Fort Barli is the ancestral home of the Singh family, who have been living here for some 350 years. The current generation of the family manage the hotel which opened to guests in 2009. The building dominates the centre of Barli, a small village in rural Rajasthan roughly halfway between Jaipur and Jodhpur.
Your enter through a large courtyard where chairs and tables are laid out. There's an outdoor pool and a terrace which overlooks the village. Indoors there's a lounge with squashy sofas, easy chairs and coffee tables. The restaurant served a buffet breakfast and a la carte lunches and dinners.
There are just 8 suites, all very spacious, with traditional furniture, polished stone floors, colourful bed covers, curtains and cushions, and private bathrooms. They vary in layout, and all have window seats where you can sit and take in views of the village. Mod cons include air conditioning, tea and coffee makers and minibars. Suites have access to private terraces for secluded relaxation.
You can explore the village on foot or from a bullock cart, and staff can provide tours of the fort taking in the assembly hall, treasury and armoury. You can hire a bike for independent exploration, and go for walks around the nearby lake.
Open: Fort Barli is open all year. It first opened to guests in 2009.
Location: This Heritage Hotel is on a hill in the centre of Barli village, which has a population of about 5,000, in a rural setting. It is roughly equidistant from Jaipur (about a 3 hour drive) and Jodhpur (3.5 hours). The nearest airport is Jaipur, and closest railway station is at Bijaynagar 7kms away.
Rooms: There are 7 guest suites in 2 categories: super deluxe and royal suite. 2 suites are on the ground floor with the others on upper floors accessed via steps. They are different in layout but are all spacious, have en-suite bathrooms with showers. Each bathroom has a water boiler that needs to be switched on about 10 minutes before hot water is required. Rooms have large windows (many with window seats) with views down to the village. They have air conditioning, fans, phones, minibars, and tea and coffee making facilities. Family photographs add a homely feel. There are no in-room safes, but you can use the safe at reception.
Activities: You can take a guided tour of the fort with a member of staff, take a bullock cart ride round Barli village, explore the village on foot and spend time with villagers, walk by the lake or trek in the hills, go bird watching, hire a bike to venture a little further afield. Hotel staff can organise taxis. At night you can indulge in some star gazing. Music and dance performances and puppet shows can be arranged on request.
Facilities: There is a lounge overlooking the lawn and fort entrance with lots of seating, coffee tables and a range pf board games, and a small dining hall serving Indian and continental meals. The main courtyard has tables and chairs where you can pass the time and enjoy al fresco snacks, which are available throughout the day. There is an outdoor swimming pool and terrace. Ayurvedic massages can be arranged, as can the services of an astrologer. The hotel has a laundry service.
Dining: Meals are eaten at individual tables in the restaurant, courtyard and on the terrace. The hotel provides breakfast each morning, and lunch and dinner are offered on request and need to be booked in advance. Staff can supply picnics if youâ€™re going out.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome. Each suite can accommodate an extra for children.
Health: We recommend malaria prophylactics for travel to India.
Communication: There is no internet access.
"A very unusual and lovely hotel with a charming host and staff. We had clearly been upgraded. Our room and the public areas were excellent as were the meals"