There was no doorbell to ring. So we peeped into the narrow walkway and spotted a boy having tea. Acknowledging us with a smile, he came swiftly, took charge of our luggage, guided us to our room. That warm smile was the first of several we were offered during our stay in Assam. Soon, the manager, Mr Kalita, too came to us with an even broader smile.
We landed at Guwahati a day earlier for our trip to Kaziranga. At first, we had thought of staying at one of the regular hotels at Paltan Bazaar. Then Baruah Bhavan’s listing on Trip Advisor piqued our interest. Its Web site mentions “3-minute walk to Brahmaputra,” and that made the decision easier. And, whatever the Web site promises is true.
The term non-hotel Hotel was first heard from Neemrana hotels, who specialises in converting palaces, bungalows and havelis to heritage hotels. We have never been to a Neemrana property and that’s part of the bucket list. But this was our first non-hotel Hotel experience. An old house converted into a homestay, Baruah Bhavan sits charmingly on a quite street, away from the hustle and bustle of Guwahati city. Clean and well-appointed rooms, good food, and polite staff. A total of 6 rooms on the first floor while the family stays in the ground floor. That sums up Baruah Bhavan. Since we reached there late for lunch (meals have to ordered at least 2 hours in advance as fresh food is cooked on order) and didn’t want a heavy dinner (only veg meals at Rs 250 and non-veg meals at Rs 350 are offered), we could not taste the main fare offered. However, the complimentary breakfast (choice of Indian and continental) was tasty.
Promenade along Brahmaputra is just walking distance. Main road is 5 minutes away and you get buses to Kamakhya temple base and city. The quiet street on one side comes alive in the evening as the nearby market spills on to the street. A good photo-op was wasted as there was no power and the trade was happening in candlelight.
Baruah Bhavan is about 45 minutes by road from Airport. Pre-paid taxis charge about Rs. 475/-. Assam State Transport buses ply between Airport and Paltan Bazaar, the main market area. Baruah Bhavan is about 4 kms from Paltan Bazaar.