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Darjeeling Tourist LodgeCategory: 2-Star & Budget Rooms
The Tourist Lodge in Darjeeling is a West Bengal state government run hotel and provides 2 star amenities in its main building as well as economy rooms in the Annex building. From Mall road and opposite to the Gorkha Ranga Mancha building there is a steep bifurcation on the right which leads to the tourist lodge at the end. From the Mall, it's about 5 to 6 minutes walk. As you enter through the large iron gate into the lodge premises, the first impression is that it's a fairly large property compared to the other hotels in its category. There is a large open space in front along with a car park.
Darjeeling Tourist Lodge
The main building has 15 rooms. I have reviewed rooms in the Annex Building in a separate section below. As you enter the main building, there is a small reception area right in front with a small reception counter. There is a corridor on the left that leads to the rooms at the ground floor. A stairway leads to the upper floor rooms. What I liked about the stairway is at every landing, there is a sofa seating arrangement with wonderful view of the valley through the large windows. This is an ideal place to have a cup of tea and enjoy the views.
There are two types of rooms in the main building - Standard double rooms that are smaller in size but large enough for a comfortable stay. And there are large double rooms. Out of the large rooms, there are few that are mighty large and have separate dressing area with dressing table, large wall mirrors, sofa sets and such.
If take a large double room, then go for a real big one (for example room no. 15) as there is no difference in rates between different types of large rooms. However all rooms including the standard rooms have a wonderful covered private balcony at the back side. There are comfy chairs and tables placed there. The covered balconies have windows opening out to fantastic views of the valley and mountain range.
Standard Double Room in main building
From the balcony of the standard rooms you can the see the Phuk Chiring Tea estate. From some of the larger room balconies you can get a lovely view of the Lebong Race Course. On a clear day, you can have great views of the snow peaks including the Kanchenjunga from almost all the rooms (from the balconies).
Large Room (No. 11) in main building
Large room (#15) with dressing area
The rate for single occupancy is 25% lesser than double occupancy. All the rooms have wall LCD TVs. The large rooms have Sony LCD TVs. The rooms have phones connected to EPABX system. They also provide room heaters during winter time. The bathrooms are really large and have geysers for hot and cold water.
Bathroom of room #15
There is a lovely lush green lawn at the backside of the hotel. This garden can be seen from the balconies of the rooms. Although the lawn is used for private functions, anybody can otherwise go down to the lawn and enjoy the scenic views all around. You can clearly see the entire Eastern Himalayan range from the lawn. There is a small hut at one end of the lawn which is used to set up a bar or bar-b-que. On another side of the lawn there is a nice fountain where the water streams fall through the rocks.
Backside Lawn & View of Kanchenjunga
In the ground floor of the main building there is an in-house restaurant which serves Indian and Chinese dishes (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian). The restaurant is large and has several tables.
Dining Room (Restaurant)
There is also a bar lounge in the ground floor next to the reception area.
On the first floor, the lodge also has a conference room with conferencing facilities. The check in and check out time is 12 noon.
Annex Building - Darjeeling Tourist Lodge, Budget Option
The tourist lodge provides an economy option for budget travelers as well. The annex building is located right adjacent to the main building and offers 15 rooms that are much cheaper than the rooms in the main building. There are two floors in the building. A concrete stairway from outside leads to the lower floor and then an inside stairway to the upper floor rooms.
Annex Room (#26)
The rooms here, although a bit smaller than ones in the main building, are quite okay. All the basic amenities are available including TV (ordinary ones though), hot & cold water in the attached bathrooms, wooden floors, cupboards etc.
Annex 4-bedded room (#24)
However one of the key shortfalls here is the view. The rooms in the lower floor have no views at all. The windows open out to the backside of staff quarters. So you will be better off keeping the windows closed. The ones at the upper floor have some views though but the views are mostly blocked by trees. If you get the corner room (#24 which is a 4 bedded room) or the one next to it (#25, a double bedded room), you will still get some views through the trees.
Batroom of Annex Room #24
You can anyway go down to the backside lawn and get great views of the snow peaks. Rooms are fairly clean and staffs clean the rooms everyday if you leave the key behind at the reception. Overall a good value for money.
Although the taps, shower mixers, hand showers etc have all been recently changed, the water pressure in the annex bathrooms is often a problem. You can hardly use the showers due to low water pressure. And it takes a while to understand how you will finally get the hot water out from the taps although the geyser has fully warmed up the water. It requires some special skill but possible :)
Here is my overall opinion about the Darjeeling Tourist Lodge
From the Chowrasta Mall take the left part of the Mall Road (also known as Bhanu Bhakta Sarani). Walk up to the Gorkha Ranga Manha (the large building with a sphere on top) which is about 5 minutes from the Mall. On the right you will see an uphill road which goes by the side of St. Andrew's Church and then the Darjeeling Gymkhana Club. There are signs of the tourist lodge along the road. At the end of the road (about 1 minute from Ranga Mancha), you will see the main gate of the lodge.
Darjeeling Tourist Lodge, Bhanu Sarani, Darjeeling 734101, India.
How to Book Darjeeling Tourist Lodge
Note that Darjeeling Tourist Lodge is run and administered by West Bengal Tourism Department (WBTDC). You can book online through WBTDC's official website. Once you visit their website (www.westbengaltourism.gov.in), you will get an option for Online Booking of WBTDC Tourist Lodge for rooms in both main and annex buildings.
Otherwise visit a WBTDC office. Their office in Kolkata is at BBD Bag near the mini bus stand. Address: 3/2 B.B.D. Bag (East), Kolkata - 700001
Phone: 033 - 22436440, 22488271;
1) Check out Darjeeling Top 2 Star Hotels to know about the other great mid priced hotels.
By Raj Bhattacharya
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