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Samode Safari Lodge
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Reviewed January 20, 2014

Samode Safari Lodge is India's foremost responsible tourism property. It is situated in pristine wilderness and provides a truly exceptional experience. Its highly knowledgeable naturalists (Hatssie,Jay & team) give its guests a spectacular insight on the wildlife and the spectacular biodiversity of Bandhavgarh. Samode has a magical combination of wildlife, rejuvination, cuisine& special warmth & hospitality created by a young, dynamic GM- Gauri. My compliments to Yadho and his dedicated team on creating a unique Safari experience - amongst the best globally!

Room Tip: All the twelve rooms are special. They have some fascinating tribal art works. The bathrooms are gorgeous simply bcos of the backdrop of the colourful animal art. Brilliant!
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank AmitabhKant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2013

Safaris are meant for Africa, aren’t they? Well, India offers its version in the tiger reserves interspersed across the country. Most reserves are now trying to preserve the tiger and attract tourists. Styled on the famous African lodges, the exceptional Samode Safari Lodge, is located in the middle of nowhere. Or rather, it is in the buffer zone of one of the largest national parks in Madhya Pradesh in Bandhavgarh. The nearest airport is Jabalpur, about four hours away, though the road is good. The nearest train head is Katni, about two hours away, and the road is far worse. The last stretch for either is through the buffer zone forest, and can be quite a bumpy ride.

Well, the bumps become a thing of the past once you reach the lodge. A huge lobby area welcomes you with a refreshing what else but a welcome drink. It is indeed a soothing welcome on the sprawling upper deck – stocked generously with large tables and sofas, coffee table books, Gond artifacts, antique looking trunks, an ancient typewriter, candelabras, stone fireplaces, little elephant shaped door stoppers, a stairwell in the middle, a few spears mounted on walls! And a bar at one end. Add a sprawling verandah overlooking a sunset, a pot of Darjeeling tea, with an attentive staffer to refill tea, and heaven just becomes a wee bit more possible momentarily.

The design for the structures is inspired from local huts. Intrusions of modernity are at a minimum on the open areas. The complex is set amidst fairly dense scrub forest/ trees and scrub. Do not expect manicured lawns or neat beds of flowers, this is a wildlife centric lodge. There is an open pool and a spa though. Little pathways link different parts of the lodge, and after sunset you will require a bearer with a torch to navigate. A walk alone after dark is discouraged, for the wildlife you might just encounter even within the lodge grounds! Think snakes, large rodents etc. Large metal wildlife are actually harmless and best appreciated during the day!

There are just 12 villas – all super luxury. Spacious, with a single bedroom and and adjoining living room stocked in all modern requirements – albeit with aesthetics rooted in nostalgia / local art. Think old switches, Gond metalware and crafts. The entrance is through a local style doorway, with matching pots and wooden trunk and umbrella holder! The living room, complete with a powder room, has comfy sofas in William Morris style prints, a large flat TV, a Lavazza coffeemaker, more books, beautiful framed wall art, an five blade heavy looking white fan, wall to wall glass windows – though incongruously a sitar graces the bedroom window . Large wall to wall windows are a feature, both for the living room, which opens to a bed room with a double bed, side tables, a recliner and lots of little touches. The bedroom on the other side opens to a partially open verandah, which has two charpais, a table and a couple of chairs. Its rustic simplicity is enchanting, especially as right behind is a fairly dense thicket of forest.

The washroom and closet areas are huge, and worthy of separate mention. And its all modern plumbing! A huge high bathtub graces the centre, but there are separate indoor and outdoor showers too! There’s a fireplace, large mirrors, a lovely faucet, all basic amenities, even candles and incense. The art will make you linger as you click or draw the enchanting shapes. Each villa has a huge Gond painting on the wall – mine had a massive bird catching fish – stunning details partially hidden by the hardware though. The closets are old world teak and add to the forest atmosphere.

A huge drawback for those who will require it – there is effectively no phone or net service. The staff will assist with a dial up connection, though be patient. They are very good with anticipating all other needs too. There's a fair amount of activities they will conjure up for you, including starlit dinners, film shows and village walks, besides assisting with the safaris of course. Not to be missed.

Room Tip: A room nearer to the lobby will mean a shorter walk after dark. All villas same except for the wall painting.
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled on business
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3  Thank sumansays
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2013

Wonderful accomodation, superb food, superb service and care for their guests, this place is truly exceptional. From the superbly equipped suites to the lounges and the different dining places this is more of an experience than a stay at a safari lodge. Everybody cares. They care about how you feel, how you find the cottage, how you find the food, about your Safari trip about everything. They really care. They care sufficiently about their environment to begin one dinner with a 20minute video about the Tiger. They are fully aware of how the way they treat both the guests and their wildlife will have a lasting effect on this heritage. Their determination to save the tiger while at the same time letting the people of the world see it in pristine conditions is serious responsibility - yet one they will accept. Our stay was made all the more special by the attentive service of a young "medium fast bowler" and a young "all rounder". Couldn't fault it. Would love to return one day.

