On my recent trip to Ahmedabad (with Gujarat Tourism Board), I had the pleasure to enjoy the suite-stay at the House of MG, a heritage hotel known to offer a scrupulous glimpse into the rich culture of the city. If Ahmedabad (the 1st UNESCO World Heritage City of India) is synonymous with cultural abundance, then this 200-years-old property ‘undoubtedly’ serves as an ideal base for anyone wanting to get acquainted with its art and history. But what makes this 20th-century boutique heritage hotel thrilling beyond art? Too many things, actually!
Before all else, the House of MG (Mangaldas) welcomed Mahatma Gandhi upon his first return to India from South Africa. Implying, that he walked everywhere in this stately mansion that was once the home of Sheth Mangaldas Girdhardas, the then leading benefactor and businessman of Ahmedabad. Staying here, to me, meant getting to walk on the same floor as the father of my nation. I spent an entire evening sitting on the fancy swing on the front porch, thinking about how and what Mahatama Gandhi pondered about while he was here.
The philosophical imagination itself will give you goosebumps; such is the influence of Mahatama Gandhi’s memories, who led India to its independence with his sheer determination and simplicity. The House of MG, I think, is an ideological replica of everything simple, determined and yet sophisticated. Its location in the heart of the city also plays to its advantage. More so, since, later in the 1990s, House of MG was aesthetically refurbished into a boutique hotel and opened to visitors who now get a chance to admire it the way Mahatama Gandhi did once.
Floor Map of The House of MG
What comes across as a labyrinth of passages and stairways on the first look is ‘actually’ a treasure trove of aesthetics dispersed across 25,000 square feet of three floors. The first floor opens to a reception with gorgeously tiled flooring, eventually leading into a waiting area with antique wooden furniture and old photographs on the walls, a gallery, an open courtyard with conventional seating and a few rooms and suites on either side.
Take a walk through the gallery and the tribal heirlooms boutique to get acquainted with the traditional Indian textiles from the Mangaldas family collection. A heritage bookstore is the newest addition that ensures that a sense of history dangles in the air. Other two floors are equipped with tastefully decorated rooms and suites.
Rooms & Suites at the House of MG
During my Ahmedabad visit, I stayed at CG-128 Suite which, is a new addition to the property but, if you are planning to check into a suite, I would suggest you choose the Mangaldas suite (priced between ₹10,200-₹14,300) that was once Sheth Mangaldas’s bedroom. Alternatively, you may also choose to stay at the atmospheric Kanchangauri suite, which comes with a kitchenette and dining table.
Each of the luxurious suites is outfitted, with swings, work tables, dressing areas, and spacious bathrooms. While the decor is overflowing with traditional wood furniture and stained glass doors and windows, modern facilities such as flat-screen TVs with DVD players, fast Wi-Fi connectivity, and work desks with iPod docks, are also included.
Restaurants of The House of MG
The restaurants of the House of MG also revel in old-world charm. At Pol Kholi (Pol meaning narrow street and Kholi meaning open) restaurant, sip freshly brewed juices, eat traditional/western dishes or enjoy a variety of ice creams. In Green House restaurant, under the awning of old trees, savour authentic Gujarati dishes that will leave your tastebuds yearning for more. The breakfast is served at the courtyard café, while all through the day, you can sip tea/coffee or other beverages in their sweet little veranda carpeted with red stone tiles.
For the most part of my stay, I ended lazying up in my suite swing or reading something from the in-suite library. On the third floor, the rooftop eatery, Agashiye Lounge and Garden, overlooking Sidi Saiyyed Mosque and city views, serves the most exquisite Gujarati cuisine in a traditional fine-dining setup. In here you can choose to dine either indoors or outdoors and irrespective of where you choose to eat, the attentive staff will cater the best service to you.
One of the reasons why PM Narendra Modi chose to dine here a couple of years ago. At Agashiye: choose from a silver thali, or a Kansa thali, each presenting a glorious mishmash of Gujarati (vegetarian) cuisine. The meal is traditionally served on silver platters and comprises sweet and salty welcome drinks, savouries, main course, lentils, yoghurt-based gravies to the grand finale of a choice of rice dishes. After savouring a thali, all you will want to do is sleep. The service, however, may take a little time as each restaurant serves fresh and slow-cooked food made from seasonal ingredients.
Apart from being one of the oldest buildings in Ahmedabad, the House of MG admirably outlines the colonial architecture of the early 20th century through its 38 elegantly appointed rooms and suites, each offering modern amenities in a splendid yet modest ambience. They also have one service apartment, however, none of the rooms or suites is outfitted with a bathtub. Every item of textile and furniture you encounter in this lavish hotel is handcrafted from recycled materials.
The indoor theme-based Lotus swimming pool is quite a delight to unwind. A digitally designed lotus fresco shelters the entire ceiling and the 55-feet pool with a 300 kg Calder inspired lotus hanging in the centre. Attached is the health club for fitness freaks and Chakra Spa for relaxation seekers. Compulsive shoppers must check out the in-house design studio and gift shop that sells uniquely designed and hand-crafted items of Ahmedabad. The House of MG has ample parking space with valet parking.