Monday, 29 August 2016

Why Corporates Love To Stay At Cinnamon Stays!

Having settled in Mumbai but making frequent short and long work trips to Gurgaon, one question always plagued me - where could I get a place to stay that would be pocket friendly, safe and would not mind having me over for weeks together. Till earlier this year, I suddenly thought of Shilpi, who was a client of mine way back in 2007 in Mumbai. We had been in touch on and off on Facebook and I recalled her talking about a homestay she had started. Hesitatingly I called and spoke to her as a friend. Shilpi had only one thing to say, if I were to stay at Gurgaon it had to be at Cinnamon and no place else! I was off for what I now recall as one of the finest times I have had in Gurgaon…something I did not experience in the two years that I spent there!
As a Corporate person who has to travel to Gurgaon so often, I couldn’t resist the urge to list down why I prefer staying at Cinnamon over and over again (apart from spending time with a friend that is!). Here are a few benefits I feel every Corporate person derives from staying here:
  1. “Unhotel” environment
The Unhotel experience of Cinnamon just took my heart away. I mean here I was in a place as clean, hygienic and hospitable as a hotel, yet it was not a hotel at all. The cosiness and warmth was much more. The place buzzed with people with infectious energies - the hosts, their child, the staff and fellow guests. It was like coming back to a family at the end of the day!

  1. Very Safe
Even though I marveled at being a working woman in Gurgaon for 2 years, safety was a priority always. I would never compromise on the same. Cinnamon gave me a sense of security and safety. Located in a gated society with proper CCTV cameras and Security service manning the society, I felt assured of returning back to a “safe” place!

  1. Women friendly
Cinnamon is extremely woman friendly. Shilpi herself supervises the operations even though she is so busy in her professional life. Her on-and-off presence ensures that every woman guest is treated with special care (at times I think I am pampered just because I am a woman!) Books, discussion, movies, TV shows and even hobby ideas are more women centric and personally it gives a huge high!

  1. Budget friendly
My Company’s work from home policy came as a life saver to me. I did not want to compromise on work just because I was changing locations. However, what they did not cater for was the expense of stay and travel back to Gurgaon. Cinnamon’s budget rooms were a relief to me as they are economical and offer 3 star rooms at competitive rates. I would have spent a lot more had I booked myself in a hotel. And got far less.

  1. Healthy and delicious home cooked food
I love my home food. Not that I am a great cook myself, yet I feel that wholesome homemade meals are way better than outside gourmet meals.
And you just CANNOT have outside food for more than a few days. This is a BIG PLUS when it comes to Cinnamon. 

 The breakfast spread is tasty & healthy  every morning and you can even request for home made packed lunch. Coming back to piping hot dal chawal sabzi at the end of the work day was icing on the cake (especially when one is served with such love and warmth - pampering is the word!)

  1. Creative Decor
Not once did I feel that the rooms or the ambience was short of a hotel. In fact every room at Cinnamon has quirky names - Green room, doodle room, puraani jean, etc :-) In fact, it was much better! I was “home” and it felt comfortable, cosy and warm like I would “feel” and “sense” as my own! Free wi-fi, arrangements for specific pick-ups and local offbeat recommendations that I had not experienced were add-ons!

  1. No. 1 on Trip Advisor for the past 7 years
Now Shilpi is a good friend and I would expect that as friends, I would be welcome at her homestay. The thing is that I was not just welcome, I was provided service that I had least expected. It is the little things that the team at Cinnamon does that makes it so special. I have to share an incident when on one day I was required to wear a saree to work. I was not carrying one from Mumbai. Shilpi jumped to my rescue sharing one from her collection and got her tailor to do the rest at a notice of just 3 hours! Now I know why Cinnamon continues to be at No1 on Trip Advisor every year for the past 7 years!

  1. Shilpi’s background helps her to understand needs.
If you ask me the one best thing about Cinnamon, I will have to say Shilpi. Am not biased, am just being honest. Shilpi’s background and experience as a Coach and a seasoned Human Resources professional makes her empathic towards her guests. She looks at each individual’s needs as her own and works around the same to make guests feels delightful!

