We stayed at “Ratan Vilas”:http://www.ratanvilas.com/ in Jodhpur for two nights including New Year’s Eve. Having seen the prices of special gala dinners in previous hotels, we were pleased to find it was ‘business as usual’ with no fancy expensive events.
Ratan Vilas was built in 1920, by Maharaj Ratan Singhji of Raoti, a royal from Jodhpur and one of the finest horsemen and polo players of his time.
The mansion has been converted into a hotel by family members who still live there. We spoke to the lady of the house who explained they’d converted some of the rooms into a hotel – basically to fund the up keep as with English stately homes
It was an attractive building of red brick with a garden, terrace, swimming pool and well stocked library and the communal sitting areas had lots of photographs and family portraits. It was a very relaxing place, even though you could hear the hustle and bustle of Jodhpur outside the gates.
The rooms were located around a tiled open courtyard with garden swings. Ours was spacious with very large double bed, tea and coffee making facilities, empty fridge, safe, wardrobe, desks, two chairs and a double rack for suitcases. A fruit basket was refreshed daily and hairdryers were available on request. Wi-Fi was available in the public areas but not the rooms.
The bathroom was grand, but the outstanding feature was a green marble pool-bath, at least 5’ by 4’, which would easily fit four. There was lots of hot water and it took no time to fill and made a real change after days of showers.
For breakfast, there was a good selection of hot and cold dishes (English and Western) and eggs could be ordered. One morning I enjoyed a masala omelette, fried potatoes and baked beans. Yum!
Dinner could either be taken in the restaurant or the terrace and we thought that on New Year’s Eve we’d eat on the terrace as it looked more romantic with burning braziers and candles. However, we hadn’t bargained for the cold night and wind which blew the smoke in our direction. There was a small menu with western as well as Indian dishes. We chose gutta masala (a Rajasthani dish) and ‘mutton’ (goat) kebabs which came with mint sauce, cheese naan and rice. Both mains were good and complemented each other well. But by the end, we’d got chilled and as the wind was now blowing up the table cloth, we decided to call it a night and were in bed by a rather sad 10pm. However, we did hear the 30 minutes of fireworks at midnight signalling the start of 2017 but didn’t leave our cosy beds.
The following day, we returned from our sight-seeing just in time for a late lunch of vegetable pakora on the terrace and spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool in the sun (although it wasn’t warm enough for swim suits).
For our second dinner, we ate indoors in what was a large, rather spartan, concrete-floored room with garden-style furniture. Our chilli, garlic chicken and aloo dum (cheese stuffed potatoes in a cashew nut gravy), plain rice and buttered roti were all excellent.
We loved Ratan Vilas and would highly recommend it.