Rajasthan, India

Rawla Narlai

Rates from (ex tax)$71.32

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (INR5,385.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Lodge in charge

Setting

In the shadow of Elephant Hill

Rawla Narlai hotel, in the Aravalli Hills of Rajasthan, offers 32 uniquely dressed rooms and one suite in a converted 17th-century royal hunting lodge. A tribute to the best Rajasthani culture, the hotel showcases the rich textiles, filigree and furniture of regional artists, and serves classically local meals using game meat and many cloves of garlic served with pillowy breads. Perched beneath a towering granite peak called Elephant Hill, Rawla Narlai is surrounded by easy hiking trails and hilly perches for sunset cocktails. For the less athletically inclined, the pool and spa beckon – a more sedate way to enjoy Rajasthan at its best.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A free 15-minute massage for two

Facilities

Photos Rawla Narlai facilities

Need to know

Rooms

32, including one suite.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, noon.

Rates

Double rooms from $71.32 (INR4,603), excluding tax at 17 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (INR5,385.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include a lavish buffet breakfast of local favourites, eggs to order, bacon, potatoes, fruits, cereals and juices.

Also

The hotel’s stepwell, an open-air below-ground reservoir, is the setting for spectacular candlelit feasts. The romantic dinners commence with courtyard cocktails and stories from the local historian, before an ox-cart ride to the dinner setting. The meal itself involves seemingly unending courses of local specialties, served as local musicians play folk songs.

At the hotel

Gardens, courtyard, on-site parking and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: coffee-maker, free bottled water, minibar, safe, individually controlled air-conditioning, and Kama Ayurveda bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Each room is uniquely decorated. Though rooms in the heritage wing can be darker than the bright spaces in the new-wing, they have added character, with antiques and contemporary furniture designed by the owners. The wing’s Brahmin blue Grand Heritage room has beautiful pillars and arches, along with a semi-private terrace.

Poolside

Hidden away behind hedges and towering palms, the tranquil, unheated stone pool is surrounded by day-beds. The spa tent sits by the side.

Spa

Narlai Spa specialises in deeply relaxing massages with Forest Essentials cold-pressed oils, including deep-tissue, aromatherapy, reflexology and acupressure; treatments are offered by the pool, too.

Packing tips

Bring sketchpads: the frangipani-fragranced gardens are bright with bougainvillea, making an ideal spot to seek inspiration (and a mug of home-made chai).

Also

A lift makes rooms wheelchair-accessible; however, the hotel has many stairs to climb.

Children

All ages are welcome. There is no charge for a baby cot, or for children under six who do not require an additional bed. Breakfast is free for children under six. Stairs are tricky to navigate with prams, but the gardens make an excellent play spaces.

Eco‐friendly

The hotel is green wherever possible; they recycle, compost and source local ingredients for the restaurant. Additionally, the hotel has contributed to village-restoration projects to assist the local community.

Food and Drink

Photos Rawla Narlai food and drink

Top Table

Take a table on the candlelit courtyard for dinner under the stars, set the sounds of the village.

Dress Code

Boldly patterned silks and slacks will match the flora of the surrounding terraces. Bring a pashmina for nippier nights.

Hotel restaurant

Jharoka Café serves traditional Rajasthani fare, including mutton, chicken and fish. The Maharani – or Hunter – platters are a feast of kebabs, lentils, naans, rice and other local dishes, ideal for fortifying you the night before a big day of hiking.

Hotel bar

Settle into overstuffed sofas at J Bar for mixed drinks, including stiff martinis and margaritas. Out in the courtyard, local musicians play live music each night.

Last orders

Jharoka serves breakfast from 6.30am to 10.30am, lunch from 12 noon to 2.45pm, and dinner from 7am to 10.45pm. The bar serves from 11am until 11pm.

Room service

The full restaurant menu and a selection of snacks are available for delivery from 7am to 10.30pm.

Location

Photos Rawla Narlai location
Address
Rawla Narlai
Village & Post: Narlai Near Desuri, Distt. Pali
Pali
306703
Pali
India

Planes

The hotel is a three-hour drive from both Udaipur and Jodhpur airports, and one-way transfers can be arranged from either for INR6,000. Both airports offer numerous domestic connections, including to Mumbai and Delhi.

Trains

Though the nearest station to the hotel is a 40-kilometre drive from the hotel, Indian Railways (www.indianrailways.gov.in) connects major cities to Jodhpur and Udaipur, each a three-hour drive north or south of the hotel. Transfers are available for INR3,000.

Automobiles

Driving is not advisable in India, due to poorly-maintained roads and death-defying local drivers, but those who choose to pilot themselves can avail themselves of free valet parking.

Worth getting out of bed for

The frescoed hotel walls, tropical gardens and poolside spa treatments can keep guests content for days on end, including nights spent at spectacular candlelit feasts in the stepwell.

The hotel sits in the shadow of a towering granite peak named Elephant hill, so there’s ample opportunity for excellent hikes and village walks through the rugged surroundings. The hotel can arrange for sunrise or sunset walks to the summit of the hill, or walks to local villages and cave temples. The surrounding land is also home to leopards, and the hotel can arrange for jeep tours to spot the camouflaged cats.

Rajasthan is home to several revered temples, all within driving distance of Rawla Narlai. Ranakpur, a 15th-century Jain temple near Sadri, has exceptional marble domes and carvings, as well as a number of monkey residents. Head to Kumbhalgarh in the evening to see it lit for a few minutes, just after sunset. One of the World-Heritage Site hill forts of the region, the fort has the second-largest wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China.

Reviews

Photos Rawla Narlai reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in Rajasthan and unpacked their binoculars and sari silks, a full account of their desert break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Rawla Narlai in India…

Banish all preconceived notions (say, the scent of gunpowder, bunking up with a battalion…) of what it means to slumber in a fort: Rawla Narlai occupies a converted 17th-century fortress and hunting lodge, turning barricades into brilliant dens of carved antiques, bright fabrics and cushioned alcoves ideal for hiding from enemies or secret canoodling. Nestled into the Aravalli Hills, Rawla Narlai is a break from the bustle of India’s major cities, tucking guests into the perfect halfway point between Udaipur and Jodhpur to experience local history. Guests can stroll to the nearby villages, hike to the top of the granite monolith by the hotel or scout leopards sunning nearby. Those who prefer to sun themselves can perch on lounge chairs in the bougainvillea-brightened gardens or perch by the pool. No matter the day’s plan, fortify with breads, fruits and more from the vast breakfast spread assembled each morning. Fittingly, it’s likely enough to feed an army.

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