New Delhi, India
September 30, 2006
My misgivings began as soon as I stepped in. The reception was tiny and dingy, the lift shielded by those ancient `pull to one side’ iron grills. My room, which was on the third floor and overlooked the extremely noisy and crowded street, was small. The double bed had a firm mattress, but no sheet under the blanket, and the bed linen looked as if it hadn’t been scrubbed too vigorously when it was last laundered. The TV- which I never did watch- was seated on a stand made of shabby plywood, so tatty that the manufacturer’s stamp could still be seen on it. There were two bedside tables (and two lamps- one crooked, the other without a lampshade). Two chairs, a dressing table and mirror, and a coffee table. And a hanging wardrobe so narrow, it could hardly accommodate my stuff.
The bathroom was proportionately small and spartan. There was a shower (no shower stall, though; every time I bathed, I ended up with a very drippy bathroom). There was a plastic bucket and mug, for the many Indian guests who aren’t used to showers. There was a miniscule bar of soap, a sachet of shampoo, and no loo paper. The bath towel, though clean, was badly frayed along one edge. Not a place for long luxurious baths at all.
Fortunately enough, since I was at work all the day long, I didn’t spend much time at the hotel. I ordered from room service one evening, though- a mixed rice with peas, cashewnuts, raisins and cumin seeds; a Mangalorean fish curry (with a hefty dose of coconut); and a cold coffee, which was ghastly. Room service was rather laid back, and I waited well over half an hour for the food, which was passable but not great, to arrive. The hotel’s restaurant offers the same menu, a hotchpotch of Indian and Chinese dishes.
On the whole, not a nice experience. The only silver lining was the fact that my client’s office was only ten minutes away. And the staff, from the receptionist down to the room service waiter, was extremely helpful. They helped me figure out how to unlock my room door (I struggled with it most shamefully on my first day!), offered to get me a taxi, and generally treated me in a respectful yet somewhat protective way. They, and the hotel’s location with reference to where I worked, are about all I can recommend for the Blue Diamond. Otherwise, it’s best avoided.
From journal Glimpses of Mumbai – By Night