Suryagarh is a luxury boutique hotel in the deserts of Rajastan, some 17kms from Jaisalmer town. You may read my first impressions here and this post shares some detailed thoughts and observations about this hotel.
Suryagarh could have been passed off as yet another hotel, but they stand apart by creating unique signature experiences for their guests. The vast deserts of Jaisalmer have lots of stories to tell, various monuments, temples and places of interest to be explored. It is impossible for outsiders to explore the desert on their own, without some local help. One can very easily get lost.
I originally thought Suryagarh must have been created from an existing palace. But soon I learnt that this place was conceptualized and built from scratch about 5-6 years ago. Suryagarh Jaisalmer is a rectangular shaped building, with total of 3 floors. First floor houses reception, restaurants, swimming pool, spa, gym and other facilities, while floor 1 and 2 have guest rooms.
Suryagarh has over 60 odd rooms, including palace rooms, grand heritage room, signature suite, luxury suite and Jaisalmer suite, with rack rates ranging between Rs 12000 to 50000 a night... We stayed in the signatre/luxury suite, which had a vast living room, super large bath room, king size bed room, an additional meeting room and secondary toilet. Top spec Jaisalmer Suite comes with private terrace, 24x7 dedicated butler, etc ek dum maharaja style. I am told they are in the process of adding few more rooms by converting a banquet hall into guest rooms, based on usage pattern. To know more about room types, rack rates and offers that can be availed, please check their official website here.
Food and Beverages: Suryagarh’s restaurant (Nosh, Urdu for light meal) offers a range of local and international cuisines. We tried the halwai breakfast- which is essentially lots of sweets complementing the otherwise standard breakfast. Dinner can often be arranged somewhere away in the desert, towards the end of a road trip or safari in the desert. On Day 1 we had what is called as community eating- one common plate for the whole group of 6-8 vegetarians, accompanied by traditional music. Suryagarh’s boss Karan told us that they even facilitate a late night dinner at a premium, for those who wish to begin their dinner super late and have a slow and steady meal all the way till midnight or beyond.
Live counters are employed where possible to enable supply of freshly prepared food (rotis and stuff).
I am told about 70% of Suryagarh staff are locals while rest are from bigger cities. Local staff bring with them lots of valuable information and intelligence, they also help procure local ingredients for the kitchen.
Unfortunately tender coconut is not available in this part of the country, but all sorts of fruit juices are available. Of course there is a bar, but since that is not my area of interest, no comments.
Akhara, the Gym has traditional gymkhana ambiance with all modern equipment. Should you get exhausted by all the work out, a pool and a spa are right next door.
Pool: Suryagarh has an indoor swimming pool, called Neel. This makes perfect sense, since all through the day and even night, outside temperatures will be unbearably hot, so it makes a lot more convenient to swim in a shaded area. Apparently an outdoor pool is also on the cards.
Spa: Suryagarh has an award winning spa named Rait (means Sand, won the 'Most luxurious Spa treatment' award earlier this year. However, if you're in a hurry getting spa appointment could be tricky- try off peak hours or book well in advance. Read Mridula's experience at Suryagarh spa here.
Rait Spa is reportedly one and only spa in India to have IMRS facility- IMRS or integrated magnetic resonance stimulation re-aligns our body's magnetic field with that of the earth to facilitate better flow of blood.
A few havelis are also being build around Suryagarh. Havelis will give private villa experience to the guests and are likely to be priced even above Jaisalmer suite.
Rooftop at Suryagarh is left unused- no rooftop bar or infinity pool or anything. When asked I was told that there's no plan to do anything on the roof (it will be super hot any time, so better left as it is). Rooftop is closed for guests, but I was escorted to roof top to take some pictures.
You don’t go all the way to Suryagarh, which is about 70-80 kms from Pakistan border, just to sleep. Suryagarh’s uniqueness comes from a series of signature experiences they can give to their guests. Their signature experience includes live animals in the campus (peacocks, turtle, pigeons and Karan's dogs) Churail trail [read here about Kuldhara experience], breakfast with peacocks, visiting little known temples and water bodies in the desert and more. And of course there's visit to the jaisalmer town, fort and shopping. Though we had action packed 2 days, itinerary involved returning to hotel once in a while to fresh up or take some rest.
As this post is getting long, I will write separately about these experiences.
Few observations/possible improvements:
- Manual wake up call was such a bliss. In a Thailand hotel that had automated wake up call, I had tough time telling the system that I am awake and there's no need for another call every 10 minutes.
- Note that water is not available plenty in this part of the country. Expect tap water to be yellowish a bit. Rooms have a printout explaining this phenomenon, that the colouring is due to deposits in the pipeline and vanish if flow is sustained for a few minutes.
- A fruit platter in the room will be nice. (Local sweets are provided)
- Took second key card, so that electronic accessories could be kept for charging while I am away. On one instance housekeeping staff pulled it off the holder while they cleaned the room and left, defeating the purpose.
- For some reason, I was addressed as Ms Hande in the welcome letter. Would have appreciated a correction.
- Guest Lift was non operational, so we had good exercise with the stairs. I feel stairs could be given some royal look with some wooden touch/carpet etc- at present staircase feels plain and simple
Note that our stay was complementary. Overall we had wonderful weekend in Jaisalmer, thanks to our great hosts, great weather- monsoon is probably the best time to visit Jaisalmer, nice company of bloggers and writers and a series of signature Suryagarh experiences. Do include Suryagarh in your plan whenever you visit this part of India.