19 February 2009

Let's talk hotels...

Notice: All content here, and new additions can be found on a forum of the same name: http://dr-patel-surrogacy.com.

Ok, while the focus here should be on hotels in Anand, I of course realize that many of us travel through Mumbai, and there can certainly be good reasons to stay in hotels near the local airports in Ahmedabad (AMD) and Vadodara (BDQ). So, please feel free to share where you stayed in these locations also, why that hotel, and your impressions...

In Anand, at least at this time (Feb 2009), the two hotels that seemingly attract the most attention from us visitors are the newer La Casa Inn (http://www.lacasainn.in/) and the venerable Hotel Laksh (http://www.lakshgroup.in/hotellakshresidency/).

La Casa, while I haven't been there, is described as being nicer and cleaner than Hotel Laksh. For those up on the star ratings, it's probably a three, so I understand. Apparently the restaurant there is quite good and offers a very nice variety of cuisine.

Each of these hotels seem to be equidistant from Dr. Patel's clinic (7 minute tuk tuk ride, see video in photo / video post). Hotel Laksh is more near the Big Bazaar, US Pizza (15 minute walk), and Subway (5+ minute tuk tuk ride). La Casa is a little more remote, but more near my favorite restaurant, Hungry Jungle (couple minute tuk tuk ride).

When we were trying to decide between these two back in September 2008, while both are quite affordable, Hotel Laksh was cheaper. And while I can't speak for La Casa, Hotel Laksh provided a 10% discount to Dr. Patel's clients. I wasn't aware of that deal beforehand, so that was a pleasant surprise. For us though, price really wasn't the primary consideration...

My employer, being very supportive, allowed me to work while abroad, but this mandated that I have a decent and reliable internet connection. At that time, La Casa was just getting connected to the web. And while they said they had internet access, it was only in their business center, not in their rooms, and it would be an additional hourly charge. Given the amount to time I would need on the internet, and at odd ours (California time), this wasn't going to hack it. Plus, my wife, who had the final decision because her comfort was the most important factor, also valued the internet a lot because she wanted to instant message and use the webcam to communicate with her family. So, Hotel Laksh it was...

That said, there are other internet options that Uday and/or Hitesh can arrange that leverage the cell network via a laptop card or modem (Tata Indocom, Reliance or BSNL). Likewise, these two will entail costs though and from my experience and others, the bandwidth is just ok.

Hotel Laksh has two wireless networks that span several floors. I still remember the network key: apple. The bandwidth was more than adequate and actually allowed me to watch TV video feeds of my college football and basketball games (Go Bears!). My wife was able to easily instant message and use her webcam and I was able to use my employer's IP phone to participate in a team meeting and call my parents. In this day and age, the internet is becoming more and more essential. So, Hotel Laksh served us very well in this respect. It was down a few times, and those were mostly when the hotel was minus power though...

As of this moment, from a friend who is there now, La Casa is still having some issues with their internet. I'm quite certain they'll get his ironed-out soon though.

Hotel Laksh provides a free in-room breakfast of toast and butter, which we took advantage of daily. With some peanut butter that we brought with us, it was actually a pretty good way to start the day. My wife made coffee in the room as well. In the photos post, one can see some shots of our room and our cooking gear.

We found the overall service at Hotel Laksh to be more than adequate. They were all very friendly and responsive. We didn't use room service every day, but a few times a week, which is typical for us; and they were cool with that. The security guard at the entrance to the hotel was great. He flagged-down a tuk tuk every morning for our trip to Dr. Patel's clinic. We gave him a nice tip at the end of our stay. I'll have a money post discussion soon...

Oh, Hotel Laksh has cable TV, including the basic cable networks, and also HBO. Between a good internet connection and these channels, we were not overly bored. Anand is not exactly a haven for things to do, so that was nice. The room also has a fridge, although we didn't use it much. We did use the A/C, even though it was winter, lol!

When we were preparing to leave Anand, the hotel secured a taxi for us, and upon request, put it on our hotel bill so I could pay everything in one shot, with a credit card. I was also getting low on Rupees and didn't want to hassle with another money exchange...

Besides these hotels, there is also the Hotel Surabhi Regency:http://www.hotelsurabhiregency.com/index.html. If interested, I have a street view photo of this hotel in the photo post. Below this hotel is the only place in Anand to purchase alcohol in this dry state. If you are into wine, Grover Vineyards (not exactly Indian sounding is it?) is pretty good, so I hear.

I just remembered that Hitesh, Dr. Patel's husband, provided us with a pretty helpful area map of Anand. I was able to find it, and scan it in for all to see, download and print:

For future reference, this map (and post) can also be located via the Helpful Links below, and I'll also include it in my photos/video post. Ok, enough of my babbling... Most are staying at La Casa, and I'm sure they can share quite a bit as to why.

1 comment:

  1. La Casa was great! The staff at the hotel and restaurant were outstanding! I felt like royalty the way they treated us.

    The food at the hotel restaurant was very good. Complimentary breakfast every morning included eggs, toast, a mango fruit smoothie, and coffee. If you go for dinner you must get the Masala Pappa appetizer. It's awesome. It's a flat tortilla shell topped with a spicy pico de gallo. The Thai chili noodles were great as well. I ate these almost every day for 16 days and did not tire of them.

    The hotel is opening a 24 hour Coffee Shop soon that will have small bites and pastries.


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