OYO Rooms, the technology driven network of standardised budget hotels, is making a name for itself in branded budget hotel services in India. The idea that you can book a hotel room with a price as low as a 999 Rupees in a city like Delhi with the guarantee of certain basic services (clean linen and wi-fi included) is clearly finding favour with customers.
OYO started with the quest of a young traveller trying to find a nice, affordable place to stay who regretted the lack of consistency in services of budget hotels all over India. So he decided to do something about it and the result is OYO Rooms which provides common platform to branded budget hotels. Read about the young Thiel fellow Ritesh and how his venture Oyo Rooms is a major work of entrepreneurship that is attracting big venture investments.
I recently got a taste of OYO Rooms and their philosophy, outlook and of course services. I stayed with an OYO Room premium along with some other bloggers in New Delhi. This is a report of the fun activities we had hosted by OYO Rooms and an independent review of the OYO Room at Kailash Colony. This is a blow-by-blow account of the stay and the fun activities inspired by Oyo Rooms philosophy and Delhi city travel expertise around their hotels.
I am reaching the Oyo Premium Room; it’s at F-37 East of Kailash, barely 100 metres from the Kailash Colony Metro Station. Usually Oyo Rooms are quite accessible and the East of Kailash one is a prime Oyo property in terms of location as there are many tourist places around it that people can visit during their stay in Delhi.
I have arrived at the Oyo Rooms premium property F-37; it’s beautiful, it’s very good in first glance. If you have some idea of buildings, places and locations in Delhi, then you will know in one look that it is a good location and a nice property and definitely one to stay at for some days or more if needed. The place, as you can partially see in the photo below (and fully see in the photos to follow) has a good air about it; it has an aesthetic appeal; it suggests that care is taken to make the building look good, spruced up. From fonts and colours used in the name plate board to the colour of the walls (mostly turmeric yellow), it has been done by people with care, vision, tact, discretion. Home@F-37 is a premium property in this part of Delhi, hotel staff told me later and it has even improved since it became a member of the OYO Rooms given the latter’s insistence on quality, service, consistence, customer care, hotel ethics and orientation to service.
At the OYO Rooms Reception
I enter the OYO Rooms F-37, East of Kailash, New Delhi. A metal-detector security door would let you in. The reception is on the first floor, just some 6-7 stairs above the metal detector. The kitchen and and the dining area is near the reception area. The place has an amenable look and feel. It is lunch time (about 2:15 pm). I see men and women eating, talking or just sipping water, some with a book in hand. The big-screen TV is switched on. A big glass window exactly opposite the reception area shows rich garden vegetation. There is a small library of books by the TV (see photo). Photo frames adore the walls; photos have a cultural tinge to them, they were selected as display with some thought. The lighting is just enough to set the mood right. One look at and around the place and you know you have come to the right place. OYO Rooms may be a chain of budget, standardised hotels/guest houses but it aspires to be more than just that and can rival premium hotels.
I get my room – Room No. 305 after a security check; they take your identity card, make a copy of it and return you the ID. The reception area is a counter usually manned by two men. New York, London, New Delhi, Tokyo wall clocks (in that order, left to right) adorn its walls in a tidal wave pattern (see pic above; note that OYO Rooms is presently only in India and the clocks are more about decoration and to instil an in-home feeling in international guests). The counter has the usual ledgers, information brochures about travel and taxi and hotel address cards. You are asked to fill your details in the ledger, put the signature. The entry chore is over; you are escorted to the room by a hotel staff. You take the lift; it is smaller than average lifts but you don’t mind it. You instead praise the economical use of the urban space.
Sudheer greets you, takes you to your room. He gives a quick overview of the room and politely tells you to confirm that all is okay and if you need any assistance. You ask his name and he tells you a smile (see his photo). He has been working with F-37 for many years now. I ask him to switch on the TV and he does it. I ask him about lights and he explains how the chip with the key ring is the master lock for lights; you put it in the slot by the door and all electricity is in, you take it off while locking the room and all lights (except the AC) is switched off.
