I like Sikkim. It is one of the few States in India where the State government as well as the people of the State take tourism seriously. They know how much they need the money and the jobs that tourism brings to the State. Because of this wise approach to tourism, the number of visitors coming to Sikkim has been steadily increasing.
I also have traveled to Sikkim quite a few times recently and have been generally happy about my visits. However, things changed for me during my last visit in March/April 2022.
Trust me, it gives me no pleasure in using words like “Bio Hazard” while writing about hotel rooms in Sikkim. But, the truth must be told.
Hotel Muscatel Bellevue, Gangtok
The first Muscatel Gangtok hotel where I stayed was ‘Muscatel Bellevue,’ near North Sikkim Taxi Stand. I arrived at the hotel in the afternoon, in a sleep-deprived state because of my early morning trip from home. I put my bags down and jumped into the bed. However, after a few hours, I woke up with itching all over my body.
It was completely unusual, and the bed was my first suspect. I examined the bedding and found stains and other tell-tale signs that the bedsheet and the quilt cover had been used for a few days. Fortunately, the itching was gone after a shower, and when I demanded, the hotel staff changed the linen.
I booked an additional night in Bellevue in a higher category room. When I reached that room, I found hair and other dirt on the bed. I called the staff, and they changed the bedsheet and the quilt cover, and started to leave. I said, “what about the pillow covers”?, and one of the housekeeping ladies said, “woh to change kiya tha.”
There, she had confessed that after the previous guests checked out, pillow covers were the only thing they had changed. The used and dirty bedsheet and quilt cover were left on the bed.
Shifting To Muscatel Grand Silk Route
I decided to investigate further, and booked 4 nights in Muscatel Grand Silk Route, near M. G. Marg. After I got into the first room there, I inspected the bed. Again, it had used and dirty bed linen. I called housekeeping and got it changed. That room was also very noisy due to some woodwork going on nearby. I asked for a change of room, which I got the next day.
The bed in the second room at Muscatel Grand Silk Route, as usual, had used and dirty bedsheet and quilt cover. That was proof beyond doubt. Four different rooms in two different hotels of Muscatel group in Sikkim, and the same story everywhere. Bed linen never changed after the guests checked out.
I called the front office and at that time the housekeeping in charge came along with another person who looked like the manager of the hotel. They changed the linen while making some silly excuse as to why the used bed linen was still there.
Offensive Call From The Manager
After I came back home, and wrote reviews of the two hotels on the booking sites, I got an angry call from a person claiming to be the manager of Grand Silk Route. He said that if I want clean bed linen, then I should stay in five-star hotels. According to him, if a guest is paying ₹2500 per day for a hotel room in Sikkim, they deserve only used and dirty bed linen.
He used some bad language too before disconnecting the call.
What About Covid-19?
I wonder if this hotel group was following the same policy of giving their guests previously used bed linen during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic? Perhaps they were.
Not Sure About Sikkim Anymore
After this Muscatel experience, I am uncertain if I want to visit Sikkim again. One taxi driver in Gangtok told me that though many hotels in Sikkim are owned by the Sikkimese people, the operation of the hotels is outsourced to people coming from another particular State.
I guess this problem with Sikkim hotels is not getting resolved in a hurry.