Whenever I plan a trip, there is an attempt to see if I can stay in the older parts of the city – as I have always lived in new areas of most cities I lived in. There is also a desire to live like the locals. That is why I champion the cause of couch surfing so much. Lately, I have seen the concept of homestays where you stay with a local family. And then there is Neemrana which offers you the experience of being an elite in the destination that you are visiting. Divan’s Bungalow Ahmedabad is where I stayed this time.
Divan’s Bungalow Ahmedabad
Neemrana’s Divan’s Bungalow Ahmedabad is a 100+-year-old property. Located in the old city of Ahmedabad. In the cramped noisy lanes is this pristine white Bungalow that you get to see only after you enter its gate. A fountain in the front tries to cool you down and wean the chaos that you have to pass through to reach here. At the reception, after finishing the check-in facilities, we were shown our room on the first floor – curiously called Zia Khana. We would later discover that all the rooms have been named after the members of the family that owns this property – the family of an erstwhile Divan of the Radhepur estate.
Room at Divan’s Bungalow Ahmedabad
A flight of wooden steps took me to the room, which is spacious. It has a charming old bed, a small dressing table, a cupboard, and a large table with chairs around it. Still leaving a lot of space to move around. The walls had simple cloth prints with traditional designs that you would associate with the city hanging on them. Two windows overlooked the front courtyard and the fountain I mentioned earlier. The bathroom was thankfully modern with all the facilities that you expect from a good hotel. And there was the provision to make tea/coffee in the room.
Food is prepared on order and served on the ground floor. One place is outdoors next to a small garden at the back. Where surprisingly I could see and hear a lot of birds – while sipping tea and sitting on a Jhoola. There is a separate dining room to dine inside. Here I found this old-style hand wash system where someone pours water on your hands over a silver bowl. They still use it. In the living area/lobby cum reception, there is a lot of vintage furniture including a small library.
I took a round of the property and saw their best room Siraj Khana. That is a suite-like accommodation with two wooden jharokha-like windows jetting out of the living area with mattresses fitted in them with enough pillows thrown in. Another room with high beds has a small staircase to reach the beds. I found it very unique that instead of reducing the height of the bed, they added steps to reach it.
The only challenge I found was the limited number of charging points in the rooms. I had to put all my gadgets in the bathroom for charging, you need at least one next to the bed.
Overall, it is like living in a space that can potentially give you a lifestyle of 100 years back in time.
Recommend you to read the following travel blog on places to visit in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.