The Room, Bathroom, Decor, Lights: First Impressions
You never get a second chance to make a first good impression. OYO Rooms has clearly impressed me and now the room — my room for a day OYO Room #305 at Kailash Colony — has impressed me further. See photos below to get some hint of what you could experience in an OYO Rooms premium facility. It is clearly more than just a hotel room. The whole look, feel, mood makes you feel at ease on a hot summer day in Delhi.
Let me guide you to my room like you are entering it with me (vicarious pleasure, eh). Two full movements of the key will open the door. You will put the key ring in the slot on right by the door (see photo in miscellaneous pics at end of post) and it activates the power in the room. Suddenly your room is suitably illuminated and that opens up a small world where you would stay for a day or two or more. The first view to hit you is the majestic double bed with mood lighting. The wood decor as in light cover shades, cupboards, TV base, furniture strike you. You move in. There is more to the room than meets the eye. There is an area which is like an extension of the room; you can sit by the window when you make tea or after bath and feel good about life. The bathroom is royal, so to speak. It has a spick-and-span novelty about it. See the wrapper round the commode in the pic; it says ‘sanitised for your protection’. Beautiful and inviting, the bathroom with Cera, Geberit and other premium bath ware complements this deluxe facility if not rivals it. A curtain separates the bath area from the washroom. 2-3 white towels placed appropriately seek your attention.
The deluxe room is a complete ensemble; it is hard to imagine such facility in some 2200 Rupees for a day (you may want to know that this F-37 room’s price is about 4500 Rupees for a day but for OYO Rooms). You feel good; you feel welcome, you feel happy with the OYO Rooms, in an OYO Room.
It would be in order to give more details of these things for they excel in this OYO Rooms facility. See the photos below for some visual aid. Nothing is over the top, every prop and article aids the mood of the place. It doesn’t look like it was a place carved for sale or sublet; it looks like it was made with care and caution to enable a good life like one’s home.
There is photo of Safdarjung tomb above the bed and below the light; you get the drift, I am sure (royalty awaits you that is). The lamp shades in particular provide mood lighting in the room; three wooden stripes on lamp shades with cream colour muslin type clothing cover look very good and soothing. There is not a speck of dirt on the shade; no smudges on the switches or the full-length room mirror. It’s your suite, so to speak, for the price of a budget room with OYO Rooms.
Care is writ large over the way the room is. There is a brown envelope especially marked for disposal of sanitary towel and you are asked not to throw anything in the W.C. (see pic below; everyone is careful about big things, how you handle the small things that get ignored matters too and shows whether you care or do business like you care only about money).
The OYO Rooms customised bathroom kit is remarkably good (I have used some things from it and you can count on me): it has a body lotion, a body wash, two soap packs, a shower cap, Meswak toothpaste, a guest pad, a clinic plus shampoo, a ball pen with a fine ball (probably 0.5 ball like a pilot pen) all in the trademark red OYO Rooms colour purse (see photo below). I would later use the soap in the bath and find it to be quite good; it was like Pears, gentle and soothing. The stuff is clearly not a filler room service kit for namesake or customary reasons; it has quality things for a pleasurable bathroom experience. Ms Ahluwalia, fellow OYOxPlorer, later admitted to me that she also loved the room and the kit and would treasure the memories for some time.
You can make conclusions about hotels and places by checking out their bathrooms, kitchen area etc. The OYO Rooms bathrooms (whether in the room or at the reception/dining area) is clean and well maintained (enough supplies of tissues, soap etc.) and makes that positive impression that you yearn for while on travel.
Starting Delhi Travel around the OYO Rooms
What is the point of such strategically located budget hotels when you don’t travel Delhi which obtains in its fully glory around you. See the document in your room or at the reception if you do not know already about the places you can travel in Delhi and things you could do. It is a hot afternoon but I still head out to make it a memorable day of stay in OYO Rooms. I greet the security guard while coming out of the OYO Rooms facility (see pic below; it is always nice to know strangers; the world needs more bridges and less of walls).
