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“bit too much child-labor for my tastes” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Renuka Hotel

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Renuka Hotel
North of Gandhi Chowk, Jaisalmer 345001, India   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #18 of 85 Hotels in Jaisalmer
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“bit too much child-labor for my tastes”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

The restaurant is the best in the city and the rooms are decent for India (basic; semi-clean, intermittent warm water and occasional wifi) but a lot of the employees are children. Not cool with supporting this. Concerning the camel safari, we did the two-day/one-night option and definitley regreted it. One of our camels was in very poor shape and they all were covered in something like bot fly larvae things - very sad. The bedding provided for the night consists of only the foul blankets used on the camel saddles and one sheet each. GROSS. We never felt more dirty in our lives!!!! There was plenty of food (plain yellow dal, rice, chapatti) but probably because none of us were eating it because we watched how it was prepared. Again, grossssss! Also, we were promised an "off the beaten track" safari but there were always ten other groups within site. I would also recommend that the Renuka guides be expected to not leave all the trash in the desert. It was SUCH A MESS and there were thousands of dung beetles everywhere (and crawling all over us) because of all the trash and food that's left behind day after day

Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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181 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
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Bristol, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

We booked Renuka based on the glowing reviews and feel we stayed at a very different place!

On arrival we were told only one room was available – room 4 at 550RS. It was very basic so they showed us another larger room for 650RS at Rattan Place just 50 metres away. This was better but had a strange outer section with an opening high up to the next door room. The occupants were enjoying shouting at each other so we had to go back to room 4.

Renuka enjoys its reputation in LP as ‘squeaky clean’. Room 4 was not – I have attached photos.

1 The pillows looked clean but when I turned them over it was clear that they had not been changed for a long time and even had the dent from the last occupants head on one of them. I asked for clean ones and these were provided.
2 The mirror in the room and the bathroom mirror were so dirty I can’t even guess when they were last cleaned.
3 The bathroom was grubby all over, particularly the tiles below the shower taps.
4. The ‘balcony’ is shared and had a beer bottle which had been there so long that mould was growing on the dregs of the beer and a water bottle filled with cigarette ends on it and a few buckets.
5. They charge 20RS for toilet paper!
6 They charge 50RS for wifi per person per day

There are some positives
1 The staff were welcoming and friendly
2 The rooftop restaurant, although shabby looking, did serve up the best Rajasthani Thali we have had and we went back to use it again.

We stayed one night and moved to a much better value room in the Fort itself at Mid Fort Hotel with free wifi and a fabulous panoramic view of the city and sunset for 800RS.

Room Tip: Avoid room 4
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
154 helpful votes 154 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2012

Renuka Hotel: room was ok - average cleanliness for India, no toilet paper (normal in India), no hot water, towels(!!), good fan, poor internet, excellent restaurant (like really, really great!) but as for the Camel Safari, I’m so happy it's OVER!

Everything started out great…
Quietly thanking baby Jesus that I had the forethought to wear a sports bra, we rode our wonderful, giant, stinky, noisy, cranky camels for 2 ½ hours in the blazing sun out into the desert (and by desert, I mean green farm lands) until we arrived at some sand dunes just in time to watch the sunset. Magical! Our guide unsaddled and hobbled our poor camels and then disappeared to presumably get drunk with the other groups’ camel guides for the next two hours, leaving us to sit and watch our other guide: AN EIGHT YEAR OLD LITTLE BOY - cook our dinner over a camp fire. So great to know we’re directly supporting child labor.

My sympathy for the poor exploited child whose childhood was being stolen didn’t last long as I watched him cook. I knew that everything he was making would most definitely cause me terrible, excruciating food poisoning within 12-48 hours. He dealt with the camels all day and didn’t even attempt to wash his hands before he was chopping potatoes and kneading chapatti dough. Yeah. The filthiness that our food was prepared with was like nothing I’ve seen since living in China. I took a sip of water: “no, thank you. I’m stuffed.”

Do you know what a dung beetles is? Well I sure do. I’ve had hundreds of them take turns crawling all over me. They’re super gross and huge and crawly and there were literally thousands of them in our camp site because of all the food and trash lying around from previous camel trekkers. You can’t keep them off you. GOD! They’re so big! Like two inches long and really fat and GROSSSSS!!!!!!! I was meditating on the image of them just being cute little VW Beetles driving around in the sand (and on my leg….and on my back…..and on my neck…****AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!****FREAK OUT***** Yeah, it was a long night. It got better when Brandi was taking me to go pee and we saw A HUGE #%!&$*@ SCORPION. We ran to our “guide” like the frightened children that we are and he made us take him to where we had seen it. It was nowhere to be found but he spent at least twenty minutes scanning and flipping over pieces of trash looking for it. Maaaaybe he was taking it so seriously because it could KILL US ALL.

