Ginger Hotel Mangalore – A Cut Above Budget Hotels
There are budget hotels, and then there are budget hotels with a difference. The Ginger Hotel in Mangalore definitely falls in the latter category. While it is a budget hotel in almost all aspects, it stands out of the crowd, thanks largely to their well trained and courteous staff, who go out of their way to assist guests, and I can personally vouch for this on the basis of my own experience during my recent stay there.
I had to make a visit to Kerala and was required to transit Mangalore for one night in either direction, the onward journey being by train from there. While looking for a decent hotel to stay in during our transit in Mangalore, we got a great deal on an online booking site for Ginger Hotel. I chose the Ginger Hotel Mangalore for three reasons: A – We only needed a place to sleep during the night; B – Ginger was the only familiar brand that came up; and C – the online pricing through a hotel booking site was terrific. As it turned out, it was a wise decision.
We arrived at the hotel in the afternoon. The hotel’s location is great – about 30 minutes’ drive from the airport and about the same distance to the railway station. The hotel building is pretty unassuming from outside as well as inside. One thing you will notice immediately on arrival is the absence of bell-boys or a bell-desk. It is a no-frills hotel and one is expected to handle their luggage on their own. However, to make the job easier, there are luggage trolleys available at the entrance which one can take right up to the allotted floor.
The reception is at the ground level itself, and their restaurant – Red Salt – is also part of the same lobby. Ginger Hotel Mangalore is a no-frills hotel, which means that you will not find any extravagant touches there. Yet, at the same time, it is a very comfortable and clean hotel. The hotel interior is pleasantly done in red and off-white colours. There is a small, square, 3-storey high atrium that looks down into the lobby area.
The check-in process was smooth. The staffs behind the reception were friendly and polite, and tried to make us comfortable by striking a conversation. They had no problems locating my booking and the process took just a few minutes. I requested for, and was allotted a smoking room. A welcome letter outlining our stay package was issued to us along with the key. The letter also contained a lot of useful information, such as nearby places to visit, timings etc. As we had the afternoon free, I inquired about things we could do, and their staff very patiently outlined the available options, and also gave us some useful tips.
We went up to the room, which was, well, no-frills again. But it was a nice, cozy and clean room, devoid of any non-essential items, which is okay. It wasn’t a very big room, but neither was it cramped by any standards. As is common with almost all hotels, the bathroom was located immediately after the entrance door, and a room of size 10 x 12 approx lay beyond the passage. A queen-sized double bed was positioned in the center, with a wardrobe and a luggage rack on one side of it, and a small work-station on the other side. There was a mini-fridge under the luggage rack. Above the luggage rack was positioned a small sized tea / coffee maker. However, there were no porcelain cups or plastic cups. Instead, there were paper cups, with some limited supply of tea-bags and coffee sachets, and two small glasses. The only thing that I did not like in the room was the use of paper cups for tea / coffee, which were quite flimsy and difficult to handle with a hot beverage, and we had to double the cups in order to get a steady grip on it, or risk spilling the hot coffee, as the cup would otherwise bend out of shape. Apart from that, everything was fine. There was a flat-screen TV on the wall facing the bed. The work station had a scribbling pad and a pencil. One good feature of the room was that the window actually opened, which is certainly of help if you are a smoker.
The bed had clean sheets and pillows and had been freshly made up. The bathroom had a T-shaped layout, with a wash basin on one side and the WC on the other side. The shower cubicle was built into the extension of the T. The provided towels were fresh and clean. Apart from that, the bathroom too was devoid of any frills or amenities, barring a soap cake, a liquid soap dispenser by the basin, a shower gel dispenser in the shower cubicle, and a tissue dispenser by the WC seat. The shower curtains, however, were short in length and could not contain the water inside the cubicle, resulting in the outer floor getting wet.
After having coffee we left the hotel to do some sightseeing. When we returned in the evening, we requested the reception staff to send us some extra tea-bags, which were delivered to the room immediately by a very polite staff, who left a generous supply of tea-bags with us. Later in the evening, we went down to the restaurant for a quick bite. The restaurant staff too was very polite and courteous, and the service was very prompt. At dinner, there is the option of having their buffet, or ordering a-la-carte. We ordered a-la-carte as we were not very hungry and wanted something light. The quality of food served was pretty decent and moderately priced. One thing that needs to be borne in mind for meals is that their room service is available only between 1100 to 2300, with the last order time being at 2230. So if you arrive later than 2230 or have to depart early morning before 0700, then you will not be able to get any meal service.
Early next morning, when we went to check-out at about 0620, it was pouring outside. I settled my bill and then tried to book a cab online to take us to the railway station, but none were available. I then requested the staff at the reception to help us find a cab. He tried to call their usual supplier but was unable to get one, which put us in a bit of a spot, as we had a train to catch. The staff then called the guard outside to help us get an auto-rickshaw. Despite the fact that it was still raining, the guard went and somehow got us an auto to get to the station. It was thanks to the efforts of Ginger’s team that we were able to get a transport well in time to board our train.
On our return from Kerala two days later, we again stayed at the hotel, reaching there at about 2100 hours. The check-in this time was even faster as they already had our particulars and IDs, and we went up to the room within 3 to 4 minutes of arriving at the hotel. Shortly after that, we came down to dine in the restaurant and ordered a-la-carte and enjoyed our north-Indian dinner at a leisurely pace.
The next morning, we again visited the restaurant to have breakfast. We learnt that for breakfast there is no a-la-carte service and only the buffet was available. The buffet spread was pretty decent for the price we paid. The spread included juice, cereal, South Indian options, eggs to order with toast as well as paranthas. There was also a small bakery selection of sliced cake and muffins. The coffee was excellent and we had a great breakfast. Shortly after breakfast we checked out, and once again, the check-out process was smooth and hardly took any time.
Overall, I found the Ginger Hotel Mangalore great value for money. Despite the fact that Ginger is a no-frills chain, the service alone makes it worth staying in. After all, they have the Tata tag to live up to.
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.