WBTDC: Santiniketan Tourist Lodge.

Santiniketan Tourist Lodge. Photograph: W.B.T.D.C.

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writes to Kolahal Travel Guide:
Dates of visit: September 28 and 29, 2014

Thank you so much for being a part of the team responsible for the wonderful hospitality at Shantiniketan Tourist Lodge. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Lodge for two days. The staff was very courteous, the rooms were spacious, bathroom clean and service excellent. I hope to stay there again.
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Photo Album - Santiniketan Tourist Lodge.

Santiniketan Tourist Lodge, Tariff

    Non–A/C Small Double Bedded     Rs 900
    Non–A/C Large Double Bedded     Rs 1100
    A/C Standard Double Bedded     Rs 2000
    A/C Deluxe Double Bedded     Rs 2500
Extra Person Charge:
An extra person can stay in a double-bed room in every WBTDC lodge.
The extra person charge is 20% of room tariff without a cot.
The extra person charge is 30% of room tariff with a cot.
The extra person charge is taxable at the same rate as the room tariff.
The extra person charge is payable at the time of check-in/check-out.
Room tax is paid at the same time.
Your WBTDC booking document will not contain any information about the extra person.
Cancellation Rules:
1. More than clear 16 (Sixteen) days: 20% of the room rent will be deducted.
2. Between Clear 08 (Eight) days & clear 15 (Fifteen) days: 40% of the room rent will be deducted
3. Between Clear 04 (Four) days & clear 07 (Seven) days: 80% of the room rent will be deducted.
4. Less than or equal to 03 (Three) days: No refund
“Clear Days”- means that the date of occupation and the date of cancellation would not be counted. Moreover, Sunday & Holidays would not be excluded for calculation of cancellation charges.
Booking Procedure
Step 1. Send us a reservation request.
Step 2. We will send you an e-mail with availability information.
Step 3. Call our Siliguri office and confirm. Or send us a confirmation by e-mail
Step 4. Deposit tariff amount to the bank account given above.

Tax: Room tax should be paid at the lodge at the time of check in.
WBTDC requires us to collect the entire tariff amount at the time of booking.
Step 5. Send us the following information by e-mail:
  1. Full Name
  2. Age
  3. Full address (City, State, Pin Code)
  4. Mobile No
  5. ID proof no (Voter ID/PAN Card/Driving Licence/Adhar Card - any one).
Step 6. We will send you WBTDC booking documents. Govt photo id is needed for check-in in any hotel in Bengal.

Anjan Sen Sarma from Kolkata writes to Kolahal Travel Guide:
Dates of visit: February 2 and 3, 2015

We enjoyed our trip to Santiniketan much beyond our expectation.
We went there by a hired taxi from our home.
We were able to get driver's accommodation.

The staff members of Santiniketan Tourist Lodge pleasantly surprised us by their demeanour. The food was excellent.
The room and bathroom were almost clean, by Indian Standards.

Tirthankar Ghoshal from Haldia writes to Kolahal Travel Guide:
Dates of visit: May 16, 2015 through May 20, 2015

We arrived by Santiniketan Express and then took a battery operated vehicle to reach Santiniketan Tourist Lodge.
The bedroom was absolutely clean and well maintained.
The wash room needs attention with respect to sanitations installed.
Those must perform perfectly and without loss of water.
Food served in the restaurant was really excellent. Breakfast items should be varied. Breakfast is monotonous.
The staff members appointed there are extremely good.

Ananya Chanda
writes to Kolahal Travel Guide:
Dates of visit: December 30 and 31, 2014

My overall experience in Santiniketan was obviously nice and Santiniketan Tourist Lodge also is good. I must say it was a pleasant stay for me although the duration was very short (two days). The surrounding area of the Lodge was really nice and clean, but I felt it can be little more maintained specially the park and playground.

The rooms and bathrooms were clean. Food was tasty and nice but little costly. The Lodge staff members were good but little overloaded with work and room service also was not very prompt. The Lodge is situated in a very convenient location and very near the railway station.

My overall feedback is "Very Good" for this Lodge, compared to other hotels and lodges there and I must say it is a good initiative of WB Tourism, and only a little more effort and maintenance can make it excellent.

Amrita Chowdhury from Kolkata writes to Kolahal Travel Guide:
Dates of visit: March 6, 2015 - March 8, 2015

We wanted to go to Santiniketan for Dol but since no room was available during Dol at Santiniketan Tourist Lodge we had to go over the weekend after Dol. This was my third visit to the place but the first time we stayed overnight. In the first two visits, we drove down and came back before spending the day. That way it's a good countryside experience other than the feel which one gets at Vishwabharati.

