As a frequent visitor to Chandigarh, I have tried several hotels in the city. Normally I book the hotel online but this time a friend of mine from the city, who is also from the travel industry, suggested that I try the Aquamarine Hotel, a relatively new property of the Aroma Hotel group, and located right next to their older property, The Aroma.
I was offered an excellent rate for the hotel and went ahead with the booking, and also made a special request for early check-in, as my train arrival into Chandigarh was early in the morning. Although they noted my request, it was subject to availability at the time of check-in, which is quite fair.
On reaching Chandigarh I proceeded straight to the Aquamarine Hotel. I was already familiar with the location of the hotel, as I have stayed in their sister hotel, The Aroma several times earlier. The biggest USP of the hotel is its location in the very central Sector 22B of Chandigarh. Moreover, the sister property, Aroma, has a 24 hour food court which is extremely popular with the locals, so dining at any hour of the night or day is never a problem there.
The Aquamarine Hotel is a typical business hotel, but with a mode modern appearance as compared to the Aroma, which still has something of an old world charm about it. The lobby of the Aquamarine Hotel is small, as is the case with most hotels in Chandigarh. Half of the lobby area has a prominent café located inside, which is operational only during normal working day hours.
The reception of the Aquamarine Hotel was manned by a pleasant young man upon my arrival, who did not keep me waiting at all, despite my arrival in the wee hours of the morning, for which I was quite grateful, as an overnight train journey never really agrees with me. The check-in process took just a few minutes and I was promptly shown to the room by the bellboy.
The room was pleasant enough, done up in the contemporary style with several shades of brown. The bed was comfortable with clean sheets and pillows. The room amenities included a tea-coffee maker with ample supplies of tea bags and coffee sachets (which they freely replenish), two 500 ml bottles of drinking water (complimentary), a mini-bar with a refrigerator and a flat-screen TV. A wardrobe with a built-in electronic safe is located in the passage near the bathroom. However, it had only a single hanger available inside, and that too did not have the lower bar where a trouser could be hung, so I did not bother to use the wardrobe at all.
The bathroom was spacious and clean, with a shower cubicle. The partition between the room and the bathroom is frosted glass. The amenities in the bathroom were bare, as is usually the case with hotels of this category, but at least it was clean and the towels were fresh. Hot and cold water is available round the clock. The shower cubicle also had a ceiling mounted rain shower head, but unfortunately I could not get it to work and had to be content with using the normal hand-held shower.
The room also had a comfortable single seat sofa with a foot stool which was very comfortable. However, there is one problem with the room – the only issue that I found with the accommodation. Since the building faces east, the early morning sun heats up the room and one has to keep the blinds drawn throughout the day. The air-conditioning struggles to cool the room and even with the temperature set at very low. In fact, I reduced the temperature on the thermostat to 20 degrees but the best that I could get was around 25 degrees. I was comfortable enough in the night – without a blanket. Had this been peak summer then it would definitely have been a problem, and the management seriously needs to improve upon the air-conditioning. Apart from this, the room is comfortable enough.
Aquamarine Hotel does not have a restaurant of its own and breakfast and other meals are served in the adjoining Hotel Aroma complex. Breakfast is a buffet which, though not lavish, is good enough. A limited variety of cereals, juices and breads is available along with a live egg counter. Also available is a a variety of stuffed parathas, bread pakoras, cole-slaw sandwiches etc.
Apart from the issue of air-conditioning problems, there were no major issues. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the staff are very courteous and friendly. Overall, not a bad experience.
Rajiv Bajaj asserts his right to be identified as the author of this work. Any views or opinions expressed in this review is that of the author. All copyright and pictures are the property of the author.