Wednesday, 23 October 2019

DoubleTree by Hilton – Gurgaon (New Delhi, India)

I had plenty of time to get ready this morning since my flight to Kathmandu wasn’t scheduled to leave until 1:35 p.m. I was down in the lobby by 9:45 to settle the bill. Just I was about to walk out the door I was surprised by a cake with a candle in it. The staff wanted to thank me before I left. While I would like to think that they do this for all guests, it wouldn’t seem practical. I took a couple of bites of the cake and they put the remainder in a box so I could take it with me to the airport.

The ride to the airport was uneventful, though we ran into some slow traffic. The driver said we would be at the airport in 40 minutes and we arrived in 38. Nice! Had a bit of wait to get checked in. I was amazed how slow the people were at the check-in counter and saw how many people were still waiting behind me. Somehow they must have got everyone through, I guess, because our flight took off pretty much on time. We had a delay landing in Kathmandu because of fog but it lifted after 20 minutes.

After getting off the plane, then the “fun” began as I and maybe two hundred or more people attempted to get their Nepal visas from the airport’s automated visa-issuing system. There was one poor guy who was attempting to help everyone who was lined up to use about 8 machines that asked all sorts of questions, in English, from people who were from a variety of different countries. Then we had to pay for the visa (another line) and we couldn’t pay in local currency. I had to go to a ATM and get local cash then go to a counter to convert it to US dollars. Then one more line for the person to review our documentation and stamp our passports. It took two hours.

Once through immigration it took 10 minutes to find my suitcase which, with others on my flight who were still getting their visas, were put in another area. I finally met up with my driver who was still waiting for me. Was an interesting drive to the hotel because we took the back streets to avoid the traffic and I got a glimpse of the Kathmandu people going about their daily business.

We arrived at the hotel and I was welcomed by everyone who greeted me by saying “nameste”. I was escorted to the check-in desk on the executive floor. There I was able to ask for a complementary beer. (I needed it.) The lounge was nearby, thankfully, because the only lunch I had was a piece of chocolate cake, courtesy of DoubleTree. I enjoyed a small dinner than walked to my room. My luggage had already been delivered.

My room (I was offered an upgrade for $36 per night) was very nice. Large with updated features. It faces the garden and is located at the end of a long hallway so it should be quiet.

After a nap I was still hungry so ordered a pizza and a two beers. I watched a couple of episodes of Graham Norton (couldn’t get Netflix to work) and then went to bed early.

Tomorrow I’ll see if I can arrange a tour of the Himalayan mountains by helicopter and schedule a pedicure in the spa. While this isn’t a Hilton, it is definitely a five-star hotel. Think I’ll like it here for the next five nights.

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