Damascus, Dimashq, Syria
May 10, 2005
There is a restaurant, which was closed for refurbishment, and two shops selling the most bizarre selection of tacky gifts you could imagine. Just who would want to buy a 2-foot high gold painted plastic cat with flashing eyes and a wagging tail? The restaurant had temporarily decamped to the lobby for the duration of the refurbishment, and although we didn't have a main meal there, the breakfast was excellent, and they did a great pot of chai.
The rooms were large, modern, and clean, and it was one of the only hotels I've stayed in that had bedside reading lights. The decor in the room was bland but tasteful, and there was a large balcony overlooking the empty swimming pool. Room service was efficient and the beds were extremely comfortable. We were impressed. Until it was time to sleep that is.
The downside of the unusual design of the hotel was the noise. Because of the inverted pyramid design, all the sound from the lobby echoed around the building and was amplified upwards. Even though the lobby wasn't particularly busy, it only took a few people to make it sound like there was one hell of a party going on. Once the restaurant is reopened, I expect this problem will be significantly reduced, but as long as people are eating in the lobby, it will be very noisy. Surprisingly, there was no noise from the main highway outside.
It was interesting to note that not only were the Christmas decorations still up, but so was the decorated Christmas tree. Ambala is not a foreign tourist destination, and this hotel was obviously very popular with Indian tourists. This in itself made it an interesting stay, as a lot of the guests were curious enough about us to strike up conversations, and we passed a pleasant time in their company. Despite the noise, it was a nice hotel and a good value for the money. We would have no hesitation in returning.
From journal Ambala - and why not?