock off 50% or more from the hotel charges. Yipee! I could get the hotel I was looking for and that too at a much cheaper rate. Not having tried these deals ever before, I was skeptical of how it would work and if there would be a glitch and a substandard room because of the reduced rate.
But no, none of that happened. The check-in process was smooth. The only difference I found was that the amount needed to be paid upfront. I was fine with it. When escorted to the room, I was quite floored. The first impression was, " it is so cozy!"  The narrow entrance had the bathroom to its left and a space to place one's bags and baggage on its right with big drawers below it. What really impressed me was the single queen-sized bed that had only two sides, the third and the fourth sides attached to the wall against which you can lean and laze around when in the mood to.

The room on first day

Another view: the room on first day
One complimentary bottle of water was given everyday. The room had the kettle with sachets of tea, coffee, milk and sugar provided.

The bath area reflected in the mirror

The bathrooms were excellently maintained...the bath area neatly partitioned by a glass wall. Only two toiletries were provided though-- a body wash and a shampoo. One major drawback was that, they assume that the client isn't an Indian. I say this because there is no provision for a faucet at the W.C. There is only the toilet roll and also no provision of buckets to fill water in for a bath. You can only shower. The third drawback is the very low pressure of water . It becomes exasperating  to see what you thought had flushed down hasn't actually done so. The water in the washbasin too swirls around for quite some time before it drains.
The buffet breakfast, from 7.30 to 10.30 a.m, is a major draw. There was a great variety of the Indian and the continental food. Apart from this, a live counter providing varieties of dosas, parathas, eggs and pancakes. The usuals were the fruits, fruit juices, the cereal, freshly baked bread rolls, sauteed vegetables, beans and one non-veg item. Other Indian items would vary.
Where they scored in the continental and West Indian dishes, they didn't do well in the South Indian...clearly not their forte. But that's okay. I just loved their sauteed vegetables and had my fill with it.

My favorite item from the breakfast
The distinctive feature was their coffee. It wasn't any machine-made one but was prepared afresh and I greatly enjoyed their cappuccino.
Coming to the service, I found it very decent. My do-not-disturb board was earnestly honored and not a knock once the board was hung.
The reception was quite friendly too and helped me find directions and one of them even booked a transport for me when I wanted to go around the city.
Only when I wanted to check out after the first day, I was told rigidly about the check-out time of 12 noon and that I could not occupy the room after the said time. Nor was the foyer air conditioned so that I could relax there.
I checked in a day later to stay for two more days. The room I was allotted this time was supposed to be an upgraded one. It was good with a double cot and carpeted floor instead of a wooden one. Though a very good place, it didn't give me the comforting feel of the previous one. It wore a severely sterile look. This was on first floor. What was disconcerting was a connecting door to the adjoining room. I used to double check the door to ensure that there would be no surprise intruders.

The room on the second day
Be a little wary when you are allotted room on this floor though, as the walk-in wardrobe has a full length mirror and when you open the doors, the light automatically turns on and then you see a refection in the mirror. You stifle your scream when you realize that you are only looking at yourself.
Both rooms allotted were absolutely noise-free. The comfortable beds and the noise-free environment allowed one a sound sleep.The first room had a wooden ledge all around which helps you rest your stuff on but the second room didn't have any such facility and the only table was so cluttered already that it leaves you very little surface to place anything on.

Another view: the room on the second day
In these times of technology, more electric sockets to plug your electronic equipment would help.
During check out, I, unfortunately returned late to the room and then had to hurry to check out and reach the railway station.
What irked me then was the amount of time taken by the bell boy to check around and get the luggage down to the reception. Second, my debit card didn't work. They tried thrice but it failed. I had to use another one. Later, when I checked my messages I came to know that instead of swiping for a certain amount, they had tried by adding two more zeros. Luckily that particular bank of mine didn't have that kind of balance or I am sure I would have been held up for a longer period. I am sure this was a human error and not intentional but then when you are tense about reaching the railway station in time, all these delays add to your stress.
The blessing though is the proximity that made me reach the station in fifteen minutes. Well, all's well that ends well.
Do I recommend this place ? Yes, definitely: for their service, the breakfast , excellent wi-fi connection, and the amenities. You want a cozy room, go for the ones on third floor .
Having an INOX multiplex right beside the hotel doesn't hurt either. Go for it!