Stay in the princely luxury of a heritage hotel that still hosts Rajasthan’s maharajahs
Escorted tour | History & culture
Head off the tourist trail into the Thar Desert where a 140km drive out of Jodphur will bring you to Nagaur, dominated by the 12th century Ahhichatragarh Fort. Home to elaborately detailed halls, heritage temples and manicured gardens, it’s the historic setting for this boutique hotel. Here, within the citadel’s fortified walls, you’ll experience life as a maharaja – Rajasthan’s kingly rulers – as sunsets turn intricate stonework pink and stars fill the desert sky. Wander through courtyards and past fountains, ponds and the hotel’s peacocks lazing under green shade before turning to the next-door palace and its accompanying museum.
The hotel features just 34 bedrooms spread across 10 havelis – it’s the 18th century residence of Jodphur’s erstwhile maharajah. First built as a pleasure place, each room is arranged around a central courtyard making for atmospheric stays that recall the lost beauty of a once almighty dynasty. Communal plunge pools and cushioned loungers add a more modern outlook. Back inside, exposed brickwork hints once more at this forgotten empire while colourful fabrics, whitewashed walls and high ceilings add a sense of renewed optimism. You’ll also be treated to regional touches in Rajasthani patterns, carved wooden furniture and plush daybeds.
Choose between taking your dinner in the pavilion for al fresco garden views or dodging the sun in the air-conditioned restaurant. It’s even possible to arrange a signature meal in the palace itself. Whatever your decision, you’ll be treated to a mix of continental and Indian cuisine as thali meals introduce you to local flavours across several courses and Western dishes tend to the homesick. Be sure to opt for a dessert from the on-site bakery after sampling one of the refreshing salads or delicately spiced curries.
After relaxing on the fort’s open terraces and in the Mughal pleasure gardens, return to Ravas to soak in the achingly welcoming pool or take advantage of the in-room spa treatment. However, much of Ranvas’s delights can be found beyond its historic walls. Take a complimentary private tour of the fort, visit the bustling local markets, explore the desert on a horse or camel safari or simply go for a walk on the battlements. In all, attentive guides and welcoming staff are on hand to help; you can even take an afternoon tea among the desert’s dunes.
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