Shangri-La Regency Darjeeling
Shangri-La Regency is a small boutique hotel with 12 rooms located on Gandhi Road offering 2-Star amenities. The hotel is owned by Mr. Ranjan Lama, who is also the owner of Hotel Shangri-La
located on Nehru road close to the Chowrasta Mall.
Mr. Lama is now an NRI living in UK and visits the hill town once in a while. However, he is always available over email and phone, and takes personal attention to guest requests and feedback. Shangri-La Regency is about 7-8 minutes walk from the Clubside Taxi Stand (across Gandhi Road Police Point).
The hotel was built in the year 2004 as a detached unit and is a relatively new hotel. There is a narrow approach road from the main Gandhi Road that leads to the hotel within few yards.
As you walk up the short flight of stairs and reach the porch in front, a board on the adjoining gate to the next building says "Beware of Dogs". And the black dog on the other side does get fiercely aggressive at times, continuously barking and pounding at the gate.
So yes, that warning board is not to be taken lightly. When I was walking in, a guest of the hotel who was leaning on the gate while chatting, got a shock of her life as the dog banged on the gate from the other side. Nothing happened though as the gate remains closed and the dog is yet to break it open.
As you walk in through the main door, the small reception counter is right in front. You will either find the charming lady Ongmu Sherpa there or Nima, a nice and helpful man managing the front desk and both speaking good English.
There is a tiny seating area near the reception. It can't be called a lobby though. There is an wooden stairway with red carpet that leads to the rooms at the upper floors. There are five floors in this building. If you have problems climbing up or down, then choose one of the rooms in the first floor. The stairway is airy, lighted with lamps hanging from the ceiling and have mirrors at the landings. There is no elevator in the building.
There are three kinds of rooms in the hotel. Double Deluxe, Family Suites, and Deluxe Attic rooms on the top floor. The double deluxe rooms have wooden floors and a separate elevated seating area that has cushioned cane chairs and glass top center table. However the space where the bed is kept is quite small. You have a choice of rooms with king size beds or twin beds.
Room No. 101 (Double Deluxe)
Most of the double deluxe rooms and family suites have a private balcony. There are plastic chairs kept at the balcony. If you are looking for views, you will need to choose a room in one of the upper floors and on the left side (as you face the building from outside).
Room numbers of the view rooms usually end with 03 & 04 (like 303, 304 etc.). Windows and balconies of the other rooms will only open up to a half constructed shabby looking building or the school right in front. The family suites (like room no. 301 etc) additionally have a small front room that has a separate bed. These rooms too have a separate seating area next to the glass window and a private balcony.
The tiled Western style bathrooms have a separate shower area. There is a 25-liter geyser in all the bathrooms providing hot water. There is show mixer for separate hot and cold water. The geyser and the room heaters work when the main power supply is available.
The in-house generator is able to support only few lights in the rooms and common areas. If you are taking a shower, remember that hot water in the geyser can support one shower at a time. It can take well over 45 minutes for the water to get warmed up again for the next shower.
Room No. 301 (Family Suit)
The Attic rooms (like Room #502, 503) are on the top floor and have some of the best views of the mountain range including the snow peaks of the Kanchenjunga. They have wide windows on two sides. Once you slide the curtains, you can get some of the best scenic views from here
But unless you are visiting in the right season, there is hardly any chance of getting great views from these rooms. The attic rooms have wood paneled walls and slanted ceilings that offer a cozy cottage like warm ambience. There is a connecting door between the two attic rooms. If a family is staying together, this door can be opened for inter room access.
Attic Room 503
All the rooms have phones, TVs with satellite channels including BBC, ESPN, along with several Indian channels. All the rooms have full size mirrored cupboards that are quite impressive. The hotel provides room heaters and even traditional hot water bottles on request at no additional charge.
One of the best part of Shangri-La Regency is its lounge/dining area on the fourth floor, which is known as the Rooftop Lounge & Bar. The entire floor comprises of the lounge, bar and the dining space. There are large wooden framed glass windows through which you get magnificent views of Darjeeling town and the mountain range. So if you don't have a view room, this is one place where you can come, relax and watch the wonderful views.
The lounge area is wood finished with wood paneled pillars and wooden beams on the ceiling. There are cushioned wicker sofas laid out with center tables.
There is also a section where books are kept on an wooden shelf. There is a brass plated fire place here which is lit up during the winter evenings. You will also get free Wi-Fi internet access in the lounge area. The bar is well stocked with both Indian and imported spirits. And of course there are dining tables with wooden chairs that are laid out on one side, each table seating four.
Rooftop Lounge & Bar
The hotel serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast is complementary and included within the rates. The breakfast includes both Continental and Indian menu. In Indian you will get Aloo Paratha, Puri Bhaji with pickles, Darjeeling tea or Coffee etc. In English breakfast, you will get cereals, toasts with butter & jam, eggs to order, hash brown, Darjeeling tea/coffee etc. Sometimes they also include sausages.
You will need to order in advance for the other meals. All meals including breakfast are brought in from the Shangri-La Restaurant
which is located some distance away on Nehru Road. You will get good ideas about the dishes available from the restaurant link above. They take about 60 minutes to bring in the food and serve them either at the dining area or in the room. Shangri-La Regency also offers packages that includes meals, transfers, sightseeing tours etc.
My overall opinion
The hotel is located at some 10 minutes leisure walk from the Mall. Most of the top stores and restaurants are on Nehru and Laden-La road that are within 10 minutes walking distance.
The hotel and the rooms are very clean. The beds are made and rooms cleaned daily. The bed sheets, towels and other accessories are speak and span. However the bathrooms can be sometimes little smelly.
The short narrow approach road that leads to the hotel from Gandhi road is not is a good condition. Often filth is dumped on this road. This hotel, despite all its good efforts is surely handicapped from that perspective.
The service in this hotel is really nice. The waiters are well dressed and have been trained to be courteous. However, the room service is not available late at night through early morning.
The complimentary breakfast is served only after 8am. So if you plan to go out earlier, then plan your breakfast elsewhere. Since all food are packed and brought in from the Shangri-La restaurant some distance away, don't expect steaming hot food.
On festive season they often decorate the entire hotel from outside with lights on hanging threads. You will see such lights and plastic shells hanging from threads covering your windows from outside. This obstructs the views and can be annoying at times.
One of the best things about this hotel is its roof top lounge. This area is really cozy and inviting. I would spend hours here during my leisure time reading books and watching the magnificent views of the mountains through the large glass windows.
Overall, this is a very good mid-range hotel.
Rates provided by booking.com
Location and Contacts
Hotel Shangri-La Regency is located on Gandhi Road. From the Club Side taxi stand (next to Gandhi Road police point) as you walk along Gandhi road for about 7/8 minutes, there is a steep narrow road on the left that leads to the hotel within few yards. The Chowrasta Mall is about 10 to 12 minutes leisure walk from the hotel.
21 Gandhi Road, Opposite Bethany school, Darjeeling 734101, India
Phone: 0354/ 225-5466
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