Rajasthan, India

Shahpura Bagh

Rates per night from$188.73

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 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (INR13,750.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Seasoned summer palace

Setting

Off the tourist triangle

Remote, rural Shahpura Bagh is an elegant family-owned estate in the heart of Rajasthan, India’s royal heartland. Once the summer residence of the ruling dynasty, the house is now open to visitors extending their trip to the Golden Triangle or en route to Udaipur. Bedrooms are huge, with sky-high ceilings and family-heirloom furniture, and the pool is equally vast. Learn about local life on a cow-cart ride into neighbouring villages, or make for the 250 artificial lakes to bird-watch (twitchers will be pleased to discover 180 species are known to swoop by).

Smith Extra

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A candlelit dinner for two by the lake

Facilities

Photos Shahpura Bagh facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Nine suites.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 10am, also flexible.

Rates

Double rooms from $188.73 (INR13,750), excluding tax at 28 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast and some local excursions.

Also

If the old family recipes have taken your fancy, you can learn how to recreate them at home during a cookery lesson. Guests will also be able to improve their downward dog, and witness a demonstration in Phad painting, an ancient art form.

At the hotel

Gardens, bikes to borrow, table tennis, library, yoga,valet parking and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV and DVD player, minibar, free bottled water, tea- and coffee-making facilities, air-conditioning and Biotique bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Of the rooms in the guest building, we love the Green Room for its soft colour palette, balcony and bath tub, though each suite features the same 25-foot ceilings, perfectly placed antiques and grand scale. A couple of the rooms are set within the family’s house.

Poolside

The hotel has one of the biggest pools in all of Rajasthan and it has the added bonus of being heated. There’s a tented bar for snacks and drinks, and shade provided by the arched salas at one end.

Spa

There’s no official spa, but Pilates and yoga classes are on offer, as well as acupressure treatments.

Packing tips

Bring Sweaty Betty’s best yoga pants and a pair of binoculars – the area’s artificial lakes are a watering hotspot for several bird species.

Also

In the unlikely event that you’re taking your dog to India, bowls and food can be provided. Six of the nine suites, as well as the ground-floor communal areas, are suitable for wheelchair access – and a butler is available for disabled guests.

Pet‐friendly

Furry friends are welcome. The hotel provides pet food and bowls too. See more pet-friendly hotels in Rajasthan.

Children

All ages are welcome. Extra beds for over-threes cost upwards of INR5,500 a night and can be put in all rooms; cots are free for under threes. There are plenty of activities for kids to enjoy; excursions and picnics are free for under-fives.

Best for

Older children.

Recommended rooms

Seven of the nine suites have space for extra beds.

Activities

Table tennis, croquet, badminton, and rides on camels, carts and boats.

Meals

Children are welcome in the restaurant at all times – highchairs, baby-changing facilities and a dedicated menu are available, and staff will gladly heat up baby food and milk.

No need to pack

Buggies, bicycles and helmets, bibs, travel cots and arm bands are available to borrow.

Eco‐friendly

The hotel uses organic, locally sourced ingredients where possible, as well as eco-friendly bath products, the leftovers of which are donated to the area’s communities. Local artisans were employed in the restoration programme; and the hotel runs scholarships for underprivileged children and donates computers to nearby schools.

Food and Drink

Photos Shahpura Bagh food and drink

Top Table

Forget pigeons: feed the peacocks strutting past at a table out overlooking the garden on the patio.

Dress Code

Jewel-coloured cocktail dresses and dapper linen suits.

Hotel restaurant

The dynasty’s favourite dishes are cooked up by their trusty chef at a variety of locations: the traditional dining room, with dark wooden furniture, assorted pictures and trophies on the walls, and cooling punkahs; the breezy, shaded veranda; and amid the mango trees on the patio. Both Indian and Western dishes are offered, but guests shouldn’t miss the experience of a vast Indian breakfast. The game curry is also memorable.

Hotel bar

There are two: one by the pool and Nahar Niwas jn the main house. Stiff drinks can be mixed at both and snacks including samosas and kebabs are served.

Last orders

Breakfast is available between 7am and 11am. Drinks and snacks are available in the bar between 11am and 10pm, and out by the pool between 9am and 6pm. Dinner is served until 11pm, as are drinks.

Location

Photos Shahpura Bagh location
Address
Shahpura Bagh
Shahpura Bagh Darbar Ki Kothi District Bhilwara
Shahpura
311404
India

Planes

The closest airports are four hours away in Jaipur and Udaipur, but neither is served by direct international flights. Delhi is, but the drive will take eight hours, so it’s worth stopping at some of the many sights along the way. Alternatively, guests can pick up an internal flight from Delhi to Jaipur or Udaipur. Hotel transfers to and from these airports can be arranged for about £60 each way.

Trains

The nearest station is Bhilwara, an hour away by car; trains from major cities across India call in here (www.indianrailways.gov.in).

Automobiles

The hotel is in the heart of Rajasthan’s well-trodden tourist route and most guests get around with the help of a private driver who knows how to navigate the rural roads. If you do want to self-drive, a sat-nav is recommended – and the hotel can provide detailed directions. There’s valet parking when you arrive.

