Five Star India can be found even in the desert of Rajasthan. Reggie’s Camel Camp was arranged through our travel agency during my first visit to India in 2005. Billed as a two day rest stop, my travel partner and I had no idea how grand this property would be.
Reggie’s Camel Camp is just outside of the small village of Osian, located in the Thar Desert, Indian state of Rajasthan. Surrounded by a massive fort wall, the property is set on the first sand dune of the Thar Desert overlooking the region below. A reception hall welcomed y us as we passed the main gates. Drivers bring you to the end of the parking lot where they unload your luggage and are quickly waved off. Their destination is the driver room for the duration of the guest’s stay. We walked up to the reception desk where we were greeted by Reggie himself. Refreshments were quickly brought to us to enjoy during the customary Indian check in process.
By the time we finished the check-in process, our bags had been moved by the plethora staff. A short walk and tour of the property was given to head off any disorientation later. On the night we stayed, just 3 of the 40+ tents were occupied leaving the camp oddly cold. The camp is set up with rows of tents on each side of the reflecting pool and a few private guests homes. We were placed on the left tent row with just one other couple on our side but far enough away we never saw them.
As we walked toward the tents my concerns about toilet facilities was starting to ease. Once inside the tent and all cares were gone. I was quietly laughing on the inside as I looked around the tent…here were two beds, a nightstand, a dresser, a small wicker love-seat, and a luggage rack crammed into this space, yet, two of us had plenty of room to move. The bathroom was in the rear hidden by a wall of fabric with a zipper down the middle. Zip back the wall and with great surprise we found indoor plumbing. And not just plumbing but a stone floor with a sunken shower area complete with hot water, a sink and a Western toilet. Tent perfection.
Dinner was served in the common area near the swimming pool. In front of the mess hall is a rather large floored courtyard with tables and chairs set around. This proved to be the entertainment area pre-dinner. Wine and appetizers were offered a the table by Reggie where he suggested and I accepted my first glass of Indian wine. Delicious. Entertainment consisted of a traditional Rajasthani dancing accompanied by a band. As with many buffet dinners in India, spices are used at a minimum to please the palette of the majority. That said, the food was not great but it certainly was not bad; it just didn’t suit my need for more spices.
Back at the tent after dinner, the lack of other guests left an eerie feeling about the camp. We could hear the staff rustling behind the tents as if they were trying to anticipate our needs and run the unspoken order to be processed. The next morning we were awoken early to enjoy the pre-sunrise camel safari arranged and managed by the Camel Camp itself. Chai was brought to the tent which helped energize the early hour. After the safari, we were brought back to enjoy a late breakfast/early lunch that we decided to take on the lawn near the mess hall. A small table was nicely set for two. Surprisingly we were offered a made to order meal given the main breakfast service was complete. During our wait, my travel partner and I met one of the other couples staying here. They were lounging by the pool that offers bird’s eye views of the Desert. Unlike the two of us, the couple were enjoying a week long rest at the camp.
Before breakfast we had decided two days was too long for the restless hearts in us. My partner and I wanted to get on to our next adventure, see some more forts and experience more “authentic” venues. We informed Reggie of our decision which I felt he took as a black mark toward his character. It was hard to explain to him we were actually turning down 5 star India in search of more pollution, crowded markets, blaring horns and hawkers desperately trying to sell us unwanted product.
Should my travels in India ever take me back near Reggie’s Camel Camp, I would definitely stay again. A good book and some wine after a few hectic weeks on the road would make this property the ultimate destination. For anyone that is more attuned to R & R by the pool for a lengthy period, this would be a great alternative to the usual Rajasthan hustle and bustle itineraries. Reggie Singh, Camel Camp owner, is a soft spoken yet authoritative person. His passion for his property and the happiness of his guests is apparent in a smooth, understated manner. The Camel Camp was and is a unique option for lodging.
More at www.fullstopindia.com
Sort by: Most recent | Most helpful