This was the second time I was visiting Bangalore, and both times my reasons for doing so was to attend a concert by Iron Maiden. This also happened to be the second time I was attending a Maiden gig with my girlfriend (although the previous one was at Bombay last February). And the one lesson that the both of these events had taught me was that my primary criteria for selecting a place to crash at ought to be it’s relative vicinity to the concert grounds (the budget, reputation & accessibility of the hotel would all be close seconds).
The Magaji Orchid seemed to tick all the right squares as per their website & later, my correspondence with them. Most significantly, I was informed that the hotel is barely a kilometer away from the Palace Grounds (which was the venue). This piece of information turned out to be somewhat misleading as the distance kept growing as my date of arrival loomed closer. After the full booking amount was paid the distance became 3-4kms. On the date of our arrival, it became 10-15 mins at which point the distance seemed to stabilize. Now whereas the distance as it ended up being wasn’t particularly bothersome, the manner in which it kept altering itself was. The misleading communication thus became the first point off Magaji’s score for us.
We had asked for a cab to pick us up at the airport (which is between 45-60 mins away depending on the traffic) and were received on schedule by a friendly cabbie (although he had somehow managed to change my name on the plaque he was holding which led to some minor confusion). The drive itself was pleasant enough & we were welcomed hospitably by the friendly staff & assigned a room on the second floor. The room itself wasn’t something to boast about, but given it’s modest cost, it was comfortable & clean enough for us not to complain.
So our next hurdle came in the form of chilling water we found as we went hunting for a relaxing bath. The hotel claims 24/7 hot water supply but the time we spent there didn’t quite corroborate that. There would be some hot water (at irregular bursts) but it would vanish well before you’d wish it to which given the mild evening chill of February was a bit of a bother. Nothing serious, Bangalore was obnoxiously hot for February but even so, the invalidity of the claim alongside the simplicity of this particular service was disappointing enough for it to chalk off yet another point of Magaji’s score.
Another simple service that the hotel’s website & in-room brochure claims is 24hr room service. This is one of the harder stints to pull off for a budget hotel, but to be denied everything (from water/tea/coffee to any form of midnight munchies) at the relatively early hour of 1am was a letdown.
Finally, the greatest pitfall for Magaji came after we arrived back to the hotel after the concert (which was a funny tale in itself as we tried walking back from the venue only to discover two streets with the exact same name within a kilometer of one another). Arriving back rather exhausted although still excited from the gig at close to midnight, we were told that we needed to shift to another room on the 4th floor as there is another party of guests arriving at 4am which have booked the 2nd floor. Now I remind you that I had made the booking well beforehand & had paid the full amount for the same before my arrival in Bangalore so how exactly the good folks at Magaji decided to let someone book an occupied room is beyond my comprehension.
So while the move didn’t take us more than 10 mins, it was a very irksome 10 mins & it ensured that we would depart from Magaji unhappy with the place. Which is a shame because the reception staff & the actual rooms were rather pleasing (relatively speaking ofcourse). And in the end it wasn’t so much the lack of availability of certain services but the ensuing unsubstantiation of the same that disappointed us. So I would recommend the cost conscious traveler to visit this peaceful lil’ boutique hotel for it is well equipped, clean & comfortable rooms with rather helpful staff… but don’t rely too much on the in-house services or the wisdom of the hotel management.
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