Places To Stay
If Delhi is your first stop in India, it's probably a good idea to book a room in advance from home - reasonable places fill quickly, leaving new arrivals easy prey for the commission sharks. This is especially true if you're arriving in the middle of the night (see the boxed text 'Dodgy Delhi' near the beginning of this chapter). Fortunately many places, including budget hotels, have 24-hour receptions allowing for late arrivals.
Prices given here don't include luxury tax, which ranges from 10% to 22.5% in mid-range to top-end places; budget place generally don't charge tax. During summer (May to August) discounts of up to 50% £ often available, and it's always worth asking for a discount if you're staying more than a couple of days.
Unless stated otherwise checkout is at noon - although if you check in between 6 am and noon most places will apply a 24-hour checkout - and rooms have fans and/or air coolers. There is little need for air-con out of the hot sticky summer months, especially as Delhi Central Government forbids the use of it between 6.30 and 9.30 pm. Unless stated otherwise toilets are sit-down flush toilets and hot water is available 24 hours.
PLACES TO STAY - BUDGET
While most budget rooms may not be much to write home about, facilities such as 24-hour room service, TV, baggage storage, travel arrangements, airport pick-ups and laundry services make them good value and convenient places to stay.
Delhi's main camp ground closed in 2000 after some drug-related issues with the police. It may well reopen, but in the meantime it is possible to pitch a tent at the Tourist Camping Park (t 3973121), opposite the ISBT in Old Delhi. It's possible to camp in the small lawned area right next to the very busy main road for Rs 30 per person. It also has some very basic rooms for Rs 140/175 a single/double, and a few with bathroom for Rs 250. The toilet and shower blocks are reasonably clean and have hot water.
The Youth Hostel (t 6116285, fax 6113469, firstname.lastname@example.org, 5 Nyaya Marg) is in serene Chanakyapuri, but you have to be a member to stay (membership costs RS 250). Beds in single-sex dorms without air-con cost Rs 50 and Rs 250 with air-con. Doubles with shared bathroom start at RS 300/650 - prices go up after five days and there's no smoking or alcohol allowed. Open 24 hours (although check-in is at 11 am and checkout is at noon), this place has a cafe, bank, garden and recreation centre.
Down a side street near the Government of India tourist office, Ringo Guest House (t 3310605) is an ageing travellers' institution with its fair share of detractors as well as fans. Small, basic and gloomy rooms around a central open courtyard restaurant cost Rs 125/250 for a single/double with shared bathroom and from Rs 350 to 400 for a double with bathroom (squat toilets and 24-hour hot water). Dorm beds cost Rs 90.
Nearby and very similar, Sunny Guest House (t 3312909) is marginally better than Ringo Guest House. Rooms with shared bathroom that are not quite so dark cost Rs 125/250 and from Rs 350 to 450 for doubles with bathroom, again around a central courtyard restaurant. Dorm beds are available for Rs 90. Both places are reasonably clean and friendly, with a shabby charm, and are good for swapping travellers' tales and storing luggage (Rs 8 per day). However, they can be pretty awful when it's very hot (in July) or very cold (rainy February nights), and unless you specifically want to be near Connaught Circus you can find much better deals in Paharganj.
Hotel Blue (t 3322222, hotel-blue@ yahoo.com) is an older 3rd-floor place with a fair amount of character. Decent-sized rooms with phone, TV and shared bathroom cost Rs 300/500; those with bathroom are Rs 500/800. Tax is added. It has a large balcony terrace and small open courtyard.
Hotel Bright (t 3323456, fax 3 736049), directly below, is of a similar style without the terrace, so it's not quite as nice. Rooms without bathroom cost Rs 350/550; Rs 575/ 1100 with private bathroom.
Central Court Hotel ft 3315013, N-Block) has a bit of character and has old-style rooms with bath, fireplace and separate lounge area for Rs 800/1150. The fact that they're accessed from the terrace almost makes up for them having no windows. Rooms with shared bathroom cost Rs 600/800 and all have air-con, TV, fridge and phone. The hotel has a coffee shop and two restaurants.
