Townsville, Queensland, Australia
August 27, 2005
The Lake Castle Hotel is undoubtedly very popular. I stayed there for five days then tried to book on another visit and found there were no rooms available. In retrospect, I believe that there are better hotels in this area (but generally at higher prices) and there are probably better value hotels, but Lake Castle seems to fill a niche space very well.
From the outside the hotel is unimpressive. It is built right on the street line and there is only space for one vehicle to unload under cover. The lobby is not outstanding and frankly neither are the rooms. They are adequate, however, for those looking for three-star accommodation. Each has a TV, a refrigerator and a bathroom with bath or shower but they are rather tired. The best part of the hotel is the restaurant. A buffet breakfast is included in the tariff and there is adequate choice. Lunch and dinner are also available and everything I tried, I enjoyed. There is a choice of Western, Asian, and local food at reasonable prices.
Rooms are not provided with internet access but there is a room off the lobby with four computers and broadband connection. All internet/email connections in Bangladesh are painfully slow and unfortunately, there are also frequent power outages that play havoc with the system. Computer use is free but a charge applies if you want to download anything.
My experience with the staff was mixed. All restaurant staff were friendly and helpful. Reception staff varied considerably. The bellboy who helped me to my room (with one medium-size suitcase) stood around waiting for a tip then told me it was not enough when I gave him one US dollar. I later found out this was one-third his daily wage. The room boy did an adequate job in making the bed and wiping down the bathroom but the carpet was never vacuumed and some waste paper remained in the room for the length of my stay. Despite this, he was always outside my door every morning to tell me what a great job he was doing and how I should show my appreciation. I have never had the same experience in any other hotel in Bangladesh. It seems that popularity and success has gone to some heads.
The name Lake Castle probably comes from the fact that the hotel looks out onto a nice park with a large lake. For those walkers and joggers, this is a major asset as there is a pathway circumventing the lake and there are few people around in the mornings. There are also several restaurants within walking distance and for those staying longer, several membership clubs within a kilometer or so offer short-term membership.
From journal Bedding Down in Bangladesh