Khem Villas

Ranthambhore National Park, Ranthambhore N.P., India Book from Book from £169 per night

Eco-chic cottages, tents and rooms in 20 wildlife-rich acres, all right beside Ranthambhore Park
This place is a treat. Lush gardens wrap around a colonial-style white house, and the air is fragrant with frangipani, lavender and roses. Daybeds scattered here and there allow you to sit back and take in the views, the silence only punctuated by birds, of which there are many. It’s incredibly serene, bordering Ranthambhore Park - the closest you can get to actually staying in the park itself.

An admirable hotel in many respects, owners Goverdhan and Usha are pillars of the rural community. Their whole ethos is ethical sustainable tourism: food is vegetarian and the lodge’s 20 acres of grassland, lakes and forest were hand-planted years ago, cultivating a flourishing natural habitat for myriad wildlife – they even have resident crocodiles. People come here for the national park’s tigers, but with sightings never guaranteed, a place as special as this will ensure you don’t leave Ranthambhore disappointed.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.

Highs

  • An ecological oasis teeming with bird and animal life - make time for a walk with the resident naturalist
  • A warm welcome: big smiles, chilled face towels and sweet lime juice instantly revive you
  • Gorgeous accommodation including chic thatched cottages and luxury tents, plus some cheaper rooms in the main building
  • Little indulgences: a cooling plunge pool, a small spa offering relaxing massages and fun evening drinks around the campfire
  • An ethical lodge: the owners have set up a local hospital and school, introduced animal husbandry and only employ local staff

Lows

  • The food is good, but a little repetitive
  • There's not a lot of light in the bedrooms at night and tents lack air-conditioning
  • A bit off the beaten track - although you can arrive by train and get collected from the station, the journey is a bit stressful
  • Tiger safaris need to be booked at least 6-8 weeks in advance

Best time to go

Weatherwise, the best time to visit is from October to March, although you're more likely to see tigers in May and June if you can take the heat (temperatures can rise above 40C). November, December and January can bring cold mornings and evenings, with crisp, sunny days. The park is closed during the monsoon season (July to September), although Khem Villas remains open.

Our top tips

Bring sturdy shoes for doing jungle walks, binoculars for wildlife-spotting, an extra memory card for your camera (if you see a tiger, you won't stop snapping) and some ear plugs to avoid getting woken up by early birds!

Great for...

Eco
Great Outdoors
Spa
  • Safari Lodge
  • 22
  • All meals included
  • Not ideal for children
  • Open all year
  • Plunge Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

All rooms are lovely, but the Luxury Cottages are knock-out. Staggered down a slope near the house, they face onto vistas of pampas grass and a small lake (complete with a resident crocodile!). Each has a private porch where you can watch birdlife by day and stargaze by night.

Inside, décor is simple but stylish: colourful block-printed bedspreads, white linen curtains, recycled paper bedside lamps, and waffle robes neatly folded into squares. There’s not a great deal of space, but everything is beautiful and the beds are very comfortable. Huge sandstone bathrooms have twin basins, walk-in drench showers and bespoke vetiver and sandalwood bio-organic toiletries. Better still, beyond the bathroom lies a totally private courtyard with twin loungers, a big stone tub and an overhead shower. A gorgeous place to read in the sun.

Perched on wooden platforms, the Luxury Tents are tucked in lush gardens or overlook open grassland. Less sumptuous than the cottages, they are nonetheless very attractive with white linen exteriors, comfortable double beds and quirky bamboo shower cubicles. Fans help to keep things cool, although we had to retreat to the plunge pool to escape the midday summer heat.

The Standard Rooms in the main building provide a cheaper - and less luxurious - option, although unlike the tents, they do have air-conditioning. Those on the upper floor have large cushioned bay windows for gazing out over the park.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Plunge pool
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries

Eating

In keeping with the lodge’s organic ethos, food is ultra-fresh, 100% vegetarian and, whenever possible, home-grown. There’s an enormous vegetable garden, and the surrounding wheat fields supply grain for the home-baked bread. Even the cows are fed organic to make their milk tasty!

Set-menu meals are served by friendly waiters in the airy dining room, a pristine white space with open arches peeking out to the gardens.

