“Fanciful cottage suites perched around a small lake with killer views, in the rocky 'badlands' of central Rajasthan”
Your private cottage is made of mud and stone, with a wood-and-thatch roof. It is absurdly spacious: a high-ceilinged foyer; a large living room with cushioned sofa area, a bar (with fridge, Nespresso machine, local syrups and snacks) and a built-in fireplace; a sprawling bedroom and a stone bathroom with a rain-shower area. We loved our bathroom sink: a stone spigot that emptied into a rough-cut stone basin, itself perched upon a tree trunk base. How’s that for luxury camping?
The interiors are cheerful and bright, with colours borrowed from the saris of local village women. In keeping with the eco ethos, everyday products from the villages are repurposed: bedside lamps are made from metal spice scoops, petrol funnels serve as vases for peacock feathers. Fun little trinkets - Rajasthani puppets, embroidered juttis (leather shoes) and bangles - fill painted niches along one living room wall. It’s a cluttered look, but a fun one. We especially loved a collection of brass bells, copper pots, wooden spoons and pestles that dangled by thick ropes from the ceiling in the entryway. It was like a floating kitchen drawer.
And if the interior’s feeling too busy, you can always step outside for some fresh, desert air and a dip in your private plunge pool.
The food at Lakshman Sagar was a delightful surprise. But you better like northern Indian cuisine because that’s what you’re going to get - and lots of it! Meals are set, although dietary requirements can be catered for by the attentive staff.
Lunch was a tasty veg thali (dhal and a selection of cauliflower, potato and veg curries) with a fresh crunchy side salad and poppadums with tangy chutneys - we loved the pungent garlic paste. Dinner was even better: crisp and light pakora with spicy grilled chicken and green veg soup, followed by a thali of outstandingly rich mutton curry. Plus as much wine as we could knock back. Brilliant.
Breakfast was simple, but perfect: potato-stuffed paratha (flat bread) with homemade yogurt and spicy pickles; eggs cooked to order; fruit salad and fresh-pressed sweet lime juice.
Meals are served on the open-air Mardana terrace overlooking the lake, in the pretty little Zanana dining rooms, or privately if you prefer. When we stayed, a trio of musicians serenaded us under the stars.