To the Lotus Temple
You are spoilt for transports options; you can take a taxi, auto, battery rickshaw or the Delhi Metro as you head to Lotus temple or other popular locations around an OYO Room. I greet a battery rickshawallah but choose the Delhi Metro for travel to Lotus Temple, the popular and peaceful Bahai worship place. Fellow blogger Gaurab is also with me though we are independently busy with exploring the city even if together as we have a number of things to do before the evening when we should be returning.
After the metro, you do a bit of walking to cover the distance to Lotus Temple. It is a fun-filled journey as you pass by people passing by you busy with their lives, street kids running here and there, street food joints seeking your attention as metal ladle makes delightful noise when it comes in contact with tawa (griddle) making alu tikkis and everyone walking with some speed to avoid the sun.
I am in the queue for Lotus Temple; there is no entry fee for it. You pass by the lawns; one bill board says that the management uses 3 Lakh litres of recycled waters every day to keep water the lawns and maintain the greenery. Kudos to that, you say to yourself.
It’s a sunny, summer day in Delhi in late May. You need to refresh yourself obviously. What better way than to do it with a banta (a localised version of lime soda). It costs you 15 Rupees only. You eat fruits when you miss your lunch. You eat jhaalmuri for evening snacks at Nehru Place. You keep moving and you even find another OYO Rooms facility in vicinity (OYO Rooms is clearly expanding). You pass by cinema halls, you check out movie posters, you take a lift and ride pillion on someone’s two-wheeler if needed, you enjoy the sun set view when you are out in evening, you talk to strangers, security guards at a Metro construction facility. You can explore the city around an OYO Room endlessly in myriad fun ways.
Back to OYO Rooms and a Refreshing Bath and Retirement
I am back to OYO Rooms, East of Kailash, by evening around 7 pm. I take a refreshing bath, feel so good. See me in pic of the said moment below, in the same bathroom detailed above. The mirror selfie is of the room bathroom, taken after evening bath, before retiring to bed.
I retire to bed around 1030 pm after having pastries and dinner at a nearby place (you can also eat at OYO Rooms kitchen or get a list of restaurants, eateries nearby at the reception). I would get up by 6 am. See me in the OYO cap below, collapsed on the pillow.
Good Morning Delhi: Getting up at an OYO Room
I make green tea. There is tea, sugar, milk sachets given to you (complimentary stuff). I however prefer green tea; I had my own green tea in my bag. I quickly heat water in the electric kettle and I have green tea ready in no time. I sit on the chair by the window, slide the curtains and enjoy the tea. Note the double curtains in the windows; two layers of clothes (first one white) to keep off heat and second colour is more amenable for mood.
Jahapanah City Forest in Morning
It’s morning time and time to shed some sweat. Jahapanah city forest is about 5 kms from this OYO facility. I go there with an auto (opposite Don Bosco school). I walk and even run a bit and had nariyal pani after it. It’s a rich forest area teeming with people walking or doing Yoga in groups. Jahanapanh park on a Sunday morning is abuzz with activity and it is near an OYO Rooms facility that you can visit.
The Delightful Complimentary Breakfast
I experienced the complimentary (free) breakfast at OYO Rooms. See the photos below. I didn’t order it in room; I took it in the dining area by the kitchen. You can see the menu and take food accordingly. Food area was nice, clean, pleasant and staff cooperative. You were more or less spoilt for choice. And nobody was strictly watching your portions and whether you were taking too much. In short, you had freedom and breathing space. I had chhole bhature, orange juice, chocolate brownie, milk, bananas, chicken ham, multigrain bread etc. The value of this breakfast is about 225 Rupees. You also have the option to eat your lunch and dinner at OYO Rooms kitchen; price is economical, menu and service reasonably rich. See the menu below in the photo (ignore the spelling error in their brochure: choce, 7th line).