Our tasty international lunch began with an excellent chilled pumpkin soup and garlic bread. This was followed by pesto spaghetti, tomato and balsamic salad and a sweet potato Thai red curry with rice. Bursting at the seams, we managed a fresh fruit salad for dessert.

Evenings kick off with drinks around the campfire - a lovely opportunity to meet fellow guests. There’s the usual range of beers, spirits and soft drinks (wine is only available by the bottle, but staff can chill leftovers for the following evening). Guests then wander into the dining room and help themselves to a Thali buffet. We had paneer with tomatoes, potato with cumin and coriander, pomegranate raita, and a lentil daal. Fresh naan breads and chapatis were baked in an outdoor tandoor oven - both very good - and dessert was rice pudding. Private tables can also be set up by the lake.

Breakfast was also good - a buffet of cereals, sliced pomegranate and fresh breads, along with some hot options. We enjoyed masala and cheese omelettes, as well as perfectly poached eggs and yummy pancakes.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Most come here to see Ranthambhore Park’s wild tigers (sadly not guaranteed although, promisingly, the population has doubled in recent years). Daily morning and evening safaris can be arranged - we'd recommend booking at least 2 well in advance. Choose between a 6-seater Gypsy or 20-seater Canter vehicle. Neither is better, sightings are just down to luck
  • Even if you don’t see tigers, you’re pack your binoculars for fabulous wildlife. We came across heaps of deer, peacocks, snakes, crocodiles, eagles, owls and monkeys
  • Built in 900AD by the Rajput rulers, hilltop Ranthambhore Fort was later invaded by Akbar's army and today offers wonderful views from its ramparts - reception can organise visits
  • Camel rides to nearby villages and trips to see black buck in the desert can also be arranged
  • Fantastic on-site birdwatching - a telescope and night-vision monocular can be provided, as well as naturalists to guide you - and expeditions can be arranged to view the waders, ducks and migratory species of Soorwal Lake and the Chambal river
  • Back at the lodge, take a walk of the grounds with knowledgeable resident naturalist, Mittal. She has an extraordinary ability to spot critters you would have otherwise walked straight past
  • Cool off in the plunge pool, or treat yourself to an Ayurvedic a massage in the spa

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Camel rides
  • Historical sites
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Safaris
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Wildlife

Kids

Although children are allowed, they cannot be left unattended (especially after dark) due to the wildlife in and around the camp. Extra beds and baby cots are available.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

Location

Khem Villas is set on the outskirts of Ranthambhore National Park, 13km from Sawai Madhopur. It's 200km (4 hours by car) from Jaipur and 300km (6 hours by car) from Agra.

By Air
Jaipur (200km away) is the nearest airport. It has internal flights from most Indian airports, including Delhi and Mumbai (Bombay). There's also a private airstrip and helipad at Sawai Madhopur; Khem Villas can advise on plane or helicopter charters.

By Car
It's a 4-hour drive from Jaipur airport to Ranthambhore. Our Tailormade Tour Operator can arrange a driver for the single journey or as part of a longer bespoke tour of Rajasthan.

By Train
There are daily trains from Jaipur to Sawai Madhopur (2-hour journey), Delhi (4 hours) and Bharatpur (2.5 hours). The hotel offers a free pick-up service from the station.

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

More on getting to Rajasthan and getting around

Airports:

  • Jaipur 200.0 km JAI

Other:

  • Beach 900.0 km
  • Shops 13.0 km
  • Restaurant 13.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
8/10
Food
9/10
Service
7/10
Value
8/10
Overall

We had a wonderful stay at Khem Villas and the service was amazing, we were so well looked after. We particularly enjoyed the evening nature walk and early morning fort trip we did with Disheen, one of the members of staff. His knowledge of birds and wildlife is superb. The safaris are fun, but bring warm clothes. Thank you.

9/10,

The settings, surroundings and feel of the place was very peaceful and calm. The staff were polite, friendly and helpful. Food was delicious.

8/10,

This is one of the nicest (if not the nicest) hotel we've ever stayed at. The hotel was beautiful and every little detail was thought of, along with excellent service. The room was a bit pricey but absolutely outstanding.

10/10,

{{ review.rating }}/10, {{ review.firstName }}Anonymous{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},

Rates for Khem Villas

Arriving on: