New Delhi, India
January 29, 2005
An unassuming multi-storied building of tan stone, the hotel was still quiet; the lobby--white marble floor, gleaming brass chandeliers, large paintings of bygone Avadh--was nearly deserted. Check-in was quick and efficient, and within two minutes of entering the hotel, we’d been escorted to our room on the eighth floor.
A neat double room, this one was really rather nice--the mattress was firm, and the upholstery had a traditional block-print design that gave the place a warm and slightly less sterile look. There was a luggage rack and a dressing table--both topped with white marble--bedside tables, colour TV, minibar (with colas, bottled water, beer, potato chips, peanuts, and chocolates), a kettle, and other paraphernalia for making tea and coffee. The bathroom, with its crisp white towels, scrubbed tiles, and little basket of soap, shampoo, and moisturiser, was neat. And a hot bath after the train journey was very welcome indeed!
Since Lucknow is a great place for cheap and good roadside food, we more or less made it a point not to eat at the hotel, although its specialty restaurant, Falaknuma, supposedly serves good, authentic Avadhi food. We did go for the breakfast buffet (it was part of the room rate, which was Rs6,000 a night) at the Gulfam coffee shop. The buffet has a mix of Indian and `continental’ dishes; go for the Indian. The muffins, the cutlets, and the eggs were pretty pathetic, but the Indian stuff is not too bad. There’s also room service, which, again, we ended up not using at all.
Other than all this, the Clarks Avadh has a gym (a letter on the dressing table tells us that it’s operational in room #315 between 6:30 and 10:30am and between 4 and 8pm; we, lazy bums that we are, gave it a very wide berth). There’s also a fairly efficient travel desk, good for getting a taxi to tour the city, and a business centre where, among other things, you can access the Internet.
On the whole, it was a pleasant, helpful sort of place, comfortable but not overwhelmingly plush, and with just the right amount of niceness to it. There’s even a card by the bed that requests you to place it on the bed in case you don’t want the linens changed for the day, thus saving on gallons of water. There was something sweet about that, and we assiduously placed the card on the bed both days.
From journal A Weekend in Lucknow