When you are going on a long touring trip where you will be changing hotels on a regular basis, believe it or not, the order of quality and comfort does matter! It could make or break your trip!
Now, you are saying to yourself…”Order of quality and comfort? What does she mean by that?” Well, I’m going to tell you…
Before leaving for India, I spent a week booking all the hotels, resorts, and accommodations for our trip. I had access to my in-law’s time share for the “extra vacation” feature, so I booked those first in three different parts of the country. In fact, those were the only places we were going to stay in the beginning. One week in Rajasthan, one week in Mumbai and one week in Delhi. Resorts included in time shares tend to be of pretty good quality and comfort, so we weren’t too worried about them.
After thinking about the trip more, we couldn’t pass up this once in a lifetime experience to see every thing we could, so we started looking in other locations around the country. I went to work searching online on various travel reservation sites and found what looked like awesome Indian resorts and booked them. One in Gowri and one in Varanasi. I was very excited about these. Their websites looked awesome and the reviews were pretty good as well. We knew these were not a “resort” per se, the Gowri Resort looked like little cabanas and had all the amenities listed to please a guest and the hotel in Varanasi had a photo of a very nice bathroom and bedroom and was right on the ghats.
We had our stays booked and it was almost time to go. We psyched ourselves up and prepared ourselves for holes in the floor bathrooms, not being able to use the local water and knowing that we may be roughing it. Hey, I’m a girl scout leader and a hiker and am used to roughing it. I could handle it!
Our first stay was at Fort Chanwa. An 1800’s fort converted into a resort You can read more about it here: Fort Chanwa- Luni, Jodhpur, Rajhasthan . It was beautiful, and exactly what we were expecting as far as comfort goes.
After spending most of the week there, we decided we wanted to see more of Jodhpur and be in the city, so we looked online and booked a new hotel for the last 2 nights on that leg of the trip. This hotel was a bit of a downgrade and made us very happy we had prepared ourselves before hand, but we were still doing great!
Soon we’d be moving to Mirasol near Mumbai for the next time share resort. This one had always worried us a little as getting there required a plane and then a train or car and then after the stay we would need to do it all again to get back to the airport to take us south. Now, our spouses did not want us on the trains, so we decided to forego the time share and had my husband book us a hotel in Mumbai close to the airport using his travel points. He booked us at a Renaissance Marriott. He upgraded us to concierge level. It was HEAVEN! So much more luxurious than the last two places we had stayed. We were happy for the little vacation from our vacation.
Next we’d be moving to Gowri, the resort I was really excited for. The little cabanas were surrounded by rice paddies and looked just like the cool experience I wanted. We had them send us a driver and rode a very long 8 hours. It was the drive from hell, but more about that in a later post. We arrived at Gowri and enter what looked like a rustic campground. The electricity they boasted on the site… out, the hot water they advertised- only available 2 hours in the morning, (The fact that they advertised should have warned me) the comfy beds…More like cardboard on plywood.
That night we got absolutely no sleep and when we got out of bed the next morning, we were bruised on every location a bone hit the cardboard mattress. After two weeks into this long trip and especially after staying in luxury for a couple days, this was not the best way to continue the trip for two forty something year old women. There was no way we could stay here longer. We were exhausted, frazzled from the “drive from hell” and not willing to go back to being uncomfortable after laying in soft cushy beds, bathing in a jacuzzi tub and having fresh water bottles and room service brought to us every day. We were lucky. We were able to use my husbands travel points and get a hotel in Hyderabad for the rest of the stay which would be closer to the airport for our next leg and also be back up to par to the hotel in Mumbai.
We know we could have handled Gowri if it would have been before the Renaissance Marriott. We had prepared ourselves for roughing it, but once you get that taste of comfort, it is hard to go back.
My suggestion: Either stay with the same level of quality the entire duration of your trip, or even better start with lower comfort and build up so by the end of your trip you are in a magnificent hotel and you leave your vacation refreshed, with a great feeling about where you’ve been and what you’ve done on your travels. Its always a good idea to finish with a bang! Don’t do what we did and have to “start over” half way through our trip convincing ourselves going home was not the answer and if we just endured, we could do better.
Plan Smart and Travel Wise!