Hotels in Rajasthan, India: Best Hotels from Our Reconnaissance 2010

Maggie and Lincoln toured Rajasthan for a couple weeks in August, visiting new hotels, re-visiting existing hotels (to keep an eye on their maintenance!) and generally just scouting around to keep up to speed with new developments in India’s most visited state. Here is a little wrap of what we found (Maggie’s more detailed observations will follow in our next newsletter, which you can sign up for here):

Raas in Jodhpur is quite new – amazing location immediately beneath Mehrangarh Fort, with uninterrupted views of it. Amazing stone work (all done by hand, they say) creates a sort of modern day haveli feel. Rooms are very plush with baths looking on to the fort. Restaurant and pool both have great views, spa to open soon. Pricey but classy

Rawla Narlai is an oldie but a goodie. Great spot underneath the rocky hill of Narlai, with its famous temples. Nice pool, lovely common spaces/gardens, slightly sleepy staff (but that all fits with the experience). Rooms small but charming.

Devra is Udaipur is a real find. Out of town, but that’s ok for people who have been on the road for a couple weeks and want a break from the hustle (hassle?) of being in the middle of the city. Lovely hosts, simple but elegant rooms, lovely garden/setting/views, homely, personalised feel but with space to relax.

Shahpura Bagh has gigantic, art deco styled rooms. I have never seen higher ceilings than this! Hosts are friendly, sophisticated and regal all at the same time. Beautiful garden and lake, perfect for strolling and bird watching. Infinity pool with the ‘fold out’ 5pm bar sealed it for me.

Fort Barli is a like your own little palace. Genuine heritage fort, owned and run by the family, but with some modern touches like the pool (built into one of bastions) and refurbished dining room. The small town surrounding the fort is great for a walk, bicycle or bullock cart ride through.

Most fabulous, forget the price:

Taj Lake Palace because it’s the Taj Lake Palace.

New Leela Kempinski in Udaipur, because it is a modern day palace.

Best value:

Devra, if you are ok to stay out of town and to skip the heritage/haveli stay by Lake Pichola.

Pal Haveli in Jodhpur, because of its central location and immaculately clean rooms. Reserve a rooftop table for dinner when you check-in, the restaurant has the best views but gets busy.

Ratan Vilas, at about Rs 4000 per night, has very clean, simple but elegant rooms. Lovely courtyard dining area. They are adding a pool and more rooms, hopefully they don’t lose the intimacy of the property.

Special mention for most unadulterated heritage hotel – Phool Mahal Palace in Kishangarh. Fantastic spot underneath the fort and with views over the lake, across to a suitably crumbling (small) lake palace. Rooms are dated but that’s why it’s charming. Very grand sitting room would be perfect for afternoon G & T’s. Standby for this to be part of our forthcoming ‘Faded Glory’ itinerary.