For budget-conscious travelers, we all know that accommodations take a chunk of our expenses. So, our tendency is to settle with the bare minimum (which depends on individual preferences, of course).
For instance, we can make do with a shared bathroom, or a room with no windows. But what we shouldn’t compromise on is safety. Unfortunately, I made that mistake when I booked at the Carlton Hotel in Mumbai.
I stayed in the Colaba area. Being a major tourist spot, paying only Rs. 2,688 (Php 1,960) for a two-night accommodation was obviously a sweet deal.
The hotel in Mumbai was a short walking distance to and from the Gateway of India, Colaba Causeway, and Taj Mahal Palace. However, from the moment I got there, there were just too many red flags that scared me.
The receptionist tried to scam me
Upon check-in, he calculated a new total with added “taxes” when I’ve already paid the full price when I booked via Booking.com.
There was a construction going on, so the place was full of people
This may not be a big deal if I was traveling with someone, but I was alone and a place full of men (with no female in sight) was uncomfortable for me.
Although not the hotel’s fault, there were two guests who screamed at me
When I checked-in, these two older European men were drinking and smoking in front of my room. I sensed that they were looking at me, but I didn’t say hi. I went in my room then out a couple of minutes later to go to the shared bathroom. I, then, went for a walk. All this time, I was minding my own business. When I got back, I thought the Europeans were gone but suddenly I came across one of them who said “Hi!” but in an extremely loud voice. That bugged me.
I missed a critical customer review
By this time, around 18:00, I immediately opened my laptop and started to read more stuff about the hotel. I always read reviews before I book anything, but I missed this one because it’s written on TripAdvisor.
After that, I just felt anxious and thought I didn’t want to risk staying the night at this hotel in Mumbai. I know I wouldn’t have been able to sleep properly otherwise. Plus, I no longer trusted the receptionist and felt 100% safe.
Running high with emotions, I booked and transferred to the closest hotel with excellent ratings on Booking.com, which happened to be the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower. It was totally out of character for me. But that time, I didn’t really care. I just wanted to get out and didn’t want to wait for an Uber to drive me to a farther one.
The day after
I was pretty shaken up after the incident that the next day, I found myself crying at a Scottish kirk (that I randomly saw) near the Victoria Terminus Station while the Reverend was praying for me. I didn’t tell him what happened, so I hope he didn’t think I was crazy! 😅
As a summary, be cautious if ever you’re planning to stay at the Carlton Hotel. If you can pick another place, then that would be better. As always, every other country has its good and bad sides, and India is no exception.
With a new lesson learned, I’ll definitely be more careful when I go back next time! India is more than one bad experience, especially considering the lovely people and places full of culture and character. Just have to be extra smart when it comes to choosing accommodations.
If you’re wondering what else I did in Mumbai, you can check this one out for my rough itinerary – 48 Hours in Mumbai: Exploring Colaba.
Who’s traveling to India soon? Curious what it’s like to go around the city? Here’s my experience – Getting Around India Tips + My Commuting Experience. For more India content, click here. See you around!