Samode Haveli

Gangapole, Jaipur, India Book from

A majestic old mansion tucked away in the heart of the old city - gardens, courtyards and terraces abound
A haveli is a grand house with inner courtyards built by wealthy merchants or nobility as a testimony to their status. This 200-year-old gem, the townhouse of the royal family of Samode, is one of the more spectacular and authentic examples. Home to some fabulous frescoes and murals, and blessed with a leafy garden, it's difficult to believe that from this sanctuary you can stroll out into the bustling city streets of Jaipur.

Rooms and suites are scattered throughout the haveli and each one is unique. The whole place exudes romance, and the gentle and caring staff do their utmost to look after your every whim. Best of all, since the hotel doesn't allow groups, a sense of peace prevails. With its mix of history, simple style and unusual features (including an elephant ramp at the entrance, constructed for a family wedding in the 1940s), Samode Haveli is the reigning hip heritage hotel in Jaipur.

Highs

  • The gorgeous pool is one of the largest and prettiest in Jaipur, with an excellent pool bar
  • The lovely gardens have burbling fountains and ornate courtyards where dinners are served by candlelight in the warmer months
  • The feel throughout is one of delightful faded grandeur, with many alcoves for lounging around
  • No large groups are accepted in order to maintain the serenity
  • We revisited in 2012 and felt this was still the best heritage hotel in town thanks to massive investment and refurbishment

Lows

  • You can hear city noise at night (though it's only really noticeable in the garden)
  • The courtyard Deluxe Rooms sometimes feel close to the bustle of the communal areas, and some may find the mirrored Sheesh Mahal Suites striking but a little claustrophobic
  • Think unique and charming rather than top-notch luxury;
    service can occasionally be a little slow
  • It's often busy, especially during high season, so make sure you book well in advance

Best time to go

The best time to visit is from October to early April, when it's warm and dry. December, January and February can be cold in the mornings and evenings, though the days are generally warm and sunny. March and April are fairly hot; May and June are humid, with intense heat. The monsoon breaks in July and lasts until September.

Our top tips

It's worth spending at least 2 or 3 days in Jaipur - there are plenty of historical sites to explore in the city and the surrounding hills, as well as excellent opportunities for picking up beautiful souvenirs to take home.

Great for...

Family
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 39
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • 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

Samode Haveli was not really meant to be a hotel, so its 39 rooms differ in shape and design and lie scattered like pretty toys about the rambling building. Beautifully decorated in traditional jewel-like hues, with an array of alcoves, pillars, antiques, mosaics and Jaipur's finest fabrics, this is Rajput style at its dreamiest.

All rooms have sparkling bathrooms with showers and hot water, as well as air conditioning, televisions, hairdryers, fans, minibars and complimentary mineral water. The smallest are the elegant Deluxe Rooms, some of which look out over the hotel's bustling communal courtyard. The Deluxe Suites are larger, with sofas; some have bathtubs in their huge ensuites.

The biggest rooms are the stunning Haveli Suites, situated in a converted building beyond the back lawn. These have lounge areas and private garden-view terraces. One is a family-friendly duplex, with a single bedroom downstairs and a kingsize bedroom upstairs (both with ensuites), plus a balcony.

The most opulent are the 2 Sheesh Mahal Suites, which are covered in mirror-work and have grand archways and small sitting areas. The floor-to-ceiling mosaic is quite stupendous, though somewhat claustrophobic... if you want a break from the ornate frescoes and marbled floors, take a plunge in the pool or freshen up in the spa - modern additions to this still slightly moored-to-the-past mansion.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Painted roses and dancing girls embellish the somewhat over-the-top dining hall - with floor-to-ceiling murals and huge chandeliers, it’s not exactly a light lunch spot. Better to dress for dinner and splurge on the selection of Rajasthani, pan-Indian and international cuisine (pasta, steak) on offer. Perfectionists to the end, the owners are constantly thinking up mouth-watering new menus and searching for new wines to stock - ideal for gourmets.

If you fancy eating under the sun or the stars, in the warmer months tables are also set up in the central courtyard for breakfast (a buffet mixing traditional Indian elements like aloo paratha with the normal continental fare), lunch and dinner. It's lit by candles at night, and you dine to the sound of water burbling in the fountains. For our evening meal, we enjoyed an alfresco feast of traditional lal mass, a mildly spiced Rajasthani lamb dish, served with naan bread fresh from the tandoor.

For a more understated experience, try afternoon tea, served daily in the elegant, colonnaded and white-walled Verandah Lounge, or sit back on a padded lounger-for-2 by the pool and order snacks and cocktails. Room service is also readily available and special private dinners can be arranged on request.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Enjoy the historic and fascinating 'pink city' of Jaipur, with Nahargarh Fort, the sprawling palace complex (Hawa Mahal) and several bustling bazaars selling crafts, jewellery and fabric

  • Visit the city's 18th-century royal observatory, Jantar Mantar, which contains a range of instruments still used today to track planetary movements, monitor eclipses, tell the time and predict weather patterns

  • Take a short ride up to the exquisite Amber Fort, an ancient citadel blending Hindu and Mughal elements, then head further up the hill on foot to the imposing Jaigarh Fort

  • Visit Sanganer, famous for its Jain temples, block-printing and paper-making

  • Go on a boating excursion at the green oasis of the picturesque Ramgarh Lake

  • Explore Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, home to leopards, jungle cats, tigers, hyenas and colourful birdlife

  • Marvel at the wonderful Samode Palace, a maze of opulent rooms, lavish courtyards and mirrored halls an hour north-west of Jaipur

  • Relax and unwind after a hard day's sightseeing beside the magnificent Moorish-style pool, sip a cocktail from the beautiful poolside bar, and gaze out over the hotel's lovely garden

  • Or luxuriate with a Keralan Ayurvedic treatment or massage in the small spa

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wildlife

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome and can be accommodated in their parents' bedroom for an extra charge. Baby cots, extra beds and babysitting are available upon request and there's a shallow wading pool which children can splash about in. The Duplex Haveli Suite has a single bedroom downstairs and a kingsize bed upstairs - ideal for families.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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