Monday, April 12, 2010

Mumbai Hotels

We arrived in Mumbai on Jan 16, 2009 just six weeks after the November 26th terrorist attacks. And since we had purchased our Yangon to Mumbai via Bangkok plane tickets at the end of December, we arrived with no hotel reservation.

Our first stop, after surviving the airport money changers (we used the ATM), the queue at the airport's train ticket window (no luck), a prepaid taxi scam (resolved in our favor), and a free tour of VT, Fort and Colaba Districts with our clueless taxi driver (got some great photos), was the Oasis Hotel, a popular backpacker joint according to Lonely Planet. Took a look at a Double for 1600 RS – way too small. Deluxe Doubles were 1800 (47RS = 1USD) but they were all full. The nearby Welcome Hotel was also full.

The Railway Hotel had a corner room for 2300 + tax = 2530 RS, over $50 US, with breakfast included. We also went by the nearby Ship Hotel which has non-AC rooms for 200 to 300 RS. Looked like a great place if you were a seaman. So we take the room at the Railway.

After snagging train tickets to Goa from the Foreigner Ticket Window at VT, we headed out in search of dinner and had a tasty evening meal at Mangalore Naaz Restaurant. Well run with friendly proprietor and waiters, and located just a few blocks south from the hotel, we ended up eating there at least once a day during our stay in Mumbai.

We were out the door the next morning at 9:00 AM with a plan to search for a cheaper/better hotel in the VT District. We noticed that while our room key fob says Railway Hotel, the room stationary and invoice say Fort Landmark Inn. Hmm. We check back at Welcome Hotel - still full and more expensive than the Railway. On to the Princess, a sister Landmark property, which is even more expensive. The Grand, The Benazeer, all were either full or too expensive or we didn’t like the “available” room(s).

After changing more money (hotels wanted cash) and enjoying a tasty McVeggie at the McDonald’s across from VT, we were headed back to the Railway resigned to spending another day there, when we spotted the Hotel Victoria right next to the Welcome Inn and we took newly renovated room #202 for 1500 RS per night. Great! And there was a Wi-Fi signal if we perched our netbook on the window sill. Awesome!

And there was a mad dash to get back to the Railway before noon to check out. Haha!

Hotel Victoria:
255 Shahid Bhagat Sing Road, 1st Floor,
Near G.P.O., V.T., Mumbai - 400001
Phone: 2261 1642 / 2265 1322

All the hotels mentioned above are within easy walking distance of Victoria Terminus (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus)

The Railway Hotel
Railway Hotel - Mumbai, India

The view from the Railway Hotel
View From Railway Hotel - Mumbai, India

The Hotel Victoria (left) and Welcome Hotel (right)
Hotel Victoria - Mumbai, India

The Mangalore Naaz Restaurant
Mangalore Naaz Restaurant - Mumbai

Friday, April 09, 2010

Room #204 - The Prince Hotel - Sittwe, Myanmar Burma

Sometimes you stay in a dump when all the other hotels in town that are licensed to take foreigners are full of visiting dignitaries. ;-( However, the owner and staff were friendly, the "included" breakfast was tasty, they brought us a fan and an extra blanket, and were quick to clean up the oily, fishy smelling fluid that suddenly began leaking through the ceiling. ;-)

For 10 US dolllars a night you get room #204 with 1 twin bed and 1 double bed (both with mosquito nets); 2 old wooden chairs; a small metal vanity with a stool, slide-out tray and Bakelite wheels; several in-room clotheslines; a big desk; windows on two sides with screens and curtains; 2 potted plants; one normal sized fluorescent light and one tiny fluorescent light; one red nightlight; a work of art obscured by the mosquito net; a small bookshelf attached to the wall with two books, one of which appears to be selected works of Kurt Vonnegut in Russian; some wall hooks; a 4' x 6' poster of the frozen Arctic wilderness; big bathroom with tile floor, walls, and ceiling, peeling paint everywhere else, and a open shower providing a trickle of cold water [a bucket of hot water comes on demand]; several electrical outlets that may have power from 6PM to 11PM; a very low drop ceiling; and a fake linoleum floor ; that is, more like drawer liner paper than actual linoleum. Overall not too bad until the oily fishy smelling liquid started leaking through the ceiling. Luckily the leak was in the far corner and not over the bed. ;-)

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