Hotel Navrang (t 521965) on Baoli Chowk is popular with the grungy crowd and serves a selection of Japanese dishes in its secluded terrace cafe. Rooms with private bathroom (squat toilets and bucket hot water that costs Rs 10) cost Rs 80/100/150 for a single/double/triple - the more you pay the bigger they get. Try for one on the block overlooking the cafe as these get more light and have small terrace areas outside.
HotelBajrang (t 3551730) is a basic but friendly place with doubles around an open courtyard for Rs 100 with shared bathroom and Rs 150 with private bathroom (geyser hot water). There's a very cheap canteen for food and drink in the courtyard and Internet access is available for Rs 12 per hour.
The very funky Camran Lodge (t 352 6053, fax 3621030, email@example.com) is basic but has a lot of character. It's the unmistakable old red building on Main Bazaar, with onion domes and a disused mosque on the roof - a great place to catch the sunset. Blue and green rooms have windows onto Main Bazaar; the 2nd-floor rooms, created by metal partitions, can get a bit hot. Singles/doubles with shared bathroom cost Rs 80/160 and Rs 100/180 with private bathroom (bucket hot water and squat toilets). The front door closes at midnight.
Hotel Namaskar (t 3621234, fax 362 2233, firstname.lastname@example.org) gets good reports and the brothers who own it thrive on helping out travellers. Airy pink and green rooms, most with windows, cost Rs 200/250 with shared bathroom and from Rs 300 to 400 with bathroom (bucket hot water and both squat and sit-down flush toilets); air-con rooms cost Rs 450. One of the few places where the owners also manage the hotel, it is a good source of information and offers free luggage storage.
Smyle Inn (t 3559107, email@example.com), nearby, has rooms with private bathroom, TV and phone for Rs 150/200.
Major's Den (t 3629599) has few of the facilities of its competitors (there is no restaurant or Internet connection) but remains a popular and safe haven for those looking for respite from Main Bazaar. It has a terrace, travel service and clean rooms with bathroom and windows start at Rs 250/300. The major who lives downstairs with his wife and daughter is both a businessman and a pukka (proper) chap who can help in times of need. The doors close at midnight.
Traveller Guest House Inn (t 3544849) is a popular choice especially as it's one of the first places reached when coming from the station. Clean rooms with private bathroom and TV start at Rs 240; not all rooms have windows.
Hotel Victoria (t 3524413) is a very friendly place in a quiet area, east of Rajguru Rd. The large rooms with TV and private bathroom (both sit-down flush and squat toilet) have equally as large windows covered in plastic which gives everything a lovely pink hue. They start at Rs 222/250. Hotel Payal (t 3520867) has good-sized and clean rooms with private bathroom (geyser hot water) and window for Rs 200/250; rooms with shared bathroom start at Rs 150. Royal Guest House (t 7535880, fax 3625538) is a very friendly place with windows looking onto Main Bazaar. Rooms with private bathroom cost Rs 225 and Rs 450/490 with air-con.
Hotel Sweet Dream (t 3629801) offers rooms with bathroom (some with balcony) for Rs 175/200. A 10% service charge is added to room prices.
Ajay Guest House (t 35431253, fax 3540656, firstname.lastname@example.org) has average doubles without window/with onto the stairwell, as well as phone and private bathroom with geyser hot water, for Rs 260/270; a couple of larger air-con rooms (Rs 400) have small balconies. There is a rooftop cafe (with great views), a travel agency and an Internet centre. The best thing about this place is the bakery on the ground floor which has good coffee and tasty cakes, pizzas and rolls as well as a couple of pool tables. Checkout is 24 hours.
Hare Rama Guest House (t 3521413, fax 7532795, email@example.com), opposite, has similar rooms around a covered courtyard, with a mix of sit-down flush and squat toilets and the addition of a fridge and TV, for Rs 250/320. It, too, has a 24-hour rooftop restaurant (with TV) on its treetop-flanked terrace. Catering to a large Israeli clientele, it also has a travel agency, Internet centre, art shop and luggage storage. Checkout for this place, which attracts louder late-night crowds, is 24 hours.
Anoop Hotel (t 3521451, fax 7532942, firstname.lastname@example.org) is almost next door to Hare Krishna and has marble-lined singles/doubles with phone and private bathroom (geyser hot water) for Rs 220/ 280, and Rs 150/220 with shared bathroom.
