What’s new at Narendra Bhawan Bikaner?

My previous visit to Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner was in December 2016. Narendra Bhawan was the residence of Narendra Singh ji, king of Bikaner recently converted into a boutique heritage hotel- It was relatively new back then. You can check my reviews here. Recently I got the opportunity to visit Narendra Bhawan again to experience their new room types and recently introduced curated experiences.

Since past 2 years a lot has changed. Earlier Bikaner was accessible by road or train only- the long commute was a barrier- now there’re daily flights from Delhi and Jaipur. Thus Bikaner as a destination has been more accessible and many more people visit Bikaner now particularly for weekend.

Narendra Bhawan as a venue is getting popular amount event planners and destination wedding organizers. Many weddings are taking place in Narendra Bhawan campus.

Narendra Bhawan and Laxmi Nivas Palace are able position themselves as hotels of historic importance and win over guests with their curated experiences, compared to other pure commercial hotels, which are again very few in Bikaner. However the hosts of Narendra Bhawan don’t believe in stopping their innovations. They are continuing to offer better experiences, more comfort, value for money and stay ahead of the pack.
So what’s new at Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner? There're many improvements, additions and new things at Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner- below are the main ones I noticed, compared to Dec 2016 visit.

1. Mahaveer Swami Miniature art gallery
Mahaveer Swami is a renowned miniature artist in Bikaner. We had visited his workshop during the last visit- read detailed post here. A small area near the reception of Narendra Bhawan is re-purposed as an art gallery showcasing various miniature art work by Mahaveer Swami. You may not appreciate these arts from a distance, but take a closer look to understand the process and effort involved in creating them by hand using various natural materials. The art gallery inside Narendra Bhawan showcases some 10-14 curated works by the legendary artist. Don’t miss to take a look
2.A new Spa
A new Spa has been opened in the top floor of Narendra Bhawan Bikaner. The spa would offer both basic massages and many specially curated ones- such as flower therapy, aromatic massages and so on. The oils and herbs used in the spa come from a specially selected partner in New Delhi. The spa now has about 3 rooms (with all single beds, no couple beds). We were told there’s a provision to expand if the demand arises. The lounge area in the spa is given a European theme. The spa rate card was not yet ready during our visit- but my wild guess is it would cost ranging from Rs 3000 to basic messages to Rs 10000 for specially curated long duration ones. 
 
3. Three new premium room types
This was the main purpose of our visit, hence I am thinking a separate post on this. But here’s a quick summary: Narendra Bhawan has introduced 3 new premium room categories: The regimental Rooms, India Rooms and The republic rooms.
  • The regimental room is designed on the lines of an army theme- gets a spacious living area next to the bed, carefully selected artefacts depicting bravery, valor and honor, an emblem behind the bed and specially designed curtains.
  • The India room represents the traditional and prosperity of emerging India- gets a nice spacious balcony,  a comfortable bedroom with art and artefacts depicting India-the room we saw had a chakra and wools of various colours.
  • The republic room are the most expensive offering in Narendra Bhawan, designed on the lines of an architect’s life- offers a large living room with dining table and a comfortable bedroom, with exquisite artefacts to inspire the occupants.
4. A new buffet restaurant
The existing P&C is planned to be converted into an a la carte restaurant while on the other side a new buffet restaurant is being readied. Located left to the bright red piano, the restaurant is tastefully designed and could seat about 50-70 people (my guess)
5. New curated experience- Lunch by Indira Canal
Indira Canal was created by the king post independence to store and provide water to Bikaner city. Thus the canal hosts lots of significance. One of the new experience guests of Narendra Bhawan can possibly try is having a relaxed lunch by the canal under a canopy. This is organized with special permission from concerned department, as there's no public entry to the canal.
6. Re-positioned Morris Minor
The vintage car Morris minor was towards the right side gate of Narendra bhawan- now it has been moved to the left side, right in front of the entrance. The purpose seems to be to give a more easier access to basement banquet hall for event guests. Along with two Willy's jeeps, upon arrival you'll be able to immediately connect to the historical significance of the building you will be stepping into

7. More flora on the balconies.
The balconies of Narendra Bhawan now host lots of plants and creepers- look much better and also attracts more birds.
Above: Narendra Bhawan, Dec 2016
Below: Narendra Bhawan, October 2018- the flower pots are making their presence felt.
8. A more comforting pool side chairs
In 2016, the pool side chairs/beds were standard ones. This time I noticed that pool side chairs now come with a perforated wooden canopy that provides some shade and relief from hot sun. I am sure this will be more comforting than earlier, as sun is often very harsh in Rajasthan.
9. A mother in waiting Naala
Naala, the pet in-house golden retriever in Narendra Bhawan is currently pregnant. Everyone in Narendra Bhawan are looking forward to welcome her pups. She is an epitome of graciousness- very friendly with guests but highly obedient and loyal to her masters. When Sidharth moved away to rest room, I could sense Nala getting tensed for a while, looking all around, before she could sense his scent and follow his path to where he was. Along with Cat Jeju and lots of pigeons in the campus, Narendra Bhawan is a very pet friendly hotel and a delight for animal lovers.

10. A much better WiFi
Internet in Narendra Bhawan campus this time was much more powerful than earlier. This is obviously in line with improvements in telecom services and greater quality and affordability of internet. Be sure to note your Folio number during check-in, which will be needed during WiFi access.

Also noticed change in uniform colour of the security guard-from white to military green while uniforms for restaurant staff were same as earlier.

What has not changed is the great royal hospitality, mouth watering food, personalization (my room had my own photos and a personal letter), attention to details and a great collection of artifacts that are either very photogenic or of historic importance all over the Narendra Bhawan campus. The corridors of Narendra Bhawan, its courtyard continue to charm guests- the wonderful play of colours, the chirping of birds and the vintage looks are hard to forget. More photos here
Overall, our short n curated visit to Narendra Bhawan was very purposeful. Got to meet a bunch of bloggers and influencers. I have few more posts planned- explaining new room types in detail, few places we visited etc. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, do Narendra Bhawan's official website for details and booking.

Nearby: Karni Mata temple * Rampuria Haveli visit * Ghee temple!  * Ancient Kiradu temple ruins *

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