Dreams come true. Umm, actually you can make your dreams come true. I have always wanted to stay in a palatial hotel. And Rajasthan is known for its captivating royalty and heritage havelis. So why would I miss the opportunity of staying in one. I fulfilled this dream by choosing to stay at Nahargarh Ranthambhore Hotel. And wow, what a beautiful palace hotel Nahargarh Ranthambore was! I lived like a queen and I long to head back. And let me tell why it should be your choice to stay at Nahargarh Ranthambhore as well when in Sawai Madhopur.
Nahargarh Ranthambhore Heritage Hotel is a part of the Alsisar Group of Hotels. They have two other palace hotels, one in Jaipur and other in Shekhawati. In fact I came into Sawai Madhopur from Jaipur but my stay in Jaipur was short that I decided to chose the one in Ranthambore. After all my stay in Ranthambore was for three nights.
The train from Jaipur took just about two hours when it pulled into Sawai Madhopur railway station. The caricatures of Tiger, Leopard and Langur welcomed me as I got down. Almost once every two hours you will be able to find a train to Ranthambore from Jaipur. And the train halts here for nearly half an hour even though it appeared to be a small town. The cab from Nahargarh Ranthambhore was already at the station to pick me up. They do pick up from Jaipur as well but I decided to chug along. We passed through many hotels on the way before the cab took a turn into the buffer area of Ranthambore forest. Am said tigress Sultana has made this her territory.
Nahargarh Ranthambhore Hotel
From a distance itself, the sparkling white domes of Nahargarh Ranthambhore fort-hotel starts to welcome me. As I entered the main gate, the palace opens up. You walk through some fantastic wall paintings in Rajputana style, mesmerising fountains, neatly done lawns, huge spaces with towering palace room. One can sit with their loved ones in these gardens or just with a book. The domes of the hotel reminded me of Rajput architecture, and I did come to know the owner is a descendant of Rajputana clan as well.
I arrived a little early than my check-in time. But Mahipal, the general manager of the palace insisted I refresh in an available room before my allocated room is free to check-in. Honestly I did not want to disturb another room for just couple of hours and offered to wait in the restaurant or just sit in their sprawling lawn. But they insisted I rest, since I came after a train journey. And that's how the hospitality begun!
The next surprise came when I was surprised with a room upgrade. I had booked a deluxe room from the Nahargarh Ranthambhore Hotel’s website. However, they decided to give me an upgrade and turned it into a Super Delux room. And that is how I turned from princess into a queen. I swear, the size and opulence of the Super Delux room at Nahargarh Ranthambore Hotel is beyond words. I was mesmerized by the luxury and every corner of the room was oozing plain royalty and exuberance. Good vibes and happy dance was my immediate feel.
It was royal, charming, pinkish, and full of decorations all over the room. Made me envision how the kings, queens and other royal people in those times would have lived. The bed, carvings on the pillar, motifs in the ceiling, numerous windows, stained glasses, framed tiger paintings and the greenery outside, everything set the perfect vibe.
Even the bathroom was spacious like a room in itself! I loved the light pouring in and even the bathroom was well lit, filled with greenery. There was hot water, and essential toiletries all the time. I had to mention this because for some reason hotels in Rajasthan were providing hot water only for a stipulated time. But here, come back from safari and there is nice warm water waiting to wash off the mud.
They have 80-90 such rooms, all oozing with luxury and high standards. The beauty of the place is, in spite of so many rooms, one can still get their personal space and privacy.
The Royal Grand Dining Hall
Being a foodie my favourite hangout place on the whole premises of Nahargarh Hotel was its grand dining hall. Oh man, they fed me with more food than ever. It has its royal vibe, and the glass artwork on the ceilings reminded me of Sheesh Mahal of Amber Fort in Jaipur. The chandelier, glasswork on the walls, and embellishments were a royal experience for me. Dining like a queen too for they would promptly turn up asking for your favourites.
There was always a different menu about food, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner, with continental, Indian, and Rajasthani cuisine for the guests. While I was settling in for eggs and fruits, Laxman the chief chef of the restaurant brought in Dal Kachori. He insisted that I have to try the hot Kachori along with sweet and spicy chutney which is a must have Rajasthani breakfast.