A fellow blogger (Ms Ahluwalia) joined me over breakfast; she is also very happy with the food, menu and service. Other people around (some with kids) are also enjoying the food. There is ease, leisure, peace in atmosphere.
Laze in the Room on a Sunday Morning After Breakfast
It’s time to Leave
It’s hard to leave an OYO Room but such is life. You know you will come back. Feel free to shoot a commemorative image or selfie of you before you leave. See mine in the miscellaneous pics at end of this OYO Rooms Review post.
Miscellaneous: Top Terrace View, Shoe Shiner at OYO Rooms etc.
I went to the top terrace area in morning, see pics below. Staff lives above and the area was reasonably clean. No substantial garbage dumps on the top most floor.
A last word on the shoe shiner before I check out. You find this exactly while moving out from the reception area or when you enter the reception area. It sits in a corner at the base of stairs and waits for black or brown shoes. People get more casual as they travel the city these days. But do use this shiner if you will have a use for it. It would be so handy when you are staying in an OYO Room and have to go out for a formal meeting or an interview.
An OYO Rooms Checklist by Me
Here is a quick check list of things/services at the Kailash Colony Oyo Rooms facility. Feel free to ask anything in comments if you need more information or phone the OYO Rooms.
|VALUES, COMPETENCIES SERVICES >>||MY COMMENTS AFTER FIRST-HAND USE, OBSERVATIONS >>|
|ETHICS, ETHOS OF THE HOTEL /OYO ROOMS||Standardised budget rooms, hotels– Yes; tech-savvy booking/help- Yes; Affordable- Yes; Changing the way people stay away from home.|
|OYO ROOMS ADVERTISED SERVICES on homepage (Spotless Linen, Free Wi-Fi, AC rooms with TV, Complimentary Breakfast, Hygienic Washrooms).||Yes to all.|
|KITCHEN, FOOD QUALITY, STAFF, PORTION LIMITATIONS, ANY IRRITANTS IN KITCHEN||All well here; see kitchen review section above in the blog post.|
|ROOM SERVICE||Dial 6 or 9 from phone; prompt service. I got water delivered to room once; didn’t need it more.|
|STAFF DEMEANOUR||Well behaved people. I was wrong to report that kettle in my room was not working. Staff politely explained that it was working with a quick how-to.|
|ABOUT FREE WiFi||200 mbps for a day; you will get your wifi acess details on a chit they print at reception. Speed was not good (I used it for some 30 mins only in night).|
|PARKING||Complimentary Parking; enough space between road and F-37 suitable even for big cars and SUVs manned by a security guard at F-37 OYO Rooms entry.|
|AMBIENCE OF AREA, LOCALE||Good, pleasant; reasonably nice place in an urban Delhi environment.|
|ROOM INFRASTRUCTURE||Read some details above; Room also has an electronic Godrej Lock and a small refrigerator (photos below). Latch and locks elegant, good quality (probably brass).|
|BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE||Building looked good, well built; not rickety or old. Elegant building, oozing confidence.|
|FIRE||Fire Safety Measures in place (see images above); I also checked the installations on terrace. Ask management for last fire safety drill, if any.|
|ABOUT ROOMS OTHER THAN MY OWN||I saw a friend’s room fully and one more room partially. Same facilities care; room size, shape may vary. Do trial check if needed. My room was a deluxe one.|
|TRANSPORTATION AROUND||Very well connected; taxi, metro, auto, solar rickshaw. You are spoilt for choice: economy or luxury.|
|AC/FAN/TV/LIGHTS||All worked fine. AC Noiseless, remote worked perfectly. Exhaust fan in bathroom and the small fan above bath worked fine too. Fan regulators worked fine including in the bathroom. Bathroom has clotheslines option too (see images below). AC in Gaurab’s room though was not working perfectly.|