Room Tip: They are all superb!
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank John W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2013

i'll keep the whole review simple n clean.....

samode safari lodge is a perfect getaway from the chaotic n maddening crowd of the city n for those who want to go on a professional safari experience in India. the nearest airport being at jabalpur, from which the lodge is just 3 hours away, with good road conditions. the entrance to the lodge is surprisingly through the jungle, which gives u a feeling of you directly going on a safari before checking in. the lodge lies in the buffer area, n is very safe. the best part of the lodge is its location, completely in isolation, with no other lodges in its surrounding. gives a real peaceful relaxed feeling.
on arrival you are greeted by gauri the lodge manager, who briefs you completely on the lodge n everything you should know about the place. of course you are welcomed with a beverage of your choice n with a fresh cold/hot towel. you are also asked for any of your dietary or meal preferences if you have, so that arrangements are made as the place is far away from the nearest town. with a short tour of the whole property, you soon arrive at your villa or cottage as you may call it.
n here the whole excitement doubles. the whole place is just superb, the interiors, the space, comfort, luxury is just jaw dropping. for a moment you would just be speechless. to believe it you have to b there! everything inside has been perfectly planned by the owner, who has himself travelled around the world. there is a living room, with a bedroom, which has a huge king size comfy bed, which just soaks you in. there is also a good amount of space outside the bedroom, a balcony sort of, which opens out into the wild n the grassland. the bathroom is just as big n huge as the room, with nearly 4 bathing option, indoor n outdoor. the bathtub n open to sky shower is just wow. there is also a built in wardrobe. toiletries provided are of real good quality. mosquito repellents are provided, so you dont have to worry about it, though during our stay we hardly even come across any of them. the air condition also work as a heater, which is great during winters as it really gets very cold. so plz make sure u do carry something warm during the stay n during the safaris. they do provide ponchos. there is also a satellite television set and a few dvds on demand. the whole place is clean n smells fresh. it gives u a real feeling of staying in the wild.
the food, again one of the best part of the whole stay. the executive chef is the most amazing person, he just prepares everything so perfectly, that your taste buds are for sure to get pampered. all meals are served hot n fresh, deliciously prepared. the choices are plenty, you just need the appetite, to take it all in. the breakfast spread is very energising after the game drives. dinners are special, and arranged at different locations, very well set up, just to give you a special feel. the tiger documentary shown is just great. all sorts of cuisines are prepared by the chef. the desserts are just to die for.
the game drives......you have 2 game drives daily. back to back game drives does make you feel tired, but i guess the excitement of seeing the tiger keeps you on toes. the vehicle used for the drive is very comfortable. you have a naturalist and a forest guide accompanying you on the drives. do ask for anshuman, he has so much knowledge about wildlife, a wonderful person to be with. well we weren't that fortunate enough to spot a single tiger on all our game drives. i guess winter isn't the correct time, though anshuman did his best to locate one. but of course different species of birds n other animals were spotted. after all safari isn't about just tigers, its the overall experience of being in the jungle n the hospitality that u get in such isolated places. the morning drives is for 4 hrs n evening for 3 hrs. juices, muffins n sandwiches are carried duirng the drives, just incase you feel hungry. though after the drives a huge breakfast spread in the morning n snacks in the evening are served.
the staff.....the most wonderful people you would come across. they are friendly, always smiling n ready to help. they do so much to make your stay comfortable. we did take some time out to talk to them n spend a little time with them, n share wonderful moments with all of them.
yess all of this does come at a steep price, but everything is worth every penny you spend here. i would rate it as the no.1 lodge in bandhavgarh n even in india. so goodluck samode n plz do keep up the good work. we definitly look forward to come back again.....
cheers...!!!!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank raj25918
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2013

Samode Safari Lodge is exceptional in every way. Rooms are huge;the size of a decent apartment well appointed, huge bedroom with excellent linens, sitting patio with comfy loungers, sitting room, couches, and giant bathroom and dressing room with indoor and outdoor showers. Lodge is classic and classy with wonderful artwork and antiques. Food is first class; every night is different setting first night buffet out under the banyan trees hung with 50 lanterns, another night under the stars on the terrace with hundreds of tea lights at the beautiful swimming pool. Samode Safari program is best in Bandavgarh. Naturalists are incredibly knowledgeable and great for finding tigers as well as hundreds of birds. Their head guide is probably best in all of Bandhavgarh! Viewing vehicles are top notch. Samode is a great value given the quality and wonderful staff. This is the place to go if you care about quality and a great experience! Other Samode Jaipur hotels are exceptional as well!

Room Tip: #6 was perfect!
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank PETER K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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