I have seen some TV programs that show the worst hotels in the world. Some of those are scary enough to be even called “Hotel Hell”. But those things happen in far away places that we may never visit, right? That’s what I used to think before I checked into a hotel in Kushinagar that is operated by Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department. Kushinagar is the place where Lord Buddha attained Maha Parinirvana. It is one of the four most important places connected to Lord Buddha’s life. A good number of tourists from many countries come to Kushinagar every year. And sadly, a government hotel in Kushinagar – Hotel Pathik Niwas – is earning a bad name for India’s tourism industry. Though it was not by choice that I landed in this Hotel Hell. Hotel Pathik Niwas was the only hotel in Kushinagar that was available for online booking for April that year. Here’s why: March to September is lean tourist season in Kushinagar. No tour groups come and the occasional foreign tourists who do come, stay in one of the monasteries. The three or four really good hotels in Kushinagar do not take any guests from April to September because even if those hotels can muster a 5 to 10% occupancy during these months, the cost of operating their restaurants and running power generators will result in huge monetary losses for them. Therefore, it makes business sense for the good hotels in Kushinagar to remain closed from April to September. Pathik Niwas, on the other hand, is a government hotel and gets at least some “official” visitors (I pity them) in every season. Rahi Pathik Niwas is perhaps the older name of this hotel. It is located on the main road in Kushinagar.
I had booked a A.C.-Deluxe Room costing INR 2300 per day without breakfast through Expedia.com. The room they gave me was not even worth INR 300. Almost all the sanitary fittings in the toilet were broken. The room air-conditioner made more noise than the power generator, the mosquito repellent did not do anything to repel the monster mosquitoes in the room, and the blanket on the bed looked highly dangerous. The air-conditioner did cool the room when power supply was on but that was for only about 30 minutes that night. Only the ceiling fan, maximum speed only, worked with the generator power.
After seeing the condition of the toilet in that “Deluxe” room, I complained to the front office. No pipe was attached to the wash basin outlet, the water just spread on the bathroom floor. The flush tank pipe leaked, the soap dish and the shower head were the filthiest bath fittings I had even seen in a hotel (see more pictures below). How could a hotel room that cost INR 2300 per night be in such a horrible condition. It was a government hotel so could not have any shortage of staff or funds. Then was it corruption or just plain incompetence of those responsible for the maintenance.
Whatever it was, they refused to change the room saying that all the rooms were similar. I could not sleep a minute that night. Early next morning, I decided to leave and look for accommodation in one of the monasteries around. When I was passing by the front office, someone stopped me and offered to change the room. They showed me a lower category room that was not as pathetic as their “Deluxe”. Having paid them in advance, I decided to stay one more day.
Pathink Niwas has a restaurant too and their food is as bad as everything else in this Hotel Hell. I ordered a Veg Fried Rice (INR 75) but could not finish it. Overall, Hotel Pathik Niwas is an outright fraud. See more pictures below (if you wish to) …