“Ten 18th-century havelis tucked within the walls of Nagaur’s magnificent fort, now restored as a romantic heritage hotel”
The 34 bedrooms are divided among the charming havelis, meaning you might get the luxury of your own private villa if the hotel isn’t full. Each haveli has a large communal courtyard with loungers, plus an open-air living room with daybeds and bolster cushions; ours even had a plunge pool.
The bedrooms themselves are white-washed, with high ceilings creating an airy grandeur. As expected of such historic structures, walls are very thick, meaning interiors can be a bit dark, but most rooms have French doors that allow additional natural light. And the wooden lamps inside are beautiful, with oversized tulip-shaped shades that cast a gentle glow. The décor is tasteful, incorporating traditional Rajasthani touches (block prints and hammered brass) into modern forms. The bulbous wooden feet on our carved furniture echoed those of traditional Indian charpoys, and the cotton dhurries had snappy geometric patterns. All rooms have a couple of chunky lounge chairs or cushioned daybeds, and antique sculptures from the Maharaja of Jodhpur’s personal collection sit in artsy, spot-lit alcoves.
The smallest Deluxe Queen Rooms are rather cramped, so we’d recommend paying a bit more for one of the larger Deluxe King Rooms. Bigger still are the Royal Suites on the top floor of each haveli, which have more natural light, intricate stone arches and private terraces; one - the current Maharaja’s favourite - has a TV.
With their foot-thick mattresses and soft linens, the beds are heavenly. And bathrooms are beautiful, with marble sinks (double in some suites), handsome brass fixtures and Kama Ayurveda toiletries (though, curiously, no hair conditioner). The bathing set-up - an enormous copper bucket, wooden stool and copper pitcher - might flummox Western guests, but have no fear: you can push these aside and unleash the power of the rain shower instead.
Ranvas serves a mix of European and Indian food throughout the day. We preferred the latter, particularly the fresh masala omelettes and chai at breakfast and the thalis at lunch and dinner. Other delicious delights included a crunchy smoked Kachumber salad packed with flavourful onions and tomatoes, junglee maas (mutton with red chilli) and rabori kanda (a Rajasthani dish of stuffed maize with a sweet onion sauce).
Some may find the Western dishes - perhaps vegetable pasta or roast chicken in a mushroom sauce - a little heavy on the salt, although we thought the French fries were irresistible. We also enjoyed the scrumptuous apple cake turned out by the on-site bakery; less so the rather uninspired cookies and lumpy dinner rolls. Don’t expect imported European cheeses or fresh jams if you opt for a Western dish - local and jarred varieties are the mainstay here.
Ranvas has 2 main dining areas - an open-sided pavilion with elegant columns and arches, and an air-conditioned restaurant where you can retreat if it gets too hot. But why restrict yourself when you have an entire fort at your disposal? One magical night, we dined in a courtyard in the semi-restored palace, surrounded by 700 oil lamps. At the end of the meal, the staff slipped away quietly, leaving us to digest our food while swaying on an antique Rajasthani jhula (swinging chair). Another evening, we were treated to high tea on the palace rooftop, where we watched a family of peacocks strutting through the Mughal gardens below as we sipped chai and nibbled on sandwiches. Room service is also available if you'd prefer to eat in your haveli.
Ranvas welcomes children of all ages, although we feel it’s better suited to kids over 4. There are no cots, high chairs or baby monitors, and the steep, winding staircases, high terraces and unfenced pool would make a stay here stressful for parents with toddlers on the loose.
That said, our family had a lovely time here. Rollaway beds can be added to the Deluxe King Rooms and the Royal Suites, and the staff are extremely friendly, even producing a ball for our children to bat around. Our kids also enjoyed exploring the fort, where they met a camel and were invited to bang the drums at the local Krishna temple. The Indian food at Ranvas is not particularly child-friendly, but there are enough chicken nuggets, pasta options and fries on the Western menu to please younger palates.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Extra Beds Available