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“Very good”
Review of Hotel Willow Banks

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Hotel Willow Banks
Ranked #16 of 112 Hotels in Shimla
Certificate of Excellence
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Very good”
Reviewed 25 August 2014

It had clean room and was very spacious. Running hot water was provided but shower was disappointment. Nice dining hall and very good food. Friendly staff.
Only short walk to The Mall and the Ridge. It was good value for money and I will definitely recommend,

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Cleartrip

Thank Lakhbir B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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489 reviews from our community

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  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (150)
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English first
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 August 2014

We stayed there during the long weekend around 15th August. It seemed as if the whole of North India had converged to Simla. The hotel was also jam packed and hence I attribute some of our service experiences to excess rush.

Location - As mentioned by reviewers before, the location is hotel's biggest plus. Bang on mall road though on the quieter side makes it a plus. Key shopping and eating areas are a short walk away. It is very close to the mall road lift which is again useful.

Getting there - One has to leave their cars at the lift station and get their luggage to the hotel using porters. While we had informed the hotel about our arrival the porter did not reach us. We understand that one did go down but could not see us due to the rush (I believe them). Net net one will always have to be dependent on porters for getting there which is a bit of trouble but this is true for all hotels on the mall road so the choice is yours.

Facility - The rooms are large and well done (liked that). In terms of extra facilities we were informed that the spa facilities are only for women which was a let down. We did not try the pool and billiards rooms so cannot comment on them.

Food - The hotel offers only buffet dinner (750/- + takes) which we found steep and hence did not have dinner there. Room service was also expensive (my opinion)

Staff - The staff was courteous and helpful. One thing which annoyed us was that the hotel did not have enough umbrellas and we had to buy a few even for a short walk on the mall road. I would have expected a hotel in shimla to take care of such a basic detail.

Overall a pleasant stay. Will recommend the hotel to travelers largely basis the lovely location and helpful staff.

Room Tip: Do not take a room facing the mall road. We had one and my wife could not sleep after 5:30 am on acc...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank csudarshan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
46 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2014

We stayed here in May . The hotel is very ideally located at the very beginning of one end of The Mall . Shopping is virtually a stone's throw away. However, the hotel or the web portals do not tell you, that no vehicle can reach the hotel. One has to hire a porter and climb about 100 steps or, alternately climb up the steep road to reach the hotel.
The staff is very good. The breakfast laid out is good too. One of us was ill due to food poisoning ( due to other reasons, not this hotel ) and the Front Office was very helpful in calling up the Doctor.
There is a Tourism lift run by the local authorities and one can take this lift, which is also in two parts, in the sense that you go up on one of the lifts and then after reaching a certain level, you step out and go to another line to take you to the second lift, which will eventually take yopu to the main road. The Willow Bank hotel is close to the lifts, however please do note, that you have to be patient to get the lifts, as there is always a crowd around.
Now one wishes that such basics are put forth by the hotels or the travel portals, in due honesty, as the elders or those with some amount of difficulty can go through a nightmare situation, as we did , upon reaching the town and realising that we have to go through this all to reach our holiday destination.

Room Tip: Rooms can be selected at random, they are more or less the same. However, if you want the view of th...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2 Thank gharya54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Delhi, India
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2014

This was our second stay at the place. It is at a very convenient location on the mall about 1min walk from the tourism lift. Neat and clean property.
What i like:
1. Great location. About a minutes walk from the tourism lift. Bang on the mall. Very neat and clean well maintained property.
2. Very courteous staff. Helpful and mannered.
3. NIce view from the back of the hotel where there restaurant is. (Fiesta) Cant say the same for the room balcony's. (See pictures)
4. Food was good.
5. Rooms are quite spacious. I cannot say they were small. They are very good in size. Even with an additional table and two chairs, there was enough empty space for my son to run around and play with all my photography equipment around. (i work as a professional photographer.)
6. Hot water was available throughout the day in the bathroom.
7. Wanted to shoot (photography) in the restaurant area and the staff had no issues. (Coffee at the restaurant was delicious.)

What i did not like:
1. Food was VERY very expensive. In three nights, my food bill was around 5500. One glass of milk is Rs140. Mineral water is Rs55. One tandoori roti is Rs40. phew!!
2. Balcony view is more like you are looking at a slum in Mumbai from a top floor. Look towards the right from it and you an see the Ridge and the Church in the night. (See pictures.)
3. Bathroom Tub is a mess - you will never figure out how the shower and taps on the tub work seperately. Very confusing.
4. They provide free wifi. But it was very very slow. I could hardly do anything on it. Used my mobile hotspot to work.

Overall i would say the stay was quite pleasing. We went in the off season at the end of July 2014 and got a discount on the tariff. Though i would say the rooms are very expensive in the season. Its a spacious hotel. Our Room No. was 303 which was on the same floor as the reception. Have not seen the rooms on the higher floors which might give a better view i am sure as i saw from the back side of the hotel when i was shooting at their open terrace area.

I like the place and would stay there again if i go to Simla...but i will not eat in the hotel..that is for sure :-)

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank IS1973
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
Reviewed 1 August 2014 via mobile

Our first trip to Shimla was a leasure trip with a big group of friends. On top of that, we chose peak rainy season when we expected not much action outdoors. So in order to have maximum enjoyment without major problems to the three toddlers in the group, we booked the premium rooms which were the best rooms offered by the hotel. Charged really premium because of the top floor valley facing balconies along with the usual amenities in a typical 4 class hotel, our expectations were really high. But we were quite disappointed during our stay there. A list of problems that I found was-
1. Room sizes are really small as compared to a standard 4 star hotel.
2. Bathtubs and showers in the washrooms do not work properly. (Bathtubs do not have the plugging system). Theee is even an instruction to avoid using bath tub if possible. This leaves us to the only option of using bucket which has not been my personal preference.
3. The buffet breakfast service window is just 8 AM to 10 AM. Very less timings and it starts late as well.
4. The buffet menu is also very very average,just incomparable to others in the category.
5. Also, the service from the kitchen is pathetically slow at times!
6. An additional request of using either the microwave or extra curry is flatly declined!
7. Also the facilities provided in the hotel are average, most of them being payable.

