- Reviews: 3
Heritage Accommodations in Rajasthan
India has some of the most stunning heritage accommodations in the world. While the usual quirky accommodation options are difficult to come by in India, the country is replete with some fascinating royal properties that have been subsequently converted into opulent and classy heritage accommodations. Some of these stay options are grand palaces that have been transformed into luxury and boutique hotels post extensive restoration and preservation processes. Others are kothis and havelis which are examples of architectural marvels on a smaller scale and lovely colonial mansions in charming hill stations surrounded by swirling white mist over verdant tea gardens. Most of the country’s oldest and finest palace hotels are situated in Rajasthan and are a reflection of the significantly wealthy royalty that once occupied them though there are many others elsewhere throughout India. Most of the heritage havelis in India have been converted into places of tourist attractions and hotels. The architecture of havelis is influenced by Islamic Persian, Central Asian and Indian Architecture. Havelis in Rajasthan are noted for particularly beautiful frescoes depicting images of gods and goddesses, animals, scenes from British colonisation and life stories of Lord Rama and Krishna and typically contain a courtyard with a fountain in the centre, jharokhas (balconies) and archways.
This article will offer readers a glimpse into some of the most stunning heritage accommodations in the state of Rajasthan in India; both palace hotels and the haveli accommodations.
A beautifully restored luxury hotel operated by the Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, the Jai Mahal Palace dates back to 1745 AD and was once the residence of the Prime Ministers of Jaipur. It started operating as a hotel in 1955, making it one of India's first palace hotels. It is set amidst beautiful landscaped gardens spread over 18 acres. Located not far from the railway station to the west of the Old City, it is close to historical monuments and the main shopping centre. It has a hundred rooms including deluxe and luxury rooms with private sit-outs, deluxe suites and deluxe premium suites. It also has a conference hall and two board rooms and Mughal gardens for hosting large parties and events like wedding ceremonies.
Another impressive Taj Group hotel, the Rambagh Palace, is also referred to as the ‘Jewel of Jaipur’. Home to the erstwhile royal family for over 30 years, it has rooms overlooking courtyards with serene fountains, airy verandahs and balconies, idyllic lawns and an intimate lobby for guests. The hotel is set amidst 47 acres of lush verdant gardens to the south of the Old City. It was once voted as the Best Hotel in Asia and in the Indian subcontinent. Double occupancy for two nights in the palace rooms will cost Rs 55,000, Rs 60,000 in the historical suite and Rs 1,05,000 in the royal suite.
Built in 1727 AD, the Raj Palace Hotel is also Jaipur's oldest mansion. It is centrally located in an area to the north of the Old City heading towards the Amber Fort. The breathtakingly beautiful Durbar Mahal Suite in the hotel was actually used by the Maharaja himself and was acknowledged as ‘Asia's Leading Suite’ in the 2008 World Travel Awards. Tariffs for respective rooms on a double occupancy basis are as follows: Rs 33,000 for a heritage room, Rs 45,000 for a historical room, Rs 69,000 for a prestige suite, Rs 3,00,000 for the palace suite, Rs 9,00,000 for the Maharajah Pavillion and Rs 27,00,000 for the Shahi Mahal! It is worth mentioning that the Shahi Mahal or the presidential suite is the second most expensive hotel suite in the world after the Royal Penthouse Suite at Hotel President Wilson in Geneva.
Almost one hour to the northwest of Jaipur is the Samode Palace Hotel, built right into the Aravalli Ranges. This 475-year-old royal retreat has lavishly decorated rooms with intricate frescoes and stunning mirrored mosaics, courtyards and arching doorways and hand-painted halls. The 24 suites and 19 rooms are furnished with traditional four-poster beds, deep bathtubs and antique furniture, seamlessly blending old-world charm and modern luxury. At nightfall, the hotel and its surroundings are enchantingly illuminated.
