Built as a hunting lodge for the royal family of Jodhpur in the 17th century, Rawla Narlai is a 30 room heritage hotel nestled in the Aruvali Hills. It is still owned by the same Jodhpur family who have spent much time and effort in converting the lodge to a stunning boutique hotel. The location, halfway between Jodhpur and Udaipur, is an ideal place to break your journey, and the village of Narlai is a bustling place dominated by a huge granite outcrop complete with caves and temples and topped by a statue of a white elephant.
The rooms are decorated with contemporary fittings and equipped with air conditioning, with hot water bottles provided for cold water nights. They are located throughout the villa and vary in shape, size and decor.
There is a restaurant serving excellent local and western meals, and the service is very friendly and helpful. Meals can also be taken on the rooftop enjoying views of the village or in the central courtyard.
There is a swimming pool and sunny deck where you can relax during the day, enjoying drinks and snacks from the pool bar. Rawla Narlai exudes a calm atmosphere, inviting you to relax and enjoy the tranquility, taking a stroll around the gardens and enjoying the views from one of the many verandas. You can also indulge in a massage in an attractive room in the hotel.
The local area is good walking and bird watching, maybe taking a picnic to enjoy at the nearby lake. Horse riding can be arranged locally. The 30 minute walk to the temple is recommended as a fine location rom which to watch the sunset.
Open: Rajwla Narlai is open all year.
Location: Rawla Narlai is located in the village of Narlai in the Aravalli Hills halfway between Jodhpur and Udaipur, in the state of Rajasthan. Both Jodhpur and Udaipur airports are about a 2-3 hourâ€™s drive from the hotel.
Rooms: Guest rooms are in old and new wings. All guest rooms have modern en-suite bathrooms. Rooms in the new wing have flatscren TVs and â€˜phones, while those in the old wing (heritage rooms) retain original features and some have balconies. The hotel also has a grand heritage room and the blue room suite. The main building is a rambling 17th villa with several corridors, staircases and terraces.
Activities: Exploring the village of Narlai, local caves and temples, bird watching by the lake. Horse safaris can be arranged, as well as a variety of excursions t places of interest such as the Jain temples at Ranakpur and Kumbalgarh Fort. The hotel offers jeep safaris into nearby forests. You can also spend time relaxing at the hotel, swimming, having a massage by the pool and can climb the hill behind the hotel to get views over the surrounding countryside. From 2014 the hotel will offer village and temple walks, bicycle tours and horse riding.
Facilities: There is an outdoor swimming pool with a poolside bar and a central courtyard where drinks and meals, including candle-lit dinners, can be enjoyed. The hotel can arrange private dinners at Ambabagh, a 6th century stepwell just outside the village. European and Indian dishes are served. There is a lounge and TV. The hotel has a massage room.
Dining: Meals are taken at individual tables.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Health: We recommend malaria prophylactics for travel to India.
Communication: There is free Wi-Fi internet access in public areas.
"You are surrounded on all sides of this hotel by beautiful things. There is a large rock with an elephant sculpture at the top of 700 steps towering above the hotel which we climbed for the most fantastic view of the area. The room was beautifully decorated and light flooded through colored glass giving it a really exotic feel. You can take drinks in the courtyard in the sun by day and by firelight during the evening. Food is served either alacarte or buffet. The buffet gives you opportunity to try unfamiliar foods you may not otherwise order. You are close enough to the village to take a walk through to surrounding temples. My husbands favourite room of all the hotels we stayed in Rajasthan."