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“My Experience- In Your Paradise”

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Banjara Camp & Retreat - Sangla Valley Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Karnal, India
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“My Experience- In Your Paradise”
Reviewed 18 August 2013

Though I came back from a disappointing trip to Sangla Valley 2 months back, I could not give vent to my feeling because our cars were stranded there because of Landslides.Our trip was a long one -we stayed at Narkanda,Sarahan and finally Banjara Camps and Retreat at sangla Valley. Stay at Banjara Camps was most Expensive and disappointing. Though I was mesmerized by the natural beauty of Sangla Valley , Our stay at Banjara Camps and poor way of dealing with with their customers spoiled the entire vacations.
I am surprised at some of the reviews I read. Are We So Coward that that we can't speak the truth? Statements by some reviewers like Generator used to kick in are completely false as we stayed there without electricity for 3 days and what to talk of generator even candles were insufficient.
You have to order Bar-Be-Que 5-6 hours before and if it starts raining in the evening you have to collect it yourself to your Rooms(even though it is expensive they didn't provide Room Service)
Best Part is that Banjara Camp is like hostel Mess. Breakfast and Dinner are served in separate building from the Residential one.If Your small child sleeps off after trekking or it rains u go all the way carrying umbrella in cold for dinner(all the enjoyment of holiday gone). Inspite of paying so much we like waiters carried food for our children on our own in rain to our rooms.
Crisp Linen as written by someone was non existent, I had to bribe staff to get a fresh towel after 3 days.
Dripping Rooms , Cold Food, absence of hot water and electricity and poor amenities spoiled the entire vacation.
In contrast we trek to Kuppa (near helipad-for rescue by helicopter) we stayed at Negi Cottage (stay Home) The owner Mr. Ajit Negi Provided Hot water for Bath (took a bath on 4th of our stay in sangla), Hot very delicious meals (Room Rent Rs 700/- only) and ajit was kind enough to deliver our vehicles till chandigarh after 2 months (when Roads reopened) I am really thankfull to Mr Ajit Negi for his hospitality and really admire his gratitude.
I am also thankful to Miss. Bene of Banjara camps our energetic, enthusiastic guide and trekker.

Room Tip: super deluxe rooms or River cottage. I will stay at some other hotel
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank mongaakash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Karnal, India
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 August 2013

