Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) are now 2x expensive! - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) are now 2x expensive!

Are Karnataka's Jungle lodges getting too expensive?

Jungle Lodges and Resorts is a Karnataka state govt owned enterprise which runs several resorts across the state, mainly in wildlife areas. Their resorts include cottages of different kinds and various wildlife related activities to keep the guests busy during their stay. JLR has a kind of monopoly in several areas due to restrictions on private operators and close tie up with forest department. JLR is slowly crossing the affordable segment and is entering premium segment where only a more affluent customer can afford their package.

Way back in 2014 Kabini was most expensive property of Jungle Lodges. It used to cost 6400 Rs per night, per person room. Now, 7 years later, the price is 2x more. The case is same for all jungle lodges and resorts across Karnataka. Below is a quick snapshot. If you want to compare more, this post has 2014 pricing, you can compare it with current rates on JLR website.

How much various Jungle Lodges resorts cost now (per day per couple for cheapest category room, for a weekend, as per official website)

Resort2021 Price2014 PriceIncrease
KabiniCheapest price (Dorm) per person9000NA
Cheapest price (Cottage, 2 pax)24000128002x
Most Expensive suit31200
Dandeli-KaliCheapest cottage per couple1050264001.8x
Dandeli- Old Magazine HouseDormitory271414502x

Why the Jungle Lodges rental price has shot up 2x?
1. Inflation. Everything has got expensive over time- fuel price has doubled compared to 2014, cost of essential items have gone up so we can't expect hotels and resorts to get any cheaper over time. As their operating cost (salaries, maintenance, food items), JLR has steadily increased price once or twice every year. It has just doubled over 7 years. Can't blame them much.

2. Increased Safari cost: Karnataka forest department has promptly increased safari fee and forest entry fee for tourists. Jungle Lodges rent includes a forest safari so when forest safari fee goes up, rent at JLR also goes up

3. GST: Now a massive 18% GST applies on your tariff. Probably it was a bit less before GST regime- may be 12%. This also increases total amount you've to pay

4. Popularity & Exclusivity: Being a Govt enterprise, JLR has exclusive access to deep forests where commercial hotel operators are not allowed. This allows them to charge a premium and get away with it as there's always someone who can afford to pay that much and there isn't much of a competition.

5. Demand & Supply: Tourism industry pricing is a function of demand and supply. In peak season all popular towns run out of hotel rooms and rates also spike. With so many city dwellers longing for a forest experience, properties in wild areas have huge demand, particularly on weekends. With demand overwhelming supply, properties manage to charge more and still get their rooms sold out.

Besides the reserved forests, JLR has opened several properties which are pure commercial or hardly have anything to do with forest or wildlife. Properties in Karwar, GoKarna etc are beachside resorts with cottage feeling.

6. All inclusive price: Note that JLR daily rent includes all meals, few activities (Coracle ride, trekking or safari fees) etc. Thus though their overall payment amount is higher, it might be a good deal compared to a resort that may charge less per room but charges extra for lunch, dinner, safari etc. So take a wise decision considering total expense of your trip

Are there any alternatives to Jungle Lodges?
At many places like Doddammakali, K Gudi, Galibore, Bheemeshwari etc we don't have any alternate accommodation within several kms radius from a JLR campus. However at many other tourist spots private resorts and homestays are available. But these private properties may be away from forest, their rental may not include safari, food etc (all charged extra, safari conducted by JLR itself in many cases)- so you can try alternate options where available.

Have other hotel rates also increased?
No. I checked how much is the current price of Evolve Back Hampi- it is starting just under 30k, which is a bit cheaper than their price few years ago. Checked prices of few Sterling Resorts and other hotels- they have remained largely stable- mostly because there's lots of competition outside of wildlife exclusive areas.

How to mitigate JLR high price risk?
I feel lucky I stayed in Kabini, K Gudi, Bannerghatta Nature camp, Kali adventure camp and visited Bheemeshwari, Bhardra Dam and few other JLR campuses when they were more affordable. If you find the prices reasonable and affordable, go experience now- it is only going to get more expensive in future.

1. Weekday is a bit cheaper if you can manage.
Prices also vary by season/off season. Sometimes end of off season might be as good as first week of season or first week of an off season might be similar to last week of season. Study a bit and take your chances if you wish to save a few thousand rupees.

2. While online booking usually gets you a few % (usually 7-10%) discount, some agents might be able to get you better 10% discount. It is hard to find and to give so much discount agents often sacrifice their own margin a bit. Scout around if you can, but be careful not to deal with untrusted people

3. Dormitory: Some JLRs have dormitory option- if you are ok to share accommodation you can book a single bed and save a few k. But even dormitory costs about 3000-9000 Rs per person so it is not cheap.  If you are two pax, renting 1 cottage is better than two dormitory beds.

4. Go in multiples of two: Also it is better to go in multiples of two as you've to pay full price even if you are one person occupying the cottage.

5. Stay at alternate options: Of course there are alternatives now in many areas- you may be able to find cheaper home stays or better value for money private resorts.

2 comments:

  1. Other way I was decluttering some old stuffs at home found a old basic pamphlet which I got from JLR's booking office at Forum (Koramangala) in 2004. They had only a few resorts in the list and the price range was 1500 to 2500 per room/cottage ! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, 2005 petrol was costing 30 Rs and we used to feel that is expensive

      Delete

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