by ChrisLPhoto on Mar 23, 2015Hotel
Too often, a hotel room in India makes you want to spend most of your time outdoors. But when it's hot, you want to spend all your time indoors! We
visited Varanasi in the hot July of 2014, and we remember it well. The Palace on the Ganges was probably the best choice we could make at the time, and despite several critical reviews, we found that the Palace has several positive things going for it.
The Air-Con: The AC only shut off twice during a pre-monsoon summer of 100+degrees with 90% humidity. Considering India's past reputation for power outages, that is nothing short of a miracle. The AC was so cold that when I took my camera outside, moisture formed on the body. Our AC room was a huge relief after summer walks along the Ganges, and we slept very comfortably.
The Rooms: As an art history and architecture buff, I enjoyed the Sanchi room, delightfully decorated in the theme of the famous Buddhist stupa. Yes, there was only one window looking out into an air-shaft, but hey: Varanasi, the oldest inhabited city in the world, is crowded with buildings, so why complain about little things? The design of the Palace, considering its location, is admirable, and the heritage décor is fascinating, with each room having it own cultural theme from some area of India. The stairwell provides an upward education, as the walls are covered with musical instruments and informative homages to India's literary and cultural giants. The nice lobby furniture anyone would want at home. The Palace is nicely decorated and deserves appreciation (especially when you look at the other buildings outside).
The Penthouse Suite: We moved to the rooftop "suite" on our second day. It was a blessing and a curse; blessing because of the awesome views it gave over the Ganges, a semi-private patio, reliable AC, clean showers, a flat but very clean bed, working television, clean and comfortable furniture and a wonderful sense of quiet. The curse was that the "suite" was a single room and you had to climb four flights of stairs to get there! Oy! We felt pity for the hotel staff, who always brought up our food with a smile.
The Wifi: Ours worked well; maybe because we were on the roof….but the fee should be lowered or just included in the room rate. This would make the Palace more desirable to those of us who live on social media and have not learned detachment.
The Food: the upper restaurant menu was limited, but it did provide edible food that kept you alive. Again, we came in the hot season, so maybe the menu is a budgetary consideration by management. A hotel of this caliber deserves more variety.
The Staff: Friendly and helpful. Say hello to the cleaning staff, as it can brighten their day.
The Locale: The Palace may be one of the few riverside hotels where a car can deliver you right to the front door, and this means easy arrival from or departure to the train station. The area behind the hotel seems a little rough, and there was lots of traffic at night so be careful. The Palace is at the southern end of the ghats, so the walk north to the better-known tourist areas is long but interesting. If you go during the hot summer like we did, take LOTS of water, 2-3 bottles if you can, in a backpack. Back at the Palace, be sure to visit the amazing curio shop downstairs and to the left, where the owner will sell you everything. He is very nice and joyfully persuasive, having owned the shop for twenty years. He seems to have one of everything in there, some very affordable souvenirs including neat old curios time-warped from the Raj.
Overall, the Palace on the Ganges has a lot to offer and could be even more popular with a lower tariff (especially during slow seasons), improved WiFi and a livelier restaurant menu. The heritage-themed rooms are spotless and should raise interest in India's long and fascinating history. The rooftop "suite" room is worth at least a 2-night stay. The hotel staff are friendly. Say Hi to them as fellow human beings and spread kindness around the world. You're in Varanasi, after all!
by ChriMo_015 on Mar 22, 2015Hotel
Maybe got of on the wrong foot in 2013, but our second stay in this hotel was on of the best during our 2015 trip. The staff was friendly, got a good room with daylight from the beginning. Although the wi-fi service feels a little outdated, you have to pay, the hotel has improved in standards of service and cleanness.. We will book here again without hesitation.
by Chaitanya_Khaitan on Mar 29, 2015Hotel
I feel whoever named this hotel ended up with a spelling mistake. It should have been tiny place on the ganges and not palace. The hotel has not more than
two rooms facing the ganges which is very very surprising. Rooms are very small in size and almost all rooms have non openable windows. Rooms do not have much of soundproofing as well. The rooms are named after famous cities in India. They have mesmerising art work and portraits in the rooms and common area walls. The hotel is located right at the start of assi ghat, which seems to be undergoing a massive construction.
They have a rooftop restaurant and basement dining area. Breakfast is served in the basement. We went once and the non ventilated room smelled terrible. They have live classical musical playing in the evenings there but we did not dare to venture again. The rooftop restaurant serves good food and gives a good view of the assi ghat.
Manpower were helpful but the hotel was understaffed. For the price this place is certainly a rip off and unless anyone has a very specific need of staying at assi ghat I would recommend giving this place a miss.
But, if you do find yourself here, there is an excellent pizzeria just 100 metres left from this place. It took us all by surprise with everything we ordered being fantastic. Apple pie in particular was delicious.
by madhunk2015 on Mar 12, 2015Hotel
This was my first time in Varanasi and I was anxious to be near the ghats. Palace on Ganges is bang on Assi ghat and I was fortunate to witness the stunning Ganga Arti early in the morning right outside the hotel. The rooms are well equipped and are uniquely named after different Indian states. The staff is helpful. Only thing is the hotel is slightly overpriced
by Tofu A on Mar 10, 2015Hotel
I arrived on Holi which was a big mistake. There were few staff on and no food or drink available and no attempts to accommodate hotel guests, considering all restaurants
were closed. The hotel was full of people with no access to anything to eat which indicates poor planning.
The wifi was 400R per day and we heard it was down the entire time.
In terms of rooms, my room was basic with a window facing a wall. It was a very gloomy room to spend any time in and the rooftop restaurant was not especially welcoming. My bathroom was suffering from a cockroach issue and one day I returned to my room to find a filthy cleaning cloth, a wet hand towel and a live cockroach piled on my suitcase. Reception's excuse was that the cleaner forgot it in my room.
The location was good for catching boat rides on Assi Ghat but overall I wouldn't say it was worth it.
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