Worth getting out of bed for

The hotel can arrange guided Jeep drives into the surrounding farms and pastures to experience local life, as well as camel rides, walks, picnics, bird-watching, yoga, art classes, cookery lessons, boat trips and more. In season, the 250 artificial lakes – built for water-harvesting in the early 20th century – will be overflowing and frequented by 180 species of thirsty birds. Also worth a visit are the old bazaar of Shahpura, Dhikola Fort (especially at sundown) and the Ram Dwara Temple.

Local restaurants

This is a rural retreat in a remote setting with no neighbourhood bistro as such, so most meals will be had at the hotel.

Reviews

Photos Shahpura Bagh reviews
Elizabeth Bennett

Anonymous review

I had an upcoming work trip to Sri Lanka and an old school-friend to visit in Goa, so the stars had been perfectly aligned when I jetted off for my oft-dreamt-of trip to Rajasthan. It may be a stereotype, but India’s desert state was a total assault on the senses. It was utterly fascinating, with a rich cultural history evident at every turn, but exploring the chaotic, noisy cities started to feel a little tiring after a while. Throw our jam-packed schedule of palace and fort visits, shopping and the odd cocktail into the mix, and a couple days of pure R ’n’ R were just what the doctor ordered. Whitewashed countryside stay Shahpura Bagh was the perfect prescription.

Shahpura Bagh itself is far from the main tourist trail, handily located equidistant between the much-visited cities of Jaipur and Udaipur. We quickly realised this as we were ambushed by a flurry of rickshaw drivers on leaving Bijainager train station. After a haggling battle, bumpy start to our rickshaw ride and reassuring phone call from hotel owner Jai, we were on our way. We hurtled through rural Rajasthan for around an hour before arriving at the small town of Shahpura Bagh, and the 150-year-old ancestral home turned boutique hotel of the Shahpura Bagh family – a 45-acre estate topped by a collection of Gothic-Rajasthani buildings converted into nine luxurious rooms.

On arrival, the charming hotel manager greeted us with flower necklaces and a chilled glass of fresh juice. We immediately felt relaxed and the hotel continued to impress as we were shown to our suite. Our beautiful bedroom had double-height ceilings, a four-poster bed and all the luxe trimmings, including plush red furnishings, antiques and heritage art. The bathroom – which was bigger than my pokey London bedroom - was a real highlight with its twin Victorian sinks, a roll-top bath and spacious shower.

In April, Rajasthan’s temperatures often reach 40 degrees, but the upside to this is the joy of tourist-free sights and hotels. Only two other rooms had been booked during our stay at Shahpura Bagh, so we often had the whole place to ourselves; as we lolled about in the house and grounds, and by the pool, we pretended that this was now our home. Thanks to the welcoming nature of both the family owners and staff, the illusion was watertight.

Due to the roasting temperatures, we spent most of our two-day break in a sloth-like state: lazing by the pool, reading and sipping on the stream of iced coffees delivered direct to our loungers by hospitable staff. We were spoilt for choice when it came to sunbathing (or, more accurately, ‘shadebathing’) spots: two large white pavilions had huge day-beds, loungers, comfy chairs and the odd hammock. Gentle games of badminton, walks around the grounds and wildlife spotting broke up days of doing sweet, sweet nothing. For those who’d prefer a more active break, staff can arrange yoga sessions, cooking classes, cycling trips and tours of a local farm. We did none of these, but we did sign up for the evening trip to the family’s nearby fort. Located a 20-minute drive from the hotel, the 450-year-old ruin is a dramatic setting for sunset watching, and eyeing up 360-degree panoramas of the surrounding desert. Vast skies and the landscape’s immense beauty, enhanced by wine and canapés, made this a pinch-me moment I’ll never forget.

Mind you, the hotel was no slouch when it came to scenery… Meals were served on a picturesque lawn in front of the main house: breakfasts are usually accompanied by a chorus of tropical birds while dinner is served by candlelight. Breakfasts were very generous, with both Indian and Western options; we enjoyed muesli, yoghurt and fresh fruit followed by poached eggs and delicious home-made banana bread, washed down with a wide range of teas, coffees and juices. Dinner started with soup – our favourite being the light gazpacho – before a full Indian feast. On both nights our table quickly filled up with eight-plus dishes: a favourite of baked aubergine, crispy okra and cauliflower dumplings, salads, rice and moreish chapatis. Sweet tooths were also indulged, with desserts such as mango ice cream and a traditional Indian pudding which can only be described as balls of treacle tart. After dinner we took to the exquisite formal lounge for more wine and fresh mint tea before hitting the hay in our enormous, marshmallow-soft bed. Shahpura Bagh headily evokes old-school romance; so much so, we had a running joke that we were on our honeymoon – I certainly wouldn’t have been disappointed if I had been…

 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Shahpura Bagh’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The bedroom was magnificent. The poolside dinner was very special. The staff were very friendly and the hostess made personal appearances at both our arrival and departure. The surroundings are rural and well kept.

Rating

Stayed on 16 Nov 2017