Spanning a natural area of 4 acres on the Jag Niwas Island in Lake Pichola is the Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur. Formerly known as Jag Niwas, this regal luxury hotel has 66 rooms and 17 suites with walls of white marble. It was constructed as a royal summer palace at the behest of Maharaja Jagat Singh II of Udaipur, Rajasthan. It was built between 1743 and 1746 AD. Bhagwat Singh first decided to convert the property into Udaipur’s first luxury hotel. In 1971 the Taj Group assumed control over the management and added 75 rooms to the existing ones. It is accessible by boat only. The exquisite rooms and suites in white marble offer the perfect ambience with intimate balconies, traditional ornate jhoolas and large windows offering spectacular views of the lake and the Aravallis. The Lake Palace Hotel, with its incredible location, impeccable service, riveting architecture and stunning views, has consistently remained the favourite of many. It was also once voted as the most romantic hotel in India and the world and has also been used for shooting numerous movies, both national and international. Many guests of international acclaim have stayed here. As per current rates, a luxury room would cost Rs 53,000 for 2 nights, a palace room Rs 60,000 and a royal suite Rs 1,05,000.
The Umaid Bhawan Palace is another magnificent retreat located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. It is one of the world’s largest private residences. A part of the palace is managed by the Taj Hotels and is named the Taj Umaid Bhavan Palace Hotel. The palace itself is divided into three functional segments, the luxury hotel, a museum and the residence of the erstwhile royal family. Built in traditional style, this majestic accommodation has beautifully carved balconies, attractive courtyards, open terraces and rooms with antique furnishings. While the palace rooms are available for Rs 55,000, the historical suite and the royal suite are available at Rs 60,000 and Rs 1,05,000 respectively.
The Laxmi Niwas Palace, the former residence of the king of former Bikaner state, was built between 1898 and 1902. This splendid structure in red sandstone is now a luxury hotel and also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bikaner. There are royal deluxe rooms (Rs 10,500), palace rooms (Rs 14,500), historical suite (Rs 22,000) and royal suite (Rs 31,000), two restaurants, a spa, reading rooms, pools, a billiards room and facilities to host conferences, weddings and other corporate events and film shootings. Rates are lower during the off season.
Though Jaisalmer offers the most number of haveli stay options, they can be found elsewhere too. These are usually suited to those travellers who wish to experience a feel of the bygone era on a budget. The havelis were generally home to the wazirs, i.e. ministers and landlords. Some of the famous ones at Jaisalmer are Patwon ji ki Haveli, which is actually a group of 5 small havelis, Nathmal ji ki Haveli and Salim ji ki Haveli, although they are only tourist attractions and not stay options. Yet while visiting them one can get an idea of what to expect if they want to stay in a haveli accommodation during their visit.
The Samode Haveli is a 400 year old grand mansion in Jaipur that has been transformed into a boutique hotel. Its simplistic style exudes romance and charm. Meticulously restored, this haveli has 3 royal suites, 15 deluxe suites and 25 deluxe rooms adorned with rich Indian tapestries and antique furnishings and its classic décor has a comfortable, soothing appeal. Its architecture is a fusion of the Rajput and the Mughal styles. Room rates are lower from April to September and during local fairs and festivals.
The Nachana Haveli in the Golden City of Jaisalmer in far west Thar Desert was built by Maharaja Kesri Singh ji, then officiating Maharawal of the town. Built in the 18th century, this sandstone haveli has beautiful rooms with arched ceilings; tall single stone carved columns with intricate stone carvings, beautiful courtyards with swings and fountains with colourful bougainvilleas creeping up the walls. The restaurant has stunning views of the fort and the palace. The deluxe rooms cost Rs 4,200; suites cost Rs 5,100 with rates being lower from April to June and subject to change during fairs and festivals.
The Amet Haveli in Udaipur is a 350-year-old building on the western shores of Lake Pichola. The delightful rooms with cushioned window seats and coloured glass shutters offer panoramic views of the lake, Jagdish Temple, Gangaur Ghat, Lake Palace, Jag Mandir and Sajjangarh Fort. There is a pretty little courtyard and a pond on the premises. Another beautiful stay option, the Royal Heritage Haveli was built by His Highness, Madho Singhji of Jaipur in the 18th century. It is complete with rambling lawns, serene courtyards, plush, cosy interiors and stately living spaces. The large, luxurious suites are furnished with antique furniture upholstered in silk and velvet. One can also check out the Alsisar Haveli, built in 1892, a nobleman’s house in Jaipur which was converted into a heritage hotel in 1994. It has 45 graceful rooms well-equipped with all modern amenities and comforts while still retaining the finesse of traditional Rajput architecture that is evident in the intricately carved four poster beds and delicate ethnic motifs on the fabrics.