  1. Close to business parks and offices on Sohna Road/ Golf Course Extension
Cinnamon is strategically located extremely close to business parks and other offices that dot Sohna Road and Golf course extension. Both are equally good. They have two locations. My own office is just 4 kms away from Sohna Road. This gives me the comfort of not being stuck in traffic while traveling to work or for my client meetings. The proximity makes it convenient, easy and less stressful.

  1. Ethical , creative small business that supports local causes
On one of the days that I was staying at Cinnamon, they were organized a curated workshop by a student from Varanasi who had started a small recycling art based project. Now, Shilpi’s mother also runs a homestay in Varanasi (Called - which is a #silverstartup). Seeing the hosts promote a newbie in the space meant that they really valued her work. Every item, every show piece at Cinnamon is picked up with a conscious effort of supporting local business, local art and a local cause
If you are looking for a place that is not just clean rooms and four walls, but has a character, breathes what it believes and you want to meet interesting people- each one having a unique story to tell, then Cinnamon Stays is the place for you!

It really stands up to it’s #unhotel positioning!

Monday, 22 August 2016

Testing at Prometric? Try Resting At Cinnamon!

Reading the email, I knew that it was time when I was slowly inching towards my big American dream. As a student of engineering, I had always wanted to move to the US for higher education in Environmental Engineering. The preparation for the mandatory GRE and TOEFL was going on since the past year. 
(Picture Courtesy -
The email confirmed my exam date and my centre was the Prometric Centre in Gurgaon. I was confident that I would be able to score very well in the first attempt itself. 

Yet, my confidence was not brimming as I had expected it to. My parents made me realize that perhaps it was the inhibition or “scare” of going to Gurgaon for the first time, that I was feeling the way I was. It was decided that mom and I reach Gurgaon a couple of days before to get accustomed to the place and can be focused on the exam completely on my “D” day.
(Picture Courtesy -
(Picture Courtesy -

We chose Cinnamon Stays as our place of stay on the recommendation of my mother’s friend, Radha (who called herself a “Friend Of Cinnamon”). The recommendation paid off more than I had ever expected it to. Here are a few things that made our stay in Cinnamon simply fantastic!

  1. Located just 5 minutes away from the Test Centre
The Prometric centre is located in the Iris Tech Park Building on Sohna Road, just 5 minutes walking distance from the homestay. This convenience of being so close by meant that I could have a good night’s sleep and not worry about traveling across town.

(Picture Courtesy -

  1. Home like environment
The home like environment of Cinnamon was the first thing that struck us. It obviously is a home to the hosts, Manish and Shilpi, yet, every corner of the place oozes of warmth - something that I knew I would miss in the days to come.

  1. Safe for young travelers
Though I was with my mother, I did see a fellow girl student traveling from Kanpur on her own. For parents to send their children on their own, for an important exam, meant that they completely trusted Cinnamon. It is a safe and secure family place for young student travelers like us. They have 2 villas. You can choose to stay with the family or in the other villa if you want greater privacy. I loved staying with Shilpi and her family. 
(Picture Courtesy -

  1. Home cooked meals
The home cooked meals provided are hygienic, (spice according to your taste) and the portions are very good! (at least for a big guy like me who eats a lot!). The servings at the breakfast are different on different days and that feels just like home! I was even asked if I liked my milk with Horlicks, Bournvita or good old Haldi (turmeric). All the energy you need before the big exam. There is also a McDonalds across the street, Sree Ram restaurant that’s open 24X7. 

  1. Packed meals (added service)
I could also get a packed lunch ( actually very tasty sandwich made by Ravi - their cook) as per our request. The entire headache of what and where to eat near the centre was completely taken care of!
Cinnamon will also help you order from outside. They are pretty cool about food from outside.

  1. Flexibility
At Cinnamon, we had flexibility of checking in and checking out as per our convenience (Though on special request!). We had an evening flight to catch and the hosts agreed to look after our luggage even after check out so that we could go to the centre without our baggage and not worry about it’s safety at all.

