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“Average Only”
Review of Palace on Steps

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Palace on Steps
Ranked #21 of 74 Hotels in Varanasi
Mumbai
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Average Only”
Reviewed 26 June 2014

it was not a good hotel as per my expectation and have no AC on standard rook. Not good for Summer. Connecting roads for hotel are very bad. there is no convenience to reach hotel. No TV in Standard rooms.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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Helpful?
2 Thank Kamal J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 June 2014

We really enjoyed our stay here. The staff is very friendly and helpfull. The food in the restaurant is of great value and the Cook himself is a fantastic guy! Always smiling and very honest!
The location is very near the main ghat, and many rooms have a beautuful view on the Ganga river!

  • Stayed June 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Kevin C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Level Contributor
85 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 May 2014

I travelled for the Khumb Mela by myself, a single white female. I booked a river view on MakeMyTrip knowing that there would be hoards of travellers and quite a view from my room. I called several times to confirm my booking prior to arrival. The hotel tried to cancel my reservation after payment was made. I called MMT who called on my behalf and again confirmed the room. When I arrived they told me the room was not available. In reality all the hotels were playing a shuffle game to confuse guest into paying inflated prices for rooms. Some guest were sleeping on the restaurant floor. I waited knowing that they had no choice as MakeMy Trip has a huge presence and power in India. My room was made available and it was indeed a magnificent view overlooking the ghats. At dinner I met the owner who found out I was a hotel designer, who therefore wanted information on updating his hotel...are you kidding me? I would stay again as the room was centrally located and octagonal with windows all the way around. I would also only make a reservation on make my trip. Smarmy comes to mind for the staff but location and view more than make up for it.

Room Tip: Reserve a river view or forget about it.
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank NMandLittleNomads
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Varanasi hotels

Howrah, India
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2014

For me, who got to know Banaras/Varanasi through Ray films ‘Aparajito’ and ‘Joy Baba Felunath’ at a very young age, the image of the place grew in me and I it made me feel strangely familiar without even been physically visited. Then, there were the much published photographs of Raghu Rai and the likes to portray Benares in the most likely an unlikely manner. Beautifully constructed but ill maintained Ghats swarming with devotees seeking to take a holy dip, the ornate temple crowns , rows of pandas sitting on wooden platforms under mushroom shaped bamboo umbrella in ‘Dashashwamedh Ghat’, Narrow dark ‘Benas ki Galis’ , the colourful food vendors, the tradition of Hindustani classical music, the blissful and mournful ‘Shehnai’ of Ustad Bismillah Khan and the age old tradition of Hindu pilgrimage all juxtaposed to evoke an image of chaos. Although it was clear that the place was far from being picturesque and clean, it had certain charm and spirit preserved for thousands of years and to witness it and to overlap with the pre-existent perception of the place, I said yes when my wife offered me to accompany her for a seminar she was supposed to attend in BHU.

We reached Banaras very early morning of Late winter taking an auto-rickshaw from Mughalsarai Station and the steaming hot tea greeted us to the city. We had no clue about the location of the hotel except the fact that it overlooks ‘Rana Mahal Ghat’ and the property is built on the Beautiful ‘Rana Mahal Palace' just beside the grand ‘Darbhanga Palace’, so, we let the auto driver speak with the hotel manager for direction. After a little hiatus and confusion we managed to locate the J&K bank ATM on ‘Sonarpura’ Road (When we explored the map later, the location of ‘Palace on Steps’ was not more than 300mts away from the ‘Sonarpura’ Road) from where we are supposed to walk up to the property. The auto driver although friendly and communicative was warning us from the beginning that this hotel is located very deep inside the narrow and congested by lanes of Banaras and there is no vehicular accessibility within 1 kilometer. We were naturally uncomfortable with the thought of walking a kilometer every time we had to access to any transport.

