A visit to Delhi is a whirlwind of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, traffic, delicious food, and more traffic. The Smyle Inn is well situated in the middle of it all in the centrally located neighborhood of Paharganj. It’s a labyrinth of jam-packed streets and tiny narrow alleys crammed with budget hotels, cafes, restaurants, and shops of all kinds.
The Airport Pickup
We booked our Superior Family Room through Booking.com and received the usual confirmations. What was above and beyond the usual was the follow-up email we received from Harish, the Managing Partner at Smyle Inn.
Harish sent us a list of tips and info about how to deal with taxis at the airport, which to trust, etc. We were quick to take advantage of the pick-up service! We were arriving into Indira Gandhi International Airport at around 11 PM with our two young’uns in tow. Arguing / haggling with (even trustworthy) taxi drivers is never an appealing option with two tired kids.
When we requested the airport pickup service, Harish sent us even more peace of mind.
The driver was fast, efficient and knew exactly where to go. Keeping in mind the cautionary words about tipping, we tipped him; watching him carry our two large backpacks to the hotel at the same time made us both wince!
The hotel entrance is located in one of the many tiny alleys off Main Bazaar road, which runs from a metro station to the New Delhi Railway station.
The hotel is about halfway between them, walking distance from both. This makes for two great alternatives to the mayhem of auto-, cycle-, and battery-rickshaws.
The hotel itself is clean and quiet, and a welcome relief from the noise of the streets. Our room was spotless, with two large double beds. We especially liked the firm mattresses and new, comfy pillows. We have slept on enough damp, mildewed pillows that a clean smelling pillow is a big win for us.
The bathroom was well equipped with the usual tiny soap and toilet paper, but with an unusual four full sized fluffy towels! Again, same story as pillow for us. There was a good shower with full time hot water.
There was also a good-sized wardrobe for our backpacks, with a combination safe for our (very few) valuables. I can’t say much about the flat-sceen TV, we never turned it on. In fact, it was immediately unplugged so we could charge the laptop, and never plugged back in (too much to do and see in Delhi).
The wifi was one of the best connections we’ve had in India so far. The only minor inconvenience is the connection through a captive portal which takes a username and password every time you leave and come back to the room. The friendly staff give you the info on a strip of paper at check-in, but my 3 year old cut ours into little pieces when I wasn’t looking. The login info seems to expire from time to time and it takes a new little strip of paper to get back online. I went through 3 of them in two days.
There are actually two Smyle Inns, about 20 m apart in the same alley. Both have a rooftop cafe, but during our stay only the other cafe was open. This meant that we had to walk down our stairs and up the other to get our complimentary breakfasts. We like climbing steps, so this was no problem for us.
Breakfast was good (served from 8 to 10:30) and varied slightly each day. On various days we had chapatis, omelet sandwiches, cereal, and jam toast (for the vegans). Every day there was a piece of fruit, tea or coffee, and a dessert.
At Smyle Inn 2 there is a travel lounge on the floor just below the rooftop cafe. We appreciated the tourist map of Delhi and help choosing which of the many sites to see. There’s also an app that goes with the map, but it requires headphones and the time to sit and listen to descriptions of what you’re seeing. If you can manage that travelling with kids, you’re my hero.
With young kids, you should pick one site per day or you risk over-tired melt-downs, and not just from the kids. We tried to do two per day at the beginning, and quickly gave up.
We enjoyed our first four days in Delhi, and I’ll blog about them soon. The Smyle Inn was a great find, and when we finish our tour in Rajasthan we’ll definitely be checking back in.