Green Hotel

City Centre, Mysore, India

Reviewed by Yasmin Boland
A beautifully converted palace, with homely rooms and elegant gardens, in the historic city-seat of the Mysore princesses
Green indeed: this hotel is both verdant, with long lawns and flowerbeds, and environmentally-friendly, shunning modern machinery and training ‘underprivileged’ locals for its staff. But there is also some blue in its veins. The former ‘Chittaranjan Palace’ was built 100 years ago as the summer palace for the Wadeyar princesses, and a regal elegance lingers on today. Every room is sumptuous in its own way - from the bargain Travellers Rooms in the garden block up to the Princess Room (ideal for honeymooners) and the 2-room Bollywood Suite.

That name harks back to the building’s period as a film studio prior to its 1994 purchase by British charity-director Hilary Blume. Keen to fill the gap between luxury hotels and budget hostels, she worked with Indians to renovate the building, ensure charitable ownership (all proceeds go to local causes), and train slum-dwellers and widows into the most caring hotel staff you could wish for. It’s an affordable privilege to stay here. And, with Mysore’s palaces, parks and its silk trade on your doorstep, it will make your friends green with envy.

Highs

  • Breakfast is served in the enormous, flower-filled gardens which are a delight to relax in (perhaps the best in a city famed for its gardens)
  • The staff are friendly and enthusiastic (though occasionally a little slow)
  • The common areas (library, drawing room, verandas) are vast yet intimate
  • You can enjoy your stay in the knowledge that the profits go to charity

Lows

  • The beds are on the firm side, and towels are rather scratchy
  • Some bedrooms are rather basic - don't expect A/C, TVs or luxurious touches
  • You may hear traffic noise from the road in some rooms
  • The power supply seemed very fragile - hurricane lamps at dinner are almost routine
  • There's no pool

Best time to go

Mysore is well-known for its benign climate: from September to March it's like a warm English summer (20-25C), and from April to May it's hotter (up to 30C) but still bearable - and the wildlife is good. The wet months of June, July and August see less rain than other areas, but October's returning monsoon can bring heavy showers.

Our top tips

The cheap rooms suit budget travellers and students from a nearby yoga school. The more expensive ones appeal to anyone who likes history and style - including, recently, the British High Commissioner and his wife.

Bring long-sleeved, loose-fitting garments for hot weather and local etiquette, an umbrella in rainy season, any maps you require, a torch for blackouts, insect repellent, sunglasses and cream. If you forget something, it will be a joy to look for it in Mysore!

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Eco
Foodie
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 31
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room: The Writer\\\'s Room

Rooms

The Green Hotel has 31 rooms (no less than you would expect for a princess!) spread between the original building (7 rooms) and the garden block (24 rooms). They range from basic Traveller Rooms at budget prices, to the still affordable Princess Suite, which is large, ornate and adorable. We'd advise requesting one of the Palace rooms, if you can.

We found that every room had a simple charm of its own. They were all large and very clean, with tiled floors and white walls. The furnishings throughout are tasteful, from the stained glass windows to the local handiworks and carvings. The ensuite bathrooms are functional (though not much more), with showers in the cheaper rooms and bath-showers in the more expensive ones. But don't expect many mod cons - the sustainable principles mean there's no air conditioning or TVs, for instance. Imagine instead that you're in a 19th-century novel by local author R K Narayan.

The original building has a more homely feel, with 7 double rooms tucked away off a wooden staircase. These include the 2-room Honeymoon Suite, the Bollywood Suite (decorated with panels featuring old movie stars), the elegant Marigold Suite, and a smaller room for single travellers. You can also book half of the Bollywood Suite but these rooms (Bollywood Small and Large) are both a bit too cosy for comfort. The garden block rooms, most of which are twin-bedded, have their own terrace. Don't be misled by the (semi)-deluxe tag - they are pretty basic; and previous guests have warned of barking dogs, traffic noise and morning chatter from nearby staff accommodation.

Features include:

  • Extra beds
  • Internet access

Eating

Unusually for India, the breakfast, which is included in the room price, includes eggs, toast, fruit and even porridge on request. It's taken in the lovely gardens under an invariably bright blue sky (Mysore's benign climate is famous).

The main dining room, also open to non-residents, is at the front of the building looking out over immaculate lawns. It's very informal, though the service is excellent. After a day's shopping you can cool down with an Indian beer or even champagne, or sip the fresh lime soda in which the house specialises. We then tucked into a dinner of gobi mancurian (a Chinese cauliflower dish), though the aloo gobi and chicken vindaloo combination was too much for us.

There are plenty of veggie dishes, and lighter snacks are available throughout the day (including crisp cinnamon toast at tea-time). And if you've had one curry too many, the staff can even rustle up a good old cheese sandwich.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity: Mysore-Palace

Activities

  • Visit the 1912 Palace, a triumph of Indo-Saracenic architecture, with domed halls, arches, carved pillars and marble floors

  • Admire the adjacent Jayachamaraj Art Gallery, with its collection of the Maharajah's finds from his travels

  • Climb the 1000 pilgrims' steps (or take a rickshaw) up Chamundi Hill to the temple at the top, with its 40m high gopuram column

  • Drive out to Lalitha Mahal, the Maharajah's stunning summer palace (now a hotel)

  • Visit Sriangapatnam, a fortress set on an island on the Caulvery River; it houses a temple, a mosque and the summer palace of the famous Tiger of Mysore (an 18th-century Sultan and anti-British hero named Tipu)

  • Stroll through the ornamental Brindavan Gardens near the Krishnaraja Sagar dam - a popular picnic spot by day and lit by illuminated fountains in the evening

  • Browse through Mysore's markets and shops for silks, saris and trinkets

  • Or tour the silk factory and its shop

  • Visit the railway museum, with its 'royal toilet', or the folklore museum (at the university), with its carved wooden figures and masks from Karnatakan villages

  • Take your family to Mysore Zoo, or the lakeside Bird Sanctuary

  • Drive to the coffee plantations of Coorg

  • Or, further afield, head to the game reserves at Bandipur (80km away) and Nagarhole (95km away), home to elephants, leopards, macaques, langur, sloth bears and about 50 tigers

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wildlife
  • Yoga

Kids

All ages are welcome. Under 8s sleep free in their parents’ room (using existing bedding); extra beds are available for a charge. Particularly good for families is the Honeymoon Suite with 2 bedrooms.

There's space for children to play and games to amuse them both indoors and outdoors, including carrom boards, chess, badminton and croquet. Mysore, with its parks, zoo and markets, should keep children amused for a while, though they would no doubt prefer to head off to wildlife parks and beaches!

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms

Kid Friendly: Bollywood-Wing

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

Rates for Green Hotel