My first time in Srinagar, I was really looking forward to having a relaxing experience at the Swan Group of Houseboats. Unfortunately, while I enjoyed my time in the city and exploring around beautiful Dal lake, my stay at Swan was the worst part.
Let me say first of all that the location is fine, not far from Ghat 10, and the Shikara man, Bablu, is a fantastic person. Unfortunately, he was the only one. He is the only good thing about Swan.
As soon as I arrived, very exhausted after my journey, I was taken into the reception for registration. There I was completely hassled by the rude, pompous owner and I had to ask him repeatedly to stop hassling me. Rudely, he kept pushing his package tours of the city, his overpriced meal plan, etc. I was very annoyed by his attitude and therefore right from the start my impression was a very bad one. He wouldn't even tell me the price of one meal until after I pressed him and told him I would not take the meal package. In fact he charges 400 rupees for lunch/dinner, and 200 rupees for breakfast. While it is fresh cooked food, this is really food you would find at a simple street-side dhabba, nothing special, there is no menu or choice, and really this type of food should not cost more than 100 rupees.
Because of this, I had to sneak on sandwiches and fruit from off the boat. I put some stuff in the fridge, but after one night my carry bag I had put the food in was missing. Again, not good.
Next was the room. While the common area of the boat are very nice, and everything is ornate, my room and boat could use a good scrubbing and dusting:
There was garbage under the bed from previous guests, unidentifiable goo on my night-stand that my mobile phone got stuck in, brown and pink stains on the bathroom walls, the tub/shower has taped-over leaks, there is a long line of black-mold around the tub (a serious health hazard), spider webs in the corners etc.
Another serious problem I had was that while the room had curtains over the outside windows, the top of the room along the hallway side does not. Every night, even after telling the staff to try and watch out for me, I was woken up as the bright hallway lights shone directly into my room, makiing it far too bright to sleep. My final night I even had to get up 5 times over three awful hours of trying to get to sleep to turn off these lights. Very, very annoying!
Besides all of this, some of the other staff were rude about sending the Shikara to pick me up. Even after pre-arranging with the boat-man to come back late (he said it was no problem), I was told when I called that it was too late and they could not come to get me (it was 11pm).Another night he hung up on me before I was finished talking with him. I yelled at the guy afterwards and the next day he apologized, but this was still unacceptable.
This behaviour, combined with the rude owner who treats his staff badly and acts like a maharajah, was awful.
All of these things are combined to make me have to unfortunately write this negative review, my first. Visit Srinagar, but stay away from Swan!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Swan Group of Houseboats, a company recognized by Govt. of India, Ministry of Tourism, a houseboat with people with delegation of powerful experience, knows its way around. Swan Group of Houseboats, a houseboat with difference, has been successfully engaged in the travel business for past 20 years & has gathered together a specialized and well experienced team dedicated to the path of the traveler in Srinagar. Indeed our commitment to Srinagar is unsurpassed. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Swan Group Of Houseboats Hotel Srinagar
- Swan Group Of Houseboats Srinagar, Kashmir