  1. Quiet zone
The entire homestay is a quiet zone. Since it is located in a gated community, the noise levels are very low. The rooms are serene and with the greenery around, it gave me a stress free environment and I could carry out my last minute preparations with ease and comfort. There is a power back-up so there was no tension of power cuts and a sleepless night.

  1. Motivation
On the day of my exam, I was but nervous and edgy. Very strangely, Shilpi the host struck up a conversation with me. She helped me to stop being fidgety just by chatting up with me! Later, she told me that she is a Coach and it is her profession to “pep” up people. I suggest you have a small chat with her before you go for the exam. She really cheered me up!

  1. Extra amenities in the room
Cinnamon does not shy away from giving you the “extra”. Be it an extra mattress, milk with bournvita, extra cups of tea  (on the eve of the exam, on request!), a small guitar strumming session (to de -stress) or a quick lending of book from their collection.

    10.  Emergency drop off facility
I was told that in case of any emergency like rains, I would be dropped off at the exam centre well in time.
I had worked very hard for my GRE and taking the exam was a feat in itself but the one thing that made it fairly easy and convenient was the place we stayed - Cinnamon Stays. Today, after 4 weeks, I have my GRE score in hand and looking at it I know that soon I will be packing off to the US. One thing is for sure that if I do fly ex Delhi, I will stay at Cinnamon again for the love and pampering that I will be showered upon for sure! After all, the airport is only a 30 minute drive from there!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Indian Hospitality At It's Best At Cinnamon Stays

Today, we bring to you an account from Radha, a Cinnamon Guest from Canada. Radha came with her brother and mother and spent time with us at Cinnamon Stays. After a month's stay she has gone back and was kind enough to grace our blog with a short write up about her experience with us. Do have a look at what she says -
Indian Hospitality At It's Best At Cinnamon Stays
I was looking for a home away from home in the millennium city, Gurgaon, India for a month’s stay. Friends and family members made several recommendations and I spent my first four days in India exploring several places that offered a comfortable and homely place for my mother, brother and myself. 

(From L to R - Radha, Devika(Radha's daughter), Shilpi (Madam Cinnamon!), Vibhu (Radha's brother), Gumaan Singh Panwar, Auntie (Radha's mum)
It was especially important as my brother had recently undergone a serious surgery and was venturing out of rehab to enjoy quality time with the family. A friend said she had heard of a place called “Cinnamon Stays”. “Why don’t we check it out”, she said. Tired and exasperated we made our way to the greens of Nirvana Country. As we drove through Nirvana Country we saw a quiet neighbourhood nestled in green gardens, without noise or pollution. “WOW! This is a lovely neighbourhood”, I thought. A short walk and we had a quaint plaza with all facilities, including a bank, pharmacy, eating places, a few fashion stores. A great place to recoup from a surgery; all amenities and excellent service.
As I stepped into Cinnamon Stays I had a very positive and happy feeling. Very accepting, comfortable, and truly a “home away from home”. 
It was a very pleasant surprise to chat with Shilpi, the owner founder of Cinnamon Stays. Within 5 minutes of speaking with her, I knew that this was the perfect place; conducive to a happy family reunion and even more, a place that would facilitate positive interaction with like-minded people from all walks of life.


Thus began a memorable month’s stay. I met guests from across the globe and two amazing people who I am proud to call friends. The ambience, personal care, great cuisine and friendly environment made it a perfect holiday. Through guests I met a yoga instructor who learned the traditional science of yoga at a renowned school under a reputed guru. The combination of breathing exercises, asanas and meditation were both physically and spiritually an undescribed experience.  It’s been therapeutic for my brother who has recuperated faster than anticipated.
Shilpi and Manish have created an ambience and space that caters to the requirements of people; professional and personal. Needless to say that I look forward to coming back to Cinnamon Stays next summer and enjoying the hospitality of our wonderful hosts and par taking of this rejuvenating ambience. 