These two places share a good 24-hour Thai restaurant on their large rooftops and Internet facilities on the ground floor of the Anoop. Checkout for both is 24 hours.
Hare Krishna Guest House (t 3521467, email@example.com), under the same management, on Main Bazaar has rooms with phone for Rs 220 with shared bathroom and from Rs 230 to 250 with private bathroom (geyser hot water). Checkout is 24 hours.
Vivek Hotel (t 3512900, fax 7537103, firstname.lastname@example.org) has bright rooms with a few windows around an open courtyard for Rs 200/250 with private bathroom and Rs 150/200 with shared bathroom. Leema Restaurant is on the 1st floor but it's worth risking the elevator to get up to the much nicer rooftop terrace restaurant complete with a tiny lawned area.
Hotel Vishal (t 3526314) has a couple of good restaurants downstairs, but the rooms are a bit cell-like and most lack windows. Rooms with bathroom and phone cost Rs 200/250.
Hotel Fortuna (t 3614211), with an arcade on the ground floor, is recently painted and has with rooms with TV, phone and private bathroom for Rs 200/250. Those at the front have balconies.
Hotel Satyam (t 3525200) has rooms with TV, phone, bathroom (both squat and sit-down flush toilets and geyser hot water) and grubby sheets for Rs 250/300. There's a long rooftop terrace and balconies overlooking Rajguru Rd.
Hotel Star View (t 3556300, fax 3554220, email@example.com), next door, has the same views down Rajguru Rd from its terrace, the back section of which is a restaurant. Comfortable doubles with TV, phone, velour-covered furniture and private bathroom (geyser hot water) cost Rs 300 (Rs 500 with air-con).
Hotel Rak International (t 3550478, firstname.lastname@example.org) on Baoli Chowk has rooms with TV, phone, sofa and private bathroom (both sit-down flush and squat toilets and geyser hot water) for Rs 250/ 350. A 24-hour terrace restaurant overlooks the square and temple below.
Shivlok Palace (t 3511270) has a bit of character, with sofas on its rooftop terrace and circular beds. Rooms with phone, TV and bathroom start at a negotiable Rs 350/ 400 (plus 10% service charge).
There are a couple of options on Arakashan Rd, across an incredibly busy and hard-to-cross road from Main Bazaar, although you'll be paying more for less here. Hotel Soma DX (t 3621002, fax 3552634) has good front rooms with big windows. Rooms with TV, phone and bathroom (squat toilets and hot water in the morning and evening) start at Rs 250/300; it has a lift.
Staying in Old Delhi ensures that you're right in the thick of things. The area has a colourful atmosphere, and there are not too many other tourists around - the clientele in the area is predominantly Indian males.
The railway retiring rooms, at the high-rise Rail Yatri Niwas (t 3313484), on the Ajmeri Gate side of New Delhi train station (on the Paharganj map), are available for those in transit. Bona fide rail travellers with tickets for distances over 500km can stay in singles/doubles with shared bathroom for Rs 150/210; Rs 250 with private bathroom and Rs 500 with private bathroom and air-con. There are also dorm beds for Rs 70. Check-in is from 9 am and the maximum stay is three days.
Hotel New City Palace (t 3279548, fax 3289923) makes the most of its position overlooking the Jama Masjid with plenty of balconies and a roof terrace with restaurant. The rooms with phone and bathroom (squat toilet and 24-hour hot water) for Rs 450 are less impressive and somewhat contradict the hotel's self-promotion as a 'home for palatial comfort' - try to get a room at the front. Checkout is 24 hours.
Hotel de Romana (t 3266031, fax 328 6635, email@example.com), in a lane behind the Jagat Cinema, is a better deal with 'every damn thing' (except a view), including OK rooms with TV, phone, Private bathroom (sit-down flush toilet and 24-hour hot water) and air-con for Rs 330/ 400. Checkout is by noon.
Hotel Bombay Orient (t 3286253), on a main lane leading away from Jama Masjid, is another reasonable choice. Rooms with private bathroom (sit-down flush toilet and 24-hour hot water) cost Rs 250/350.
Hotel Malabar (t 3956669), at the end of Chandni Chowk, is for those who prefer to really be in the heart of Old Delhi. Basic rooms with private bathroom are Rs 150/250.