After almost 10-15 minutes wait, the hotel attendant, a young local chap appeared from a narrow dwindling lane. Seeing no alternative at that moment and expecting to see something brilliant on the way, we silently followed the boy. The route seemed like a maze of directionless alleys where garbage is dumped in heap and further scattered by stray dogs and deep trenches dug across roads for some municipal plumbing scheme. What seemed at first a pathetic and punishing toil changes to a journey through a cultural trail once looked up at the rows of old ‘Havelis’ with their intricate stone carvings at the entrance or the hanging balconies supported by beautifully crafted out stone brackets, discreet glimpses of painstakingly decorated and humanly proportioned courtyards through half open doors or through a crack in the wall, the melodious ‘Riyaz’ of a young girl coming from the heart of an old and dilapidated ‘Haveli’, all these together starts to overwhelm and we gradually learnt to overlook the dirt in pursuant of the greater beauty. Although engrossed in the beauty of the surrounding ‘Havelis’ we were totally clueless about our destiny and our scene of direction had a headshake so apart from keeping pace with the hotel attendant who seemed to be sleepy and trying to reach hotel fast enough to doze off again. And after a sharp bend to the left beneath the dark mass of an old ‘Haveli’ bridging above the alley, we noticed directional signage of Ajay Guest House (Ajay Guest House & Hotel Elena is Part of the property known as ‘Palace on Steps’ )oil painted on a wall which leads to only one direction and after that bend we arrived at a junction sort of an area where a group of’ ‘Shiva Lingams’ are mounted on a ‘Bedi’ under the shed of an old Pipal tree (one of the two holy trees in Hindu religion, other being Banyan). Our guide silently directed towards right and we arrived between doorsteps of two cheaply constructed structures. The wider doorway leads to a low ceiling room with boys sleeping on the floor and a small table is kept at one corner. There were some sofas against the wall on the far side and we were called in. A German shepherd dog and her pup were tied at the doorway and waggled their tails with energy which lifted our mood somewhat after seeing what we were not expecting. The room indeed served the purpose of a reception lounge and we were generously given our room before the official check-in time. We thanked the manager and followed the boy and after crossing the Pipal tree we entered a small court with wall enclosure on two sides and rooms on the other two. This area seemed somewhat cleaned and dusted regularly. And as we took a bend in the direction of the room a spectacular view of Ganges bathed in the golden glow of the rising sun almost hypnotised us and we realised that the room which we are put in offers the same magical view. Standing by the window thoroughly mesmerised by the surreal canvas in front of us we almost overlooked what other facilities the room has to offer. We later realised that the room we luckily got (credit goes to my wife for enquiring and requesting the manager for the best room) is only a very few in the entire guest house which offers that clear view of Ghats and Ganges from a 50ft high vantage point. Thus, seeing continuation of Ghats unobstructed on the western side and the majestic' Darbhanga Palace' (soon to be turned into a luxury hotel) on the east and a 180 degree panoramic view of Ganges! That’s it! We decided to compromise everything else for this if we had to and sadly that had proved to be the exact case.

The beautifully proportioned sandstone structure with octagonal footprint and with a domical roof is infact one of the three ‘Chatris’ of the ‘Rana Mahal Palace’ which were traditionally built to enjoy the view with morning/ afternoon breeze and is commonly found as one of the main design elements in Mughal and Rajput architecture. A small circular bed has been put up against the wall and apart from a small TV console on the other end, there is only space for circulation. And the narrow passage around the ‘Chatri’ (originally the circulation area for servants) has become the viewing balcony for the unfortunate guests who had to settle with rooms on the ‘Gali’ side. This completely takes away the privacy of the ‘Chatri’ room and especially when you find out that one of the window blinds is not in place. I had instantly requested the manager to put on the blind but I lost hope next day after seeing his nonchalance on the issue. There is no phone in the room. A tiny colour TV with limited channels and a small but tiled modern toilet with geyser facility are the only modern interventions. The attached toilet structure obviously added later with no sensibility or planning to complement the old’ Chatri’ structure which has beautifully carved out floral motifs and other decorative elements. It was sad to see the sporadic and insensitive appendages permitted by the local municipal authority in a building of such architectural and cultural importance. There is a better and scientific way to convert heritage properties into boutique hotels and the management should be proud and responsible in maintaining the distinct character, textures and overall condition of the property.

To get down to the Ghats (Ghats in Varanasi are linked to each other forming a continuous promenade) one has to either take steps of the ‘Darbhanga Ghat’ on the East or walk towards west down around 100 yards to take the steps of ‘Rana Mahal Ghat’. Both of them should be experienced.

One big disadvantage of this hotel is that almost all their staffs are untrained and lacks the communicative skill to look after the well-being of its guests. The dining hall has been put-up on an extended structure grossly made and fenced to keep the monkeys at bay (A small scene has been shoot here in the Bollywood film ‘Gangs of Wasseypur 2’). The area is not air conditioned and gets burning hot during the daytime. There is only a single cooking staff and a young boy who serves the food and clears the tables. The complimentary breakfast serve here is just edible except for the glass full of masala tea which was nice. The dining area however opens up towers the Ganges and the view of vast horizon is much appreciated..

Since Benaras is famous for the quality and variety of its street food, ‘Mithai’ and ‘Thandai’, we were expecting wide variety of tasty food from their kitchen but got thoroughly disappointed after once we had ordered lunch. The reason for this is probably people staying here mostly prefers to have wide variety of street food from the nearby ‘Bangali Tola Gali’ and we did the same for the next two days, exploring the famous ‘Galis’ which is just two minutes’ walk from the hotel and savoured on variety of tasty street food, ‘Mithai’ and strolled back to the hotel languidly chewing the famous ‘Banarasi Meetha Paan’ . The ‘Kachori’ shop beside the J&K bank ATM also serves tasty stuff and juicy ‘Jalebis’ . There is a nice little bookshop in the Bangali Tola Gali’ too with nice collection of books and CDs on Banaras and its culture and music. There are colourful handicraft shops and ethnic clothing stores along the ‘Bangali Tola Gali’ where there is every chance of you may end up as a satisfied bargainer. We met a Japanese girl working as a sales girl in one of the small shops and has blended herself perfectly with the place and culture. Banaras in modern days has seen a curious flow of foreigners contributing and co-existing with the culture of Banaras.

