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“Unique and wonderful hotel experience in India” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Savista Retreat

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Savista Retreat
Sanjharia,P.O. Thikaria | Off Ajmer Road, Jaipur 302026, India   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #28 of 306 Hotels in Jaipur
San Francisco, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Unique and wonderful hotel experience in India”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2012

My husband and I stayed at Savista for 3 nights on a 2 week trip to India. We had stayed in some pretty luxurious (and expensive) hotels on our trip, but none compared to this little gem!

Based on our experience here and in India overall, here's what really stood out -

1) Great setting and location, unless you want a cookie-cutter experience of Jaipur. Jaipur itself is a crowded, noisy, overwhelming city, but with some stunning historical sites in and around it. After a few hours of sightseeing each day, we just wanted to escape this urban mess - and Savista with its beautiful, serene countryside vibe was the perfect place to return to. It's not close to the city center (about 20k away), but fairly accessible. Moreover, most tourists don't seem to realize that the best stuff is not in, but around Jaipur - the stunning Amber Fort, Pushkar Lake (the cattle fair is unreal), and the textile center at Bagru. Savista was well located to access these sites, and we were particularly grateful for the car and English-speaking driver that was given to us for the duration of our stay.

2) A level of personalized attention and care that almost made us feel that we were honored guests in someone's home. The owners met us warmly when we arrived, and even sat down with us and provided a whole host of travel and shopping suggestions that probably ended up saving us from getting ripped off by the many touts that seem to pervade Jaipur's markets. Separate less-spicy food was prepared by the cooks on the first night for my husband who arrived in Jaipur with a stomach upset (he definitely looked better the second day). And the lovely American staff member Jake even copied a CD of music for us when we commented on how much we enjoyed the tunes being played in the restaurant! Its safe to say that the level of service here went above and beyond any of commercial hotels we experienced on our trip.

3) The food. Wow. After a diet of creamy, spicy, oily fare all through our trip, it was a delight to eat fresh-tasting and moderately spiced food that probably constitutes what most Indians eat themselves at home. The best part was the many of the ingredients were grown organically on the property , and the owner even gave us a little tour of their vegetable patch. I've been to farm-to-fork restaurants like these in the Bay Area, but never thought I'd find one in India, that too serving authentic Indian food!

Overall, a big thumbs up to Savista and the owners and staff for what they've been able to create - a (rare) truly welcoming and personalized hotel experience in India. We'll be back if we return to Jaipur.

Room Tip: Pick Jasmine if you can (with the fireplace). We loved it!
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jaipurmeditator, Manager at Savista Retreat, responded to this review, December 2, 2012
Hello David,

I'm so glad you enjoyed your time at Savista. Have a safe flight back home. Let me know if you want me to send you the rest of the music collection. The mail from India is slow, but it will eventually get to California.

-jake
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183 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2012

Booked into the Savista purely for the block printing package. A girlfriend and I stayed 3 nights and spent 2 full days in neighbouring village Bagru for the block printing classes. We were the only two participating but nonetheless enjoyed the experience mostly thanks to Jessica - an American staying in Bagru to help the block printing community become more commercially minded. The Savista Retreat is a beautiful old building - sufficiently renovated and furnished without being too over-the-top but certainly not luxurious. It is a long way from Jaipur - in the middle of nowhere and little to do unless you just want to relax. The gym and massage facilities are not really set up - apparently there are plans to house a new restaurant in these outbuildings but I think it is unlikely tourists would come from Jaipur to Savista at night just for a dining experience. On two of our three nights we were the only guests so the service was very attentive and the owners were interested to hear our feedback. The staff were all local villagers and pleasant enough but needed to improve their skills and appearance when waiting at tables with food. They looked like they had just come in from working in the fields. We came away thinking it had the potential to be a great retreat but basically missed the mark by just not being what the website promised. Basically it is a 3* hotel with 4* rooms, 3* amenities, 3* food but in area where there is nothing to do unless you participate in the block printing course. And if you don't like walking through a particularly dirty town like Bagru through groups of feral pigs sifting through all the rubbish then this probably isn't the place for you!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jaipurmeditator, Manager at Savista Retreat, responded to this review, December 1, 2012
Hello Anita,

Thank you for the feedback on your stay, we will take your thoughts into careful consideration.

We had a lovely time hosting you, and I wanted to reiterate how impressed I was with the beautiful pieces you made in such a short time in Bagru.

Bagru (the neighboring historic town where our workshop takes place) is certainly not a town that is built around tourists. Visitors will get to see what life is like in a genuine Indian printing town. Anita, I agree, this experience is not for everyone. It takes an adventuresome traveler to dive into such an experience. It is for this reason that we ask to be in ask to be in close conversation with our blockprinting guests.

