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India - Facilities - Hotel Accommodations in India

Hotel Accommodations in India

There's a hotel for every budget in India – from luxury resorts to small cheap motels. India is well known for its cheap, clean middle-rung motels and hotels which offer decent accommodation and good food.

¤ Youth Hostels

Indian Youth Hostels (Hostelling International) all over India are very cheap and have excellent facilities, though they might be a little away from city centres. There are some state-run youth hostels, but steer clear of them. A Youth Hostel card isn’t generally required, but you save on money at the official Youth Hostels if you have one.

¤ Government Accommodation

Restless British administrators were always up and about, all over the country – even in the remotest of areas, especially in the remotest of areas. The result is that they have left behind a string of accommodation units like Rest Houses, Dak Bungalows, Circuit Houses, PWD (Public Works Department) Bungalows, Forest Rest Houses all over the country often in attractive locations. Well, they are still meant for the travelling government officials, although many will take you in for overnight stays particularly in far-flung areas.
¤ Tourist Bungalows

Tourist Bungalows run by the State Governments have superb facilities and are a real good bargain. You can take your pick from rooms with or without AC, single or double. Most have excellent restaurants and what's more, they're pretty reasonable. It is pretty generally agreed that tourist bungalows are the best places to stay while in India.

¤ Railway Retiring Room

The most popular type of accommodation while on transit in trains. They are just like any other hotel except they are at the railway stations. To stay here you must have a railway ticket or an Indrail Pass. In case you have an early train to catch, these rooms are extremely convenient and very cheap.

¤ Railway Waiting Rooms

When all else fails, nod the night away at railway waiting rooms which come free provided you have a valid ticket.

¤ Budget Hotels

Most suitable and preferred by backpackers, budget hotels in India are dirt-cheap. These hotels quick to raise their prices according to the demand and supply ratio. In fact, in the smaller hotels, you may even try your bargaining skills. Many of these hotels operate on a 24-hour system – you check out the following day at the same time as you signed in. However some hotels still maintain the noon checkout, while hotels in hill stations follow a logic best known to them alone. So it pays to check on the checkout time in advance.

¤ Luxury Hotels

Luxury hotels come in several categories in India, such as the super deluxe, deluxe, five star, four star and three star, depending on the facilities they offer. These hotels are generally limited to the major tourist centres and the metro cities.

The Taj Group has the finest hotels in India followed by the Welcomgroup (affiliated with Sheraton), the Oberoi, Ritz, Casino and the Air India linked Centaur Hotels. In addition to these, the ITDC group run Ashok Hotels can be found in practically in every town of India especially in places of special interest. In Rajasthan, Gujarat and other smaller places all over India the forts and palaces of the erstwhile kings have been converted into heritage hotels. If you want experience the royal Indian treatment, you might want to check these out.

The most expensive hotels in India follow the noon checkout system. Generally the state governments impose a variety of taxes on accommodation and services on all the top line hotels and restaurants. It might be levied on food, room service, use of telephones or chalked up to your total bill.

¤ Home Stays

The greatest way to know India is to stay with an Indian family; it can quite an eye opener for westerners. Such home stay accommodations are organised in Rajasthan, Ladakh, Chennai and Mumbai in alliance with the Tourism Development Corporations of the respective states. The tourist offices of the cities have the exhaustive list of the families offering this service.

¤ Others

YMCAs and YWCAs in big cities provide an alternative to other type of accommodation. They are well equipped and affordable, however they also have long waiting lists so book in advance. There are a few Salvation Army Hostels in particular in Calcutta, Chennai and Mumbai. Camping facilities are also available for the outdoor types in outdoor type locations of course. Free accommodations as well as meals are available, for a limited period like overnight stay, at some Sikh Gurudwaras (temples). However, sanctity is held foremost in these Gurudwaras and any kind of drinking, smoking and any act which can be classed under amoral behavior should be strictly avoided. In many Hindu pilgrimage sites there are dharamsalas and choultries which generally offer free or very cheap accommodation to pilgrims.

¤ Seasonal Variations

In popular tourist destinations it is common practice for hoteliers to raise and lower their prices according to demand. Expect widely different prices at on-season and off-season times. The definition of 'off-season' varies with the place. Like, winters are 'off-season' for the hill stations, but totally 'on-season' for the deserts. During peak season, bookings can be extremely heavy so reserve well in advance by fax or phone from India or abroad. and double-check your reservation anyway before arriving.

¤ Touts

Hordes of touts operate in almost every trade in India especially during the tourist rush season. Tourists are often hassled and literally taken away by auto-rickshawallahs, and rickshawallahs to hotels that pays them commission. Nevertheless, they are quite useful during peak season – from somewhere they will dig out a place which suits your budget whatever the rush.

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