The Lake Pichola Hotel

If you follow me on social media, you probably know that I recently visited the culturally magnificent state of Rajasthan in India. Every year, for my birthday, I make it a point to travel, explore new places, and spend some time reflecting on the year gone by, while I’m at it. Conveniently, my birthday happens to be on the last day of the year; so, I’m usually drowning in a pool of emotions. I tend to become sad and contemplative about a lot of things in life, but also curious about what’s coming my way next. But I get happy too because, well, it’s my birthday, and I turned a year older and wiser! Eventually concluding that I’m pretty much satisfied!

I planned my Rajasthan trip so that I could bring in my birthday while I was there. I happened to be in Udaipur on the 31st of December, and so I thought to treat myself to a luxurious stay at the famous Lake Pichola Hotel. A heritage property located on the western bank of the Pichola Lake, away from the hustle-bustle of the old town, it’s still just a 5-minute walk to popular tourist sites. It also overlooks the beautiful City Palace. A part of the old mansion once belonged to the Rajput Clan, which was later converted into a hotel.

Reception + Buffet Breakfast

Why you will love it?

To stay in a lavish hotel overlooking the lake, the City Palace, and the Lake Palace; is a dream for most travellers visiting Udaipur. The Lake Pichola Hotel is one of the few affordable ones if you’re on a mid-budget. When we entered the hotel, the receptionist and ground staff greeted us with garlands and a welcome drink. This hotel has about 25 rooms that include 19 lake facing deluxe rooms and 4 palatial suites. Each room is a reflection of the city’s heritage, and is one of a kind, with traditionalist architecture, Rajputana style furnishing, without cutting down on modern services. All 4 suites and the deluxe rooms offer a breathtaking view of the Old City, City Palace, Jag Mandir and the serene waters of the Pichola Lake. Lounging in the balcony, I found myself dreaming of the era of the Kings, Queens and impressive palaces. You almost begin to picture stories and scenarios of those times in the present setting.

Cons.

Although I would suggest that you at least stay a night at this luxurious hotel, I had a few rather startling experiences with the staff and atmosphere of the place. We requested for an extra mattress to be put in our room and when the staff came to arrange it, one of the boys looked at me from head to toe with creepy intensions in his head, which gave me a rather terrible feeling and vibe. When I asked him what he was staring at and told him to do is job and leave, he just laughed it off. Of course I’m not going to generalize, but, small incidences like these stay with you, and it’s not a nice memory to take away. Apart from the staff, the hotel has a difficult approach through narrow and crowded lanes and sometimes it can get extremely noisy in the premises.

Overall, for the price, this hotel has some great features, including a rooftop pool, the Upre restaurant, and rooms with private balconies, suites with a Jacuzzi or a steam room and a wonderful lakeside view. The small pool gives the place an edge over the neighbors and the restaurant menu ranges from the standard Indian cuisine to Mexican food, with a large, reasonably priced wine list.

Lounging Facility
Sunrise View
Balcony

View from my Room

Camp Thar Resort, Osian

Living in a city for most of my life, I have always wondered what it is like to live a life in the mountains, with sub-zero temperatures or in the desert under the hot sun, in a bleak and barren moor. One can only make up stories and imagine situations based on movies we’ve watched, stories we’ve read or incidences we’ve heard from other people. But what’s the fun if we live on someone else’s experiences?

On my recent trip to Rajasthan, I wanted to make it a point to stay in the desert for as long as I could – to experience what it is like to endure the extreme temperatures. The scorching heat during the day and the frigid chill at night. Amidst the sun kissed sand dunes, the occasional cacti plants and a vast open sky.

Nestled in the valleys of the famous Thar Desert, the Camp Thar Resort in Osian is a traditional desert resort with the idyllic mix of comfort and adventure situated about 60km from the city of Jodhpur. Laid out luminous under the blazing sun, this luxurious camp resort is the perfect winter getaway! For the more adventurous; the accommodation is in basic camps, and for those who prefer the opulent comfort; lavish tents over-looking the endless desert are also available here. However, the most impressive characteristic of these tents is the subtle yet strikingly beautiful Rajasthani touch. From colourful fabrics and heritage inspired designs to impeccable modern-day hospitality; everything is in perfect balance and moderation.

Camp Thar Resort in Osian has mainly four types of accommodation facilities for guests with different choices – The Swiss Tents, Luxury Tents, Royal Tents and Traditional Dhani Cottages. The most expensive and elaborate ones are the Dhani Cottages; where one can experience a seamless fusion of traditional living and contemporary comfort. The Swiss Tents being the most economical, include the basic necessities for the average traveller. Personally, I preferred these as I wanted to experience the extreme weather conditions in the true sense of camping in a desert!