PLACES TO STAY - MID-RANGE Connaught Place
The YMCA/YWCA has a large complex, about a 10-minute walk south-west of Connaught Place, with three accommodation options. They all have a religious institution air and aren't that great a deal, although they are clean and central and good places to meet other travellers. Check-in and checkout for all is at noon, and rates, which are subject to tax and service charge (except dorms), include breakfast.
YMCA Tourist Hostel (t 3361915, fax 3746032, firstname.lastname@example.org, Jai Singh Rd) is closest to Connaught Place and the largest of the bunch with a laundry, swimming pool (open from April to October), fitness centre, restaurant, travel agency and Internet access. Singles/doubles with shared bathroom cost Rs 415/725 rising to 800/1350 with air-con, TV, phone and bathroom, plus a Rs 30 temporary membership fee. It's open 24 hours, and accepts credit cards.
YWCA International Guest House (t 3361561, fax 3341765, email@example.com, 10 Sansad Marg) is surrounded by a small garden and has a 24-hour cafe and a travel agency. Rooms cost Rs 800/1000, and it accepts AmEx cards.
ITDC Hotel Indraprastha (t 3344511, fax 3368153, 19 Ashok Rd) is a high-rise popular with Indian holiday makers. With a very institutionalised atmosphere, rooms are a reasonable size but you might want to have a look at a few. They cost Rs 600/ 750/1000 for one/two/three people in a standard room or Rs 750/850/1100 in a deluxe (plus 12.5% tax for both). There's a bar and a characterless 24-hour self-service restaurant and cafe.
Places directly on Connaught Circus are housed in colonial era buildings and therefore have a modicum of character.
Hotel Alka (t 3344328, fax 3732796, firstname.lastname@example.org, P-Block, Connaught Circus) has a mad mirrored corridor, a good vegetarian restaurant and a bar, and a terrace overlooking the local bus station. Rooms start at Rs 1800/2900 for a single/double and Hotel Alka accepts credit cards. Hotel Marina (t 3324658, fax 3328609, email@example.com) is quite swish, with a bar, restaurant, 24-hour coffee shop and resident dentist. It has rooms starting at Rs 2600/3200, including breakfast, and credit cards are accepted. Incidentally, this is the place at which Gandhi's assassin stayed the night before the horrific act.
Nlrula's Hotel (t 3322419, fax 3353957, L-Block), right by the restaurant of the same name, has good rooms with phone, fridge and TV for Rs 1995/3500. Children under 12 stay free.
York Hotel (t 3323769, fax 3352419, K-Block, Connaught Circus) has clean and cool rooms with fridge and TV for Rs 1800/2950. The rooms at the back of the hotel are quietest.
Hotel Jukaso Inn Downtown (t 3324451, fax 3324448, firstname.lastname@example.org, L-Block, Radial Rd 6) has a terrace and a cosy 24-hour coffee shop, and although the rooms are small, most have windows (Rs 1650/2200). Children under six can stay free.
Hotel 55 (t 3321244, fax 3320769, email@example.com, 55 H-Block, Connaught Circus) is well designed with air-con throughout, but the rooms are on the small side. Rooms with balcony and private bathroom cost Rs 1100/1600.
Prince Polonia (t 3511930, fax 3557646), near the Imperial Cinema, has a small clean poolon its rooftop terrace (nonguests can use it for two hours for Rs 100). Double deluxe rooms/superdeluxe rooms/suites, most with balcony and all with TV, fridge, solar-heated hot water and air-con cost Rs 935/1155/1320. There are also another couple of terraces to relax on and a lift to get you up to them.
Metropolis Tourist Home (t 7531782 firstname.lastname@example.org) has basic but clean air-con singles/doubles with phone TV and bathroom (geyser hot water) for Rs 600/675. There is a cheerless ground-floor licensed restaurant, and a pleasant roof terrace restaurant with tablecloths and atmosphere. There is also foreign exchange and a travel agency.
Hotel Relax (t 3681030, email@example.com) is a shiny new place on Ramdwara Rd south of Nehru Bazaar. The management is very enthusiastic and clean rooms come with phone, TV, fridge and air, con for Rs 800/1000. There's a good balcony from where you can watch the masses below while eating.