So the kid gets back to alternating between picking at his toenails and preparing our food while also itching his hair with a vengeance directly over the finished pot of rice and I get super bored and look around to set up our bed but there aren't any blankets or mattresses or anything in site. Maybe our guide, the grown up one, is off setting up them up on the other side of the dunes??? No. After two hours of sitting AND DOING NOTHING, it was now completely dark - our guide came back and told us that now we could set up our beds. What? Where’s the stuff?? He shines his flashlight at the pile of camel saddles. The blankets that were directly on our sweating camels (did you know camels get really sweaty?! They do. Fun fact.) were what we were supposed to make our beds with. So there are no mattresses? The guide looks at me like I’m nuts: “Uhh, No.” Yeah, that would be an absurd question but on the list of “What Makes Renuka Camel Safaris So Special?” - #4 says “Mattress and blankets provided” and #5 says “Proper comfortable beds.” I’d describe how nasty and disgusting the blankets were but the memories are too painful. “Can I borrow a flashlight so I can set up my blankets?” He doesn’t have another. What? – it’s pitch black, not even a moon and I can’t see anything. The “stuff to bring list” definitely didn’t say anything about a flashlight! Thank Shiva and Krishna and Ganesh that Brandi had his i-phone.

Try to imagine this (because I want as much sympathy as you can give me): my romantic visions of cuddling and staring at the stars in our little nest under the beautiful desert sky are completely SQUASHED as we try to lay down on our wretchedly stinky camel blanket without squishing any dung beetles. We have to pull another nasty blanket over us because it was super cold - another fun fact: it gets super freezing in the desert at night. Since there aren’t any flat areas on the dunes, we’re lying on a ridiculous angle and the sand is hard as a rock. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So did we get any sleep? HAAAHAHA!!!!!

When daylight came around 5:30am, I got out from under our dew-drenched blanket and went to visit Raju: my camel. Oh my God – he has his saddle off so I can see this giant wound right where the saddle rubs against his hump. I swat the zillions of flies away from it and it’s full of maggots!! It’s all goopie and smells like decaying flesh – because IT IS DECAYING FLESH. God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did the guides care? HA! So everyone else rode and I walked for two hours in my flip flops back to the pick up point feeling very sorry for myself (and Raju too) and craving a shower like you wouldn't believe!

Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antwerp, Belgium
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

Beatiful and clean rooms, fantastic rooftop restaurant and excellent camel safari. Very good location outside the fort. Staff is polite, professional and sympathetic. Good value for money (we paid 800 Rs for an A/C room with a balcony)

Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2012 via mobile

We stayed at Renuka about 5 nights including a camel safari. The first room we stayed in was ok however the room upon return from the safari was better. Both rooms had windows, but bath rooms could do with make over. Camel safaris are cut throat in Jaisalmer and we decided to go with renuka however I feel that there are many others that would as good.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

When we arrived at the train station, Renuka Hotel had a jeep waiting for people who were staying there to take them to the hotel. This is pretty common among the hotels in Jaisalmer but was appreciated anyway. When we arrived at the hotel we were told that we were going to be staying in their sister hotel 'Ratan hotel' about 200m down the road. At first we were a bit nervous, but this is exactly the same as the Renuka hotel. The staff were also very helpful and let us check in early (train from Jaipur arrived at approx 6.30am). They knew we were tired so they suggested we sleep have a shower and check in later. I know these all seem like really small things but we really appreciated how nice and accommodating the staff were.

Our room was basic but clean and had a bathroom with shower. The shower was pretty poor, there was only a trickle of water coming out of it but we managed. We did inform the staff about this but they didn't come and look. It didn't bother us too much so we didn't push it. The towels we were given didn't seem that clean and the staff did replace them for us when we asked. They said that they had been washed with other items and the dye had ran. Overall, we were very happy with the room.

The location is so nice, it really feels like you're in an old Indian town. Even though it's not in the fort, it is only about a 10 minute walk to get to the main gate. The walk is really nice passing through the streets - great.

We ate in the restaurant and the staff here are great. The cooks are so nice and friendly and we had a good laugh with them. More importantly the food was really nice (try the veg pakora). On the second day, we went on the camel safari. We decided to leave at 3pm and return at 6pm the following day. It was a very well organised trip but for me it was a little bit too long. We started to get a little bit dehydrated on the second day (we stopped for lunch for 4 hours under a not so shady tree) so I would probably suggest doing a shorter trip. The guides were really nice, the food was great and sleeping under the stars was a great experience. The only thing I would say is that we passed other safaris advertised for cheaper but it was convenient when staying in the hotel.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santiago, Chile
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2012

I can say that the staff from this hotel was the best, they took care of me when I got sick. I really felt like home! They also have a camel safari with the best staff you could have, they are really friendly and responsable people. Thank you for your hospitality!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Renuka Hotel

Address: North of Gandhi Chowk, Jaisalmer 345001, India
Location: India > Rajasthan > Jaisalmer
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 of 85 Hotels in Jaisalmer
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 10
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