With less than 10 days to go for the much-awaited India-Pakistan match in Ahmedabad on October 14, hotel tariffs have skyrocketed. Most 5-star hotels have raised their tariff by 150-200%, yet are sold out. However, do not tear the ticket and cancel the plans. There are still cheaper options available for those with not-so-deep pockets. The smart ones are booking hospital rooms & 10 witty ones can win a free Uber luxury camper stay on the match day.
According to a rough estimate, there are nearly 5,000 rooms in the 5-star category and roughly 3,000 rooms in 3/4 star hotel categories in Ahmedabad. Add to it AirBnB, heritage and home stays.
Most 5-stars were sold out soon after the schedule announcement but few 3/4 star hotels are still available on online travel platforms (all rates for one-night stay on October 14, 2 adults): FabHotel Max Inn is ₹6,884 (regular price less than ₹1,500 a night), Hotel Kiran Inn ₹15,999, Hotel Kohinoor ₹9,099, Hotel Rita Palace ₹24,500, Hotel Magic Palace ₹7,500, Hotel Marigold Naroda ₹13,199. One star GCC Inn is ₹7,290 (10 days after the match WelcomHotel by ITC is for ₹5,939 and Hyatt Regency is for ₹5,850 a night))!
A one-bedroom apartment on SG Highway is for ₹14,875 while Harshoday Bungalow is for ₹30,000. Compare it with ₹92,000 for Uteliaa Homestay and Vaibhavya Farm for ₹178,00.
I called Gujarat Expert, an online platform that offers all that you ever needed to know about travel in Gujarat, and they could only offer one room in Hotel Centra for ₹18,000 for the match day. “It is deluxe property, madam,” the lady at the booking line politely said.
Amidst all the hullabaloo around accommodation Pankajbhai Vallabhbhai Patel is stoic. And hasn’t fallen to temptation much. “Paisa le ke kahan jaana hai? Sab to yahin reh jaana hai (Where will I take all the money? Everything will be left behind here), Patel said philosophically adding in whispering tone that 10 beds in his “hall near the cricket stadium are available for ₹1,000 per person” on October 14. So far, four beds have been booked, six still available at the time of writing. Patel pooh-poohed the price-surge but he, too, joined the crowd quietly – from the usual ₹400 per head, he hiked it 2.5 times to ₹1,000.
Dipeshkumar Garg, who is one of three mentioned under Home Stay category on the official website of Gujarat Tourism is offering a room in his home for ₹10,000 a night. “Not more than two people can stay,” said Garg who on an ordinary day charges ₹1,000 for the same bed in the same room. He hiked the price soon after the schedule announcement and received several enquiries from Indians. “Not foreigners,” he woefully added.
But is there really a shortage of rooms? Dilip Thakkar, owner of the iconic Gopi Dining Hall in Ahmedabad cites a full page advertisement in an English-language newspaper by 74-roomed Silver Cloud Hotel two days ago that read: Are you cricket lover? We too.. Upgrading to welcome cricket lovers. “If you are fully booked, will you spend money on a full-page ad?, Thakkar, who is member of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce, member of Federation of Hotels & Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI), and Ahmedabad chapter head of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) questioned. Thakkar also received a call from Platinum Hotel about 20 cancelled room that they are will willing to rent for ₹20,000 night on October 14.
AirBnB: A quick crawl through AirBnB at the time of writing showed easy availability of rooms on the match day. The header says 173 places in Ahmedabad – a female writer is offering a ‘modern room in Food Forward flat with 2 beds” for ₹11,298; a private room with bathroom is available for ₹5,706; one bed in a “House of Kids” is for ₹6,847 a night. A critical care doctor has 8 bedrooms, 20 beds for ₹17,599 – the property photograph has the signboard of a Children’s Hospital.
Booking hospital beds to watch cricket: That 8 bedrooms in a hospital ad buttresses stories about how after hotels in Ahmedabad hiked their tariff exponentially, undeterred lovers started booking hospital rooms. The excuse: Full body-checkup that usually entails a night’s stay in the hospital. Believe it, because an AirBnB post actually has photographs of gurneys being offered for ₹10,399 a night.
Lucky cricket fans get to stay free in Uber luxury campers: If you can muster loads of wit or allegory, ready an eye-catching slogan to cheer India up, you might be the luckiest free-loader. Pay nothing to snooze in an uber Uber camper on the night of India-Pakistan match day.
This is part of Uber’s limited social media campaign where lucky winners will stay free in the
Uber camper. All you have to do is post your pictures holding a placard with details on how you plan to support Team India. Tag your squad – up to 3 friends or family members who are also joining for the India Vs. Pakistan match in Ahmedabad – and tag @UberIndia. The contest closes on October 7 and winners will be announced the next day.
Sometimes wit is better than than the wallet!