Dev Shree

Dist. Rajsamand, Udaipur, India Book from Book from £204 per night

A heavenly haveli in the remote Rajasthan countryside that perfectly marries next-level luxury with a welcoming family-run ambience
In 2015, Shatrunjai Singh and his wife Bhavna decided to return to their roots and restored this magnificent haveli (Indian mansion) on the banks of Rajasthan’s Ragho Sagar Lake. Just outside the traditional village of Deogarh, amid the ruins of Shatrunjai’s ancestors’ tombs, they opened the gorgeous Dev Shree, an eight-room rural haven set amid sweeping lawns and ringed by the Aravalli Hills. But while first impressions count – the regal high ceilings, pillared and marbled walkways, opulent fabrics, crafted woodwork – it’s the serene, convivial atmosphere that visitors rave about.

A cross between a palatial family home and a top-flight hotel, the emphasis here is on informal but exquisite hospitality – Bhavna oversees all the meals and guests dine with their hosts around communal tables. By day you can lounge by the pool, attend a yoga lesson or explore the local town with its twisting alleyways and colourful spice stalls. Later, take a picnic into the countryside, embark on a Jeep safari, or board a heritage train ride through the Aravalli range before returning for a sundowner on the veranda as peacocks frolic by the lake and parakeets swoop overhead. A must-visit rural retreat for those who want to sample the real India.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.

Highs

  • Fantastic home-cooked cuisine that introduces guests to the vast variety of local flavours and produce
  • Wonderful owners Shatrunjai and Bhavna can provide a wealth of information on the surrounding area
  • Shatrunjai also arranges tours of nearby workshops – everything from pottery and jewellery to stone polishing and handicrafts
  • A dazzling array of activities: guided jeep-safari tours for leopard spotting, hiking on the Sand Mata trail, visits to the rock caves in the Aravallis, or world-class birdwatching on the lake
  • An authentic experience of rural India. This is a place where locals still herd goats, tend dung fires, drive carts and carry firewood on their heads

Lows

  • Visitors are encouraged to mix and mingle so maybe not the best place if you aren’t the sociable type
  • This is mozzie territory so repellent is a must
  • Given its rural setting, you’re not exactly spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants and nightlife

Best time to go

The best time to visit is from October to April when it’s drier and less humid. Temperatures really start to climb from March, although the higher altitude here means it’s generally cooler than the rest of Rajasthan. The hotel is closed in May and June – and July is the start of the monsoon season.

Our top tips

  • While Dev Shree can work as a one-night stopover between Jodhpur and Udaipur, we’d definitely recommend staying at least two-three nights to explore the colourful local town and area
  • The hotel’s owners do a lot of work with local children so clothes are always appreciated (better yet, leave some behind and save on luggage space!)
  • Great for...

    Family
    Foodie
    Great Outdoors
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 8
    • Restaurant
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Heated Pool
    • Spa
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Bicycles Available
    • Laundry service
    Room:

    Rooms

    There are eight suites in total, each impeccably designed reflecting the local Rajput architecture. Airy and spacious (and air-conditioned), the décor is simple but contemporary – whitewashed walls, marble floors, traditional textiles and pops of colour from stained-glass windows, and all have views over the vibrant flower gardens.

    Five of the suites boast kingsize beds, while the others have twin beds – especially suitable for families.

    The private bathrooms are almost as big as the rooms and feature walk-in showers and double basins.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Bathrobes
    • Central heating
    • Coffee / tea making
    • Fan
    • Hairdryer
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Safe box
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi

    Eating

    Owner Bhavna oversees the kitchen and always tries to offer dishes that reflect the best of traditional Indian home cooking – think lunches featuring chicken Biryani, raita, aloo paratha and tomato chutney. (For less adventurous palates, there’s still pasta or grilled sandwiches).

    Evening meals are drawn up daily to take advantage of the latest seasonal and local produce (there’s also a kitchen garden) and foodie guests are welcome to watch and learn the slow-cooking and smoking styles of the local Mewari cuisine. Breakfast is traditionally continental, although an Indian selection is also offered.

    For more of a restaurant experience, the nearby Deogarh Mahal hotel also specialises in Mewari cooking but offers other Indian and oriental dishes, too.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Breakfast
    • Children's meals
    • Coffee / tea making
    • Dinner by arrangement
    • Lunch by arrangement
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Organic produce
    • Restaurant
    • Restaurants nearby
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • After a morning yoga session on the manicured lawns, you can head into Deogarh and wander the shops and stalls. (Buy some produce and the hotel’s staff will give you a culinary workshop on what to do with it.)
    • Climb up to the ruins of the Gokal Fort.
    • Take a guided jeep safari to go leopard spotting or hop on the small metre-gauge train for a tour of the Aravalli scrub jungle (take biscuits and bananas to feed the monkeys).
    • Go hiking on the Sand Mata trail, ending up at the temple on the peak.
    • Other activities include horseback tours, cycling trips, visits to the rock caves in the Aravallis, and separate day trips to the Jain temples of Ranakpur or the spectacular Chittogarh and Kumbhalgarh Forts.
    • Owner Shatrunjai also arranges tours of nearby workshops in Deogarh village, such as pottery, jewellery and handicrafts

      Activities on site or nearby include:

      • Birdwatching
      • Cooking classes
      • Cycling
      • Hiking
      • Historical sites
      • Horse riding
      • Jeep safaris
      • Plantlife / flora
      • Private guided tours
      • Safaris
      • Shopping / markets
      • Swimming
      • Traditional cultures
      • Trekking
      • Well being
      • Wildlife
      • Yoga

    Kids

    Children of all ages are warmly welcomed. Baby cots, bedding and high chairs are available, as are extra beds. There is a play area, plus kids’ books and toys, and bottle warming facilities. The hotel also has a children’s menu, accommodates special mealtimes and offers food all day. The best family rooms are suites 2-5.

    Best for:

    All ages

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Suite 2 is the largest room, while suites 3, 4 and 5 open out onto a back garden.

    Babysitting:

    on request

    Baby equipment:

    • High chair
    • Baby bedding
    • Night light
    • Bottle warming
    • Playground
    • Kids books/toys

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    There are special mealtimes available for kids

    Kids Activities on site:

    • Large grounds
    • Pool with steps where children can sit and play
    • Farm with goats
    • Family dogs on-site to play with

    Distances:

    • Airport: 2.5 hours' drive
    • Hospital: 5-minute drive
    • Shops: 10-minute walk
    Kid Friendly:

    Location

    Dev Shree is set above the village of Deogarh in the Aravalli Hills. It's 2.5 hours (128km) north of Udaipur, 4.5 hours (275km) south of Jaipur and 3.5 hours (150km) from Jodhpur.

    By Air
    The nearest airports are Udaipur (140km away) and Jodhpur (158km away). Both have internal flights from Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay), Jaipur and other Indian cities.

    From the Airport
    The hotel is happy to arrange transfers - enquire when booking.

    By Train
    The nearest station is Deogarh, 1km away.

    By Road
    Dev Shree is an easy drive from Narlai, Ghanerao, Nimaj, Kishangarh, Jodhpur and Rohet, and a longer drive from Jaipur, Dungarpur and Bambora. Our Tailormade Tour Operator can arrange a car with a driver for a single journey or for a longer bespoke tour.

    Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

    Airports:

    • Udaipur 140.0 km UDR
    • Jodhpur 158.0 km JDH

    Other:

    • Beach 130.0 km
    • Shops 1.0 km
    • Restaurant 1.0 km

    Rates for Dev Shree

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