From my experience I have learnt that booking a hotel on a hill station is more trickier than what it seems. It is not just the price and location- many other factors need to be kept in mind. I am listing a set of factors you could probably use as a checklist while booking a hotel on a hill station this summer or in future.
If you're booking an expensive resort most of these may not apply, but while selecting budget hotels, it certainly helps to keep these factors in mind
1. Is the hotel on Mall Road?
Most of the hill stations have a mall road and on most of the mall roads, entry of four wheelers and tourist vehicles is often restricted between 6AM to 8PM etc. If your hotel is on mall road and if you’ve to arrive/depart at these restricted timings, then you’ll have to spend more money and effort to hire a vehicle (Such as cycle rickshaw) to reach the hotel/carry your luggage. Also mall road is often crowded with shops and people, may not offer solitude.
2. How are the approach roads? Is it suitable for your vehicle/driving confidence?
Most of the hills have very narrow roads. If your hotel has very narrow/steep approach roads, you need to be sure of two things- the vehicle you plan to go can be driven on that road (particularly if you’re going in Tempo traveler or mini bus) and if you’re the driver, you’re confident of driving on such roads. If not you’ll end up parking your vehicle far away and spending money on another vehicle to ferry you to and from the hotel
3. Has the hotel got adequate parking space for its guests?
Space is a premium on hill stations. Every hotel/restaurant owner carefully guard the space in front of their properties to ensure that only their customers get to park there. Most of the budget hotels may not have adequate parking space. You may have to park your car on the road, which may not always be safe. If you’re very particular about your vehicle safety, look for a hotel which has dedicated parking space or a hotel located little away from city where prospects of vehicle damage is little less
4.Is the location of hotel suitable for your purpose?
If your objective is to relax for a few days, you might prefer a hotel far from city centre that offers solitude, though it is little away. If you’re a short time visitor intending to explore as much as possible and return, then you might opt for a hotel in the heart of the city, from where all places of interest are easily accessible. Unless you’ve a vehicle at your disposal, renting a taxi to and from hotel could cost thousands if you’ve to do multiple trips every day.
5. Does it have a lift?
If you have elderly people with you, you may wish to ensure if the hotel has got a lift. Most of the budget hotels in a hill station are often built vertically up in a small campus. While climbing up stairs for 2-3 floors is very good of an exercise, for elders it could be a pain. In such cases, you should either insist on ground floor room, or book a hotel with lift, or book a resort which has one or two floors only.
|Narrow streets of Dharmashala-contextual image|
6. 24 hour hot water
If you need to leave very early in the morning, you may wish to ensure availability of hot water at that time.
If you have any other tips to add, pls drop a comment.