More about Garh Jaisal Haveli Hotel
Sunrise over the Thar desert
The guys at Garh Jaisal loved that they, at the time of our visit, were No 1 at Tripadvisor, and they were doing everything they could to keep that position :-).
Upon arrival, very early morning, we were whisked up to their roof terrace, served a cup of hot chai and a blanket, and were accompanied by our hosts to admire sunrise over the desert and Jaisalmer…awesome and one of the best memories from the Rajasthan trip. That roof terrace really is something special, and so are the rooms (we got to choose from a few), and so is the location. Also, chai, coffee, mineral water and even breakfast was totally complimentary!
The following day we took their camel excursion which was high quality, even though the guide could have been more talkative. Staying at Garh Jaisal doesn’t come very cheap, but why should it?
Loved the rooms....
We stayed at Garh Jaisal for 3 nights and had a really enjoyable time.
When we got to the hotel we were led to the roof top terrace for a drink (anything - complementory) then showed to our room. First night in the "Green room". Perfect. No bad surprirse, it was exactly as on the picture.
Breakfast the next morning was great and plentiful: we were even given more toasts on request.
We had booked the camel safari for the second night. Just the 2 of us in the desert. Great time too (but perhaps slightly overpriced?! VS what you could get by yourself through a local agency): the guide was very talkative, full of funny annecdotes, the camel man was a great cook.
We spent our 3rd night in the "Opium room". Very nice too!
As already mentioned, all drinks during our stay were included in the price (Pepsi, mineral water etc..). That is a very good point!
Only watchout: let's hope they can keep up with the rooms decorations / quality: the hotel is only 1 year old and some fixing is already required (light bulb missing, holes in the wall...). But I am really being picky here...
To finish with: congratutions to the boys working there, they were always nice and smily. Would love to come back one day!
Great experience, great place, great people!
We stayed here 3 nights and we are already looking forward to go back!
Mukesh, the owner that lives next door, simply do whatever is possible to make you feeling home, and it works; the 3 nepalese brothers working there are adorable; the property is spotless clean and nicely decorated: every room is different and prettier and has a wonderful view on the city and the desert surrounding.
The great value is the roof-top terrace, where you have breakfast at morning (a very good breakfast, with any style eggs, freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh fruits that are good fruits too!) is great, and has an amazing view on the fort itself.
Tchai, the or coffee are complimentary during the day, as well as the mineral water (quite rare in India).
Laundry service is fast and unexpensive, internet and news-paper complimentary, and the hotel organize as well transportation, desert safaris, and whatever you might need (special mention to the fact that Mukesh drove me with his motorbike to see the doctor at 10.30PM while the doctor himself was watching a movie with his family!!!).
Mukesh gives also good advices on shops and shopping, and not only in Jaisalmer: he arranged for us a lovely room in Jodhpur when we had to run the the hospital too see a specialist, and make a phone call to a friend there to take care of us (which he did).
Finally, when leaving, he offered us a little Ganesh that is now on my living room and remind me every day the great time we had in Jaisalmer.
Looking forward to come back for the indian cooking lessons and the yoga class in the desert (they are working on it, should be available net year)!!!
Highlight of our Trip!!
Decided on Jaisalmer as the place to splurge on a room b/c we would be coming off of a long train ride and it was worth every penny!! The rooms were absolutely gorgeous, with vibrant colored silk bedding and beautiful dark wood furnishings. The rooms are literally part of the outer wall of the fort and the views from the room and the rooftop were spectacular. The bathrooms were modern and clean. Literally our every need was seen to and included in the rate: free water, free internet, free coffee. When my travelling companion wasn't feeling well, the owner or manager offered to cook her a meal in his house! When she needed a disc to download her pictures to, someone actually ran into the main part of town to get it for her for cheaper than in the fort! Yes, the rate is high for India, but if you can afford it, definitely stay here.
The big sandcastle
My friend and I stayed here for two nights in September, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time in the big sandcastle, the views were stunning from all rooms which were beautifully kept.
A big thanks to all the staff who were very attentative and helped with all the local advise on where to eat and where to do the camel safari from.
We are pleased to say that our Lord Ganesh statues survived the journey home to the UK :)
We highly recommend travellers to stay at this delightful retreat.
