The Defamation Of The 5 Star Hotel: India

I have been exploring Incredible India now for close to 2 months and have had to make considerable choices in terms of lodging, transport, and dietary needs.  I have been coerced into staying at 5 star hotels with names that contain palace due to my day trading profession.  The free western breakfasts and reliable hot water are just too much to bare.

I am able to travel around the world because I day trade for a living. I also teach a day trading education program that allows people to have the freedoms of time, financial, and location.  I am very passionate about day trading because it allows me to live my dream, total Freedom.

Anytime that I relocate to another country to continue living overseas I am always concerned about internet access.  I need high speed reliable internet in order to host live trading classes for everyone in my training program with The Day Trading Academy.

When I first moved to Toronto on this current and never ending trip around the world I ended up using a 3.5G internet modem stick from Rogers wireless.  I was lucky they offered an unlimited data package promotion and after that I assumed everything would work itself out.

Rickshaw in Goa, India

Rickshaw in Goa, India

Anytime that I live overseas I prefer to rent an apartment instead of living  in a hotel in order to immerse myself with the local culture.

India presented a predicament as there are two extremes when visiting India.  A traveler has a choice whether to travel first class or as a backpacker.  The old adage is quite true, you get what you pay for.

India is a 4th world country.  It is truly 3rd world in our modern classification of countries.

The problems are compounded in India with a massive population, more government bureaucracy, and rampant corruption throughout the system.

The Hindu religion, the largest in India, seems to bring a greater acceptance of the status quo. As I continued exploring the country I found myself with more and more people promising things they didn’t have.

When I initially arrived in Mumbai I stayed at a Mumbai hotel near the airport in order survey Mumbai & see the opportunity of living there.

Taj Mahal Palace & Hotel

Taj Mahal Palace & Hotel in Mumbai

I quickly left and reserved a room at the iconic Taj Palace & Hotel in Mumbai in order to have reliable interne and decent food to eat.  And even at the Taj, a 5 star former palace converted into a hotel, I still became ill because of the food.

With the prices being charged at a 5 star hotel it’s expected that a visitor is to receive anything that he requests.  The only thing I couldn’t get from the premium brand of Taj hotels is to be left alone.  They called continuously, visited the room at least 2 or 3 times a day, and loved to visit the room at 9pm when the do not disturb light was on. Shame on you Taj.

I am the type of person that always eats street food.  I can stop at any street vendor in the middle of nowhere and have a great meal.  India is quite different since there is so much bacteria in the food and water.  A western tourist has to be very careful what he eats.

When I visited Goa I confided in Expedia in order to ensure I was going to get what I asked for. I booked a room at a Best Western that declared to having high speed internet.

Sadly, this is the second time Best Western let me down as the internet never reached 1 MB download speed.  If I just ran this travel blog and could wait 2 hours to upload a picture that would be okay.

But when internet is my livelihood I don’t take lack of high speed internet lightly.

I immediately booked a room at a Vivanta Hotel by Taj since it was the only 5 star hotel available in Goa.  Things took an immediate turn for the worse as I found expired food containers, the breakfast buffet was comparable to a poorly managed one star restaurant, and again, I could find anything but be left alone.  I had officially given up on the Taj brand.

Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai

Sunrise in Mumbai at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

As I moved through the state of Rajasthan and tried to stay in 3 star hotels it was quickly understood that you have an option for hot water or internet.  To ask for hot water, internet, electricity, and a good breakfast would be a godsend.

What do you think this is the Ritz?

There was a funny situation when a man stated that the internet was working and refused to admit that it was not working.  Sadly he didn’t understand internet requires electricity to work.

I’m still dumbfounded why the west hasn’t started selling this amazing invention, internet without electricity.

I ate at another famous 5 star brand of hotels named Trident in both Udaipur & Jaipur.  With mostly westerners approaching the restaurant I was amazed to see people avoiding the main buffet.

The waiters would try to convince everyone that entered to eat the buffet.  If I had pictures in order to show you faces of disgust I would.  The restaurant made it worse by lying to us and saying there wasn’t food that could be ordered off a menu, only the buffet was available.

After tracking down the manager a hefty menu was given to us.  Bad food and this behavior at the premium brand of Trident hotels is unacceptable.

Trident Hotels

Trident Hotels

Trident’s only salvation was an executive chef that personally cooked a glorious buffalo beef steak.  He personally came to the table to take our order and topped it with an array of vegetables & caramelized onions.  If you are ever in Jaipur, make sure that the Executive Chef Anuraag is working.

His food will absolutely astound you. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend eating or staying at the Trident brand of hotels based on the activity at the restaurant. A hotel’s service, expertise, and hospitality, can be judged by how they serve their dining room.