I stayed at Camp Thar for 2 nights and 3 days, doing a lot of the things I love! I spent my time marvelling at the most overwhelming sunsets, walking barefoot on the soft sand, relaxing on swings that were aesthetically placed, and having a ball at the cultural nights around a crackling bonfire. During the day, we went on long camel rides and thrilling desert safaris. And in the quiet nights, my friends and I climbed up into one of the tree houses (Machans), popped a bottle of wine and watched the sky full of glittery stars. Sometimes you don’t realise how far away you are from civilisation because there is so much to do there!

The food cooked and served by the resort is simple yet mouth-watering. The camp has a vegetarian restaurant. They dish out some authentic Rajasthani foods like Gutte ki Sabzi, Ker Sangri, Dal Baati and Rajasthani Kadi. To top it all, after every meal there is a sweet dish and some delicacy! In the evenings, we enjoyed some High Tea, under the pink sunset sky in the vast desert. Everything is elaborate and very meticulously presented.

Mr. Ajay Chowdary, the hotel manager was very generous and kind enough to organise these delightful activities for us, keep us busy and distract us from the heat. Mr. Surinder Singh, who is also a part of the team at Camp Thar Resort, makes it a point to interact with all his guests. He made sure all of us were comfortable and enjoying the experience. I think making people feel at home is extremely important and the staff here nailed it!

All said and done, this resort is 60km away from Jodhpur and we found it a little difficult to hire a car or rickshaw that would drop us all the way to Osian. So, a prior booking for a cab is recommended. We had a tough, one-hour rickshaw ride to the resort but managed to take a cab on the way back.

But, if you’re up for some adventure along with the numerous luxuries provided, this is one desert resort that should be on your travel list!

Use code “FRW10” on your next booking at Camp Thar Osian to avail a 10% discount. Offer valid only to Feet Run Wild followers and readers. 

The Machan Resort

With the stressful lives we all lead nowadays; do you ever want to run far away and escape the mundanity/monotony of modern life? No phone calls, emails, or client meetings. Just you, in the lap of nature! Once in a while, we all want to escape from the lives in our metros. How does an escapade full of nature trails, exotic birds, waterfalls and morning fog sound? Where nights are cold; but the toasty campfire keeps freezing away. Where people talk to each other, not their phones.

My best friend, Tanvi, and I often find that we don’t get enough time to spend with each other because of our respective busy schedules. Currently, we’re living in different cities so the few times we do get to meet; we make it a point to take a short getaway and this is one such occasion.

Commended as an eco-friendly resort that runs on solar and wind energy, The Machan in Lonavala is a luxury forest getaway situated about 15km from the main town. Perched at 3000ft. the resort is located in 25 acres of dense forest cover. True to its name, all the rooms are built in tree houses. Each room is different from the other in terms of views, structure and placement. There is a rustic, yet beautiful, touch to the rooms and the décor is delightful! Every room’s antique furniture and elegant bathtub is a treat! My favourite parts about these rooms were how they were framed with glass walls, and, of-course, the open-sky showers!

The Machan has four categories of guest rooms – Heritage, Canopy, Forest and Cabin Machans. The Heritage Machan being the most expensive and luxurious one, indeed a favourite amongst the visitors, offers a 360-degree view of the valley from the glass walled rooms. The Forest Machan has the best view into the valley, and is rather convenient and accessible. Its deck opens out into lush green meadows and hills. A trickling stream, bird calls and lots of flitting butterflies adds to the aura. You might become reflective, feel like a bird, or you might feel free from everything worldly.

The food served by the resort is decent and fresh; as they grow most of the produce in their own property, or get it from the nearby village. However, I’d suggest that you take some food along with you, since the in-room dining facility is often unavailable or sometimes slow.

There is not much to do in a place like this and that is exactly what attracted my attention the most. It is the perfect getaway and relaxation destination! They do not endorse the use of TVs, loud music or Internet access as it not only disturbs the forest animals but, the absence of those also lets our senses take charge. You can really spend time connecting with your own senses in such a free place. The different smells offered by the blooming flowers, listening to far off birdcalls, treating the eyes with the surrounding greenery and touching raw and rustic wood is simply a blessing! They also offer massages, yoga sessions, a stargazing experience and nature treks around the property.

Since Tanvi and I had spent very less time together, we got to talk and relax together at The Machan. It was the perfect 2-day staycation! We lounged on the deck, dozed on hammocks, photographed the organic beauty, chased blue butterflies, and tracked squirrels scurrying on trees. As the sky faded its colours, and the weather began to get cold, we sat on a lonely bench overlooking the surrounding forest and watched the sun set magically behind the hills.

If you want some quiet downtime away from the crowds and the stressful Internet, you’ll love it here. It’s the most peaceful getaway I’ve ever been on!