Mihirgarh

Near Jodphur, Jodhpur, India Book from

A gorgeous, 9-suite fantasy fort in the Thar desert with private plunge pools, Royal Picnics and Marwar horse-riding
Finished in October 2009, Mihirgarh ('the Sun's fortress') is the result of a 12-year dream by its Rajput husband-and-wife owners, Sidharth and Rashmi Singh. They wanted to celebrate the rich culture of Western Rajasthan, and take the luxury experience offered by their nearby heritage hotel Rohet Garh to a whole new level. Built largely to their own design, the softly rounded edges of Mihirgarh's crenellated sandstone walls cleverly belie its newness, and the graceful layout, Rajasthani antiques, vivid decorative art and graceful furnishings are beautiful to behold. The 9 suites are bright and spacious, with bold colour themes (brick-red, olive, gold), mirrored open-fire chimneys, ochre-stone bathrooms and little plunge or spa pools on each private verandah.

Riding safaris are the main activity here. Horses are Sidharth's passion - they feature in decorative motifs throughout, and with 2 paddocks and a stables, plus the freedom to ride whenever you want, Mihirgarh is a horse-lover's dream. Especially because there's an infinity pool and on-site Ayurvedic spa to soothe saddle-sore muscles.

Highs

  • The utter peace and isolation of the desert setting
  • The luxurious furnishings, deliciously soft beds, private verandahs and blissful plunge pools in each suite
  • The Jeep safaris to Bishnoi tribal villages, and the opportunity to gallop regal Marwar horses through the wilderness
  • The lovely communal areas, which include 3 silk-cushioned lounges, and terraces for sunset viewing or stargazing
  • The fact that all your meals and soft drinks, plus the village safari, are included in the price

Lows

  • Roof terraces and verandahs are not completely hidden from guests on the lawn, or gardening staff, so look before you leap out of your private pool naked!
  • It's in the Thar Desert, so getting to or from Jodhpur requires a 1.5hr-long taxi ride or drive
  • If walking in the surrounding desert, beware of snagging your feet/ankles on lots of sharp thorns
  • The Singh's tented Wilderness Camp sits 500m away, which belittles the sense of being isolated in the desert
  • When fully booked, there might not be enough poolside loungers to go around

Best time to go

Mihirgarh is open all year round, and prices are the same regardless of when you come. Weatherwise, October to April is the peak season. May and June are just too hot for many at 40-45F. July and August are monsoon time, though the brief showers and occasional downpours can radically green the landscape overnight. But it can be muggy and humid then too, and an explosion in the bug population can be a nuisance in outdoor lounge areas. December and January are the top months as they're much cooler (sometimes down to 6-10F at night, though the open fires will keep you warm) and are less busy than November and February.

Our top tips

Bring practical outdoor clothing - walking shoes, sun hats, jodhpurs and riding boots if you have them (they provide hard hats and half-chaps). If you're a novice who's keen to ride, it's also worth taking some lessons before you come.

Great for...

Eco
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Desert Hotel
  • 9
  • All meals included
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

There are 8 large, luxurious suites and 1 smaller, twin-bedded one (Black Buck). Decor is of a similar and very high standard throughout, though each has a different colour scheme.

The 5 Alishaan Suites and Black Buck are on the ground floor. All except Black Buck have private courtyards and infinity plunge pools on their desert-facing verandahs. One Alishaan Suite can be linked to Black Buck, and then becomes the Mihir Suite (great for families). The 3 Shandaar Suites on the floor above have private terraces and infinity spa pools bubbling hot or cold.

All suites have antique teak beds (which are deliciously soft and comfortable thanks to duvets both above and below you), air con, TVs, DVDs, minibars and tea and coffee stations. Bedrooms open into gorgeous sitting rooms with desert views, sofa and armchair, carved chest and cupboard, coffee table and writing desk, and a working fireplace locally made from whitewashed mud and small mirrors. The bathrooms have all the mod cons, with separate showers and freestanding/embedded baths, double basins and a range of toiletries, and are a symphony of mellow sandstone, dappled light and rounded edges.

Social spaces throughout the hotel include peacock-painted and colourful open-sided lounges, a princely drawing room with library, and a mattressed sunset-viewing roof terrace.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Plunge pool
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Knowing that Indian menus are Greek to many Westerners, and wanting guests to feel right at home, staff will discuss your preferences before conjuring a bespoke menu for each meal. Chefs are local rather than cordon bleu, but trained in international cuisine so most dishes are possible. You can also sample, and learn how to cook, traditional Rajasthani recipes with thick, signature gravies dreamed up by Sidarth's mother.

Breakfast is eaten beside the pool on beautifully laid tables. You can have a Indian kick-start (spicy scrambled eggs, radish, potato or cauliflower parathas, puris, bhajis) or the full Continental - a delicious spread of fruit platters, cereal, yoghurt, toast, eggs any style, or great fry-ups of baby sausages and crispy bacon. Lunch can be anything from room service sandwiches to a 'Royal Picnic' - think desert tent, tables and chairs, linens and liveried servants.

Dinner (after poolside armchair aperitifs, accompanied by local musicians), was a tasty Rajasthani feast. Served in the dining room brightened with bold wall paintings by young Rajasthani artists, it featured spicy chicken soup, fish and meat kebabs with rice, vegetables and Indian breads, and finished with creme caramel and dark chocolates.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Relax on a cushioned lounger then do laps in the exquisite infinity swimming pool; or chill beside your private plunge pool

  • Have an Ayurvedic or aromatic massage, manicure or reflexology in the on-site spa

  • Take a 2-hour cookery workshop with Rashmi, using the published family cookbooks - then eat the results for dinner

  • Leap on a Marwari horse and ride out into the Thar desert to see antelopes, camels and wild peacocks

  • Admire the tiny, working Krishna and Radaka temple at the entrance where 'pujas' are performed every morning (a religious ritual and offering)

  • Visit nearby Bishnoi mud hut villages and sip ritually-prepared (very weak) opium tea

  • Spend a night under canvas in a Shikar tent at the Wilderness Camp (500m away, also owned by the Singhs); or have a change of scene at Rohet Garh where you can swim in another beautiful pool, and watch peacocks strutting proudly through the garden

  • Spend a day exploring some of the wonders of Jodhpur - Mehrangarh Fort (oft-called Asia's best), Umaid Bhawan Palace and Sangeet Natak Akademi Folk Art Museum - and weaving your way through the narrow lanes of the old Blue City

  • Play golf at the 100-year-old Ratanada club, south of Jodhpur

  • Take a trip to the wondrously carved Jain temples of Osiyan and Ranakpur

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Safaris
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Wildlife

Kids

Children are welcome (though charged as extra adults) and the hotel can provide extra beds and arrange babysitting, but there are no baby cots. There are no special facilities for children but painting and drawing materials are available and Rajni, one half of the couple who run Mihirgarh, is artistic and will help keep little ones creatively amused.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Mihirgarh and adjoining Black Buck suite is ideal for families to share.

Kids Activities on site:

Older children will love the horse-riding expeditions and Jeep safaris

Distances:

  • Airport: 50 minutes (Jodhpur)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

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