My wife and I stayed here for one night to get us closer to Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh so we could more leisurely visit both in one day. It was (by far) the most disappointing hotel of our trip, and perhaps the worst hotel we have ever stayed in.
First of all, this is not a "resort" at all. It offered none of the facilities or amenities mentioned in our guidebooks or online. I wonder if the people who write the guidebooks even visited. No spa. No pool. No yoga. No internet. Nothing. The only "service" available was to have one of the cleaning boys walk us through the "jungle" (just off a major road) along a trail that leads to his house. There are no marked trails where one could hike a bit alone, which was something we were looking forward to.
Check-in: The reception area had no record of our reservation when we arrived at about 5:30pm. We booked using bookings.com. It took nearly 30 minutes for the manager (who spoke relatively little English) to sort out the situation (via calling Bookings.com support) and eventually give us a room. I have no idea what took so long, as we were one of the only guests at the resort--he could have just sent us to a room and sorted everything out later.
Electricity: Was only available for about 75% of our stay. Too bad we forgot our flashlight--it's very dark at night. Given that there are candles and matches in the room, my guess is power loss is not an unusual occurrence.
The room: VERY basic... much more "rustic" than we anticipated from a "resort." Two hard mattresses pushed together to make a "king" bed. Windows and blinds did not properly shut, so there were mosquitos in the room. Nothing felt clean. The most aggravating part was the view from our room wasn't particularly good. We asked for a better room, but they were unable to provide one, despite the hotel being virtually empty. It was never truly clear why they couldn't upgrade our room, but we eventually gave up and tried to focus on getting food (see below).
Service: Horrible. In addition to the checkin issues, we wanted to eat dinner at round 6pm as we skipped lunch. The manager informed us the restaurant would not open until 8pm. After at least 30 minutes of complaining, we finally got them to open the restaurant early and we were able to order food from a limited section of the menu. Given we were one of two (or three, tops) couples at the hotel, it was ridiculous how much arguing was necessary to get them to cook us a simple meal.
Food: It was actually quite good. We ordered basic Indian dishes. They were fresh, well spiced, well prepared, and reasonably priced.
The hike: Although the hike wasn't as remote feeling as we had hoped, it was a comparative highlight of our stay. The guide showed us a nice little trail that leads to his house and a small village near the hotel. It was a gentle, scenic (at times) 45 minute walk -- though the last 5-10 minutes were along a busy road.
Check-out: Again, a disaster. It took forever. There were issues about agreeing on the room rate (they were trying to charge us more than the rate we booked online).
The Bottom Line: The Ranakpur Jain temples were a true highlight of our 2 weeks in Rajasthan, and the Kumbhalgargh fort is definitely worth a visit. But unless you're okay with something very basic, you might just be better off staying in Jodhpur. This hotel ended up being a good 30 minutes out of the way anyhow, so staying here didn't save us much time (which was the point).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Aranyawas is set in a wild, mountain valley, hidden away from the outside world. The natural terrain is formed of rugged mountainside with outcrops of rock and indigenous forest. We have tamed a small part of it with orchards of guava, various types of mango, awla, cherry, lychee, lime, orange, pomegranate and chikoo trees. There are also apricots and figs, all of which thrive in the microclimate of the area, which is cooler than the lowlands and enjoys a summer maximum temperature of 30 degrees, though the winter nighttime temperature can drop to almost freezing point. Visit us to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. ... more less
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