(Picture Courtesy -

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Cinnamon For Parents of Residential Schools in Gurgaon

I had to make a tough choice. My daughter was in Grade 7 and she had already moved 9 schools in the past 9 years of her formal schooling. My husband being in the Army had moved those many stations. When she was younger, it was easier to move her. Notwithstanding the fact that my 12 year old became very adaptable, flexible and resilient in life, we got thinking that if she was to flourish holistically, she needed a school in a place that would help her focus on her future than being accepted in the next school. The choice was made easier when my husband was transferred to the north eastern part of the country where schooling would be compromised. 
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We were seeking stability and after much thought, we roped into a prestigious school located at Sohna Road Gurgaon. One complete term had passed since she started her Boarding School. It was time to visit her for her 3 day break and I was very eager to see my doll’s face, meet her teachers and spend time with her. Being a long weekend plus 3 full days off from school, I wasn’t too keen on booking a hotel. The long weekend meant either over booked or over priced rooms.

My friend finally suggested that I visit Cinnamon Stays, a homestay run by the husband - wife duo Manish and Shilpi. I had never been a guest at anyone’s place before, leave alone strangers. Albeit hesitatingly, I put in a call. I was told that I was more than welcome to stay and before I knew it, I was on my way to visit my daughter hoping for a satisfying stay at Cinnamon.

I was in for a surprise as Cinnamon scored way beyond expectations. When I entered the place, the first thing that struck me was the genuine smile of every person I encountered - staff as well as other guests. Let me list down why Cinnamon Stays seems to be the ideal place for visiting parents of hosteliers and boarders of nearby schools.

  1. Located very close to the school
The biggest advantage is where Cinnamon is located. My daughter’s school - G D Goenka is walking distance away. Staying here, it took away the stress of having to travel in Gurgaon. I could just take an auto and I was there in no time. In fact a couple of times, Shilpi even dropped me off since she was going the same way. Convenience of being so close to the school premises saved me a lot of time and money. This is not just true for G D Goenka but even Pathways that is close to Cinnamon.

(Picture Courtesy - Pathways School, Gurgaon)

(Picture Courtesy - GD Goenka School, Gurgaon)

2.           Rooms with character
As I was completing the check in formalities, Shilpi gave me a choice of choosing the room since that day two double rooms were available. One look at both the rooms and I knew my teenage daughter would love to stay at the Bollywood room. I had missed my daughter immensely and making her stay in a room that reminded her of her space back home was a huge value add. You should have seen the delight on her face when I first brought her in! 

3.           Flexibility of spending time with the child
With a thousand errands to run in the school, we were walking in and out of the homestay at odd hours. But the staff did everything to make us comfortable. Imagine they would serve us breakfast at 7am and even pack snacks for my daughter. I had never experienced hospitality of this kind. It was something I took away as learning!

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4.           Handy tips to move around Gurgaon
It was the first time both my daughter and I were in Gurgaon. With ample time in hand, we wanted to do a lot of stuff. Advice can pour in from all ends and internet can confuse you to the bits. It was then that Shilpi stepped in and took us through what we were really interested in. She helped us shortlist places, gave us tips on local travel and even introduced us to some of her friends and acquaintances. The personal touch will remain with me forever!

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5.           Home made meals
One thing that my daughter missed the most is “ghar ka khana” and I missed cooking for her. Being served authentic home made meals brought a big satiating smile to our faces. This is not all, I so wanted to feed my daughter my signature brownies. Guess what! Shilpi decided that I should bake in the kitchen and also let her chef have a “dekho”. It was the most heartening thing for me as I saw every person in the homestay gobble up my brownies!

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6.           New Guardians / Friends
Saying good byes is never easy when it comes to children. As the days to go back home started approaching, I was a bundle of nerves. Shilpi(later I was told is also an Executive  Coach), sat me down and we spoke at length on parenting and motherhood. Her assurances of being there for my daughter made me feel secure.

For all its worth, Shilpi and Manish understood my requirement as a parent. I would recommend all visiting parents to stay with them only because they “connect” and “feel” what you are going through with your children.