Don't be fooled, this room is not as nice/clean as it may appear!!!!
Our experience of Madurai didn't extend much past three hotel rooms. We walked to our first choice hotel called TM Lodge and asked to see a room. The first was AC and stank of a strange urine, faeces and mould combo which as well as being windowless was a hole the second was non AC and had a window which overlooked what we in England would call wasteground covered with rubbish but here is known as India and was also a hole which surprisingly we found ourselves turning down. Next up was the Hotel Supreme which we hadn't really had time to research but sounded ok from the guide and we thought we'd give it a go. We were shown the room and it was fine so we settled in and headed up to the rooftop restaurant for a sunset beer and a quick snack as we hadn't eaten properly all day.
View of Madurai and the Shree Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple from Hotel Supreme rooftop restaurant
The rooftop was awesome and we had great views across to the temple but typically of our Indian experience it is undergoing scheduled renovations which happen every 10 years. So instead of a magnificent set of temple gopuras (decorated gateway spires) we got a sort of muslin covered scaffold. One gopura was partially scaffolded so at least we saw a little of what it would normally be like but it did feel that we'd been cheated and made us wish we'd flown to Goa even more.
Our food was tasty and the beer always goes down well, so resolving to head out early in the morning to beat the heat we set off back to our room and decided to hunker down and watch a movie as the room had cable. It wasn't until about half way through Little Miss Sunshine that we saw the first of the roaches in our room.
One of the many cockroaches in our first room
Then when we went into the bathroom there was a definate scurrying of creatures and out came the spray again. We got some lovely photos of our victims and decided to pay a visit to reception and ask to change rooms. As is usual with Indian standards of service the thought of complaining about cockroaches was highly amusing and the line that was used on us was 'Oh cockroaches they are in all of the drains', right so clean the bloody drains out then!!!!!! At 1.30 in the morning patience over such things wears thin pretty quickly and we insisted on moving rooms but as soon as we stepped foot in the new room out popped the cockroach crew. So it was back to reception and this time we forced them to give us an aircon room as the roaches don't like the cold. We would have been happy with that if that was the end of the story but no.
One on our bedside table, charming
Having moved all of our stuff a second time we went to get into bed and pulled back the sheets to find that the aircon unit had been leaking and soaked the bed leaving it with some lovely brown stains. Yet again it was back to reception and by now they were as pissed off with us as we were with them and the exchanges were becoming increasingly less civil. The thing is that Indians don't really know how to do rude or angry so as a westerner it's one area where you'll always have the upper hand. As long as you don't lose it completely it's fine to be as blunt as you like and say it exactly as it is and they really don't have a clue. By this time we'd dragged the manager from his bed and he in turn dragged the housekeeping manager from his to accompany us up to the room to "investigate".
Room number two; the wet, stained bed they wanted us to sleep in
He actually suggested it would be okay to change the sheets but that we would have to put up with the wet mattress and they'd change it in the morning. Yeah right. We made them find us another mattress and by 2.30 we finally got to sleep.
Waking up in the morning Steph was not feeling quite right and we headed straight out to find ourselves a new hotel and book some flights out of Tamil Nadu, preferably to Goa but failing that anywhere that wasn't Tamil Nadu. After much searching and ups and downs we found a flight to Bangalore and a later connection to Goa so booked it. By this time Steph was running a temperature and had a pounding headache so we opted for a really good hotel called the Park Plaza which was lovely. We return to the Hotel Cockroach (Supreme) picked up our bags and headed to reception for a fight.
The hotel's solution to a dripping ceiling...move the bed away from the drip
The 'manager' a spinless moron was utterly useless and used the old 'I don't have authority not to charge you' line and said we'd have to wait until three O'clock when the owner returned to talk to him about it. With Steph seriously flagging and breaking out into a temperature we forced him to give us a discount and headed off vowing to return later to have it out with the owner!!
At the new hotel Steph basically collapsed into the bed and started to suffer cramps on top of everything else. Adam went and bought a thermometer and her temperature was up at 104.6. Oops, you know it's bad when your temperature sounds like a radio station. looks like the sightseeing might be on hold. The rest of the day was spent with Adam MD running to the pharmacy and supermarket for supplies in between temperature readings and mad dashes to the loo!!!! Luckily the fever broke overnight and at 6am we got into the taxi to the airport having seen nothing more of Madurai than four rooms, a rooftop and a couple of filthy streets.