The first day when I arrived, I had a chat with Laxman about the luscious Rajasthani delicacies. He insisted on cooking some of it for me. I relished the Dal Baati Churma that he made. If you don’t know, Baati is made of wheat flour, Churma is of wheat and jaggery (sweet), and the Dal,i.e., pulses. Just tear up the Baati, add some Dal, mix it with Churma and then engulf it to taste heaven. Top it with some ghee too :)
One of the nights we had a nice barbecue dinner with veg and non veg barbecue sizzling away. I had so not anticipated and landed up in my night pyjamas to dine and it turned out to be a fine dine. With candle lit tables, folk music songs aloud and drinks pouring over. As a solo traveler, it is usually table for one, but I would always have company of the waiters. They were all from the nearby villages and would always have stories of tiger sightings and tales.
Nahargarh Ranthambore hotel is the only place during my entire 10 days Rajasthan trip where I enjoyed unique Rajasthani delicacies like Papad Mangodi, Ker Sangri, Tarpoli, Lauki Bagara, and Diljani. That is another compelling reason to return to the hotel.
The Hathi Kund Swimming Pool & Recreation
There is an amphitheatre in the complex used for bonfires, cultural programs, and Rajasthani folk dances. But since it is covid times, there were no shows. Sighh.. When would we move out of this phase!
The property has not one but two swimming pools. And I especially have to highlight about the Hathi Kund. With white elephants swanked on either side, the white marbles blinding your eyes and the still cool clue waters! It was as though a piece of sky was brought down to the earth. Heaven to say the least!
Adjacent there is a gym and a spa. Well the spa was my favorite. After all the bumpy rides in the wildlife safari, coming home to these massage therapists giving aromatic massages is a must. Did I just write home :) Well that's how they made me feel.
And then there is plenty of area for kids to play. A recreation room with snooker table for friends to assemble. A library loaded with books. Or you can just chill at the bar. they even had Kahlua stocked in which is a hard find.
Also check out the room tour in this video
Ranthambore Tiger Safari
This was the main agenda of my visit. And I have never gone so blindly to a national park with no pre-booked safari tickets. The paintings and photographs of the tigers on the walls of the Nahargarh Hotel made me more curious and kept my fingers crossed. I was now extremely excited to go on my wildlife safari.
I am thankful to team Nahargarh Hotel for helping me out with this; booking my tickets for the jungle safari in the core zones. They help you with canter as well as jeep safari bookings. I might have pestered Rajveer a lot more, but he helped me get the best zones without which my tiger sightings would not have happened. I got to see not one but three tigers. And sighting of T-120 males was so close and for nearly an hour. It was the best day and best safari experience I had.
Ranthambore itself is a beautiful park. So huge that there are ten zones. And a turn could get you to grasslands or thick foliage or towering trees or rocky mountains or streams or fort walls! Do not miss to visit Ranthambore fort. Just ask Rajveer at Nahargarh Ranthambore hotel to help you arrange the trip and you are settled.
Memorable stay at Nahargarh Ranthambore Hotel
The two things which made a lasting impression about the Nahargarh Ranthambore Hotel are its royal hospitality and the compelling architecture of the palace. And, of course, a special mention to the delicious Rajasthani delicacies they served me. It was only on the last day I got to know that this is a palace look alike and was not an original palace. I gasped at the amount of work that has gone in. And the level of details to mimic the palace.
A massive palatial room, lots of natural light and space, yummy food, stunning architecture, and amazing wildlife safari, what more can I ask for. As a parting gift, I picked up handcrafted silver jewellery, jaipuri shawl and magnets from their huge souvenir shop inside the hotel-palace.
Lastly, I can never forget my experience of seeing a shooting star for the first time in my life. I had just returned from my evening safari and was sitting by the open dining sipping chai. The night was just setting in and the stars started to fill up. And it happened. The star fell. I just could not believe it. I made a silent wish to return soon ;) My trip was filled with all such wonderful things. I hope you enjoyed traveling along with me to Nahargarh Ranthambhore Hotel as well. So if you’re coming to Ranthambhore, do check out Nahargarh.