Because we have so few guests, we take the opportunity to build a spa experience around each guest that expresses interest. This involves much individual setup, and may have led to you thinking that the facilities were off bounds. I'm sorry if I did not explain this effectively enough when I toured you around the property.

Anita I hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Rajasthan.

Best,
-Jake
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London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2012

Booked 4 night stay for 4 adults following sound reviews on TripAdvisor. Unfortunately, just cannot recommend against 5-star alternatives in the same price band unless the owner drastically improves some elements of the service offering.

Savista is a pretty property, on a serene rural setting away from the noise of Jaipur. Rooms are elegantly furnished and are comfortable.

Eclectic homestay appearance was initially refreshing but it soon felt a bit intrusive (perhaps 4 nights was just too long). Indeed, we ended up feeling that we were being watched by the owner and his operatives, and didn't really want to use the communal facilities (i.e. lounge chairs, library etc).

This would have been ok if it wasn't run so commercially, with 5 star prices against what felt like petty penny-pinching. I left feeling fleeced. Here are a few specific examples. I hope the owner takes heed as these are issues that can be fixed.

Breakfast included in the "package" is completely inadequate. Basically toast and omelette every day, tinned juice in an unsealed jug (probably recycled), unsealed food-coloured jam and unsealed butter in an open bowl, and the same bowl of fruit (bananas and apples that gradually rotted while we were there and were re-offered every morning). Furthermore, the omelette looked very unappetising (dull grey), and the owner commented (perhaps in humour, not sure) that eggs in India are risky - as they are often "injected". And for the two of us that were pure vegetarians (not uncommon in India), there was nothing else. So we had dry toast (I didn't trust the juice, butter or jam, after I saw a fly in the jug).

Dinner was fine, but vastly overpriced at Rs. 1200 per person - which by the way one is not informed of upfront (we had to risk confrontation by asking!) After the first night, we chose to take the trouble of remaining in town (an hour away) in the evenings just so that we can have dinner at the 5 Star Taj Jai Mahal Palace in town - beautiful offering for less money. There is no alternative at Savista but to choose the full meal option - for which there is no menu (so no idea what will show up). For a property that is out of reach from anywhere else that is clean, this is not ok. I felt the owner is trying to take advantage of captive customers, particularly as most people would probably not ask the costs upfront.

Similarly with laundry. We were informed by Savista's charming young American trainee helper (Jake - whose cheerful company was refreshing and enjoyable) that the cost of a bag of laundry was Rs 40. This is probably what he pays. I felt it would be prudent to ask the owner nonetheless, who then informed me that it is Rs. 40 per item. For 4 night "package" stays, this is unacceptable. Again, visitors, be warned - hidden costs are not transparent here. If you are shy to ask, then be prepared for hefty extras.

The website talks about the 4 night "experience" package, including massage, camel cart ride etc. We were informed that the female masseuse (for my mom and sister) was not there - accordingly it would not be possible, and that the camel cart ride was "not worthwhile". Instead we were "offered" a trip to Bagru village. We took this up - basically, it ended up being us accompanying Jake to run an errand for the owner to fetch from the village printing blocks that Savista gives to visitors as going-home presents.

The car we paid for as part of the accommodation is essential - Savista is a good hour away from Jaipur town, off the highway, in a location that an unknown driver will not be able to find. We had booked 2 rooms (4 adults), and had accordingly paid for two cars. Naturally, we wanted 1 larger one which was provided - but needlless to say, no discount was passed through. I heard the owner speaking softly in Hindi over the phone to the car hire company that they use, discussing the lower price of 1 car vs two - just felt a bit disingenuous (I did not bring it up as I dont like confrontation, especially while on vacation!) The drivers were ok but constantly hussled to take you to "government shops" (i.e. for commissions). We (being of Indian origin and no foreigner to these tricks) were insistent (one has to be) on going where we wanted to go - this seemed to annoy the drivers. Also, on one of the days of our 4 night stay we paid Rs 5000 for a car for a day trip to Ajmer. On our return we went to Jaipur town to have dinner at a 5 Star hotel (note Savista dinner issue above). No comments from the driver. But of course, upon checkout the next day the owner slipped in a bill for an extra Rs. 1200 saying that this was because we retained the car in the evening for dinner (which we had booked for a full day trip). Didn't argue but I felt this was petty, having paid a Rs 100,000 bill for 4 nights.

