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“Desperate for a bed”
2 of 5 bubbles Review of Hotel Sonmony

Hotel Sonmony
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Hotel Sonmony
Ranked #55 of 73 Hotels in Varanasi
Oregon
Level Contributor
79 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Desperate for a bed”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 April 2012

No rooms anywhere when arrived in Varanasi late at night. I remembered that the Sonmony had been recommended to us by another traveler so we made our way to Harischandra Ghat, one of the burning ghats. We checked into room #22 and the night watchman was kind enough to give us a couple of towels and sheets. Not the cleanest hotel in town but under the circumstances, it was okay. The next morning we awoke to chopping sounds and discovered that the enormous scale to weigh the wood for the pyres was pretty much at the hotel's front door. I would caution anyone staying here to be prepared for the smell of burning flesh wafting up from the ghat. Staying here will provide a full on India experience. We paid Rs 400 for a double.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank peargrower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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19 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    2 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    2 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
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  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 November 2011

Hey all,
Was here in Jan of 2011. Picked this hotel out from a hostel site and a video someone took of their boat tour on the Ganges as they passed by the waterfront hotel. This hotel is relatively new by the oldest living city in the world's standards (1980's i think). It is the best location, hirishchandra ghat is the best burning ghat to see at. Get a balcony room (insist on it) and you'll be feeding monkeys, taking in the view and smelling burning corpses all day! We counted about 25 one day. You'll get used to the smell and you'll be happy about your decision. Food upstairs (and the view) is great, hopefully the lad who served us is still there. Also, take in the tabla/ sitar lessons as you'll no doubt be approached, it's worth every penny.

Would go back here and only here in a heartbeat.
Derek
PS: don't book a trail out of Mughal station especially if you're caucasian.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank TrippedOut247
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 November 2011

I had a bad experience here, we didnt get any sheets and the manager really didn't care. I felt ripped off despite the room only being 800 rp per night. It did have good views over the oldest(not biggest) burning ghat. The bathroom was also awful, the sink wasn't plumbed in. And no water came out of the shower. I also got bitten to hell by mozzies. I walked out after the first night despite paying for 3. Truely terrible

  • Stayed November 2011
    • Value
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1 Thank Foodqueeny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Bristol
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 November 2011

I wouldn't recommend this place. 

For starters, they expect payment up front for the duration of your stay which is a bit dubious. Secondly they wanted to take a copy of our passports which we didn't agree to. 

Worst of all there were no sheets to sleep under - with the excuse that the laundry hadn't come back. A hotel with no sheets is like a restaurant with no food. You will also be disappointed if you expect things like toilet paper....and be careful when you brush your teeth as your toes are likely to get covered in toothpaste and water - our sink wasn't actually plumbed into anything. 

The location is good and we had a splendid view of the Ganges. However if you don't like watching dead people getting burned all day, go elsewhere. 

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Paruski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 August 2011

I stayed here because it was cheap for aircon and having a balcony with Ganges view. I did not realise how close to the crematoriums it was.
If you stay here, make sure that you don't get room 37, or any rooms along that wall as that is the side alley of crematoriums outside. This ghat is a 24/7 crematorium and so is constantly being used. On the second night, there were a lot of fires outside and the smoke was coming in my aircon filter - I had to open the windows for fresher air. I probably could have moved, but it was the middle of the night and I couldn't be bothered. Other people who stayed in rooms adjacent to the river did not have this problem.
The hotel will understandably have a slightly smokey smell, but it is not a bad smell, just smokey with the occasional waft of incense.

The balconies over look the river - it is a magnificent view. Also, these balconies also have a view of the water side crematorium. This means that you get an uninterrupted view of the ceremonies. On my first day I watched for 4 hours from my balcony and saw 3 different types of ceremony. I also saw many tour groups come to this ghat and leave after about 10 mins. (You really can't take in what is going on here, in just 10 mins, but understandably if you were visiting as a tourist, you would feel uncomfortable staying much longer.) Also, it is a lot less intense to watch from your balcony or the restaurant. Being so close to it all down there can be quite overwhelming. A lot of us that were staying there liked the fact that we had such views and unlimited time to just watch, as it gave us time to get our heads around it all.

The restaurant has good food, but can take a while to be served. At least you know it is all freshly cooked though. Also, the restaurant boy is pretty lazy, so just be very forward about what you want.

Another man who works there will take try to take you to his silk house for shopping, but his prices are way higher than everywhere else and the quality is the same, so avoid this. The hotel can also arrange airport pick up and drop off for around 600 rupees each way and they can also arrange boat tours, city tours, music and dance lesson. If you get a boat trip the manager will offer it to you for 200 Rupees (this is good as some charge upto 1000 Rupees) - take a sunrise tour as at sunset the light is behind the bulidings, making photos very difficult to take. However, if you want more boat trips, find someone else to go with after the first trip, as the hotel man increases the price to get you in.

It is also good that this hotel is a little bit away from the main area of Varanasi, but can be easily reached by bicycle rickshaw for about 20 Rupee. This also means that you aren't being hassled by any touts or beggars as you come and go from the hotel - which alone, can be a nice change.

If I were to go to Varanasi again with someone who had never been before, I would definitely stay here again, but maybe for just one night as the smoke smell, although not strong, bothered me after a few days.

Room Tip: Stay in a room adjacent to the river, but not on the far wall.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lanky83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Sonmony

Property: Hotel Sonmony
Address: House No: B6/91, Varanasi 221001, India
Region: India > Uttar Pradesh > Varanasi
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #55 of 73 Hotels in Varanasi
Price range (per night): ₹ 648 - ₹ 713
Hotel Class:1 star — Hotel Sonmony 1*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
My hotel name is Hotel Sonmony. This is small and budget hotel. It is situated at Harishchandra ghat, Varanasi, India beside the Ganges River. This ghat is known as a small burning ghat. I have 20 rooms with bathroom and hot water and many rooms have nice Ganges River view. I have these facilities: internet, roof-top Indian restaurant, laundry, travel desk, boating and free pick-up services from bus stand and Varanasi station, yoga-less music concert in restaurant etc. My room price is for single 150-250Rs, double 400-750Rs. I also have some air conditioned rooms and air cooler. ... more   less 
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