Sunday, 20 November 2011

Homestays beat star hotels in Kullu-Manali

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: The popularity of homestay service in Kullu-Manali has outrun luxury star category hotels. Having no effect of off-season, homestay units are flooded with advance bookings from every corner of the world.
No doubt, some villagers have beaten the management of hotels with their innovative strategies and earning handsomely providing accommodation to tourists in a home away from home. Situated amidst villages, clean rooms, freedom to cook the food of choice, watching TV along with family members of house and homely and secure environment is giving tough competition even to five star category hotels in Kullu district. 116 homestay units have been registered only in Kullu district.
Tree House Cottage Manali
The Tree House Cottage in Kullu was the first registered homestay unit of Himachal and is one of the most popular homestays of country. Built on an oak tree, the beautiful cottage, only one of its types in north India, is the result of hard work of a farmer, Ambrish Upadhyay. Tourists are dying to book a room in tree house cottage but some lucky ones get the chance to stay here as it remains fully booked most of the times. “Not only domestic but tourists from Germany, Norway, Denmark, Russia and many countries are loving their stay with my family, cattle, apple orchards and village atmosphere. My local pure Kulluvi dishes are doing miracle on tourists,” Upadhyay said.
Upadhyay Cottage homestay in Jong village is another hotspot for tourists. High end tourists, mostly families and couples are enjoying their stay here. Rajeev Upadhyay, owner of the cottage and an apple grower said his family’s devotion towards guests has earned applaud internationally and now he is unable to handle the enquiries from tourists. He adds, “However each room is attached with kitchen where tourist can cook food of his choice but they like to dine with us our very own dishes. They feel like their own house here and enjoy TV and gossips with us. I’m introducing new gadgets and decoration materials to compete the hotels without tampering with its village look.”
The Apple House, Manali Meadows, Tree Top Cottage and Hamta House homestay units too are attracting number of tourists for their unique hospitality and location. Most of the units in Kullu claim that they do not have any effect of off-season and getting regular guests. While, reeling under lean season, hotels in Manali are reporting only 20 percent occupancy rate.
“The thing I loved the most is home cooked food and homely environment. There is no need to stay in commercial hotels when we get even better service at homestay along with the fragrance of real Indian village,” said a Danish tourist Astrid who is staying in Upadhyay Cottage.

14 comments:

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  12. I write this to bring highlight certain malpractices that owners of Apple House (Homestay in Village Shanag, P.O. Bahang, Tehsil Manali, Distt Kullu) have been indulging in.
    We area family in Love with Himachal Pradesh and as a part of our annual ritual to visit some part of Himachal, we decided to Manali for the sixth time in June this year (05 to 11 June 2013). I contacted Mr Ved Thakur on phone and he offered me a room @ 1000/- per night for five days. When my parents and sister decided to join us, I called up again and he offered me a set of two bed rooms and a sitting room for Rs 2000/- per night. So, I paid Rs 2000/- in advance and confirmed my bookings.
    We had a decent time there but when we were checking out, the lady of the house, Smt Champa, asked us to pay @ 2500 per night. When I explained the situation, she refused to honour her own husband's word and insisted on paying 2500. Her husband was out and he did not pick up our calls. I then requested her to adjudt my advance of 2000/- and again she said since she did not know about that transaction, she could not adjust it.
    Not to spoil the mood and also since we have lots of faith in Himachalis, I paid 2000+2500= 4500 extra and left. I got through to Sh Ved Thakur the next day and he promised to refund the amount. It has been exactly one month now and everytime I call, he tells me to send him my account number. I sent the number thrice but when I called up from a different number today and he picked up, he again asked for my number. Disgusted, I told him to keep the money and be happy.
    I have incurred a loss of Rs 4500/- and since homestays work without regulatory checks, I do not have documents to show and in any case, I do not have time for fighting such cases. I would fear to believe that if they can do this to us, what must be happening to foreigners there!
    Mr Ved Thakur is worst than a hotelier but hiding behind the garb of a homestay.

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