‘The Camellia’ is a lovely homestay located at Chaltlang in Aizawl, Mizoram. It was launched just recently and we chatted with the manager, Daisy Fanai to get more details about the place. “The Camellia is really a family venture,” said Daisy. The piece of land where it is built was gifted to her mom by the grandfather who was the chief of Chaltlang. It was Daisy’s late grandmother’s favourite flower – the camellia and that’s how the name was formed. Their aim is to welcome every customer with utmost kindness and hospitality. Let’s find out everything about this cozy homestay!
We had a chat with Daisy Finai, manager of her family’s Airbnb, ‘The Camellia’ to get more details about the place, it’s specialties, services, etc!
Hello! Introduce a little about yourself.
Hello! My name is Daisy Fanai and first of all I want to thank you for giving us this opportunity. I’m from Mizoram and currently living here in Aizawl. I did most of my schooling in Calcutta and New Delhi. I studied English Hons for a while at Lady Shri Ram College but I dropped out after two years and went on to study Hotel Management at IIHM (International Institute of Hotel Management) in Calcutta. Right now, I’m the manager of our Airbnb – The Camellia.
Tell us about ‘The Camellia’. When was it launched?
Our Airbnb was launched in April 2019 – yes, just last month. We’re still very new! It started off when my parents decided to build a house on the land my mother inherited from my late grandmother
The front area of The Camellia at Mizoram
What is the story behind the name?
The name of our Airbnb is very special to us as a family, especially to my mother because we named it after my late grandmother’s favourite flower – the camellia. And since the house is built on the land that my grandmother gave to my mother, it just seemed like the right fit!
What do you think is special about The Camellia?
A little about the history of this particular land – you see, my mother’s paternal grandfather was the “Lal” which means “Chief” of Chaltlang (which is the name of the locality) and a number of nearby villages and he had quite a bit of land located at Chaltlang and neighboring villages. And hence distributed all of it amongst his children. This piece of land was inherited by my late grandfather. And my mother’s parents passed it on to their children. This whole piece of land was named “Middle Mist” by my grandmother after her favourite camellia flower – middle mist. Most of my mother’s siblings live in this ‘colony’. Growing up, all the kids would always go there since a lot of our cousins lived there. So the place is very special to us in so many ways, which is why even with the decor of the place we did not hire any interior decorator/designer. We wanted it to look like how we would like to decorate our own home. We have decorated it with a mix of new and old things – some of the decor in the house has been taken from our current home that we don’t want to throw away just yet. And we try to incorporate “Mizo” traditional items as well. Some of my friends even say that “No you’re putting way too many nice things, it’s just a guest house” but that is not our goal. Our goal is to create a cozy and warm environment where guests can feel at home – a home away from home sort of feeling. Which is one of the reasons why it took us so long to officially open our doors to the public but we hope it’s for the best. Our goal is for our guests to feel completely at home at our Airbnb.
How has your upbringing influenced the elements of your home-stay?
The Camellia is really a family venture. My dad and mom, my three siblings have put a lot of work into it. And even while growing up, with my dad’s job, we moved around a lot. And got to stay in amazing places. Wherever we went, we always managed to make it a home regardless of how long we were staying. And I think that is important. I hope that the people who do decide to come and stay at The Camellia will feel the same way – to be comfortable and to feel at home.
What are the challenges you faced while running your Airbnb and learnt so far?
Right now, the real challenge is “Is this going to work? Are people going to like what we’re trying to sell here?” But to be honest, it is still very new and is still a fixer-upper. We hope to live up to a certain standard of hospitality. And one thing I’ve learned so far is to be optimistic!
What kind of service, amenities do you provide? And what’s the most advantage of staying at your place?
Our Airbnb, we offer the whole house which they can rent for a few days or for a whole month. Or they can even book one room – but even if they just book a room, they still have access to the whole house – the kitchen, the lounge area/family room or the little book nook right upstairs near the terrace. Just not the other rooms if other people are there. There are 3 bedrooms – 2 double bedrooms with attached bathrooms and 1 single room. There are 2 other common area bathrooms. We have a full working kitchen where guests can cook their own meals. We do provide basic breakfast items like tea/coffee/bread/milk/eggs. Guests have the luxury of cooking their own meals. We also have free WiFi and parking in the premises.
Another special thing about our Airbnb is that we have a little book nook . Growing up in a house with three avid book lovers – my paternal grandfather, my dad and my mom – it is no wonder that me and my siblings have taken a big way to books – we all love and enjoy reading so much that we incorporated our love for books here. The Camellia is literally now the home to our books – old ones and new ones. The book nook is on the top floor of the house and guests can read in any quiet corner of the house. Also, we love food! My grandmother who is in her mid 80s still cooks for the family. Our future goal for our Airbnb is to incorporate a book cafe – where guests can enjoy our food while they enjoy our books as well!