Built in red sandstone in typical Indian ornate style Bal Samand is an absolute oasis of calm. An oasis that comes complete with a dramatic setting right on a 12th-century lake. In fact, there’s much to love about this rambling Rajput summer palace – the beautifully kept lush gardens replete with strutting peacocks, acres of lime orchards and, of course the wonderful, old-school hospitality.
Converted from the maharaja’s lakeside palace, there are ten unique airy suites all with lashings of character in the traditional Jodhpur style – framed royal portraits, ornate wood carvings, velvety chaise lounges, window seats, and colourful block-print textiles all provide a decadent dose of indigenous ambience. The stone walled outside terraces provide your own little bower to laze about in, and indoors - air-conditioning and slow-turning fans help combat the dry desert heat.
After a day sightseeing in nearby Jodhpur you can head back to the secluded marble swimming pool - the perfect place to relax and watch the sun go down - then, perhaps disappear for an hour or two on a dreamy horse-drawn carriage ride around the grounds.
At night, the atmospheric terrace is all about romantic candlelit dinners under the stars, and there are glowing wood fires in braziers to keep you toasty while you tuck in. Timelessness exudes here, as does friendly service and authentic Rajasthani dining, just watch out for the frolicking monkeys.
- Rooms, dining and activities are all reasonably priced, making it an ideal stay for those watching their rupees
- A themed evening spent at the nearby sand dunes
- A game of croquet on the lawn
- Having drinks on the rooftop terrace and watching the sun set
- Dining in the lake view restaurant
- Tranquility comes high on the agenda here, but it may be a little too quiet for some
Need to know: Bal Samand
Number of rooms: 10 suites
Check-in/check-out times: 12 and 12 noon
Room service: Yes. There’s 24-hour room service
Swimming pool: Yes, there’s a huge outdoor pool that you can relax around
Dogs welcome: No
Eating and drinking: Delicious and hearty home-cooked Rajput cuisine. Drinks are classic Raj-era G&T’s and whiskies, or a zingy lime soda for daytime hours.
Near to? The tribal Guda Bishnoi Village, 25 kilometres outside the city, offers a glimpse of traditional Rajasthani culture. Mehrangarh Fort, and its museum that overlooks Jodhpur is a must for any itinerary. The shopping in Jodhpur is also good, especially for furniture.
Getting There: Jodhpur Airport is the closest and is 11 kilometres away from Bal Samand. Connecting flights run daily from Mumbai and Delhi. If you’re travelling by rail then there are daily overnight sleeper trains from Delhi, and Jodhpur Railway Station is 8 kilometres away from the hotel. The hotel can arrange transport to collect you.