Check out some highly rated heritage Airbnb properties in Ahmedabad that are more than a century old but don’t cost a fortune! Enjoy the basic amenities of a hotel while you revel in the local cuisine, colour and hospitality.
The recent declaration of Ahmedabad as India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City in 2017 certainly made Ahmedabad more visible on the international map. The international traffic at Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport has increased substantially in recent years. According to a TOI report, ‘The traffic at the international terminal was 26.9 lakh passengers in the financial year 2018-19, 45% more than the 18.5 lakh in FY 2017-18.’ Some tour operators say that this might be because of the Vibrant Gujarat summit. Whatever may be the reason, but the fact remains that the city’s direct flight connectivity with international airports shows that Ahmedabad is becoming a desirable destination for global travellers and backpackers.
As a consequence of the city winning the UNESCO heritage status, there has been a lot of activity. Identifying and marking the certified heritage buildings is one of the steps taken. “Those listed properties needed to get a different identity. This makes it easier for the tourists or visitors to identify the heritage houses without the help of guides. Additionally, the blue badges will be a matter of pride for the house owners as well,” said Ashish Trambadia, director, World Heritage City Trust of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in a DNA report.
The government’s effort of recognising 2500 Amdavadi heritage monuments and residencies with a blue plaque, identical to the 940 plaques installed at the heritage monuments in London, will not only help make heritage properties more identifiable and distinct but will also instil pride in the citizens and homeowners about their historic city and ancestral homes. In addition to the 49 institutional buildings and other sites, there are more than 2200 residential units owned by locals, that will be bestowed a blue plaque by the AMC. Some of the residents of such heritage homes may choose to convert their residences into a heritage homestay. They can use online hospitality service providers like Airbnb to attract visitors from various countries who are looking for quirky experiences, candid conversations and a cosy homestay with a feel of history. This arrangement is a win-win situation for both the hosts and guests.
Ever since it started in eleven years ago in 2008, the innovative idea of Airbnb, which stands for Bed and Breakfast, has totally taken off the world over. A couple of friends decided to put an air mattress in their apartment and offer bed and breakfast to strangers to “make a few bucks”. According to an Economic Times article, today that has grown to a company that does not own any property but connects you to a place to stay in practically any part of the world, offering 4.5 million properties across 81,000 cities and over 300 million guests.
In India, traditionally during the earlier days, when people would go for a holiday, they usually chose to stay with a close relative or even a distant one! The attitude towards guests in the Indian tradition, with the philosophy of “Atithi Devo Bhava” that venerated unexpected guests with a warm welcome and open hearts is apparent in the word Atithi for a guest. A-tithi literally means any day!
It is this open-hearted hospitality that made the Airbnb idea accepted both by Indians travelling abroad and those who could offer to share their homes in India through the platform. The hosts get the opportunity of using the extra space they have in their homes, meet new people and earn some extra money. For the guests, the arrangement offers a unique, local and authentic experience in different countries and cities.
The heritage homes in Ahmedabad go beyond the basic bed and breakfast arrangement as they allow you to soak in the local flavours and appreciate the heritage architecture by actually staying in a place with history embedded in its walls. If you choose to stay with a local heritage home in Ahmedabad instead of an all equipped plush hotel, then you have a chance of concocting exciting travel stories, share their home-cooked cuisine, and perhaps participate in the colourful festivals. Homestays are not only cheaper compared to reputed hotels but are also more flexible with their rules – including the check in check out policies. Numerous residencies in Ahmedabad are already registering on the Airbnb and other such platforms hoping to become the ‘best heritage properties in Ahmedabad.’ We at CY have listed a few (super) hosts who own heritage homes in Ahmedabad and are successfully earning money through their properties while meeting new people with whom they share their home and hearth. The super host batch is awarded by Airbnb to people who have a track record of being excellent hosts by providing an extraordinary experience to their guests. Once a host reaches Superhost status, a badge will automatically appear on their listing and profile to help people to identify them.
