Appearances can be deceiving : Shree Vilas- Vilas by the Lake

Deceitful looks of the resorts
Fooled by the looks

I am not an greatest luxury kind of traveller…I don’t look for a laaavish spread of food, the scented pillows, personal masseuse, butlers or cool wine bottles served in wine buckets…..but I need at least a nice clean bed, a functioning wash room and warm breakfast when I book a room for my vacation  anywhere.

En-route to a long road trip to Tamilnadu from Rajasthan, a month back we planned a short vacation at Udaipur and booked a deluxe-tent accommodation at “Shree Vilas- Vilas By Lake”. The hotel is located on one edge of Lake Pichola behind Hotel Leela. It seemed a peaceful away-from-chaos site.

Manoeuvring the narrow lanes of Udaipur we reached a dead-end near the lake and called the resort for directions. To our surprise, we were told that the dead-end in fact was as far as our car would go and it was the supposed parking for the resort!

The resort was gracious enough to send an auto-rickshaw to pick us up. Once at the resort, the first look was very impressive and we were pleased. Lamp lined pathway led us to our white canopied tent. The brass latch on door caught my eye as it had an old feel to it though not antique. The faint pleasantly sweet smell from the red flowers on the plant just outside the tent greeted us while the room was opened. I could make out a well laid lawn in the lamp light. Looking at the reflections of far of lights in the lake I already imagined and anticipated a beautiful view in the morning.

The bell-boy who actually was a petite girl arrived with a handle trolley at the reception to shift our luggage in our tents. Since we planned to cover some 2500 km by road with few night halts in between we were carrying big suitcases. The poor girl assigned to carry our luggage, found it difficult to handle the big load but she managed to hoist it up the trolley and deposited it at our tent. I was little surprised to find girls being assigned the work of bell-boys!

Since it was already late evening by the time we reached the resort, we couldn’t sit by lake side and enjoy the view from the resort. Instead we felt the need to refresh after a long tiring journey.

There was a little nip in the air, I decided to take a hot shower. The website of resort boasts of a running hot and cold water supply in rooms and I was really looking forward to a nice leisurely warm water bath. But I was in for a rude shock once inside the wash-room. Not only there was no warm water but also the shower accessories were broken… there was no lever only a stub of metal protruding out of the wall which I was supposed to turn for regulating the temperature of water! Even the towels provided were yellowed and rough….thank God! we had our  towels with us in the luggage.

A quick cold water shower had done nothing to ease away my tiredness, instead I was a little annoyed. All three of us me, my husband and my eleven year old daughter, were exhausted and decided to have dinner at the resort’s restaurant. The restaurant was quite dimly lit. We opted for the Indian food hoping to eat fresh hot chapatis and dal. The staff at the restaurant did not seem well-trained. The service was slow, food was way too spicy and the waiter was quite clumsy when it came to service.

Next morning, the breakfast was no great show either. Even though there were only few guests at the resort, neither the water in shower nor the food was hot. Some smartly dressed hotel staff walked in and I asked his suggestion for sight-seeing. I assumed being a local fellow, he could suggest what was good in his city but the man could give no inputs. Later, I asked his work profile and he proudly said he was the manager…. I wonder how a manager could not answer some simple questions about his city!

I wanted to take some lake side shots of the resort in morning. However the lake was dirty with rotting foliage floating near the resort. Needless to say that my idea of sitting by the lake had evaporated with the rising sun…

Grass and rotting leaves float on the lake near resort
Grass and rotting leaves float on the lake near resort

Rude as it may sound but when I pay a little over Rs 8000 for two nights, I need what the resort so proudly displays on its website. The wi-fi was only available in reception which wasn’t much of use to people who wanted to stay put in room.

I was not happy with the resort’s services and would not recommend a stay there at least until they pull up their socks and bring about an overall change…


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