The quiet of the early morning was broken by a symphony of bird song – the garrulous babblers , the raucously screeching parakeets, the meditative hoots of the doves, the sharp trill of the fruit birds mingled with those of the sun bird, the melody of the bulbuls and the shrill calling of the squirrels. The twisting trunk of the tree lent it a magical shape, evoking a childhood memory of the fabled magic faraway tree, as it stood guardian over the turquoise cool of the swimming pool. Cluster of Champa trees dotted the resort, each lush with bouquets of flowers, spilling their exotic fragrance into the surrounds, adding to the overall charm of the place. This, folks, was my early morning at Rawla Narlai – a boutique hotel, unlike another that I have been to.
Narlai was a hunting lodge of the Jodhpur Maharaja and has been converted into a charming and rustic hotel/resort with immense grace and love. It’s about 2 hours drive from Jodhpur, en route to Udaipur. In fact, it’s the best base to make while touring that area to check out places like Ranakpur (25-30 kms) and Kumbhalgarh fort ( 80 kms) – both worth visiting!!
The rooms were old world with large bathrooms. Room amenities were not all in (no TV – what a bliss!) and we couldn’t seem to find the tea kettle but the service of the staff put us at great ease there.
I had booked a poolside tent for myself and was I glad that I did. It was delightful to say the least. There were 5-6 of them in a neat row, sandwiched between rows of banana trees. The great big hill in the backdrop and the pool in the front, added to the charm of it all. The pool had some beautiful paisley motifs worked out in deep blue tile which looked great against all that water.
Bougainvillea bushes rambled graciously over the old walls, interspersed with ivy and some other creepers with colorful blooms. Lazy beds dotted the courtyard garden where some fat elephants stood guard over a pool of water. Perfect oasis to soak in with an engrossing book or simply catch some 40 winks under the shade and fragrance of the frangipani trees.
The food at Narlai was amazingly delicious and well cooked – the flavours genuine and all there. Breakfast was such a gala affair with a veritable spread of goodies. A soothing affair for dinner on the roof top under a canopy of stars. The staff was genuinely hospitable and courteous who simply won our hearts by their eager – to – please attitude!! One of them took me shopping for silver jewelry into the village and that was quite a revelation. The shop stocked some genuine rustic designs – loved the loot I picked up from there.
All in all a great stopover between Jodhpur – Udaipur and a property worth visiting on its own as well.
- Rawla means Village in the local language – Narlai is the name of the village.
- Rawla Narlai is a sister concern of Ajit Bhawan – a heritage property in Jodhpur.
- The drive from Jodhpur took us about 2 1/2 hours and its a perfectly good terrain to drive on. Just the road to the village is damaged in parts.
- This place is midway between Jodhpur & Udaipur.
- Local destinations like Kumbhalgarh fort and Ranakpur are within easy drivable distances and are a must see.
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A trained Interior designer who loves to travel, photograph and write, I have done some boutique stays in limited budgets and some in extravagant ones too. My forte is in using locally sourced/ made products which would provide support to the local community. I am also an advocate of using sustainable practices in housekeeping, laundry,etc which lessens the use of harmful chemicals. The water used for such chores is clean enough to be fed into the garden directly.
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Read on about a majestic fort in Udaipur which has been compared to the Great Wall of China – Kumbhalgarh