Saturday, June 06, 2015

Posted On 6/06/2015 by Team iCynosure.

Travel is an important part of my lifestyle, sometimes I have to pack for yet another trip before I am able to unpack from the previous one. Luckily most of my travel is within the country; else I would practically be an NRI even while living in India. However if you do travel domestically you will realise the disparity between the facilities available across all hotels and the expectation of guests. 


Some of the most common problems I’ve faced over the years of shuttling between cities include but are not limited to internet connectivity, airport transfers, distance from the city center, room size and cleanliness and if all is well the price isn’t. Every time I look out for my accommodation I have to make several inquiries about the standard of the room, availability of internet and the distance of the hotel from certain points in the city. And trust me not all the information I receive is true. I’ve had numerous instances when I end up arguing at the reception and or have to request change in room for one or the other issue. 

What frequent flyers like me need is a platform that understand my need and cater to the basics without having to question repeatedly. And that’s where OYO Rooms come into fill the last piece of the hospitality puzzle. 


Image Credit: OYO Rooms

OYO Rooms, founded in 2013 with a single 11-room hotel in Gurgoan has now expanded to a 4000+ rooms in over 350 hotels across India. The USP of the brand is that they create a standardised room experience across all its hotels for an affordable price starting at INR 999. What the brand offers is the important basic requirements to travellers that other accommodations don’t necessarily give. As a traveller I am very particular about the cleanliness, internet connectivity and breakfast even if I have to pay additional for those facilities. So it does come as a relief that these features are offered by the Oyo Rooms without much ado and more importantly FREE! 

One of my primary concerns with budget accommodations is their distance from the city center, or the fact that they are far away from the important hubs that it takes away your time and energy to get anyplace important. But the good folks at Oyo Rooms have countered that problem well with multiple locations within each city they operate in, under one roof of facilities. Even in a city like Mumbai they have rooms available in some of the most prominent locations around the airport, near commercial hubs, within walking distance of tourist attractions and some perfectly connecting locations. 

Image Credit: OYO Rooms

However at times when I scrolled through the booking apps I was so spellbound that I thought I was hallucinating and dismiss it as unreal. This very thing happened last weekend when I was set to travel to Delhi for a work assignment and booked via a travel agent instead of the app. But as luck favors those who experiment, I was invited to be part of #OYOxplorer in Mumbai. It was an exciting invitation to spend a day discovering the hidden surprises and experience unique adventures of my beloved city and compete with fellow bloggers on a number of tasks. With an overnight stay at one of the OYO Rooms thrown in, it was just the thing that would either make the cut or break the hope in the next systematic thing in hotel booking.


When I arrived, I met the OYO Team and was welcomed at Hotel Atlantic in the heart of Mumbai on Juhu Tara Road and prominently checked into my room. I was delighted to be in a spacious room that was as clean as the international standard and with television and cable as promised. So in first look two important boxes were ticked in my must-expect list. In some time as fellow bloggers trickled in, we had the activity briefing and set out to complete the challenges set for us. With a list of 15 things to do I believed it would take forever; but surprisingly Archana and myself got going immediately as a team and were almost done in an hour and a half with just one task left. 

The scorching Mumbai heat got the better of us and we headed back to the hotel, quickly freshening up and indulging in girly gossip. As the sun was about to set we rushed across the street to make more memories with Sunset Selfies. Tweeting our hearts out over a few hours was as much fun as the crazy tasks assigned. We laughed, cheered and at times sneered at the tweets coming through from bloggers who were participating from across various other cities. With 31 bloggers going berserk the hashtag kept us busy for some time before we ventured out of the room for dinner. Once back in the room we requested for Wi-Fi passwords a couple of times and were sent a data card that could be used for internet connectivity.  

As requested I was woken up in the morning and once ready I headed for breakfast. The masala chai was perfect to arouse the taste buds however nothing on the breakfast spread was appetizing enough and so I just had some toast and checked out to head home. On my way home there was a clear chart that weighed heavily as I assessed the OYO Rooms. 

STRENGTHS: 
Standardised rooms as specified and expected
Affordable budget accommodations in various parts of the city
Technologically driven booking system accessed on the go
Womens Exclusive in select locations, more to be added

WEAKNESSES:
None that I can really think of

Finally I bid adieu to my #OYOxplorer adventure with a promise to visit again. 

Happy Visiting,
- Heena

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