Enchanting TamilNadu, Dis-Enchanting TTDC 

I thought since HPTDC was so good, TTDC would outdo them… After all TamilNadu is  the most urbanised state in India !! Krishnan was a little apprehensive but I still went ahead. Booked the TTDC hotel in Cutrallam, for two nights. We reached late in the afternoon on the 15th and the roads were so good that we were in a happy mood. 

The manager at the desk said he needed a printout, but let us take the things to the room. The room was large and spacious and the bathroom had new tiles, so I was beginning to feel happy with my decision … But I celebrated too soon. 

When we asked for the extra bed for mom, they brought in a mattress and said it was only a mattress they will give. Heard that before .. We were standing at the reception where the different rooms and tariff was on display and that’s when it dawned on me that I had booked a 3-bed family room. When I told the manager, MuthuRaj that we had a 3-bed family room booked, he said cooly that the air-conditioner was not working so he gave us a different room where the AC was working. We then said, in all innocence that we wanted to see the room and then decide if we wanted to still use it. That’s when he said, the room had been alloted to someone else because they were ok to use the room without air-conditioning !!?? Yes, without checking with us, a hotel room that had been booked and paid for was allotted to someone else because they were ok with no air-conditioning. Incredulous. 

So we told him that he needs to bring a bed for mom and also asked if there would be any reduction in the price if we were to use a smaller room and we were told there would be a reduction if we didn’t take the extra bed. Since we needed the extra bed, we let go of the reduction in tariff. The next thing that happened was the water leaking in the bathroom … Somebody came and fixed it but it started to leak again all through the night. As we were leaving for Tirunelveli on the 16th and were planning to be away for most of the day, we told MuthuRaj that he can get the leakage fixed. He took the keys and said he will get the problem sorted. 

On 16th we got back from Tirunelveli around 6.30 p.m and walked into the room which hadn’t been cleaned and as you might have guessed, the leakage had not been fixed. To our utter shock, MuthuRaj had left early and wasn’t expected the next day – how cool is that. One of the employees from a different TTDC hotel, Shankar saved the day by fixing the leakage a bit but we were weary :(:(.

We came to TTDC’s Rameswaram property on the 17th…Krishnan had called up the manager here twice to confirm that we were coming. Even on the phone it was clear that this place was different. We reached and the manager was great, he gave us various options and even gave us the ground floor room which had been vacated just ten minutes back. 

Again, we couldn’t really celebrate because the room had just one free plug point … In this day and age with all the devices that have to be charged, giving the customer just one plug point is almost criminal. But, it’s equally important to appreciate Mr. Gyaneswaran who is the manager of the Rameswaram property. The entire staff is service oriented like him … They try their level best to help. When Krishnan told the manager in the morning that we have some feedback to improve the services, he was keen to know about them right away. Very very refreshing !! What’s even more impressive is, this hotel is all vegetarian and doesn’t serve alcohol as it is 100meters from the Ramanathar temple. Liquor is available even at Tirupati … Money overpowers sanctity, but not here. 

There are issues with the overall philosophy of TTDC – they have chosen to remain in the same age and time as the monuments in their hotel locations and just don’t seem keen to keep up with the times. Their properties are on plum real estate… But they have very poor infrastructure and mostly contractual staff and almost seem disinterested in business. 

The best thing “enchanting” TamilNadu government can do is to hand over the TTDC properties to a private chain of hotels to develop and run. The way they are run right now the tourists will be turned off. We are turned off TTDC and we aren’t coming back in the foreseeable future to try them. 

Sad, weary and just unhappy because Ms. Jayalalitha doesn’t have a Twitter handle or an email id that I can write to :(.

Note : TTDC – TamilNadu Tourism Development Corporation

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