Odisha Government inaugurated its much-talked about eco-retreat at Konark on 15 December. I decided to visit on the same day with my daughter.
However, being one of the first few guests, my experience at one of the eco-retreat was not at all satisfactory.
I booked a premium tent that cost me more than Rs 10,000 per night, which included GST (Goods and Services Tax). I was really excited for this stay.
Dirty Tents, No Security or Hot Water Supply
Upon our arrival on the first day, after having our lunch, we checked into the premium tent. The tent was not cleaned properly and there were sands on the carpet.
There was trash in the waste bin. As I went to the washroom, I found that somebody else had used it just a few minutes ago. There was no intercom in my tent or anyone outside to ask for help.
I called the reception and the lady, with all humility, admitted that the room was used by someone before I arrived.
When I entered the tent the air conditioner (AC) was switched on and it was cold. I tried to control the temperature but the panel was not working and there was no remote controller. As I repeatedly complained about the temperature, they permanently switched off the AC in my tent.
There was no room heater available as well. The temperature that night went down and it was very uncomfortable for us to have a proper sleep.
There was no wardrobe available inside the tent. There was one wooden hanger where you could put your wet clothes for drying. The tents are also not suitable for aged people.
Though they claimed to provide a three-star facility inside the tents, my experience says something else.
The website claims to provide 24-hour hot water, however, it was a distant dream. The next morning, after taking a walk on the beach, we wanted to take bath. I switched on the geyser and waited for almost half-an-hour. Even after that there was no sign of hot water. I called the reception again and requested her to send someone to check the geyser, but I did not receive any help.
My tent was not electrified properly while I checked in. In the late evening they installed lights inside. However, outside and the pathway were completely dark after the evening.
You need to use your cell phone torch to reach your tent. Around 10 pm, as we were about to sleep, two people entered my bedroom and ran away. My daughter was frightened and immediately I followed the intruders. I found a group of people, perhaps members of the eco-retreat team or workers, disappeared in dark.
On 16 December, I wanted to check out at 8:30 am. Again I requested reception to send someone to help me with my luggage. I packed my bags, came out of the tent and waited. No one came. I proceeded to the reception with my daughter, had breakfast, and left the eco-retreat with loaded despair.
Construction Yet To Be Completed
It felt like they inaugurated the eco-retreat in a hurry. The construction was incomplete. From my arrival on 15 December, to checking out the next morning, I saw everywhere, and everything was under construction.
The officials on duty at the resort agreed that the retreat is not functional yet. The same will be readied by next week.
I later learned that a private party is taking care of the hospitality at the eco-retreat. The firm has not completed its job, but the government inaugurated it hurriedly and started taking bookings.
Not Worth the Price
I was dissatisfied with the lack of services, poor hospitality and false commitments made by the website.
I feel the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation Yatri Nivas in Konark provides better service in less money.
I fear it would bring a bad name to my state. I wish the government will monitor and ensure the bookings only after the site is hundred percent ready. They should review the facilities properly before reopening bookings.
(The Quint reached out to Eco-Retreat Konark but there has been no response. As soon as they reply, the story will be updated.)
(Subhransu Panda is an author and a journalist from Odisha. All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)