We went by train this time and took a car there for internal tour. The room and bathroom were clean, but the place where we hang dresses was broken.
I couldn't ask for change of cottage as it was all full. Also the bed sheets were torn though not dirty. The blinds of the windows were not fitted well so you cannot move it freely. There isn't any concept of regular housekeeping like other hotels. They came only to hand over the key when we entered and later when we checked out.

The kitchen and front end staff are good and cooperative. Food is good, but a little more variety on fish is expected at least during festive season. They served rohu every day. The same for breakfast every day, it's the same menu and even the sabji is the same. They should serve some alu, gobi paratha kind variety. Food is not very expensive.

Also, though we had a safe stay I believe it's better to have some armed security at least for night. The flower tubs were very nice but please replace them with season flower too during summer as they were already getting dried when we went in March.

Dr. David T Porter from Hawaii, U.S.A., writes to Kolahal Travel Guide (January 9, 2014):

The information you sent me in advance of my trip was priceless. After clearing customs I went, as you had suggested, to the Pre-Paid Taxi booth in the airport. This booth was near where I exchanged dollars for rupees and was inside the building. The cost of my taxi was 270 rupees or about $4.35.

After leaving the building and while on my way to the queue for the taxi I was approached by 3 different independent taxi drivers. I asked the price to Howrah Train Station and was given 3 different prices: 700 INR, 800 INR, and 900 INR. I would have liked an A/C taxi but I was placed in a line of people who had pre-paid for taxi service and when it was my turn the taxi in line was not A/C equipped. The ride was slow (traffic) and bumpy but otherwise uneventful.

When I arrived at Howrah Train Station I was somewhat overwhelmed.
It was more crowded than Grand Central Station in NYC during rush hour and I don't speak or read Hindi or Bengali. I finally found what I thought was the correct window only to be told after standing in line for sometime that the window I wanted, for an A/C chair car, was on the other side of the Train Station. It took some time to find it but I finally did and purchased my ticket to Bolpur Santiniketan at a cost of 215 INR or about $3.45.

The train was not scheduled to leave for over 2 hours and the platform for the train was not available at that time. I could have gone to the first class waiting area, as you had suggested, but I chose to stay in the general area and just watch and experience the people and the environment. My train was scheduled to leave at 1:10 (listed as 13.10) in the afternoon and at 12:45 there was still no platform assignment on the big board that listed all train information. I was getting nervous that I was looking in the wrong place and might miss my train.

All of a sudden Bolpur Santiniketan popped up on the big board at platform No. 9 and literally hundreds of people began stampeding for the platform.
It was almost like someone had yelled "fire". By the time I got to the platform it was overly crowded except at an area where I was to board the "CC" or chair car area. Since the non-chair cars are more crowded people were lined up to rush to the doors and find a prime spot for the journey while the chair cars had limited space with one person per designated seat and no standing room allowed.

The train ride was most interesting. Every few minutes a different vendor would walk up and down the aisle selling something to eat or drink or just purchase (items like wallets, pens, handbags, whatever). After arriving at Bolpur Santiniketan Train Station I met another person waiting, looking for a taxi which we shared. I didn't find out until later that they had paid 700 INR for the 2 mile ride since you can only hire a taxi for a minimum of 5 hours usage. If I return I would just take a rickshaw. There were many of those and the price would be much less and since the town is small it wouldn't take that long to travel to the hotel/resort.

The return trip was much smoother since the Bolpur Santiniketan station was small and it was easy finding the platform and the train car. The biggest challenge was the taxi back to the airport. I arrived at Howrah Train Station at about 4:00 pm and the taxi (pre-paid as before) took over twice as long as the trip to Howrah due to rush hour traffic. It was noisy (horns honking constantly) and dusty (windows partially down and no A/C in the taxi) and long and tiring.

I was surprised at the poverty and the lack of infrastructure. There is garbage everywhere and sanitation is shocking for someone who is used to US standards. The people I met on the train, who could afford the chair car, were educated and affable. I was compelled to feel compassion for the many people who appeared desperate and uncared for. Quite an experience. Thank you again for all your help.

Santiniketan Tourist Lodge: Bed Room. Photograph: W.B.T.D.C.

Santiniketan Tourist Lodge: On the left wing are detached air-conditioned flats. Photograph: Paul Ancheta

Santiniketan Tourist Lodge: The main entrance. Photograph: Paul Ancheta

Photo Album - Santiniketan Tourist Lodge.

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