Guest post by Sonya Dixon
Why you’ll love Patan Mahal
You’ll love escaping to Patan Mahal, a historic heritage hotel located above the city of Patan in a picturesque valley of the Aravali range. The city dates back to the 12th century and was an important out post for the capital as well as the site of one of the last great battles in Indian history, the Battle of Patan.
Located off the Jaipur – Delhi highway, the property only opened as a hotel a few years ago after careful restoration by the current owner, Rao Digvijay Singh. Today there are 19 individually decorated bedrooms. Each one is different and each with its own secret or story; one room holds a surprise trapdoor and another a private staircase leading into a palace turret. We particularly liked Room 305 with its beautiful balcony and bath with stunning views of the 13th century fort.
This 800-year-old fort belongs to the Singh family and a guided trek to explore the ruins is a must. Located on one of the highest points of the Aravali ranges, the views from here are simply stunning. The hotel also holds an octagonal-shaped turquoise swimming pool (perfect for sunny afternoons) and an organic garden. Trips to the neighbouring Shiva temple, ancient step well and local villages can also be arranged.
Why the kids will love Patan Mahal
Patan Mahal is a wonderful destination for big kids and teens that enjoy adventure. Infants and babies are also very welcome (kids are invited to treat the Palace as their own) but older kids will enjoy the activities on offer the most.
The highlight is trekking to the 13th century fort; when we visited our kids said their trip to the fort was “the best day of their lives”. Back at the hotel there’s a fantastic swimming pool and a huge grassy lawn perfect for football matches and badminton games. The hotel can organise trips to the ancient village of Patan where you can watch lac bangles being made and potters hard at work as well as tours of the hotel’s organic vegetable garden.
The food is child-friendly and the kitchen happy to tailor each meal for your family. It’s this attention to detail that makes even the smallest of travellers feel at home.
The 19 luxurious rooms are large and airy and feature beautiful stained glass windows, original wall paintings and period furniture. Many also come with private balconies. All rooms come with tea and coffee making facilities, a minibar and safe lockers.
Best Rooms For Families: The rooms are all generous in size and are well suited to families. The hotel allows one extra bed per room as well as a baby cot (the hotel does not have any cots). We particularly like rooms 305 and 306, which boast fantastic views of the ancient Fort opposite and are incredibly spacious.
Patan Mahal serves traditional Rajasthani and Indian cuisines alongside a smattering of International dishes. The fruit and vegetables are sourced directly from the hotels’ organic vegetable garden and orchard. The kitchen is very accommodating and the cook is willing to tailor meals as necessary.
The breakfast buffet features cereal, pancakes, toast, fruit and juices and eggs can be cooked to order.
The lunch menu offers Rajasthani and traditional Indian cuisine alongside International dishes in buffet style. Dinner is a fixed menu and includes two non-veg dishes, four veg dishes and often a non-veg continental dish as well. Wherever possible the kitchen will try to accommodate requests.
For Kids: Although there is no dedicated kids’ menu, there are child-friendly dishes on offer, particularly on the snack menu. Toasted cheese sandwiches, pasta and more can be ordered for younger – and more ‘selective’ – children. A snack menu is available throughout the day. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge.
Take a guided trek to Badal Mahal and the 13th century fort situated at one of the highest points of the Aravali ranges – the views from here are simply stunning.
Swim in the beautiful octagonal swimming pool and soak up the Rajasthani sunshine.
Enjoy the stories and legends behind Patan Mahal and the local area, home to battles and skirmishes aplenty.
Tour the impressive organic orchard and vegetable garden and then learn how this produce is used with a cooking demonstration.
Visit the local shrine and Shiva temple, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide.
Channel Indiana Jones on a trek up to the 13th century fort and then enjoy a picnic lunch in the ruins of Badal Mahal.
Walk to the local village to see the potters hard at work and learn how to make colourful lac bangles.
Play a game of football or badminton on the large, grassy lawn… or even a game of croquet!
Watch local drummers perform on traditional Rajasthani drums and maybe even tap out a rhythm yourself.
Swim and splash in the beautiful swimming pool.
A/C, common room, doctor on call, nearest hospital is 20km away, maximum 1 extra bed per room, laundry, pets allowed with prior notice, pushchair-friendly, swimming pool, travel desk.
When to go:
The best time to visit is between October and March. From late November through February the days are sunny with temperatures hovering around 27C during the day and 10C at night. The peak tourist season is from mid-December to the end of January and if you plan to visit over this period, make sure to book accommodation well in advance.
The weather warms up in March and between April and June temperatures range between 32C and 45C. The monsoon rains fall between July and September when things get hot and sticky.
Jaipur’s Elephant Festival is held on the eve of Holi, celebrated in March, and the Jaipur Literature Festival is held annually in January.
Location & Travel:
Patan Mahal is located in the Aravali hills, Rajasthan, India. There are regular daily flights in and out of Jaipur and Delhi Airport. The Hotel can arrange airport transfers. Jaipur Airport is 116 km from the hotel. Domestic airlines servicing Jaipur include Jet Airways, GoAir, Indigo, Spice Jet and Air India. From Delhi airport it takes 3 hours to drive to Patan Mahal and 2.5 hours from Jaipur airport. The nearest major train station is Jaipur (2.5 hr).
Sonya was kindly offered a complimentary night’s stay at Patan Mahal, all other expenses were paid for personally. All opinions in this review are entirely her own.