North India and Rajasthan camps - Rawla Narlai
Located mid-way between Udaipur and Jodhpur in the heart of the Aravalli Hills, Narlai is the ideal spot to break the journey between the two cities and enjoy rural Rajasthan. It is also well-positioned for visiting Kumbalgarh Fort and Ranakpur temple. The 17th century property was once a favourite hunting lodge of the Jodhpur royal family and their descendents have converted it to a heritage hotel.
Narlai has heaps of character and charm but to enjoy your stay here you'll need to have a fairly relaxed attitude to service and pristine house keeping. The old lodge is a rambling place with 25 rooms reached off narrow corridors and steep staircases that open on to shared terraces and roof-tops. From them are views of the village and surrounding countryside dominated by an enormous granite mound with temples built into the rock and topped with a white elephant.
Additional rooms in neutral colours have recently been added in a purpose built block, but otherwise they vary in shape and size with their decor following a similar theme of pretty block-printed textiles and local furnishings. Internet and wi-fi are available in the public areas and there is a communal television, though the electricity supply can be interrupted. Low lighting levels at night are no good for bedtime reading, but simply add to the ambience. Unless it is particularly cold you will probably want to eat outside in the atmospheric courtyard, next to the swimming pool or on one of the terraces but a real highlight at Rawla Narlai is the ‘Stepwell Dinner’. Leaving the hotel after dark on an ambling bullock cart, you will be taken out of the village to an elaborate 6th century well to dine in candle light to the accompaniment of traditional songs.
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