The "spa" on the website / package is an overstatement. It is an outbuilding in need of major refurb. The steam bath didn't work (perhaps this was temporary), and the jacuzzi did not look clean. As for the massage (the massage for men was available) this was performed by the same 2 guys (brothers) that Savista's owner seems to use for everything - we observed they were the cooks, servers, general purpose handy-men ... and Spa masseurs. They are overworked (not sure if well paid) and are clearly not spa trained. Made me feel guilty having my head and shoulders pressed by the same tired out guys. Again, this is all forgivable if Savista was priced as a 2-3 star. Not 5 star.

The owner was insistent that guests should not tip the 2 guys but that rather we should generously contribute to his "staff fund" instead. This of course has no-transparency.

The building - like all heritage properties is in need of maintenance capex. Most significantly, it needs repainting. As for health and safety, any of the 1st floor rooms are not suitable for young children (very low balcony walls).

There are definitely good points.
1. Jake - the young American apprentice. Lovely chap. Very friendly and keen to help. Highlight of our stay.
2. We had asked for one double and one twin room. The latter was not available. The owner kindly offered my sister and I one room each. Naturally the third room must have been vacant for the duration of our stay, but this was a kind act for which I was appreciative.
3. The owner is friendly (even if highly commercial) and gave us plenty of advice on what to do etc - most helpful incase anyone wishes to visit the shrine at Ajmer.
4. Bottled water and tea available on request. They did try to convince us of the tap water, but we resisted. Prudence is best on short visits (if one intends to go back to work straight after).
5. They make quite a fuss about environmental consciousness. To the extent that this is genuine (unverifiable), then it is good. It could of course just be branding for green-westerners.

Overall view. Unfortunately small points above devalued our stay into a 2-star experience. This would have been fine, but the price and website indicate otherwise (4-5 star). Unless and until the finer elements or pricing are fixed, hard to recommend. On our next trip to Jaipur, I would rather stay at Jai-Mahal or similar.

Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jaipurmeditator, Manager at Savista Retreat, responded to this review, November 21, 2012
We first want to thank you for your review of your stay at savista. We take every review as an opportunity to improve on our hospitality and our service, and we appreciate your time in writing about Savista. 

We just wanted to take this opportunity to correct some misinformation about our property so travelers are not confused in future.  As some comments in the review questioned our integrity and honesty as hoteliers, we also wanted to address those points. 

-First we are not a 5 star property, and are proud to emphasize a different kind of travel experience then those of the opulence oriented hotels in Jaipur. Savista is listed as a 4 star property, and the properties mentioned in this review (Jai Mahal & Taj Rambagh) have entry room rates that are 4times those of Savista (as listed on booking.com).

-Dinner at Savista is a 7 course chefs tasting menu, made exclusively of local organic produce. We apologize if you were confused about pricing for this meal.  We try to be as clear as possible by providing the menu and pricing on the beds of our rooms at check-in.  On this menu we also have a list of a la cart menu items at 200rs.

-We were excited to hear when your mother informed us that she would be interested in an Indian vegetarian breakfast on the second day.  Our chef was happy to provided masala dosa as requested for the remainder of your stay. 

-Our juice, butter and jam are of course either packaged or made fresh. As we have only 14 rooms, we have the ability to prepare each breakfast individually. We feel it is more convenient to decant our jam and butter in small bowls for service and provide our juice in a pitcher. Our breakfast is served outside in our courtyard so it possible that a fly couldhave landed on the pitcher. We are sorry you did not inform us, we would have been happy to replace it. 

-We ask that our staff is not tipped individually so tips can be shared among the hard working staff that are not as viable as others. This is only a suggestion of course.  If guests are interested in our social and environmental policies, you can read about them here: www.savista.com/eco-friendly/

Mr. R, we are sorry your stay did not live up to your expectations.  We can only hope for the ability to host you again in the future.  

We hope you family enjoyed the remainder of their trip in Rajasthan.

-Jake
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Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012

We stayed at Savista for 2 days as part of our trip to Jaipur. The place was stunning.......quality & taste in abundance. And the peace & quiet was amazing....especially after the hustle & bustle of central Jaipur.

I will always remember being almost overwhelmed by my first evening lounging around the candle lit pool, watching the stars in the clear sky....whilst listening to Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan & James Taylor being played.

The owners & their staff are very welcoming & attentive without being over-powering. Nothing was too much trouble & had some good moments chatting to the owners who are a lovely & interesting couple.

This is a responsible tourist business who clearly treat the local environment & its people with great respect. All food is locally sourced & this is reflected in the very fresh taste of all dishes we ate.

The library has a really eclectic range of books ........wish we had longer to make better use of it!