There are a number of other delightful heritage accommodations elsewhere in India. My next article will feature one such stay option in Pondicherry. Can you guess which one it is?
- Reviews: 805
Siliserh Lake Palace Alwar: Siliserh Lake Palace Alwar
Constructed by Maharaja Vinay Singh in 1845 AD, Siliserh Lake spans over a wide expansion of 7 sq kms. This lake poses as an imposing backdrop to the Siliserh palace, which has been converted in to a heritage hotel. With a splendid regal palace, the lake has an inspiring mix of breathtaking beauty and architectural charisma. This pretty lake is festooned with domed cenotaphs, which themselves boast of a grandeur in architecture.
View of green hill and lake some water birds.
- Reviews: 805
Hotel Lal Niwas Phalodi: Haveli Lal Niwas Phalodi
Lal niwas built in 1750, is a splendid example of a heritage haveli, a rich merchant's mansion, with intricate Jalli work in red sandstone with the order of workmanship.Traditional haveli rooms with wooden ceilings.
Swimming Pool, mini bar, multi-cuisine restaurant, view on the town from the roof top. around the hotel some of beautiful havelies to see.
- Reviews: 412
Some suggestions...........: Hotels we enjoyed in Rajasthan
I now list some of the good hotels that we stayed at in Rajasthan. Complete reviews with photos and tariffs can be seen on the pages of the individual cities.
In Jodhpur - Haveli Inn Pal
In Jaisalmer - Mandir Palace Hotel
In Sawai Madhopur (for Rantahmbore National Park) - Castle Jhoomer Baori
In Bikaner - Hotel Sagar
In Jaipur- Hotel Bissau Palace
In Bundi - Kasera Heritage View
In Udaipur - Jaiwana Haveli Hotel
- Reviews: 805
Rohetgarh Palace: Palace in the Rural area
The Rohetgarh Fort was built in the 16th century by Thakur Dalpat Singh of the Rathore clan.A part of this grand fort has now been converted into a heritage hotel.The floor is covered with the most beautiful Persian carpets and the ceilings are decorated with the most gorgeous chandeliers. The walls have been decorated with an amazing collection of great paintings and rare photographs.The Rohetgarh fort is an exquisite example of a smooth blend of the rich culture of Rajasthan with the modern world.
it is a haven of peace and tranquility. Sprawling lawns and manicured gardens, which invite a multitude of birds and dancing peacocks.A superb swimming pool with four charming pavilions entices you for a refreshing dip. Often dinner is served by the poolside as folk musicians enliven the evening atmosphere.
- Reviews: 805
Pokran Fort: Heritge Hotel
The fort has innumerable wells, grain stores and a beautiful dining hall that was built in the second half of the 19th century. The large courtyard of the fort also houses a small temple dedicated to goddess Durga. All rooms are air-conditioned and have modern facilities. The Royal Apartments, further classified as Badal Mahal, Basant Mahal, Sharad Mahal and Mandir Mahal, are opulent and fit for a king.
It offers Shrinagar Chowk, a Garden Restaurant that serves traditional desert cuisine, offers a warm and serene ambience surrounded by a village feel. One can also enjoy high tea and snacks at Turrets.Swimming pool, view on city and desert.
- Reviews: 805
Nawal Sagar Palace Bundi: Lake Side Heritage Hotel
Palace tipe rooms with Painting, big bathroom, comfort bed, walking destance to the Bundi Palace and old town.
Lake view Resturant, Green garden, Bundi palace view from balcony and rooftop.