There is a travel office just opposite to the hotel from where you can hire cabs in non-negotiable rates which are certainly on the higher side. One last piece of advice- carry mosquito repellent as the hotel staffs struggle to provide one especially if all rooms are occupied.

We stayed for two nights and there were tourists (mainly foreigners) checking out the property frequently. The hotel seem to do decently only for its locational advantage. High room tariff (3300/- including breakfast) is also not justified. The property has huge potential and it is up to the management to upgrade themselves to a more professional and hospitable unit.

Room Tip: We stayed at room no. '507' which is probably the best room offering a clear panarama of Gan...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank wanderluster_on_foot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kolkata (Calcutta), India
Level Contributor
30 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 April 2014

Its a very average hotel but very well placed. A few changes in attitude and little change here and there can make it a real value for money. I had booked an ac heritage room, but when we checked in we were given a room which was as small as 8ft x 7ft with a minuscule of a bathroom. More importantly there was no A.C. I had to chase the reception till evening before we got a decent room but that also was given a bit reluctantly. In the new room something was wrong with the switch board and the fan and lights were not operating properly. We stayed there for 3 nights and repeatedly reported of the problem but no one seemed very interested. Last day we had an early check out and lights did not work we had to complete all our chores in the darkness. How ever the kitchen staff was friendly and the food was decent. You can try this hotel but be very demanding and settle for nothing short of what you have paid for. Hotel authorities if your listening plz do something about your selves it will only help you to get better business. You guys focus only on foreigners but Indian's are also a majority part of the crowd visiting varanasi.

Room Tip: If you can get yourself a ganga facing room with a balcony.
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sourajit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Delhi, India
Level Contributor
63 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2014

The hotel is basically run by a few fellows who no nothing about running a place!

CONS
1. Bad rooms with no packing so lizards...roaches and red ants enter into ur room. (experienced all 3) Made them change my room n got an ok one.

2. No management at all.. very random no room service...

3. The approach from the ghat side (Rana Mahal ghat) is through this weird opening where drug addicts lay in the day n evening.. and the steps are big n steep so may be an issue for Elderly people or those having arthritis... the approach via the road is VERY complex!

4. Breakfast is just coffee/tea with an omelet and 2 toast so nothing fancy..but yes tastes ok n simple.

5. I wouldn't recommend a single LADY or 2 (unless a group) to stay here... there are only men here and 2 of their breath would STINK of alcohol breath in the evenings.

PROS

1. Good view of the ganges and the ghats .. but thats even feasible at so many other places which seem to be better managed then this place. At their rate - INR.2,000/- per night.

2. It is very close to the MAIN ghat ..where the temple is and the evening aarti takes place.

OVERALL also PLEASE beware of pandits and holy men in saffron cloth boat men trying to take out money from you by striking a conversation with you .. talk to them be polite but firm about a no money policy.. At the Manikarnika ghat( cremation ghat) People may come to you and ask you to give donations for a hospice where people come to die but have no money for it.. DO NOT give anything to them they r conmen and very sly... and yes photography IS allowed on all the ghats including the cremation one but of respect click from far if u are clicking the cremation ghat.. (ideally during a boat ride when one passes it) or people may harass you saying it isn't allowed and you need to cough up some money... :-)

Room Tip: Choose a FRONT FACING 'HERITAGE' room only... and one which is packed nicely. so that lizard...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank SktPhotos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barnsley, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2014

We spent one night in Varanasi at the palace on step, the location of the hotel is great directly overlooking the river with easy access to the ghats. As other travellers note you have to walk 5 mins from the main road to the hotel as the streets are so small, so be prepared if you have heavy luggage, but all the locals were very friendly and happy to point you in the right direction.we found all the staff to be extremely helpful and friendly, we were having problems with our trains and they helped is out re routing booking flights and further accommodation, rally went above and beyond. The room we were in was basic but had all the essentials, was a little cold as we were there in January and the weather was quite poor. Request a room overlooking the river as ours was, we had a small balcony directly over the ghats fantastic views.

Room Tip: Rooms with a view of the river
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ben W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Palace on Steps

Property: Palace on Steps
Address: Rana Mahal Ghat D - 21/11 | Bangoli Tola, Varanasi 221001, India
Region: India > Uttar Pradesh > Varanasi District > Varanasi
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Best Value Hotel in Varanasi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Palace on Steps 2.5*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Varanasi a mirror of ancient spiritual India and a destination swinging to the of India,s vibrant culture is a must visit for any traveler wishing to experience real India. To experience the real essence of Varanasi it is essential to discover and explore the ''old city' and the ghats the steps leading to the holy Ganges and the ghats the steps leading to holy Ganges. The hotel Palace on steps ,located at a prime location in the holy city, holds the distinction of having the maximum number of rooms offering an unparallelled view of the Ganges. Besides the hotel is a true balanced blend of luxury and comfort for the travelers ready to experience Varanasi in all its glory interestingly the hotel is designed aesthetically with a touch of true Indian history as showcased in the castle design which dates back about 400years. therefore the guest have an attraction of experiencing the splendor of medieval Indian architecture. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Palace On Steps Hotel Varanasi
Palace On Stepss Varanasi

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