Would sure like to share my experience for our stay in Banjara camps, Sangla so that no one else gets fleeced by them. We were three families and got ourselves booked the most expensive rooms they had to offer that included two super deluxe rooms (Rs. 9200/-) and one riverside cottage (9900/-). We reached Banjara camps in the afternoon on the 14th June, 2013 and were greeted by a indifferent looking guy ( Capt. Ajay). We decided to straight away proceed for lunch as we were famished. Got our first shock when we found the dishes that were served to be cold and stale. The mouth watering idea of having a hot sumptuous meal ( as mentioned in the brochure) soon faded away and we had to make do with whatever there was on offer. We informed our esteemed host (Capt. Ajay) about the food quality who responded that we should have asked the staff (couldn't see any) to get it reheated. We all realized that our excitement and energy level had gone down a notch. We proceeded to our rooms to rest. We were very surprised to read in the provided brochure " please tip the staff to keep them motivated". We later realized what it meant was if you don't tip them they'll simply ignore you. It was also mentioned that if wanted to order snacks during the day the order has to be placed four - five hours in advance. Wow! Next day evening it started raining and that's when our real misery started. For dinner we had to trudge in the rain from our room to the dining hall sharing three broken umbrellas amongst the eight of us. Our shoes and clothes all got wet in the biting cold.The dining hall was jam packed and there was no place to sit or stand. Next day we woke up to find that there is no power and no hot water. We got the shock of our lives when we were informed that the famous "Banjara Camps" had no gen sets and thus no power back up. We asked for hot water and were greeted by blank faces as if we had asked for the Kohinoor diamond. O.k so no power and no hot water. Things were really not looking good. Never knew it was just the start. Asked for a jug of hot water (scaling down our request from a bucket to a jug) but were refused again. Lunch was sumptuous as usual with baingan ka bartha and lobiye ki daal (just lost my apetite again, yucks). For dinner found only leftovers of the non-veg dishes (only gravy) as all the pieces had vanished without a trace. Next day was woken up very early and advised by one of the staff to move my car from the camp's parking lot as there was danger of the parking getting flooded by slush and water. I was told to park it away 300-400 mtrs. away near a bridge and was given vague directions. That was supposed to be a safe parking area. I reached my vehicle (in the rain, all wet and miserable) and found no one from the staff there to help out. Took a wrong turn in the very start and was informed by a local guy that I was supposed to go in the opp. direction. Somehow managed to reverse my huge S.U.V and reached the bridge and the parking area. Saw many vehicles parked there and "not surprisingly" found that there was no parking space for my car. Again there was no one from the staff to help people park their vehicles. One cab driver saw my dilemma and thankfully surrendered his parking space to me while he moved and parked his car on the bridge itself. I was really grateful and exchanged mobile numbers with him. All the time it was raining and I was soaking wet. Walked back to the camp. In the evening got a call from the cab driver that two cars right next to mine had been completely damaged by falling boulders and it was dangerous for my vehicle too. Again went in the rain with my friend and had to move my vehicle again. Same thing happened the next morning with the cab driver calling me yet again. I had to move my vehicle four times and my vehicle got saved thanks to the cab driver. The most noticeable part was the Banjara camp people were totally indifferent to our woes and they did not even have the decency of posting a guy from the staff to keep a lookout for our vehicles. Finally my car got caught in the slush and we (me and my friends) had to slog with some local help to move it out. I met an elderly gentleman from the batseri village who showed me a safe place to park my vehicle. Back in the camp things were really bad with no power, no fresh towels and no hot water. They were providing just 2 candles for each room which were not at all sufficient for the long hours of pith black darkness. We had to bribe the staff for extra candles and were literally paying 100 Rs. for each extra candle. (Tip and bribe the staff to keep them motivated). On the third day after repeated requests and tips (bribes?) we were given one fresh hand towel. My wife managed to "steal" one hot cup of water (meant for tea) so that I could shave. They took down our names for chopper evacuation but the list never reached the authorities. For the troubles we faced we were given a discount of just 20% on the room rents. Imagine paying Rs. 8000/- for dripping rooms with no power, no hot water no service and no towels. But we had to pay since we had to leave our vehicles behind at their disposal. At Kupa village we stayed in a room worth Rs. 700/- and were offered fresh towels and hot water for bathing which the Banjara camps couldn't provide. The owner (Mr. Ajit Negi) of the hotel himself delivered our vehicles to Chandigarh just three days back. This is what I call real hospitality. After three days of waiting at the helipad we trekked down 26 kms. to reach Karcham.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
26 Thank 7randeep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Delhi, India
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 July 2013

We have visited many times over the years and the organisation and professionalism of this luxury camp always make an excellent impression. Friendly knowledgeable staff. Spectacular setting in a beautiful valley full of conifers and apple orchards. Delicious food! Tents with attached baths with geysers. Great treks led by knowledgeable staff.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank MNS_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Campbell, California
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2013

The service, food, and hospitality was excellent. There are many things to keep the kids busy (board games, table tennis tables, basketball hoop, badminton court, dart board, etc.) though there are absolutely no TVs or electronics in the room. The treks and hikes in the Sangla Valley range from a leisurely strolls to tough treks. The staff is very friendly....in the case of severe weather, they are very well prepared. This is a 5-star hotel in the middle of pristine wilderness.

Room Tip: The kids will love the top floors, which have a "loft" where they can sleep.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank asr12345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Campbell, California
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 July 2013

Our 6 day stay got extended to a 10 day stay at Sangla, due to heavy rains and the roads getting washed away. It turned out to be one of our best and most memorable vacations. Even though we did not have electricity for 5 days, and no road access,we were so well looked after by team Banjara. We made our own "Sangla family" of 5 families, and the kids loved it all.

This resort is a gem in Kinnaur and we will be going back in the next few years to do what we could not this time ( due to the weather). Ajay + Chandrika Sud and team Banjara went above and beyond and we are all so grateful.

A few points to consider.

1. Getting to Sangla takes a while. We flew from Mumbai to Chandigarh and then drove to Sangla with an overnight stay at Thanedar ( Banjara resort). It took us 2 days.

2. To enjoy the resort and the gorgeous surroundings, being able to walk at 9000 Ft for 5 Kms
(at least) is essential. You can of course read a book sitting by the river and just chill, but the views you will encounter on your walks are worth the workout.