- Reviews: 412
Take your pick!!: Wide Choice
There are hotels (all classes) back-packer hostels, Guest-Houses and Government Rest Houses available everywhere in Rajasthan.We have never had to book anywhere in advance., especially in the most frequented areas like Udaipur,Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Jaipur.Strolling around, you will find any manner of accomodation available. Just pop in, ask if there is a room available, check it out, and if you like what you see - stay there.
Most hotels are quite willing to keep your luggage safe while you look around the area at other possible acomodation. Many wonderful old havelis and palaces have been converted into hotels or geust houses- , and are priced to suit all budgets. The rooms are often all different, which makes for some interesting surprises.
Of course, we have by now quite a few "favourite" hotels or guest- houses - and we always stay there when we re-visit anywhere in Rajasthan.
I have listed these under the appropriate pages (cities). My very favourite place to stay, though is Hotel Jaiwana Haveli in Udaipur. Its my home away from home.
- Reviews: 1779
Laxmi Niwas Palace: Sleep in the maharajah’s bed!
Well, not his bed, but in his palace, in a big bed, in a big room, and enjoy the exotic architecture of a Rajasthani palace. Not exactly an old historical palace as this was built in 1902 by Lord Swinton Jacob, in a “Anglo-scenic” style, a blend of Rajput and European architecture and decoration for Maharajah Ganga Singhi.
Lord Mountbatten, Queen Mary and lots of other dignitaries or celebrities stayed here, and now Kokoryko was here too!! (haha)!
Arriving at this palace, you are welcomed by guards in traditional dress, and all is done to make you feel like a real VIP (which, for the price you pay, you may not expect), you can choose your room, when several are available, a butler helps you making yourself comfortable, etc, etc. . . and all usual amenities you expect from an international standard hotel (except Internet connection, but when I travel, I forget about “modern” world!). Breakfast was great.
And, last, but not least, you can visit this palace (which was a palace, before being “converted” into a hotel), discover the wonderful architecture, the exquisite stone carvings of this building (other tip).
- Reviews: 240
MANDAWA Desert Resort: Classic medieval heritage
Founded in the mid 18th century Manawa skyline today is dominated by an imposing mirage like fort now a heritage hotel that is maintained in the classic medieval theme with the modern luxuries. The painted archway is painted with interesting forms of paintings of Lord Krishna and his cowherds. The sprawling architecture houses a different theme in different wings. The spacious rooms are adorned by intricate interior wall paintings and mirror work with open terrace that offers a panoramic view of the whole town. The women folks of the Mandawa family who lived in a royal style once used this floor. The ambiences of those years still linger around the rooms. The Mandawa family has a unique collection of their preserved paintings and antiques that adorn the main huge hall in the centre of the castle, originally the durbar hall and now an exotic lounge. The ceremonial costumes of the family collection and the precious arms with handle of jade and beautiful curios brought by the British as a gift for the nobles are well placed like a showcase of a museum. The hotel is well equipped with modern facilities in an ethnic set-up. A night stay is an experience in itself with thematic evenings and oriented and medieval cuisine. The warm hospitality is touching.
The fort of Mandawa was founded in the 18th century. Nawal Singh son of Shardul Singh founded the fort in vikram samvat 1812 (1755 AD). The fort dominates the town with a painted arched gateway adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows. The Chokhani and Ladia havelis and the street with Saraf havelis are some examples of this region's fresco painted havelis.
Mandu Jat founded Mandawa village. He first established a dhani (hamlet) and dug a well here, which was completed on savan badi 5 samvat 1797 (1740 AD) (source – Shekhawati Bodh, Mandawa special issue, July 2005). Initially this place was known as ‘Mandu ki dhani’, ‘Mandu ka bas’ or ‘Manduwas’ which changed to ‘Manduwa’, ‘Mandwa’ and finally ‘Mandawa’.