Having said this, a few good points are:
1. The staff is courteous
2. They did offer us room heaters when we felt cold
3. They also provided us electric iron on request
4. Location is definitely a great advantage here
5. The travel deak does charge slightly higher than the market rate, yet the car and the driver which they provide is worth it.

All in all, I would say that the hotel is average and had it been a standard 2.5 to 3 star, my satisfaction levels would have been higher. And yes, I do not thonk paying them premium for their premium valley facing rooms is worth at all..so in case you wanna try, go for average rooms here.

  • Stayed July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Nupur K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeton, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2014 via mobile

You do have to use the lift but then you are right in thr middle of it all.Front desk seemed a bit dissinterested and breskfast dosent start till late which is strange. But overall you are paying for location which is great.If you have car you must find carpark though usually with fee

Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
1 Thank aussideb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2014

Can't believe, in such a good location the hotel are selling their rooms at the highest rates. There are many problems as follows:-
1) High room rates
2) There isn't mineral water as complimentary and a Bisleri mineral water costs Rs.65 which is originally Rs.20 outside. At least they could have doubled the price.
3) The aqua filtered water (which is in a kettle) looks as if it is 2 years old and is really dirty.
4) Provided towels are not well cleaned.
5) The hotel is hill top and you need to take a lift to go up to the hotel. The lift charges are Rs.10 for one way. And if you are a tourist who wants to roam around Shimla, better change to a better hotel.
6) There are coolie charges worth Rs.300 and when I came here I had booked through makemytrip.com and they told all the payment given is included and the hotel staff tell you have to pay, when it is already given.
I would like you (reader) change your hotel as soon as possible if you booked this hotel.

  • Stayed July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4 Thank KishanMurthy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WillowBanks, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Willow Banks, responded to this review, 12 July 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for choosing to stay with us during your trip to Shimla and many thanks for your feedback. Duly noted, though the location of the hotel was much to your liking some of our services were not. Your feedback means a lot to the entire team.

To clarify some of your doubts:
• High rates:
Shimla being a seasonal location, the Hotel has two tariffs “Season and Off Season” clearly marked on our website and also well known to our travel partners. Your period of stay was in the Season time.
• Complimentary Services:
Portage, Pick up and drops, Car parking charges, Mineral water are intentionally not kept free as they all add up to raise the room tariff; maybe not of use to all. We do regret that some of our services were not up to your liking and we definitely will work on them.
• Location:
Though your feedback starts with praise of the Hotel location but by the end you term it to be on hill top, accessible by lift. With due regards if I may clarify; the reception of Willow Banks is bang on the Mall Road with rooms on two levels above and below. Being in the Shimla Heritage Zone, it is not a drive-in hotel but has three convenient government parking’s at a walking distance. The charm of this location is that it is the quieter end of the Mall Road with shops, restaurants and other major tourist attractions at level walking of barely 5 to 10 minutes. Apart from services, location has always been a USP (unique selling point) of our hotel.

We apologize for the discomfort caused to you during the course of your stay and are unhappy that our services were not up to your expectations. We will definitely strive to improve our standards of service and give you a better stay on your next visit. Your satisfaction is like a trophy to us. We look forward to the pleasure of welcoming you back at the Willow Banks Hotel, Shimla.

Best Wishes
Team Guest Relationship Management
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Willow Banks

Property: Hotel Willow Banks
Address: Opp Tourism Lift, Shimla 171001, India
Region: India > Himachal Pradesh > Shimla District > Shimla
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Luxury Hotel in Shimla
#6 Spa Hotel in Shimla
#11 Family Hotel in Shimla
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Willow Banks 4*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Willow Banks was established in the year 1871, a landmark estate which spells history and exemplifies an era of gracious living. Originally owned by Arthur James Craddok, "Architect and Builder of Shimla," in a fitting tribute to his memory the building has been redesigned into a hotel, endowed with all modern amenities and comforts, effortlessly blending into the surrounding pine trees, landscapes and enhancing its beauty. The hotel is located on The Heritage Mall Road, a pleasant walking distance from the famous Ridge, Scandal point, Lakkar Bazaar, Gaiety Theater, Ancient Kali Bari & Jakhoo Temple, High Court, Secretariat, C.M. Residence and Raj Bhavan. Amidst the age old Deodar and Pine trees, Willow Banks Estate on the Mall Road overlooks the lush green valley, the majestic mountains and the complete well lit town of Shimla. The hotel is easily accessible from the High Court Parking and the Tourism Lift, making staying a convenient proposition for one and all. The charming walking trails of Shimla are a pleasant stone's throw away from the hotel. Whatever the purpose of your visit, relaxation away from the busy city life, exploring natural beauties that the town has to offer or pumping adventure trips, Hotel Willow Banks at Shimla guarantees to make your vacation worth remembering. The blend of extremes, modern facilities in a heritage estate and picturesque views at the Mall Road level, make Willow Banks arguably the best hotel in Shimla. Also rated by TripAdvisor as amongst the top 10 Jewel Hotels of India. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Willow Banks Hotel
Willow Banks Shimla

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