K & C
Characterful but needs to pull its socks up
Having read the great reviews, perhaps our expectations were too high, but we felt that this haveli needed to pull its socks up. We were told that the haveli guest house is owned by a Canadian who does not live in India. It felt like the owner had done an Elle Decor style 'visions of Rajasthan' interior design job , then left the haveli to be managed locally; and that the decor and concept was beginning to unravel a bit. Why did a couple of the cotton covers on the mattresses on the roof have large holes in them, and why were they dirty? Why was there no wastepaper basket in our room, and why did the wardrobe cupboard doors refuse to stay shut? Why was the door of the untidy cleaning cupboard next to our room left wide open throughout our whole stay, with a partly unravelled roll of toilet paper and some old rags spilling out onto the floor of the main corridor and never moved? Why were the sun umbrellas on the roof never unfurled to give shade, and why were they anchored by some broken bits of concrete tossed into the belly of an old basket chair. Details, but simple and inexpensive to fix .Also, our ground floor room was dark as it was on a level with the fort retaining wall, and in our room there was no window seat (which look so appealing on the website) and not enough room for our luggage and the small additional chair, so we sat only on our bed. The upstairs rooms looked much lighter and airier. There was also a lot of noise from the road below, guests in the reception area outside, and the air conditioning unit above. When it comes to hospitality, God really is in the detail and Garh Jaisal Haveli should work hard to maintain high standards if it wants to keep its good reputation.
Good.....but not quite as good as everyone is saying
I'm really relieved to see that someone else has just posted a review of Garh Jaisal that isn't quite as gushing as the rest. I was thinking I was perhaps just being a bit fussy.
The good things first:
The location is fantastic. Unbeatable. It's on a corner of the fort, with staggering views over the town and surrounding area. Sitting having breakfast on the roof terrace, watching the comings-and-goings of Jaisalmer is pretty special. Lonely Planet say not to stay in the fort, for conservation reasons, but if you talk to the locals, they have a very different story to tell. So keep an open mind on this one.
The management, team, Mukesh and Raj, are great - very helpful and always around to have a chat or sort out anything you need.
The decor of the rooms is nice. Each room is a different colour, tastefully decorated - nice and simple, with lots of sari's and silk cushions on beds to. Good bathrooms too.
The roof terrace is a great place to hang out.
Breakfast and tea/coffee anytime of the day is included.
The camel safari we arranged through the hotel was, as they say themselves, 'non-touristy'. We didn't see another soul, or get accosted by the 'desert sales force'. It was great.
So to the not so good things, which I will put a caveat to first, and say that this hotel is not cheap, and it's that price that justifiies my nit-picking. I will also say that my expectations were really high due to the reviews I'd read on here. Hard for any place to live up to that level of praise perhaps. So maybe this will just help balance the scales a bit.
Even though all the rooms are the same price, they vary quite a bit. When I booked, I had the choice of all the rooms, and from the pics and the descriptions, they looked pretty much the same, so I just selected according to which colour I liked best. In reality, some are pretty dark, are near to reception, don't have such good views, and aren't very big (ours, the 'Rising Sun Room' was unfortunately all of those). Of the others that I saw, the Maharani was definitely the best - really lovely. It's perfectly fine that they differ, but I think this should be reflected in the pricing.
For a hotel that seems to be trying to be very Elle Deco, it is definitely a bit tired in places - tatty window seat covers etc. I think that might come from having a Canadian owner who obviously set it up, but doesn't seem to spend any time there. I think if I'd have known that the hotel wasn't locally owned, I might not have stayed there. I'd rather stay somewhere that is helping the local economy, not lining the pockets of a foreign investor.
We were supposed to have airport/train station transfers included. Jacqui (the Canadian owner) handles all the bookings and had emailed me prior to us arriving to check what our arrival details were. However, she did not forward my response to the hotel, so there was no-one there to 'officially' meet us off our train at 4.45am. So we paid for this journey ourselves, and also for our rickshaw to the airport when we left. It's only having looked again at the hotel's website that I have realised that they were definitely meant to have included this in the price. Small money, it's more the principle.
Having said all this, we had a lovely time in Jaisalmer (my favourite place in Rajasthan) and really enjoyed our stay at Garh Jaisal. The hotel has occupied the number one spot on here for a while, and as a result, is booked up most of the time. I just sense that compalency may be creeping in.
Great Hotel and service
We booked this hotel for 3 nights and had booked a camel safari the day before. We arrived on the day of the safari at 5.30am and were collected from the station. I had only asked for the hotel to keep our bags while on safari but instead they gave us a room to sleep and shower in before we went on safari! This was really appreciated after a night on the train and not expected. They also provided breakfast! Thank you!
The hotel was lovely and the staff were really helpful. The continuous supply of tea really hit the spot! Nothing was too much trouble. We were treated as house guests and even dined as guests of the manager one night!
The hotel also provide drivers and guides who have a great local knowledge, especially Dharma who knows everybody and made our trip really special!