madam - an ordinary looking roomOk, so this is the hotel I stayed at in Dharamsala, in November.

It’s not a very nice hotel – apart from being a vision in seventies building materials – it turned out in the morning, that everyone elses’ room was filled full of disgusting bugs and general unhygenic vileness.

One of my pals had to change room three times in the middle of the night before she found a room that was bearable to sleep in.

She actually found bed bugs in two of the rooms. Including the bed she’d been sleeping in. Eeew.

Not fortunately in my room. No, I’d upgraded myself to a VIP Mahrani room.

That made the room a little bit more special, a little cleaner and a little bigger. Mine even had a small, rather nasty seating area that qualified it as a suite.

madam - theres a tree in my roomJust.

It wasn’t quite as nice as the rooms reserved for the clergy, but it was nice enough. The clergy in question, by the way, being Tibetan monks from the nearby monastery, where the Dalai Lama runs Tibet in exile.

There was a little terrace outside the room and I took some video of the dawn over the monastery that I’ve been promising to share for ages. I will. It’ll be soon, I promise.

Anyway, as you can see, it all looked very normal from the outside of the room.

But it was completely different on the inside – for lo, there was a tree in my room. I have no idea why. It wasn’t a tree that was growing through a wall and had been allowed to stay despite construction. It was just a big chunk of tree, set in concrete and in the room. Decoration of some sort. For no reason that I could tell.

It didn’t even go all the way to the ceiling. It was just a log.

Previous guests had peeled most of the bark off, which made it even more appealing, as you can imagine.

madam - tree huggerAs you can see from the pics I was much taken with it. I was insisted on being shown a variety of rooms before settling on the one I’d take for the night. And frankly most of them were horrible – there weren’t even sheets on most of the beds, you had to phone down to reception for that little luxury.

But when I was taken to this room; the door swung back and there it was revealed in all it’s surreal arboreal glory, I shouted, ‘I’ll take it’. I could barely stop laughing long enough to stand up straight to take this pictures.

I mean, why on earth would you just park a tree in a hotel room?

But I tell you this, I’m very glad they did. Because as I said, everyone else seemed to find bedbugs and other creepy crawlies that night. I didn’t. I suspect because they were all living in that tree, rather than in the beds.


Which thinking about it, makes it rather unpleasant that I hugged the tree. If I’d known that at the time, that’d have wiped the smile off my face pretty sharpish…


If you’ve enjoyed this tale of random hotel decoration – why not check out other posts from the same trip to Dharamsala and the Punjab:

Not made in China
A train full of Punjabis
Video : What I was really doing in the Pubjab

Do please share your own hotel nightmares/surprises below. I’d love to know who else has lived with such oddness…