All the heritage homes owners of Ahmedabad we have chosen to feature in this article are proud Superhosts!
The two-hundred-year-old massive Italian style mansion consists of 16 comfy rooms, out of which only four are available for a bed and breakfast facility. The intricate wooden carvings and warm-hearted family members of Jagdip have been hosting tourists since 2015. The overall property, including the picturesque Italian tiles, Belgian glass windows and a rainwater harvesting facility have been restored through the collaboration of the French Government & the Heritage Department of Ahmedabad. The host Jagdip is musically inclined and happens to be a drummer. This tastefully decorated residence has been twice awarded as the best homestay in Gujarat.
The only drawback in the old city homes is the lack of a parking facility but rickshaws and taxis are easily available nearby. Some of the narrow lanes of ‘pols’ of the old part of Ahmedabad city may not be big enough for four wheelers to enter, but they are fun to wander around and discover the magic of the city on your own.
Just read the rave reviews of previous guests on Airbnb or Booking.com to know how delightful your stay is going be at the heritage properties of Rajiv and Deepali Patel. The couple have tastefully restored the 150-year-old intricately carved Dodhia, French and Baghban Havelis of Ahmedabad and added bed and breakfast facilities to them, without losing the cosy touch of a heritage homestay. For tourists who are looking for tranquillity in the bustling walled city of Ahmedabad, this is an ideal choice. The preservation work has been conducted by the host, Rajiv Patel, a real estate entrepreneur of Threee Foundation for ‘Creating partnerships with community to develop sustainable eco-systems.’
These three Havelis with reasonable tariffs have so far attracted backpackers and tourists from more than 30 countries.
According to a Lonely planet review shared on its website “The House Of MG is what all hotels want to be- incredibly luxurious without being aloof, beautifully restored and a staff that still retains the old world charm of visiting someone’s haveli (mansion) and being welcomed as house guests. I actually whooped with joy at the sight of my suite. It is so beautiful that I walk around taking in all the little details that have been so thoughtfully added”.
Built in the 20th century the grand mansion formerly served as an abode to a textile tycoon who “was host to Mahatma Gandhi, who first stayed here for a few days after his return from South Africa in 1915.” Although all the four residencies have been smartened up to serve as fully equipped hotels with state of the art amenities, The House of MG doesn’t fail to give a ‘home away from home’ feel through its gracious hospitality and homely authentic Gujarati food. European and American families frequently visit the property around the year, but the best time to visit is between September and March. The House of MG has two slow food restaurants that are popular with both locals and tourists. It is located near some of the famous heritage spots of the city like Bhadra, Jumma Mazjid, Manek Chowk and is across the road from the iconic 13th century Sidi Saiyyad Mosque with the famous intricate stonework Jali.
The two other Havelis within the walled city of Ahmedabad and a homestay located in the Western suburb of the town are equally rich in heritage and home decor. Although they are located within the bustling heart of the city, entering the premises will suddenly transport you to a quieter time in the past.
The 170-year-old ancestral villa of the Kadri family has been restored by the celebrated architect IM Kadri and now known as the Diwan’s Bungalow. It is one of the best heritage hotels in Gujarat, located in Raikhad in the heart of the walled city. The colonial facade of the property and its grand European style architecture is embellished with two Gujarati wooden Jharokhas or balconies, giving it a breathtaking facade for onlookers. The hotel is one of the more luxurious places to stay and among the few offering non-vegetarian fare. The heritage property has eight rooms, each with a bedroom with a view of the courtyard, which are named after family members of the Kadri family. Each room has a different colour scheme and has a separate entry. The Fine Dining restaurant serves authentic Mughlai delicacies based on traditional home-made recipes passed on through generations and is rated as the best non-vegetarian food destination by the gastronomic experts of Ahmedabad. The property is, therefore, a homestay with all the hotel luxuries and can be easily accessible for booking even without Airbnb.
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