- Reviews: 240
K H I M S A R F O R T: AN OASIS OF PEACE
Unspoilt and well preserved like a royal manor, this fort is spread over eleven acres of sprawling lawns, orchard and open courtyards. A refreshing Caravanserai on your travel route. An ideal two-night break from the hustle and bustle of polluted and cramped cities . Welcome to the hinterland of India- the real, unspoilt rural India. Sunbathe and laze around our exquisite swimming pool which is uniquely conceptualized amidst the ruins, stables and turrets of the fort. Sip a Margarita at the poolside bar. The health club helps overcome the fatigue encountered during the journey through the desert. Relax with a herbal oil massage and enjoy the steam or sauna bath. The pool lawns enable you to ‘croquet’ away in the peace, oblivious to other distractions around you. Unwind yourself by watching a movie at the home theatre or try your hand at a game of Tennis . Walk into the handicraft shops with selected articles personally handpicked by the members of the royal family. Indulge yourself with the best of imported spirits at the Khimsar Lounge . Ride into the village and countryside on horse or camel back. Rent a bicycle. Come-the country beckons…….
So do the peacocks, swallows and the pigeons. Sit under the rooftop dome and read a book as the countryside unravels itself for miles around. Witness the revival of Rajasthan’s ancient handicrafts by visiting the local cobbler, goldsmith, potter, weaver and stone mason. Use our telescope to stargaze in the desert clear starlit night.
Outdoor swimming pool, flood-lit tennis court, table tennis, croquet, billiards and snooker, golf driving range and putting green, home theatre with DVD projection & DTS digital Dolby pro logic sound system, horse riding, horse / camel / jeep safari to black buck reserve & sand dunes, bird watching, telescope for star gazing, grass playing field for soccer and cricket, village tours to local potter, weaver, cobbler.
- Reviews: 805
Hotel Tiger Safari: Hotel Tiger Safari
The hotel is very close to Ranthambore Nature Park Safari.It has a nice garden, clean and comfortable rooms with the best shower in India.They often suffer from power cut.The staff is very helpful but have poor English.They book safari tour,however jeep safari is 2.5 time more expeisive then in the booking office.
The restaurant is on the roof (top) of the hotel with poor decoration but delicious Indian foods & beverages.We enjoyed the hotel service in a very low price level Andrea Budapast.
- Reviews: 240
Kuchamann Fort Hotel: An old rustic fort
The Kuchaman Fort. Beckoning, inviting, waiting to welcome you as it rises proudly int the clear skies at the top of a 1000 feet high rock cliff.
The Kuchaman Fort, a rare jewel set in a glittering sea of golden sands, as though a million year old rock itself changed its shape, to record the extraordinary era of kuchaman glory.
450yr old underground swimming pool!
great views from your bedroom
puppeteers and folk musicians, gala dinners on the rampart, fireworks!!!
it's a great experience.
In 950 The Chauhans of Ajmer drove out the Gurjar Pratihars to open a new chapter in the history of Kuchaman Fort. in the following centuries the Gaurs won and controlled the fort until they surrendered it to the might of the Rathores. Being Suryavanshi K shatriyas who trace their lineage back to Lord Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, the Rathores brought to the fort their long and 470 A.D. with Nayal Pals conquest of Kanauj, near modern Kanpur in U.P. For seven long centuries.
It is a famous town of Nagaur District in Rajasthan. Kuchaman is a developed town it is situated on the Jaipur Nagaur route. It is 145 Kilometers far from Jaipur and 101 Kilometers far from Ajmer. The population of the town is about 55000. The main trade of the town is Salt and local business.
- Reviews: 240
LAXMI VILAS PALACE: Palace near bird sanctuary
Located near the world famous bird sanctuary amidst 40 acres of landscaped environs, the Palace was built in 1899, for the younger brother of the Maharaja of Bharatpur. The architecture is a blend of the Mughal and the Rajputana styles. You could also base yourself here for a visit to the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikhri.
- Reviews: 240
HOTEL BHANDRAWATI PALACE: Great heritage homes
Bhandarej has a colourful & fascinating history dating back to the 11th century when the Kachhawa chieftain, Dhula Rao defeated the Badgujars. The palace is an interesting blend of Mughal and Rajputana architecture. The wildlife sanctuaries of Bharatpur, Sariska and Ranthambore can be visited from here.
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