3, This is not a budget resort, but is totally worth the price. There is no other resort in the area that will give you all that Banjara can.

4. With no TV or internet access to distract you, you will be pleasantly surprised at how easily you can become friendly with complete strangers. Kids especially, did not miss "screen time" at all.

5. The pricing and refund policies are a bit different from other places, so familiarizing your self with those in advance, is a good idea. They are up front about them in detail on their website.

6. Kavita and Sanjeev at the office in Delhi were great. All our queries were answered promptly. We did not have to send even a single reminder.

I wanted to add a few pictures, but have not organized them yet. Will add them later.

Thanks again team Banjara, looking forward to visiting you all again.

Regards

Archana

Room Tip: We stayed at the retreat. They have tents too.
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Archana S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gurugram (Gurgaon), India
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 30 June 2013

An excellent stay ,great service and hospitality.Even the staff was ever so friendly and hospitable.
The extreme weather for nearly 4 days and the devastation that followed brought out the true character of the camp .Never felt out of home - all was done to take care of comfort and well being.
The warm fireplace in the dining area and the evening bonfire were to die for and not to forget the delicious home cooked food. Made quite a few good friends and hope to return in the future .
Wonderful hosts in Ajay and Chandrika and the support staff was fantastic .-Dixit

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Sanjay D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mumbai
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 June 2013

I kept my promise I had made to myself. I returned to Sangla this year with family and extended family in tow. However compared to last year's visit in September we made this trip end April with the hope of getting snow, which we did.

The 10 of us including parents, wife, kids and extended family flew down to Chandigarh from Mumbai and were picked up by Banjara in 2 Innovas. We spent the first 2 nights at Banjara Orchard Thanedaar before proceeding to Sangla. The resort managed by Capt Ajay Sud and his wife made sure our stay was very comfortable and exciting.
Day 1:
The holiday started with a bang literally as there was a severe landslide at RekongPeo approx. an hour before before the camp. No worries assured Capt Sud we will have vehicles on the other end of the Landslide that will come pick you up and there will be a team of my staff that will ferry the luggage across. Sure enough all went well and we transferred between cars and were shortly on our way to Sangla. We reached the resort by 5.30pm, checked in and were treated to hot pakoras, tea and other snacks by the river side. Had dinner and crashed early that night.

Day 2:
The plan for the day was the customary trip to Chitkul which was aborted half way on account of the weather turning bad at very short notice. We returned to the camp where the kids got busy with the inhouse activities of Wall climbing, river crossing etc while I settled down on the balcony with a book.

Day 3:
we took off for a trek to Rakchum that morning and had an absolute blast having snow ball matches and sliding down a huge yet to melt Glacier sitting on bubble wrap plastic. That evening we made another attempt to Chitkul and this time we made it until the Border check post and were also treated to snowfall on the way back. The snowed in peaks this time were in stark contrast to last September when it was green and colourful.

Day 4:
We left for Thanedaar with a heavy heart and a promise to return to the valley in the near future.

About the Camp:
1. Excellent Location situated amidst apple trees
2. Very comfortable rooms and tents - Choose tents after June when its warmer
3. Great food and mouth watering barbecue snacks are available at an extra but reasonable price
4. Very helpful host with a very capable and enterprising manager Sonu
5. If you visit during September you can literally pluck apples off the trees and have them
6. Watch out for 2 log huts that should be complete this June which will offer you a mid blowing river view from your room

Room Tip: Choose the deluxe suites or Log Huts between April - June Tents between Jul - Sep if you are ok wit...
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank neville_1409
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Banjara Camp & Retreat - Sangla Valley Camp

Property: Banjara Camp & Retreat - Sangla Valley Camp
Address: Vill/ P.O. Batseri, District Kinnaur, Sangla 172106, India
Region: India > Himachal Pradesh > Kinnaur District > Sangla
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 Speciality Lodging in Sangla
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A soft adventure family holiday place in the higher Himalayas. Located on the banks of Baspa river and next to the amazingly beautiful Batseri village, Banjara Camp was pioneer of tourism in this area. Kinnaur, Spiti and Upper Kullu region also have properties from this the company, Banjara Camps & Retreats Pvt Ltd., which runs the camp. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Banjara Camp & Retreat - Sangla Valley Camp India - Himachal Pradesh

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