After crossing both the Taj & Trident brands off the list I returned to Delhi and decided to stay at the 5 star Hyatt Regency hotel.  Sadly, they didn’t disappoint either.

Anytime I tried to order water or basic tasks were completed such as restocking shampoo & conditioner there was a problem.  To have to ask for it after a room is serviced isn’t up to a 5 star standard.  It took over 5 hours to get bottles of water delivered and 3 phone calls to just have laundry service picked up.

If I was backpacking through India I would laugh at all of the problems I have had.  Simply accept the fact that you do indeed get what you paid for.  But after a conscious effort is made to try and conduct business by staying at premium hotels and this still happens?

One of the most egregious of situations is when you have waiters & room staff assist you when there they smell as if they haven’t had a shower in days.

I don’t have an advanced sense of smell and I been able to smell it repeatedly.

I only share these stories so you know what you are getting into when traveling to India.  In a normal situation, it’s only a matter a time for one or two things to go wrong. In India, its standard practice.

The rule of thumb in India is to take a star away from the star ratings; a five star is a really a four star, a four star is really a three star, and you may have the unfortunate situation of staying in a five star that is really a 3 star.

Even when expecting 5 star service you will surely be disappointed.  There are incredible things to see in India but what you will have to go through in order to see them will be incredible as well.


  1. u sld try changing hotels,
    There are hotels like Grand Maratha and J W Marriot that are will meet your demands,
    Taj and Tridents are hotels that are hundreds of year old,
    Taj palace is for those who expect to stay in hotels that give them more traditional feeling,
    Right next to it is Taj Tower,Which is more modern,
    You should have consulted a normal Indian Citizen,He would have told or suggested u better,

    1. Dhruv this isn’t about how the hotels look and feel, all of the hotels have been exceptional in terms of presentation. The issue is the service, this is not 5 star service at any of these hotels.

  2. Between this and all the news stories coming out of there, I think we’ll reshuffle it down towards the bottom of the to-do list. But would love to get there eventually. Thanks for your insight.

  3. Hello Marcello

    While in Delhi …. I am very surprised you did not stay at the Imperial Hotel, Ashok or the Park Hotel. These are truly 5 star hotels! You must have discovered that India is the land of contradictions ……. when something appears to be one way, in reality it is something else.

    I enjoy reading your wonderful blog!

  4. I really appreciate this review. I’ve stayed at the Taj several times and never found the service to be terrible, but it is interesting to hear of such incidents. Having stayed at various 5-stars around the world I have to come a realization that although these rating tend to be a one size fits all which fails to factor the nuances that different travelers wish to have catered.

  5. Next time, you’re staying at my place, lol 😛
    I wish you would’ve followed me on twitter earlier… I could’ve helped yo navigate Mumbai better, at the most 🙂

  6. I am personally a budget traveller and a backpacker so these facilities seem like luxury to me but I agree that if you are ready to pay for them then you should get them. As an Indian I am used to the lack of services even after paying up and yes, super fast internet is surely something you will not get even after paying a million bucks in India 🙂

  7. I have a feeling you’re biased against India. No matter what article you write about India, it always has a hint of hatred for that country. Your information is unreliable as well considering Taj Palace is one of the finest in Asia.

    1. It is a beautiful country Mel but I won’t discount how difficult it is to do things in the country. I have traveled to roughly 80 countries and never encountered the problems anywhere that I have encountered in India. Not even Africa. I try to tell both sides of the story and quite frankly as beautiful and charming as India is.. it has quite a negative side

  8. I stayed at both of the Taj hotels you mentioned and enjoyed them both (though the Mumbai Taj Palace was clearly a bit older and less maintained). Perhaps I had lower service standards at the time.

    If they weren’t good enough for you i’d try the Oberoi next time – amazing in all respects and probably the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in.

    I did try some “4” star hotels in Trivandrum and Delhi which weren’t really any such thing – but all part of the India experience. In Bangalore I found a short-term apartment rental for a few days which was very nicely appointed and affordable (though with minimal service offered). Bangalore seems to be the most Western of Indian cities though that was the only place I got food poisoning.

  9. This is a highly biased account of five star hotels in India. I mean, I’ve stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai and many Vivanta properties throughout the country, and I didn’t notice such terrible service anywhere. Hours for water bottles? Room service gets there in 45 minutes irrespective of what you order. You sound prejudiced at best and downright obnoxious at worst. Comparable levels of comfort in the US or Europe would set you back by 3-4 times the tariff you paid in India. Seriously, get a grip on reality before besmirching the internet with hate filled articles like this one.

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