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“Review about Hotel, not Safari”

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Vijay Guest House & Vista Rooms
Ranked #8 of 50 Bikaner B&B and Inns
Cusco, Peru
Level Contributor
144 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
“Review about Hotel, not Safari”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 20, 2012

This is one hell of an Indian experience. It's really the ultimate 1-star and 5-star experience. I'll settle for four, since I still vividly remember every detail one year and a half later.

You must stay here, for the good, the bad, and the ugly!...and the wife!! If possible, come for the camel festival in January.

I came for the festival in 2011, run coincidentally by Vijay. It's really tough to review Vijay Guest House, given the extreme positives and negatives that accompanied my visit.

Pros:

- Vijay knows everyone in the city. I mean, literally, everyone. He can make anything happen, at any time of day or night. Vijay is the typical Rajasthani man - powerful, funny, and eccentric! Once you meet Vijay, you will never, ever forget him! Unfortunately, neither will you his wife...but more on that below

- Vijay's guesthouse has an assortment of rooms, and really attracts the best travellers that you'll meet in India. Meals are served family style, and are authentic and home-cooked.

- If you're in Bikaner for the camel festival, then you must stay at Vijays. It will be over-booked, but find a way to do it. Vijay runs the festival, and will ensure that you get the best experience.

- Vijay has some great stories (and whiskey) to share. His father was head of the army's camel brigade that protected the border with Pakistan.


Negatives:

- Vijay's wife is equally unforgettable. And awful. Evil & awful. That about sums it up. She almost never leaves her bed, except for to eat, boss the servants around, and overbook rooms. She managed to guarantee me a small room for one night over the phone, and also a room for my 4 friends who would arrive the next day. I confirmed the room before arriving. Sure enough, they were out, forcing me to spend the night in a larger room. The next day, I found out that my friends were meant to sleep in a TENT outside! So much for their room... When I protested, they were put up in the neighbors house. Ah India.... Vijay's wife then proceeded to give away my room as well, leaving me with no option except the massive master room. Rather than complain, I offered to share it with a couple from Northern Ireland that were also given a tent out back. Turned into one hell of a good night!

- The rooms run the gambit. Some are tastefully decorated, while others are big disasters.

- When overbooked, you'll spend the night in the neighbor's house

- Vijay's wife really screwed up my bill. I complained to Vijay, and he sorted things out right away.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank Vinay R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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126 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
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English first
Hillegom, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 15, 2012

The guest house is nice, with hot water and clean rooms.
The safari was dissappointing. I booked a 2 days/2 nights safari to experience a little bit the desert way of living. However, after the first night, we walked out of the desert, we passed a railway and we walked a little part on a "highway" (big road)! When I told the guide that for me this was not a real desert experience, he eventually let me call the tour organisation (Camel man). When I told him that I wanted to finish the safari, because I didn't want to experience 2 similar days, he shouted to me on the telephone and said that I had to stay because they didn't want to pick me up. I recommend the guest house for sleeping, but I won't recommend the tour organisation (Camel man) to anyone.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
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3 Thank Ben K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
69 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2012

Vijay Singh (a.k.a. The Camel Man) makes you feel very welcome at his clean and comfortable guest house. The rooms were the best we stayed in during our rent tour of India. Rooms cost 600 Rs, Breakfast was 150 Rs and Dinner at 200 Rs including free Rum !!! was a bargain. Our first night there was Vijay and Desi's 20th wedding anniversary and we joined the family for their meal. It was a banquet and great party atmosphere.

We spent a total of 5 nights with Vijay, two at the guest house, one night camping out on his Camel Safari and two nights out at his farm. The Camel Safari was great fun, but we were glad to get off the beasts at the end of the day. I see from other reviews that some people expect the Thar desert to be like the Sahara. It is not, the population density means that you will never be more than a few kilometers from a village or road, but you can still have a great experience in the desert and then have a fun evening around the camp fire at night.

Room Tip: Just ask for a big room facing the garden.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Marilyn_Tony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
86 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 151 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2012

We did a one day safari with Vijay. The whole thing was a disappointment. I think they mean well and I know the guesthouse is popular but the safari was terrible really.

As some others have reviewed here the problem is that you're not in the middle of nowhere at all. Infact, for at least 75% of the 4 hour trek you're in sight of power lines and always just 1 ridge away from 'civilisation'. Lunch was great though they were going to leave the trash behind had I not told the guide that it was hardly 'eco-' or business-savvy to trash the place they make money from. The camel-drivers thought nothing of throwing away plastic bottles along the trail though.

