The first time I stayed at Neemrana Fort Palace, I didn’t hop on one of the camel carts that had been hired to take people up the hill to the hotel’s entrance. I stayed in the van for a more sedate arrival. At six months pregnant, I figured my first foray to a former 15th century palace in India should be a bit more subdued.
Neemrana Fort Palace is anything but subdued. Built in 1464, when India’s royalty used their showpiece palaces to escape the heat and bustle of town life, Neemrana demands attention. The stone buildings of this seven-wing wonder were built in 12 layers towards the top of a craggy hillside. This means rooms with views in every direction.
Each guest room is also unique with its own name and furnishings. The result is a kaleidoscope of options where arches, recessed alcoves, lovely print fabrics and a mix of colonial and antique wooden furniture are prominent features that provide an aura of authenticity. When the property became a hotel in the 1970s, much effort was made towards architectural restoration in order to retain the original palace’s attributes. The options of the 65 guest rooms, each with a private bath, range from one room with a twin bed to a suite that can sleep five. We stayed in Moonga Mahal, a narrow two- room suite with a queen and a twin bed.
Neemrana’s common areas are as aesthetically pleasing as the guest rooms, and the gardens are as gorgeous. The property also has two swimming pools, table tennis, a Jacuzzi, a fitness center, and an Ayurvedic spa where treatments include massages and oil therapies formulated to help guests detox, relax and experience bliss.
The food at Neemrana is also superb. Breakfast– a mix of traditional Indian and western breakfast items, is included with the room rate. Lunch and dinner consist of vegetarian or non-vegetarian Thali, a mix of Indian style dishes. Neemrana does serve alcohol.
About an hour and a half drive from New Delhi, Neemrana Fort Palace Hotel is where the hotel is the experience. However, you can mix in a zipline tour if you wish. Camel rides can also be arranged.
Room rates range from Rs 4000 to Rs 25000, roughly $66 to $415 (From May 1 to August 31 room rates are 20% discounted except for Saturdays.)
For reservations, contact the Delhi sales office @ 011-4666-1666 or [email protected] You can book online but availability of rooms for online booking is limited. You can also book through Priceline.
Post courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association. Photos courtesy of Neemrana Fort Palace Hotel