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How Likely to Get Sick Staying/Eating in Luxury Hotels?

How Likely to Get Sick Staying/Eating in Luxury Hotels?

Old Apr 16, 16, 7:35 pm
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How Likely to Get Sick Staying/Eating in Delhi Luxury Hotels?

I'm traveling with wife and teenage kids to Delhi shortly and wondering how likely one or all of us are to get sick, even eating in luxury hotels in Delhi.

We're hearty travelers who eat from taco stands in Mexico, etc., but I've been told to expect that in a 9 day trip we'll all get sick for several days. Is that really to be expected or just prepared for?

Last edited by surfguy7; Apr 17, 16 at 1:31 am
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Old Apr 17, 16, 6:01 am
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I wouldn't say it's likely, but probably best to be prepared and cautious. 5* hotels in India are very careful about food handling. I've been to India a few times, staying in a combination of 4 and 5 star hotels, homestays and safari lodges and have not got ill yet, and I don't have a particularly strong stomach. People generally recommend eating yoghurt (which they call curd) with meals, and avoiding salad /fruit that you eat the peel of (though I have eaten salad and fruit without problem in 5* hotels) and not eating street food. Vary eating Indian and western food, as eating spicy food constantly when you're not used to it is likely to upset your stomach irrespective of hygiene issues. Also, if you are taking anti-malarial drugs, these can upset your stomach, so do follow the instructions on how to take them.
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Old Apr 17, 16, 9:41 am
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No matter how good the place, I'd follow the basic rule of ordering stuff that's been freshly cooked and in particular, avoid buffets.

That said, I've found that after a couple of trips to India your stomach will probably get adjusted and you won't have to be so cautious.
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Old Apr 18, 16, 3:09 am
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Some of it depends on how much you eat spicy food.

Otherwise, I go by these rules:
  • Eat vegetarian food for the first few days - or the whole time. It's so good in India, particularly the south, you don't find yourself missing meat.
  • Dhal and curd rice are great for settling your stomach - and a good general accompaniment to make sure you have a get out clause should something prove hotter than you imagined.
  • Be paranoid about water. Make sure you only drink water from safe sources - and make sure you see the seal on the bottle. If something has been washed in water, be wary. Watch how locals drink water - without the bottle touching their lips.
  • Look out for how your cup/glass has been washed.
  • Look out for mist sprays to cool eating areas down. You never know what the source of this water is.
  • Verging on the paranoid again, but brushing your teeth using bottled water can help.
  • I tend to trust Indian food a lot more than "Continental" food.

Following these rules, I haven't gone badly wrong. I'll make exception for early meat if I'm having a mutton biryani in Hyderabad (sorry, it's just hard to miss out, and I've never gone wrong with Paradise...)

Personally, I don't have a problem with street food (after acclimatising a little), but you need to follow your common sense, which you probably have from your intro. Is it popular? How hygienic is the preparation? How is it cooked? Are the plates/glasses disposable? If not, how are they washed? How clean are your hands? I know it's a risk, but I hate to miss out on vada pav, kathi roll, pani puri, all sorts of chaat and bhelpuri...
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Old Apr 19, 16, 5:06 am
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Very much appreciate the experienced advice, folks. Thanks.
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Old Apr 19, 16, 8:40 am
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i wouldn't worry too much about food in luxury hotels....but just stick to bottled water....
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Old Apr 20, 16, 11:06 am
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I was born there and moved to CA years ago. Stick to bottled water and you'll be fine.

Street food is a slippery slope. Its best avoided but, hey, its delicious.
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Old Apr 20, 16, 12:12 pm
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Wash your hands often - Lot's of issues arise from putting your fingers in/near your mouth. In long established 5 star hotels you can pretty much anything (as staff is typically very well trained in food hygiene) but be careful with 4 and newly opened 5 stars.

Eat yogurt.

When very sick visit a pharmacy or doctor immediately. With the right antibiotic you can be over it in about 24 hours - without it can take 5-7 days of agony.
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Old Apr 25, 16, 2:01 am
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Originally Posted by Keyser View Post
i wouldn't worry too much about food in luxury hotels....but just stick to bottled water....
Make sure you brush your teeth with bottled water and when in the shower or swimming make sure not to open your mouth. This is the primary reason why my kids get sick in India.

Outside of luxury hotels you have a few fundamental problems: even though the tea may be made properly, the cup used was probably washed in water that is not fit for westerners, so you get a dollop of germs there. The western body can take a certain amount of germs, after which the immune system (weakened by the jetlag, heat, new impressions, stress etc) breaks down and flushes the system.
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Old Apr 29, 16, 5:14 pm
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Originally Posted by surfguy7 View Post
I'm traveling with wife and teenage kids to Delhi shortly and wondering how likely one or all of us are to get sick, even eating in luxury hotels in Delhi.

We're hearty travelers who eat from taco stands in Mexico, etc., but I've been told to expect that in a 9 day trip we'll all get sick for several days. Is that really to be expected or just prepared for?
I had some pretty severe fears, but found that they were unfounded. Stayed at luxury hotels and ate everything on offer, including salads and fruits. Didnt eat in any local restaurants or food stands. TO read more about our experience, see my below Trip Report: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...ng-hotels.html

Since then went to India a second time, followed the same routine, and neither of us got sick at all.
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Old Apr 29, 16, 11:44 pm
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Thanks for everyone's advice. We spent a great week in Delhi, Agra and Amritsar and had no problems. We all loved the food, even my kids to my surprise. We ate only at hotels, restaurants geared to foreigners (including in the Khan Market in Delhi) and the Indian casual dining chain Haldiram's.
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Old Apr 30, 16, 5:22 am
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Glad to hear you had a good trip and that the kids enjoyed it. Haldirams is reliably good - my parents always ask me to bring them back sweets when I go to India, and I usually try to seek out a branch of Haldirams for this.

Am off to India myself later in the year and looking forward to the amazing food!
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Old Apr 30, 16, 8:14 am
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I honestly feel you should get there go and have a pani puri from the road side and get it out your system. Then you are immune for the rest of the trip
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Old Jan 7, 17, 4:32 am
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Or eat road side food the last couple days of your journey. I am going soon and cant wait to try right from the get go, though my kids may not withstand it easily.
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Old Jan 7, 17, 9:27 pm
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Last edited by desi; Jan 8, 17 at 12:40 pm
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