Family Hotel Review: Devi Bhawan, Jodhpur, India
A value-for-money heritage hotel with an excellent swimming pool set on the outskirts of Jodhpur’s old city.
Best For: Bargain hunters and road-weary travellers; kids of all ages
Reviewed by: Katja Gaskell
Why You’ll Love It
Set around pretty manicured gardens is this family-friendly and value-for-money hotel that serves as an excellent base from which to explore Jodhpur and its surrounds.
There are 20 rooms at Devi Bhawan, housed within five, two-storey buildings spread among green lawns with neem trees, flowering plants and fountains. The rooms, all garden facing, are simply furnished with wooden Rajasthani beds and wardrobes, and decorated with colourful curtains and bedspreads. Most rooms have a private veranda or sit-out where you can lounge on daybeds or relax in a rattan chair.
At the heart of the property is the swimming pool, the ideal place to relax after a day’s sightseeing in the old city. There is a restaurant on site, which is let down by less-than-punctual service, but if you choose to eat outside the hotel then you’re looking at one of the best value family hotels in town.
Why The Kids Will Love It
This family-friendly hotel is a simple affair with leafy gardens and a lovely swimming pool. It has no dedicated activities for children but it’s a very good budget option away from the hustle and bustle of the old city.
The gardens are the real highlight here. Set back from the main road, the property provides younger children with space to play and lots of nooks and crannies for games of hide-and-seek. The swimming pool is lovely with enough sun loungers and Rajasthani umbrellas to go around and wide, shallow steps for small kids to play on.
Big kids and teens will have to make their own fun here but the pool should provide enough distraction for an afternoon or two and internet is available in the lounge. Roomy daybeds are scattered around the grounds and are the perfect place to read, write or play PSPs.
The 20 rooms are divided into 10 Standard Rooms and 10 Deluxe Rooms. The rooms are spread between five, two-storey buildings that are positioned around pretty and well-maintained gardens.
The standard rooms are smaller and are located on the ground floor. There are three deluxe rooms on the ground floor while the remainder are positioned on the first floor. The rooms are simple with dark wood furniture and colourful bedspreads and cushions. The bathrooms tend to be large and most of the deluxe rooms have bathtubs. All the rooms have AC, televisions and telephones. Most of the rooms, particularly the deluxe rooms, have a sitting area outside, some with rattan table and chairs, others with wrought-iron daybeds cushioned with a hot pink mattress.
Best Rooms For Families: The standard rooms can fit an extra bed (or cot) at a push, but you won’t be left with much space. The deluxe rooms on the other hand are big and are great for families. Many of the deluxe rooms can fit three extra beds (numbers 11, 14, 15, 18, 21). Number 21 (a double) and Number 20 (a twin) share a balcony and would be suitable for families with older children.
The stairs leading up to the Deluxe rooms are steep so you will have to keep an eye on younger kids.
All meals are served in the dining room at the centre of the property but we say grab a table on the veranda outside, it’s a much cheerier spot to have your cornflakes. Wrought iron chairs and tables covered in sunny tablecloths are also dotted around the garden. Service is not particularly snappy at Devi Bhawan so either order well in advance or be prepared to wait.
Breakfast is a limited continental spread with cereals, fruit, toast and eggs cooked to order. Indian breakfasts are also available with guaranteed fill-me-up aloo parathas on offer. If your kids (or you) have a particular favourite cereal or other breakfast treat then bring it with you.
Prior notice is required for lunch although Devi Bhawan does have an all-day snack menu, which includes chips, vegetarian sandwiches, and a very tasty range of pakoras. Dinner is usually served buffet-style but you can order individual dishes if you like. Butter chicken, chicken tikka (cooked in their tandoor oven) and paneer tikka are popular. There is not much flexibility with the menu so if you have special dietary requirements or kids who want a change from dhal and roti then it would be wise to dine elsewhere.
For Kids: There is no dedicated kids’ menu here and there is not much flexibility in terms of dishes on offer. If your children want something that’s not on the menu then you’re better off dining elsewhere. No room service.
Activities for Parents:
Explore one of India’s finest forts, the mighty Mehrangarh that towers 120m above Jodhpur’s skyline; make sure you get the fantastic audio tour.
Pay a visit to the Maharaja, or at least his beautiful home with a trip to Umaid Bhawan Palace. Set on a hilltop the palace is now a luxury hotel (although the royal family still lives in part of the building) and also home to a very good museum.
Laze on a sun lounger by the pool under the shade of a colourful Rajasthani umbrella.
Jump in a jeep and head into the countryside on a tour of the Bishnoi villages that lie southeast of Jodhpur. Ask globetotting for a recommended guides and tour operators.
Time your visit for October and groove to musicians from all over India and the world during the Rajasthan International Folk Festival.
Activities for Kids:
Play Batman for the day and whizz along the zip wires suspended between the fort and ridge tops, and over lakes with Flying Fox (www.flyingfox.asia). Children must be aged 10 or over to participate.
Discover the legends of the Mehrangarh Fort, the cannon-ball marks on the walls, the handprints on the portals and the story of the man who was buried alive here.
Try your hand at the tabla and other instruments during the interactive sessions at the Rajasthan International Folk Festival held annually in October.
Go shopping in the colourful Sadar Market and bargain for puppets, leather shoes, silverware and handicrafts.
Swim, splash, and play in Devi Bhawan’s turquoise pool and rumble in the gardens.
A/C, common rooms, doctor on call, the nearest hospital is 7km away, extra beds allowed (max. 3), laundry, pushchair-friendly, swimming pool, travel desk, WiFi.
At the time of writing the rates were as follows:
Standard Room: INR 2,500
Deluxe Room: INR 2,900
Rates do not include taxes. Please contact the hotel directly for an exact quote based on your family’s requirements.
When to go:
The best time to visit Jodhpur is between October and March when the maximum temperature is around 27C and the minimum around 15C. During the summer months temperatures can soar above 45C making sightseeing an unpleasant pastime. The monsoon happens from roughly mid-July to mid-August when things get hot and sticky. Make sure you don’t miss the Rajasthan International Folk Festival held annually in October, the exact dates coincide with the full moon and change each year.
Location & Travel:
Devi Bhawan is located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Jodhpur Airport is 5km south of the city centre. Jet Airways and Indian Airlines fly daily to Delhi and Mumbai. The Indian Airlines’ Mumbai flight stops at Udaipur on the way. Devi Bhawan can organise transfer services to and from the airport for an additional charge.
Jodhpur Railway Station is very central near the Clock Tower. There are daily sleeper trains between Delhi and Jodhpur as well as daily trains to Jaisalmer. Devi Bhawan can organise transfer services to and from the station an additional charge.
Contact This Hotel
For more information or to make a booking enquiry, visit the hotel’s own website by following the link below:
Katja’s Top Tips!
1) The food is not a highlight here and service can be slow, it’s worth having some snacks to hand if travelling with younger (hungry!) kids
2) It’s a fun place to stay with friends, organise a group and come for the Jodhpur RIFF
3) Make sure you try the Flying Fox zipline at Mehrangarh Fort.