The hotel is located right on MG Marg in Gangtok, which is the main street of the town. Location wise, the hotel is situated at the right place. But of late tourists have been moving out into homestays in the countryside. So hotels that previously boasted of good days must serve their customers really good, otherwise they will be forgotten immediately. Golden Pagoda is a prime example of something good that went seriously wrong. I booked the hotel for four days. The room I got was roughly the size of my arms extended. Since it was off season, I got a discount, but even at the normal price you will feel cheated with the size of the room, as I felt the discounted price was also high for such a pathetic size. Sample these:
1. The bedcover was soggy. It was mildly wet to touch. It was monsoon when I went there, but what the hotel did was to prepare my room during the time of booking -- about a week earlier -- and then shut the door all the time. There was no maintenance in between. The hotel just cannot excuse itself from good service even if it was the rainy season. The least they could have done was to put fresh bedsheets and pillow covers a day before we came.
2. The staff were drinking alcohol. The room service man who came to deliver a water bottle reeked of alcohol. I had to ring three times on the intercom line at 9.30 pm to ask for water. The man didn't even reply, but slammed the phone down. I understand they are also humans who don't like to be disturbed at 9.30 pm by some stranger tourists, but then I am tempted to ask a question to the hotel management: What are room service staff for? If somebody is running a hotel, that somebody better run it like a hotel should.
3. Uncomfortable vibe. Yes, this one is subjective, but every tourists out there will know what I am talking about. You enter a bad hotel and you get a not-so-nice stare from the staff on every floor. They look at you and give passive remarks about your 'race' or 'from where you come'. To prevent such behaviour that is why there are a number of hotel management institutes across the globe.
4. The hotel doesn't have mosquito repellent device. When I asked for one at night, the man on the other end of the line said, "Sorry. We don't have." An All-Out, or any popular mosquito repellent device is the basic necessity in a hotel room, anywhere in the country. You never know when a mosquito will bite you, whether in Gangtok, Bangkok or Kabul. The least the hotel could have done is to send somebody at the local shop and get one repellent device. I would have gladly given the money.
However, the hotel staff did change the sheets immediately when I brought the odour issue to their notice.
In the end, I have come to the conclusion never to judge a hotel by its name, like a book by its cover (sometimes it's ok to judge a book by its cover). Golden Pagoda has got nothing of the sort it seems to promise. On a hunch it looks like it will be some exotic place with nice oriental cuisine, but all you get is oily paranthas, very bad tea, coffee of unknown origin, etc.
I can safely say that this hotel is not for younger couples who are looking for a good stay in Gangtok. I suggest they must move out of the increasingly commercialised MG Marg and check the pristine surroundings of Gangtok. MG Marg looks like a street in Jaipur's Walled City area now, and thereby hangs a tale. One portion of MG Marg where there are some sweet shops and departmental stores are littered with paper and plastics, while the other portion where there are some cafes and authentic local cuisine are so clean and well-maintained because of the right attitude.
Golden Pagoda must shed its hypocritical marketing trick. The name pagoda is misleading and the service even worse. I would be more happy staying in this hotel if I came with a family of four to eat pakodas and samosas and paranthas, looking for a true blue Marwari service -- not an original Sikkim experience.
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Golden Pagoda Gangtok, Sikkim