Our Gwalior trip was a business cum pleasure trip - work for my husband and solely pleasure for me!
We decided to travel by a morning train which would give us the rest of the day there. The only tickets available were on the Taj Express in the 2nd seater class and although reluctant I had to take it.
We boarded the train at the Hazrat Nizamuddin station about quarter to 7am. The seats in this class are really narrow and only an anorexic person would be comfortable in it. So unless there is no other option do not book in this class. And then there are people, so many of them, with and without ticket who get in and out during the whole journey. Unfortunately for us, the tracks developed a fracture and the train was delayed by 2.5 hours. It was 2.30pm when we got there and Gwalior was hot! really hot!!! We had booked rooms in the Royal Inn hotel and they had organized a car to meet us at the station. A quick call from the train to the hotel receptionist and the car was sent to meet us.
At first sight, the hotel seems to be in a shopping complex, as in there are shops in the ground floor with no sign of a reception. One has to go down a flight of stairs to the reception. Our rooms were on the first floor and immediately after checking in we went up to the restaurant. The hotel prefers that guests use room service rather than the restaurant.
Now about the restaurant, since only the guests use it, the place was deserted and we had to call Reception for a waiter to take orders. But once there, he went about taking our order and placing the cutlery quickly. We ordered rotis, rice, dal, salad, a vegetable and a chicken dish. The food was good and we did not have any complaints. After that we had a good nap, guess it was the heat and the food that did us in.
In the evening we walked around the railway station and went to the Indian Coffee House for dinner. The ICH is very close to the railway station and is one of the best restaurants in the city. ICH is an organization owned and run by its employees as a society. The waiters are clad in starched white uniforms with a fanned turban and provide quick service. They have 1 restaurant on the ground floor and 2 dining halls on the 1st floor. During lunch time all of these get full and there are people waiting to be seated.
We went there a few times during our whole stay and returned happily satisfied each time. The prices are very reasonable and the food is good, quite like the Udipis found in Bombay. We had their thali, coffee, masala dosa, vada sambhar, chicken and mutton biryani, uttapam, cutlets and each one of them was excellent.
After dinner we went straight back to the hotel and that was the end of our first day at Gwalior.