Everything I read described Pune as being the cleaner, milder, summer retreat city for Bombay (Mumbai) – but i was kinda disappointed. the city seemed just as polluted, the hotels just as expensive (for worse quality), and the traffic just as congested.
First night was at Hotel Ritz – not quite on the same scale as the one in London – owned by a Gujarati man who basically who used that as a ‘badge’ of his honesty which got me let my guard down. After the first night in the crap place which cost INR 2400 (60 Canadian bucks) – I tried to find something else but couldn’t so had to stay for the second night – or so i thought. They had to move me to another room which was not ready yet and said it would be after 9 pm. So I left my bag with the concierge and headed out into the city. I arrived back at 11 and they had given the room away. Their reason? – ‘we told you to come after 9, this is after 11…’… idiots. luckily for me, there was a cancellation at Hotel Ashirwad but had to pay INR 3000 – btw, Lonely Planet is totally off on all the prices.
Overall though, it was worth going to Pune just to see the Aga Khan Palace and the memorial to Gandhi – I knew he had been put under house arrest there, but didn’t know that his ashes were also there. Kind of sad to see the palace in such disrepair. From afar it looked well kept, but when you get closer you can see that the wood is rotting (the whole top floor has rotted) and the paint and pictures are all peeling.