Travelling with a teenager for the first time ever, we figured that taking chances with accommodation was not a wise thing to do. So a bit more comfort than usually was planned. Another first timer was that we used TripAdvisor for all four locations. And they did not let us down.
We still were looking for reasonable lodgings, none of those grand palaces that once were the homes of Maharajas. Of course there is a certain thrill to stay at world famous places like the Lake Palace Hotel, where you get pampered in a unique environment for no less than 300 to 500 USD per night. Our choices were more in the 30 to 45 USD range and the loveliest places, all of them Havelis, former homes of noblemen.
In Udaipur, the Jagat Miswa Palace bewitched us. The location right on the lake is unbeatable. The cul de sac keeps out the noise (honking!) and the barking dogs. Those two parameters are crucial when choosing a hotel in India. Of course there can always be the random wedding party, than only god or excellent earplugs can help you. All sights are within walking distance and for your food you don’t want to walk anywhere else – the restaurant is simply fabulous. The different levels of this former Haveli (house of a noble-man) are full with plants and flowers. At night the stairs are lit with candles and the entire building is bathed in a warm glowing gold.
The Seventh Heaven Inn in Pushkar gets incredible reviews, all well-deserved! Another Haveli located in the old town with gorgeous rooms around its courtyard. The building is four stories high, with a restaurant on the rooftop. We did change rooms though, away from the street and a dripping shower. The courtyard is full of cozy sofas, chairs and a street kitchen. The hotel can arrange walks around Pushkar, camel rides, henna paintings and taxis to Ajmer. It has the charming feel of an upscale backpacker hostel. The owner’s wife is Belgium and always around.
The very name, Hotel Bundi Haveli says it all: a tall Haveli around a small courtyard that is used as a dining area. The rooms are large and nicely decorated with pieces of art. We loved the service: our waiter had a good sense of humor, practiced his two words of French with Gilles and tried to please in every possible way. There was a rooftop restaurant, but it was not really used. Maybe the monkeys were too cheeky or the lack of shade kept people four floors down in the tiny courtyard. The doors had to be kept locked all the time to keep the monkey out, and a wire mash was spread across the shaft to prevent them climbing down into the lobby.
Last but not least, Woodcastle in Delhi. Friendly and good value, but a bit charmless… The comfortable lobby is in the basement without windows, so what we really missed was a place to sit outside.