For a special celebration, or just because you deserve a special treat......this place would be an excellent choice.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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jaipurmeditator, Manager at Savista Retreat, responded to this review, December 1, 2012
Marlene it was such a wonderful experience hosting you and your husband for your time up north. I hope our Rajasthan hospitality was equal to the southern India you've come to call home. I had such a great time picking out music for your dinners; meeting two western music lovers on this side of the world was a rare treat.

Best,

Jacob Browning
Savista Retreat
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Bangalore, Karnataka, India
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

Nestled away in the beautiful country side of Jaipur, Savista retreat is simple yet elegant. It has an ideal blend of luxury and homely comfort. Guest can rarely feel out of place in a place like this. Savista's tranquility is quiet extra ordinary. The management is very warm and welcoming, having a balance between giving you the best service and giving you your space.

The architecture and interiors are not over the top. It is very subtle and pleasing to the eye. The food is delicious, authentic and well prepared, they also take request for preparation of special Rajasthani dishes if informed well in advance.They provide taxi/ cab services for the entire day if you need it, just make sure you inform them about your requirements in advance.The hotel has a pool and offers camel cart ride around the fields in the country side, which i highly recommend.The Hotel also has a tasteful library.

All in all the ambiance, the people and the service of Savista is commendable.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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jaipurmeditator, Manager at Savista Retreat, responded to this review, December 2, 2012
Hello Imti,

Thank you for your review of Savista. I tend to agree that our home here is a little slice of heaven. One could say I'm a bit biased though. It was wonderful hosting you for your stay, I'm glad we finally got to talk before you left for the rest of your journey across Rajasthan. If you find your way back here, you'll have to bring pictures!

-jake
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Bangalore
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

The warmest welcoming I've ever had in India. The hotel is really beautiful, the rooms are decorated with authentic furnitures/objects of Rajasthan. They are also very cumfy. The bathroom is jet clean.

If you are interested in seeing the everyday life of North Indian farmers, you can go on a camel cart tour in the fields around the hotel. It was an amazing experience.

Yes, the hotel is in the outskirts of the city, but except if you find a place in old Jaipur, there is no point in staying in the city. And the hotel provides drivers, included in the price of the room.
If you want to relax, have good North Indian food, feel at home, listen to the silence (only interrupted by birds), this is the place!!!
If I go to Rajasthan again, I'll go to Jaipur: not to visit the city, but to go to Savista Retreat to relax.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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jaipurmeditator, Manager at Savista Retreat, responded to this review, December 2, 2012
Hello Tom,

Thanks for taking the time to write a review of your stay. I'm glad your a bathroom connisour as well, they can be an adventure in themselves criss-crossing India. If you happen to find yourself eating in NYC, I'd strongly recommend dining at Morimoto in Chelsea (I feel it appopriate here to mention that neither I nor Savista retreat as any business relationship with Morimoto). Debatably the best bathroom in the world. The food prepared by Iron Chef Morimoto is not too shabby either. Anyway, asides aside, it was great to learn about your time as a student here. We hope you can come visit us again soon!

-jake
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New York, New York, United States
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2012

As soon I arrived at Savista, I quickly fell in love with the simple white exteriors of architecture and detailed interiors of the rooms. The spacious white exteriors with large windows and open space allowed sunlight to burst through. You could be anywhere in the hotel and you would know that it is a beautiful day. My favorite place has come to the easily accessible roof of Savista, where string-beds are available under a small roof. There I could take in the beauty and peace of the Rajasthan countryside, whether it's the lush green tree tops or the different melodies of many beautiful birds. In a place with so much natural beauty and peace, it's so easy to find the peace of mind that I think many of us lose in the bustle of our daily lives.

I arrived at Savista during one of its quietest times of the year, but I always had company when I wanted and plenty of peace when I needed. The people here at Savista are all very warm and friendly, eager to share a smile and have a meaningful conversation. There was always a feeling of being cared for while I was here.

Whether you are looking for a peaceful and relaxing place after a tiring adventurous travel or just from life, I highly recommend Savista to be your resting spot.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Savista Retreat

Address: Sanjharia,P.O. Thikaria | Off Ajmer Road, Jaipur 302026, India
Location: India > Rajasthan > Jaipur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#10 Spa Hotel in Jaipur
#28 Family Hotel in Jaipur
#30 Romantic Hotel in Jaipur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Savista Retreat is a boutique hotel in Jaipur, Rajasthan. A stand-alone property, Savista Hotel/Resort's location and design make it a welcoming environment and a lifestyle destination for individuals and small groups looking for a special experience of Rajasthan. It is an excellent base for combining sightseeing in Jaipur with eco travel, wellness, and cultural enrichment within a single travel plan and at an unhurried pace. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Savista Retreat Jaipur
Savista Retreat Hotel Jaipur

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