Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why is India so expensive?

India is a pretty hostile place for a North American. In general the roads are awful, the crowds are ridiculous, the weather is sultry and sticky and Indians have no concept of western public niceties like queuing up etc....its all pointed elbows and survival of the fittest.

And now you can also add expensive. Not just normal expensive. Think Manhattan or London expensive.

Here I am travelling Bharat on my company's tab and even then I get this visceral reaction to the prices. Am I paying through the nose because I'm "Umrikan" - apparently not because there is only one rate now in India - foreigners and Indians pay the same.

Any five star is minimum $300-$350 USD a night. Now I can get an equivalent hotel in a first class US or European city (not shit holes like Chennai, Bangalore and Baroda) for the same amount or less. These hotels will come with a real view - ie a view of San Francisco Bay or the Manhattan skyline. In India I have a view of a "chawl" or someone urinating on the side of the road or a cow leaving a steaming pile of shit in middle of the road.

How can Indian hotels get away with this? Its easy. Supply and Demand. Every one is coming to India and there are only a limited number of good hotels so they are jacking up prices. I heard Windsor Manor in Bangalore is charging Rs 24,000 a night...not for a suite but for a room. At a 40 rupee dollar that is $600 USD a night. Utterly and totally ridiculous.


Blogger Stewart_Colbert said...

I think you place too much emphasis on the view etc. Most people don't care for a view in India bcos there are none. They want good khaana/peena and luxury in their rooms (Nice TV, bar and Ravi Verma paintings!)

One reason Indian 5 starts charge so much is because the luxury they afford is equivalent to any world class hotel. For eg Chola Sheraton rooms are pretty comfy, pillows, decoir etc. The food is expensive but you are paying for the ambience also.

By the way you are paying for the easy labor also. For instance if you want a shoe shine or break a button, a room boy will be sent up in a jiffy to fix the issue! London or NY hotels will probably just shrug!

1:04 AM  

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