|MOSQUITOES||I didn’t feel need to switch on mosquito repellent. I checked terrace area too; no mosquito breeding, stagnant water sources despite desert cooler use on top most floor (staff rooms).|
|TOURISM AROUND||Many popular Delhi destinations around; see details with reception or the brochure in your room if new to Delhi.|
|THINGS/KIT IN ROOM||Bathroom kit (see above for pics and details). Complimentary tea bags, sugar, coffee pack and water bottle.|
|GENERATOR||Staff said the place has a generator. I experienced no power cuts. Or maybe I did and didn’t notice it as alternate power was seamless. 🙂|
|MOOD OF THE PLACE IN GENERAL||Calm and Peaceful, secure, Peace of Mind|
|FOREIGNERS, INTERNATIONAL GUESTS||Noticed many international tourists in the dining area. All looked happy and relaxed and like regulars to OYO Rooms; some were busy in a round-table talk with friends. Highly recommended for international guests. Staff is okay with English use; the F-37 facility is operation since many years now and have a rich experience of serving national and international guests.|
|WATER, CURRENT IN BATHROOM, HOT WATER||No water problem in bathroom. Current of water in bath was a bit less than expected but I didn’t mind it. Geyser (water heater) option in bathroom, taps ( I obviously didn’t use it). No bathtub in bathroom but I don’t mind that at all in this budget (besides, why waste water for luxury).|
|SECURITY||Area, facility looked secure. Women at ease too; international women, desi women all at ease in the OYO Rooms. Godrej electronic locks in room given. CCTV cameras in corridor.|
|AFFORDABILITY||OYO Rooms USP is affordability with guarantee of consistent service backed by tech-savvy, easy bookings. Relax.|
|HEALTH AND HYGIENE||Found no issues. No bed bugs in room. No dirty spots, no paan stains anywhere, no dirty walls. I checked a store room too, looked well maintained with supplies well stacked.|
|CORRIDOR, LIFT||Clean Corridor, stairs. Lift is small but it’s not a problem. Lift is cute and a bit old school (see pics) and makes you smile. I mostly used the stairs.|
|MORNING PAPER||Hindustan Times (HT) was delivered at door in morning. No pages or supplements missing, I counted it (its thicker on Sundays). A full, fresh copy of Delhi edition of HT delivered at your doorstep in morning. Ask reception if you want some other paper.|
|DISTURBANCE, NOISE REPORT, NUISANCE||None. I had a sound sleep. No nuisance, noise in the building or in nearby places.|
|PETS||Ask the reception/management. I didn’t see pets.|
|TIPS / Fawning Service Report, if any||I didn’t give any tips. I didn’t feel I was deliberately taken care of for extracting tips. So all well on this front too.|
|WASTE MANAGEMENT||No waste segregation at source suggested; we Indians are not used to separate bins for recyclables, non-recyclabes etc. as is suggested by NGOs like Waste Warriors (who even work with some hotels in Corbett, Dehradun) which is needed for Swachh Bharat as mixing waste which mostly goes to dumps is bad environment.|
|RED FLAGS, IF ANY||All okay. No irritants, no problems, worries here.(One litre of bottled water [MRP 18 INR for Bisleri] is about 37 Rupees here with bill. Get or ask the free RO water from reception instead if you don’t want to pay above MRP or are budget minded)|
|OVERALL FEELING and Mood generated during Stay||Good, Positive, Peace of mind. Good service in low budget.|
|POINTS I WOULD GIVE IT OUT OF 10||8.5 Easily. For a premium budget facility. Would recommend it.|
Miscellaneous Photos of OYO Rooms F-37 facility: Paper, Fire Safety, Fridge, Elevator, Corridor, Lock etc.
So Book an OYO For ALL Your Needs
Presently in 13 cities (350 hotels) and expanding (recently started in Shirdi, Agra, Lucknow), you can book OYO Rooms
Get the app, book it on the go. You get 20 % off presently if you use the code 20APP
See the website, book online.
Dial 0 80 100 44 466, 93 13 93 13 93
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