India’s cultural essence combined with its most iconic sights and greatest bucket list experiences, all distilled into one compact, diverse and vibrant region.
Recommended place to stay:
Alwar, Rajasthan, India|www.neemranahotels.com|
Official star rating:
Set above rustic Neemrana village on the shoulders of a stark ridge in the Aravalli Hills, Neemrana Fort-Palace is a sublime confection of medieval fortress and fairy-tale palace.
Originally built in the 1460s and expanded down the centuries, by 1947 it was abandoned and rapidly deteriorating. Its bold, late-1980s restoration has been bolstered by appealing, almost ‘Indo-Tuscan’, additions.
With almost 80 rooms and suites spread over 14 levels, it’s a lovely, relaxing and essentially rural hotel with charming terraces and gardens plus a welcome pair of swimming pools.
For a different perspective, a spectacular zip wire spans the lofty ridge above and behind the property – with awesome views of the fort-palace.
For a more sedate experience, the hotel arranges simple camel-cart tours of the locality – a mode of transport still used by some villagers throughout rural Rajasthan.
Framed by rugged hillsides, the hotel stands above a typically earthy Rajasthani village whose tight knot of lanes and streets are centred on a small bazaar.
It’s a quiet residential area with a few small low-key businesses (such as souvenir shops and travel agencies) which have developed to service the needs of visitors.
On the northern edge of the village lies an impressively large and deep step well, now sadly unused and in need of care.
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