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British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than advertised, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.

Seven British pensioners - five individuals and one married couple - meet on a flight from England to Jaipur, India, where they have all made the decision to live at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a new luxurious but inexpensive seniors facility located on the outskirts of the city and which is geared at their white, English demographic. They each independently saw it advertised, and each has an issue in their life which has prompted them to make this change in scenery. Evelyn is just widowed, and is now emotionally and financially lost as she had for her entire married life depended on her husband for almost everything. Married couple Jean and Douglas lost much of their retirement savings on a bad investment and have had to downgrade their retirement expectations. Muriel, who only trusts white Brits, is reluctantly going to expedite her needed hip replacement, which she can have done immediately in a transfer program with an Indian facility or else endure the several months in pain on the British health care system waiting list. Madge, between husbands, needs to escape her married daughter's home, where she is treated largely as the babysitter, to find the next in a long line of lovers/husbands. Norman is somewhat a less sexually successful male version of Madge, he a lonely man who wants a new collection of unsuspecting women who may not be wise to his old and tired pickup moves. They all look largely to Graham, a just retired judge, as their guide, who grew up close to Jaipur and wants to return to the sweet side of his bittersweet child and young adulthood memories, namely the love of his life who he has not seen since that time, while dealing with the aftermath of the bitter side. Upon their arrival, they find that Sonny, the hotel manager and minority co-owner of the hotel, has misrepresented the luxury and new side of the hotel, that representation which he ultimately wants it to be based on his business plan that western countries, like Britain, will want to "outsource" the needs of their elderly. As the seven adjust their lives to their new reality while dealing with Sonny and their own personal issues, Sonny has to appease: the residents; his two Delhi residing brother majority co-owners whose interests are represented by their hard as nails mother, who does not approve of Sonny's choice of a wife, Sunaina, despite never having met her; and potential investors, whose money he needs to achieve his less than easily achievable business dream, the current new residents which he hopes to use as props to show how successful his plan can be.


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