Thursday, January 3, 2013

Staying at Dala Rooster Homestay Panchgani

As such there is no formal reception area at Dala Rooster homestay. Once you have located it, you walk into the door straight to a lounge area.  This homestay is not just a  truly beautiful place to stay at in Panchgani rather than opting to stay at a resort or formal hotel. Adding to the charm is the great service and thoughtfulness of the owners and the staff. You can see why here

Shoe rack
On arriving at Dala Rooster the first thing we noticed was the footwear outside the main door. On enquiring whether we need to remove our footwear before entering, the caretaker, who welcomed us with a warm genuine smile, asked us if we had brought along extra footwear to wear indoors. When we said we hadn’t, he said it was ok to come in without removing our footwear. So do remember to take along some flip flops to wear indoors. 

We had in advance requested for rooms upstairs & were really glad we did. Both the rooms given to us had stunning views of the valley, views we would wake up to in the morning & gaze at directly from our bed.

Rooms at Dala Rooster Homestay
A short winding staircase leads up to the upper rooms
Staircase to upper rooms
There is a lovely long passage which led to our rooms, with tall windows overlooking the natural beauty outside.
Passage as you enter through the door when you come upstairs

Passageway window overlooking the garden

There are 3 rooms on the top floor, each with double beds. The 2 rooms we booked for the 3 of us has a common bathroom located outside, between the doors of the two rooms. 
Our Room 1 on top floor
Room 2 on top floor
There was a third room on the same floor, with a bathroom outside.The iron and ironing board is placed here (this is an awkward place for ironing actually, as a guest of that room could be coming out of the bathroom next to it when you are ironing outside it!)
Room 3 on top floor (first room as you come up the stairs
Very sensibly, the balcony is not enclosed with grills otherwise it would simply ruin the very reason why you would book the upper rooms: for an unobstructed view of the valley. There are, though, sliding doors and a mesh door to keep out mosquitoes, as also curtains at either side of the doors.
Sliding doors leading to balcony
If you are a group of 4 or 6, you should book the top floor rooms. Senior citizens, though, may find it tiring to go up and down the staircase even though it is a short staircase. Also, if you have toddlers and babies you need to take care they don’t wander out on to the balcony and climb the railing if the sliding doors leading out are open.

Downstairs on the ground floor there is one room with a double bed. This room is ideal for senior citizens (same as image of Room 2 above)

Below the dining room and kitchen area are 2 large rooms with an interconnecting door, each with double beds. These rooms are ideal for families with kids as there is space for extra beds too. Both these rooms have their bathrooms inside. The entrance to these rooms is through a door from the dining room. Alternately, if you do not wish to go up and down the winding high steps, you can access the rooms from the side down the paved pathway. The rooms have large sliding doors opening directly out on to the back side where the barbecue grill is located. 
Ground floor room with interconnecting door to a larger room
Staircase from dining room leading to downstairs room
From all the downstairs rooms, you look out on the valley through the mesh-wire wall & hence the views are nowhere near the stunning ones from the top floor rooms.

Room facilities at Dala Rooster Homestay
Each room has a double bed, wide enough for two persons. On either side are bedside table drawers. A Good Knight mosquito was already placed in the plug – a great idea to keep out the mosquitoes throughout the day and night!
Our room

An extremely large & spacious wooden cupboard occupies one side of the room. In one room, the TV was placed within a space of the cupboard whereas in the other it was perched atop a set of large drawers. 
Wall Cupboard ant TV
There are 3 spacious sections in the cupboard, with one section having clothes hangars & a second one having a safe to keep valuables. Every single drawer and floor space of the cupboard was neatly covered with a newspaper. 
Plenty of space!

Safe inside cupboard

It was very thoughtful of the staff to have kept extra pillows and blankets in the lower drawers of the cupboard, as we had visited in the cold season and the temperature tends to drop drastically at night. 
Extra pillows and blankets
The lights in the room had yellow bulbs. We would have liked to have one white light to enable better reading as we had brought books along. A good feature was the night light at floor level near the door: since we went in the winter season and it is pitch dark, this light is useful to locate the door if you get up in the middle of the night to go to the loo.
Night light near  door entrance
The door itself is difficult to shut completely. It requires a bit of force and hence we could hear other guests too banging their room door to close them properly!

A standing fan is provided which we did not need since it was pleasantly cool during our stay. There is a single chair in the room and on request we got an extra chair so that we could sit out on the balcony – this is one thing we did a lot, spending quiet moments just looking at the view.

Note that there is no intercom system in any room so you cannot summon the caretakers in case you need something. You have to go downstairs for this, like the time we wanted an extra chair. This is because it is made very clear that they are not for errands and will not be at anyone’s beck and call. However, there is an emergency button in the room near the bed.

Bathroom facilities
The bathroom-cum-loo provides hot and cold water throughout the day, thanks to the use of solar panels. Of course, you do need to wait a few seconds for the warm/hot water to come out. You are advised to bring along your own bath soap as the one provided is a mini-soap which you can barely hold, leave aside bathe with! We used this mini soap for the basin and our own soap, which we had the foresight to take along, for bathing. The liquid soap dispenser for hand washing at the basin was not functional despite constant jabbing, perhaps because the liquid was too thick to come out from the spout. However, there is no dearth of towels, large and small, neatly placed on a rack. A roll of toilet paper is also available next to the loo.
An intriguing aspect we discovered about the bathroom was the quick drying tiles. Within minutes of a bath, the water on the tiles would dry up. So, in addition to its anti-skid property, the tiles were at no time slippery.

Rules for guests
All guests are expected to treat the property like their own home and not mess it up.
1. You should keep the room neat and tidy and not litter the room or premises.
2. If you damage or break anything on the premises, you have to pay for it.
3. Other than upkeep of the room, no room service is provided.
4. The staff will take care of your needs, cook and serve food in the designated dining area but will not run errands of any kind.
5. You are not allowed to smoke anywhere inside the homestay and are expected not to litter the outside with cigarette butts.
6. You are not allowed to light fireworks anywhere inside or outside the premises.
7. You should avoid playing loud music and disturbing other guests. The local police will be summoned if you do any kind of illegal or immoral activities.

Room Tariff at Dala Rooster Homestay
At the time of our visit, the tariff was Rs.1,500/- per person (not per room). We did not have to pay for breakfast and tea, only for lunch and dinner. The meal charges are about Rs.40/- per meal plus actuals. These actuals are dependent on what food you request for to be cooked. For the 3 of us for a 2 nights stay (we checked out on the 3rd day morning), it came to Rs.935/- for 12 meals (4 meals x 3 persons).

Read about our dining experience here

Contact Information of Dala Rooster
Capt. Vikas Gokhale
“Dala Rooster”
Paramount Society Survey no. 545/5,
Panchgani – 412 805
Ph: Contact Capt. Gokhale via email & give your contact nos. He will contact you.

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