But it just isn't a safari is it? Infact, we arrived at a 'campsite' where several people were sleeping over and I thank heavens that we weren't sleeping over, it might as well have been in a field at the back of the houses...literally a half km from the village. No desert anything, the city in the distance. Just not desert.

So maybe we got the 'bad' day trip option. Maybe a day trip isn't enough to do justice to the safari. Just make sure you know what you're getting for your money....and don't expect sand dunes and Lawrence of Arabia soundtrack.

Room Tip: This is a review of the safari...not the guesthouse!
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
16 Thank NeilOakshott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 17, 2012

I stayed on Jan 11

This is a late one...The room was ground floor, garden side with hot water shower and outside sitting area. Vijay organized a pick-up from the train at 0600 for us, and also got us sorted with a trip to the rat temple at Deshnok and the camel farm. Try some of the camel milk, it's great, and there's a little samosa stand at the temple with decent sized and very tasty samosas for around 5rp. We also went on the 2 night trip to the village with Vijay and then out to his farm. Magic, and one of the highlights of the year we spent travelling. If you're reading this and you're debating whether to go, go. One night Vijay got some bhopas to play for us and about 2 weeks later they were playing to an audience of several thousand at the camel festival.

Vijay's Guest house is well priced for digs, though meals aren't included, and those on a tight budget may be surprised, though the food is tasty and abundant.

The only negative would be his wife. My partner and I, after staying for 5 nights, (including the farm trip), booked the same room for the up-coming camel festival. When we arrived we were shown a tent in the back garden which his wife tried to charge us the same price for as the room. I remonstrated quite forcefully with her, and wound up staying in one of the family rooms with a sympathetic American guy. She showed no shame nor care, and I found her to be galling and rude.

However, when Vijay found out, he didn't charge us for the room that night, and the next day we were sorted out with a proper room.

I can't speak highly enough of the guy, and if you're travelling in India, he's the most honourable man you'll meet.

Stay here!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank LeeMacc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bouloc, France
Level Contributor
57 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2012

We stayed 4 nights at Vijay's and can really recommend it. The room was amazing value for money, and very spacious. Our room had enough room for a settee as well - it felt like a suite! The garden was a calm place to relax in after sightseeing. Don't miss the fort and the camel farm, and - if you can face it - the rat temple. Vijay organised a full day and a night in the desert, in tents, and it was the highlight of our trip. Supper under the stars, with a camp fire and the sunset - magic!

Room Tip: If possible, ask for a room that is near to the garden.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank abueladefrancia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stevenage, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2012

We arrived here in the middle of the night, about 1am, but Vijay very kindly organised a free pick-up for us from the train station. When we arrived, we were greeted by Vijay's son and were given, choice of 2 rooms that were left out of the 10. Both rooms were very spacious with areas and tables to spread out our luggage. At first impressions of this guest-house, I was a little bit unsure of it. The room looked shabby, with chipped furniture and stained carpet. The bedsheets also didn't seem totally clean but this was easily covered up with a few of our own blankets. I was also unsure of the food at first. The cutlery and plates were not all clean and there were toast crumbs in the butter and jam, and I started to worry about my stomach! After this experience at breakfast, I was apprehensive about having dinner here, but it was actually delicious. All the food is home-cooked and, for the best part, healthy. Most importantly, it tasted wonderful! None of the food is included in the price, and it was unclear how much we would be paying for it, as there were no price lists clearly displayed anywhere. Despite it's downfalls, there was generally a lovely atmosphere in the guest house. It's a great place to meet other travellers as they were mostly all there for the same purpose - the camel safari! Vijay and his wife and son also created a good atmosphere as they all seemed to really enjoy running the guesthouse and interacting with the guests.

The camel safari was fantastic. We had an entertaining guide that spoke pretty good english. They brough along plenty of water for everyone for a day and night in the desert - 3 litres are included in the price. The tents were clean and extra blankets could be given if needed. Another delicious dinner was provided, and a campfire and musicians made it a night to remember. Overall, very well organised and was a great experience. We have some very happy memories

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Sammy_lou0201
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vijay Guest House & Vista Rooms

Property: Vijay Guest House & Vista Rooms
Address: Jaipur Road | Opposite Sophia School, Bikaner 334005, India
Location: India > Rajasthan > Bikaner
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 50 B&Bs / Inns in Bikaner
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 8

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