Vmn Inn (t 3677705, fax 3621398) is a modern and nicely furnished place away from the madness of Main Bazaar off Rajguru Rd. Cleanish rooms with windows are Rs 500/700.
Yatri Guest House (t 3625563, firstname.lastname@example.org, 3/4 Punchkuin Marg) is actually in a small lane off Punchkuin Marg, opposite the junction with Mandir Marg. It's small, calm and secure with a lawn out front and a couple of small, open courtyards at the back. Spotless, fan-cooled doubles with big beds and private bathrooms (geyser hot water) cost Rs 1250, including tax. There are meals and snacks as well as all-inclusive taxi tours starting at US$28 per day.
There is an array of places north of Paharganj on and around Arakashan Rd. With less hassle than Main Bazaar, these places are modern and prices are open to negotiation. The only issue is that a few are run by those who grab newcomers at the airport, pressuring them into paying over the odds.
Hotel Ajanta (t 3620927, fax 3620228, email@example.com) is one of the best places, providing a good service to travellers. There's a restaurant and a reputable travel service, as well as Internet access. Rooms are on the small side but are very clean and those at the front have balconies. Prices start at Rs 425/525 for singles/doubles.
Hotel Syal (t 3610091. fax 3514290; firstname.lastname@example.org), nearby, is a centrally air-conditioned place used by tour groups. Rooms, some with balcony, start at Rs 450. It has a roof terrace and a good restaurant.
YWCA Blue Triangle Family Hostel (t 3360133, fax 3360202, email@example.com, Ashoka Rd) has a restaurant, TV lounge and Internet facility. Rooms with Phone start at Rs 575/1035 and range to Rs 2875 for a two-bedroom suite with kitchen/ lounge room (no service charge). There are also dorm beds for Rs 185 (Rs 275 with air-con). You need to become a temporary member for Rs 20 to stay here. Children under five stay free.
There are a few places in the Sunder Nagar, conveniently located between Purana Qila and Humayun's tomb. This area has some antique shops, a couple of reasonable restaurants and lots of greenery. The air-con hotels are all set within lawned gardens offering clean comfort in relative tranquillity.
La Sagrita Tourist Home (t 4694541, fax 4636956, Iasagrit@del3.vsnl.net.in) is the pick of the bunch with very comfortable rooms starting at Rs 1490/2090.
Kailash Inn (t 4623634, fax 4617401), a few doors down, has rooms for Rs 1500/ 1900; children under six can stay free.
Jukaso Inn (a 4692137, fax 4694402, firstname.lastname@example.org), not to be confused with the Connaught Place establishment, attracts business travellers. Rooms start at Rs 1650/2400, and it has a pool table and restaurant. Buffet breakfast/dinner is Rs 150/250.
Maharani Guest House (t 4693128, fax 4624562, email@example.com) is similar to Jukaso. It has a flashy foyer and rooms starting at Rs 1500/2200.
Hotel Broadway (t 327 3821, fax 3269966, firstname.lastname@example.org, 4/15 Asaf Ali Rd), near Delhi Gate in Old Delhi, is a classy place with attentive staff, a very good restaurant, busy bar and informative and gastronomical walking tours of Old Delhi. Rooms start at Rs 1195/1495; those at the rear have views of Jama Masjid .
There are retiring rooms at the international and domestic terminals of the airport. To qualify for a room you must first track down the airport manager and secondly have a confirmed departure within 24 hours of your arrival by plane. Rooms cost Rs 450 for two. Karol Bagh is an area you may end up in if coming straight from the airport. It has Delhi's largest market.
Bajaj Indian Home Stay (t 5736509, fax 5812127, email@example.com) is a modern attempt at a haveli (traditional ornately decorated residence). The effect isn't too bad and the owners are friendly and intent on providing good service. Singles/doubles with minibar start at Rs 1365/1785, including buffet breakfast.
En route to the airport, Master Paying Guest Accommodation (t 5741089, R-500 New Rajinder Nagar) is a cool little place in a residential area away from the action. Rooms with classic furniture and French windows are full of character and cost Rs 500/600 with shared bathroom (including tax). Breakfast, drinks and snacks are served in the homely lounge or shady roof terrace.
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