Holiday review by Mr. Eric Stelfox
Name: Mr. Eric Stelfox
Date of trip: 21/10/2016
Number of people: 2
Everything! It is difficult to pick out individual things but the highlights were: Seeing tigers in the wild The Taj Mahal-one of the few buildings in the world that can transcend the crowds around it. We could have sat and looked at it all day. Sneaking onto the roof at the Samode Haveli to watch the Diwali firework displays in Jaipur A group of about 20 Indian girls at Chittorgarh queuing patiently to have their photograph taken with Sally.
Great hotels, fantastic organization, tigers, the Taj Mahal, Diwali, great food-what's not to like!
Paul judged our requirements perfectly and got the right balance between sight seeing and the naturalist part of the holiday.
Whilst not a Tribes employee, special mention must be made of Sarika Bhatnagar of the local ground handler in India. She checked several times things were OK and went out of her way to help when we were caught up in currency crisis.
The only criticism of some of the guides is that they seemed to lose interest if you told them you weren't interested in shopping. On one or two occasions tours were of the 'whistlestop' variety to allow time for shopping even though we had said we weren't interested.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
We thought the elephant ride at the Amber fort was not really necessary and probably not in the elephants best interest.
At a couple of properties there were notices in the room saying how precious water was (even to the extent of suggesting a bucket bath over a shower) but they were busy watering the lawn.
Tribes Comment: Tribes took a decision not to arrange the elephant rides at Amber Fort about 10 years ago. It was a mistake that the elephant ride was included and we are investigating to make sure this is not included in the future.
The places you stayed
A great historic hotel. Impeccable service.
A beautiful restoration and the suite was fantastic. It wasn't very busy when we were there with a consequently very high staff to guest ratio which meant they were bit over attentive.
Again not very busy but very homily with fantastic food. Dinner on the roof. I would suggest that the morning boat ride on the Chambal river is a must do.
A lovely property with a great food and our room was lovely with a large outdoor space.The location is great, you can be in the centre of Jaipur within 10 minutes. We were there for Diwali and the hotel put on a really good firework display.
We got the impression that most people only stay there 1 night (we did) but this didn't affect the quality of service. The only hotel we stayed at with an in house astrologer!
Again not very busy when we were there. The naturalist was excellent and happy to fit around our requirements. Sally wanted to see river dolphins - so our guide made sure we saw them.
We thought that the Bateshwar fair didn't really live up to its billing and certainly didn't warrant a full day visit as originally planned.
One small point is that the food is a buffet that could have been hotter (temperature wise rather than spicy).
Kanha National Park
We saw tigers-what more did we want! Very nice property with excellent food. Besides the dining room meals were taken in different locations - very romantic. Excellent guide (Mohan) and the fastest reverser of a jeep I've ever encountered.
Again, we were the only guests there. Again a lovely property with fantastic guides who didn't mind waiting 30 minutes whilst Sally got the perfect shot of a giant wood spider. Although it is called the Satpura Tiger reserve I understand the chances of seeing a tiger there is remote.
The lunch cooked by some ladies from the village was perhaps the culinary highlight of the holiday.
As with the Imperial a great historic hotel with impeccable service. We had a fantastic room in the Palace wing with great views over the Gateway of India.