Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – India chapter Gujarat has to say about the House Of MG:
“This 1920s building – once the home of textile magnate Sheth Mangaldas Girdhardas – was converted into a beautiful heritage hotel by his great-grand-son. All the rooms are vast, verandah-edged and masterfully decorated, with homey yet luxurious ambience. Service is first-rate, there are two excellent restaurants, and the indoor swimming pool and gym are divine.
Don’t miss the antique textiles gallery on the first floor. You can also buy artisanal gifts of excellent quality at the on-site shop, as well as coffee-table books on India’s textiles, heritage and culture. The hotel runs excellent walking tours, for guests and non-guests alike.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
We first heard of the House of MG when we looked into doing a tour of Gujarat with the company India Moments. We had used them for our trip to take part in the Pushkar Camel Fair back in November 2014. They were promoting a 17-day tour and the cost was prohibitive, especially when you looked what we would be layout out for the four of us to travel around the state. Anil felt strongly that we should be able to work together with a local Ahmedabad company and put together a week-long trip to focus on the areas we were most interested in.
We ended up opting for the Hyatt Regency hotel when we arrived for a five-night stay when we first arrived. I hesitated to book for five nights at the House of MG without having seen it first. The Hyatt has an international standard, and we could check out the House of MG and stay there for a couple of nights at the end of our time in Gujarat if we liked the look and feel of the heritage hotel.
I’d heard good things about the food at the House of MG’s Agashiye restaurant, so I suggested to Donna and Duncan that we go there for Donna’s birthday on Feb 21st, shortly after we arrived in Ahmedabad on the 18th. It would be our treat, as we aren’t in the habit of giving each other presents on our birthdays.
We had a great meal there, and while we were waiting to leave for the Heritage Night Walk that the hotel offers, we made a booking for two nights at the end of our trip. The hotel is amazing, and I’ll leave it to you to view the photos I’ve posted on this journal entry to decide if you agree with our impressions.
The House of MG has a more laid-back restaurant, The Green House, in the courtyard near the main entrance. It is open-air, and features of wide variety of foods from other regions in India. If you chose to eat at the Agashiye, you will find that it’s only traditional Gujarati thali-style food on offer – fantastic for sure, but rich and too filling for breakfast or lunch.
I took the hint given in our guidebook’s review of the House of MG and visited the gift shop on the premises. I picked up a few small items for myself, and a present for a dear friend back in Canada. There were several marvellous handicrafts that I would have liked to buy, a tote bag in particular, but I swore I would continue to travel light. Unfortunately, we were there for only a short time and the textile gallery wasn’t open for us to have a peek.
Just outside the gift shop, we had stopped to admire a massive metal container, unlike anything I’d ever seen before. There was a small card explaining what it was, and how it was used. I’m so glad it was there, because I never would have guessed that it was an essential part of a Gujarati bride’s dowry. It was used to store ornaments and precious clothes. It could vary in height from nine inches to four feet in height.
It is said that during a plundering raid, these containers filled with precious things, were locked and lowered into the water well and lifted up again when the danger passed. Note the heavy ring on the top of the container. I had Donna stand beside it so that you could see just how incredibly large it was. It must have belonged to a very wealthy family indeed. The MG family? I wonder…