A note on accommodation

I haven’t written much on accommodation in a while. At this point I have adjusted from the cushy-ness of the hotels we stayed in during the group trip. We’ve been sticking with the higher end of the budget suggestions in Lonely Planet (LP). Typically we are paying between 800 and 1,000 rupees per night (USD 17.50 – 22).

(On a side note, I don’t know if this is typical, but at most places we have been, the rates have been higher than listed in the LP. We have the most recent edition, and it’s possible that it’s slightly out of date. But Shashi, my friend’s mother, had mentioned while we were staying at her house that significant increases in gas prices over the past year(s) has had knock on effects on all aspects of life in India. Most cabs and auto rickshaws we have taken don’t use a meter but quote a price to us. We had thought that this was just one way of taking advantage of tourists to negotiate a high fare, but Shashi said that the price of gas had gone up again recently and most of the drivers’ meters probably had not yet been adjusted to reflect higher costs. I wonder if the same is true of LP and hotel rates.)

At this price, we are getting double rooms with private bath that are a decent size and level of cleanliness (note: this is very different from clean). I am not the most squeamish or picky, but we knew that we are too old to go ultra cheap – even before starting on the trip I felt did not need to experience a youth hostel at this point in my life. And, having sampled a range of mid to high range budget options, I only feel more certain about this now! 😉 Especially as we are pretty lazy travelers and like our sleep (Roman especially ;-)) and down time. I don’t need the Ritz but a certain amount of comfort is essential.

I can handle slightly grungy rooms and bathrooms, the presence of non-threatening bugs, permanently stained linens, dark rooms with harsh flourescent lighting… And even the least attractive places we’ve been have redeeming features that balance out any grunge – lovely views, a chilled out atmosphere or cozy restaurants with good food. But I don’t know if I’m hardcore enough for anything dirtier. I suppose I have a bit of diva in me after all. Roman promises if/when we get to South America, hot showers will be few and far between – this is another luxury I’m a bit addicted to but I have time yet to see if I can wean myself!

Tomorrow we go off the grid though. One hotel we had picked out from Lonely Planet for Varanasi seemed to have a disconnected number and the next was completely booked. They suggested an affiliate hotel in the old town but away from the ghats. The photos on the website make it look pretty clinical, but the price is right (R550 a night) and maybe it’s more atmospheric in real life? It’s our first non-LP hotel, so let’s see what happens – keep your fingers crossed! 🙂

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