“Feel like Romeo and Juliet in this romantic 450-year-old haveli, deep inside Jaisalmer's magical and unique fort”
Maharaja, Maharani and Mughal are the most romantic and spacious of the 5 colourful bedrooms. They feature free-standing carved stone pillars, scalloped archways, antique hardwood double beds, bright silk drapes and shuttered openings into the central courtyard well - down which you can halloo for room service. The Maharaja room has its own courtyard, and Mughal is the most elaborate of all, with an intricate 15th-century carved ceiling inlaid with ivory; we stayed here on our last visit and loved it.
Historic treasures include brass teapots and bowls for hand-washing, clunky old chests, carved wooden doors, ancestral photographs and little glass lanterns. Covers and cushions are scarlet, turquoise or blue velour, sheets are Indian cotton, and light floods in through coloured-glass windows in front of dainty balconies. There's air con throughout, and you can relax on bolstered floor mattresses (which can be made up as additional single beds if needed) and sip tea. Ensuite sandstone and marble bathrooms have showers and stone basins with brass and ceramic fixtures; it's worth noting that hot water comes from a temperamental and rather ancient furnace.
The 2 Rajasthani Rooms are more modest, though there are plans to expand both into the central well area. They sit at the very top of the haveli, so are great for exercising your gluteus maximus! They're seconds from the roof terrace, from where you can gawp out over the fort, and make a good option for families as you can book both and get a whole floor to yourself. That said, for comfort and space we far preferred the lower rooms.
All bedrooms are cleaned and tidied daily by the ever-smiling staff, and laundry is sent out to be returned a day later, crisply ironed and spotless. Some may find the mattresses a little hard, but we slept beautifully throughout our stay.
Breakfast is included in the rates and can be an Indian spread made in-house, or a Continental brought in from outside. We had freshly squeezed fruit juice, a plate of fruit, a masala omelette, toast, and coffee kept warm with an embroidered cosy. There's no dining room so we ate in our bedroom, but a table and chairs can be set up on the roof terrace if you want to enjoy fort views as you munch (plans are afoot to turn this into a more formal canopied dining area for guests).
For other meals, there are several lovely rooftop restaurants within an easy walk of the hotel. Jaisal Italy offers great views of the old fort gate and serves excellent pizzas, pasta dishes and light meals. And just outside the fort (next to the Mandir Palace) is Trio, where you can tuck into fabulous Tandoori and Mughali meat dishes in elegant, sophisticated surroundings. Raj and his staff can provide further recommendations, and can also order meals from local eateries as room service if you don't feel like venturing out.
Children of all ages are welcome, but it's not suitable for toddlers thanks to the steep, winding steps, roof terrace and potentially hazardous balconies. Older children will probably feel they've landed in a fairytale and will love it. Note there are no baby cots or babysitting/childminding services.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Families are encouraged to take both Rajasthani Rooms at the top so they get a whole floor to themselves. The floor mattresses in all rooms can be made up as extra beds.
Children will love the camel and village safaris and bouncy jeep rides.
The rooftop is unfenced, although there are great views from here.