Opulence to the core, royalty at its best, sumptuous food, impeccable hospitality, and loads of pampering is what sums up my sweet and short trip to Bikaner.
On a sweltering sunny day, I landed at Jaipur with a very little research and jet lagged wondering was it a right decision to miss the invite of Royal Chariot Luxury Train for a trip to Bikaner. I landed in India on 14th and I had an early morning flight on 16th April. With no time on my hand, I tried to pack whatever I could as most of my stuff is on its way to Dublin sailing somewhere in the Cargo ship.
But to my dismay, this trip was no way close to a cookie-cutter familiarization trip but at the outset, it was one helluva relaxing trip with two super cool travel companions – Sheena & Rahul from lover.co. I met them at Jaipur airport and we drove all the way to Narendra Bhawan Bikaner. Even the six-hour road trip passed by in a jiffy as the conversation flowed starting from the love for travel, Games of Thrones, life as such and some serious discussion on the ever-changing blogosphere and social media. 😉
The sun was almost setting as we made our way to Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner passing by dunes, barren landscapes, and happily strolling camels.
Narendra Bhawan Bikaner is a new addition to the luxury hotel scene of Bikaner. The hotel which was once the residence of the last reigning King of Bikaner has been converted to an upscale luxury boutique hotel. The hotel is smack in the center of the city and is an eclectic mix of old and new, modern and traditional, simple yet grand.
The hotel is built around the existing house of the king, which was renovated and two floors are extended keeping the original structure intact. The emphasis has been given to the interiors and the unique curated experiences that it offers its guest to step into a time capsule to the bygone era. I believe it to be a well thought out idea to intrigue the guests and keep them occupied in every nuance of the hotel. Much of this credit goes to Karan Sign, MD of the group and of course the interior designer who gave life to his vision.
• • • Welcome • • •
As you enter, the first thing you would notice is the infusion of color and creativity. Each and every nook is spectacular. The hotel from outside looks like any other heritage hotel of Rajasthan but the interior is what makes it unique. Rajasthani influence is pretty much detectable like open courtyards, jharokhas and latticework to name a few.
If you have an inclination towards art and design, you cannot resist capturing pictures of every corner of the hotel and admiring the selection of each piece and the choices of colors. If there is one sentence that comes to my mind about the hotel that would be – “ A Hue Heaven with oodles of Character & History”.
Sprinkled with photographs of his highness Narendra Singh Ji & his family life, his dogs, paintings, books, and belongings. The hotel does all the justice to give you a glimpse of the royal life of the late Maharaja of Bikaner.
As our car entered the gate, there were two elderly moustached guards who came running to open the door and greeting us with JAI JAI.
The welcome at the hotel was pretty unusual, instead of a formal check in at the lobby area, we were ushered to the adjacent room which used to be the living area of the king. It was a small yet cozy room with a burst of colors and mismatched artifacts which did not look clinical. That was followed by drinks and wet towels. Post that we all headed to our rooms.
• • • Rooms • • •
There are four categories of room at Narendra Bhawan. My room was quite spacious. It had a luxurious contemporary twist and decorated with hues of black, white and red exuberance that blended perfectly with the terrazzo floor and Portuguese tiles.
The room comes with a queen-size bed, colorful printed pillows, perfect lighting, pouf, work desk and walls adorned with mirrors.
Be it the water bottle or extra paper napkins wrapped in pearl-studded holders. Each and every detail in the room has been taken care of. Obviously, every perfectly appointed room has to be complemented with an equally impressive bathroom.
The bathroom decor complements with granite counter top, a fusion of marble and brass stand and equipped with top-notch products.
• • • Food • • •
More than pampering and interiors, food deserves a special mention. Everything that is served tastes so good that you cannot resist yourself wolfing down all the mouth-watering delicacies from the meticulously curated menu without a guilt.
Madhatter is perfect for sweet treats. If you have a sweet tooth and are craving for cakes, puddings or fudges then Madhatter is a place to be.
GoShala (cowshed) is the outdoor sitting area perfect for dinner, snacking or drinks.
Pearls & Chiffons – It is for the royal dining experience with beautiful traditional style sitting area and interiors.
Diwali Chowk is the central courtyard or a meeting place for all the guests you can say. Perfect for coffee or ordering quick snacks sitting at one of the sitting areas and admiring the beautiful hotel.
• • • Amenities • • •
The hotel also has a fully equipped gym to work on the food baby and swimming pool to cool yourself, sipping a sun downer and taking in the Bikaner skyline.
• • • Curated Experiences • • •
Merchant Trail Experience
The merchant trail starts with weaving in and out of bylanes of Bikaner on a tonga ogling at the stunning Havelis and wrapping up the exploration with a Bikanari Jain Thali for lunch in a 19th century Haveli. The experience gives you an introduction to the rich history of Bikaner.
( Read: Merchant Trail with Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner )
The royal exploration curated by Narendra Bhawan Bikaner starts with a visit to Bikaji ki Tekri followed by Jain temple, Junagarh Fort, Royal Cenotaphs, Lalgarh Museum and ends up with a luxurious lunch at Laxmi Niwas Palace. The experience gives you a sneak peek of the Royal Life.
( Read: PhotoStory – Lal Garh Museum )
( Read: Sneak Peek of Laxmi Niwas Palace )
I do regret of not being able to take a single good picture of the beautiful set up by the lake.
Pitch darkness punctuated by candle lit setting as far as eyes could see. Chef dishing out dishes one after other with utmost perfection and taste on the point, under the twinkling stars is an experience you don’t want to miss for sure.
• • • Overall • • •
Stay at Bikaner is all about indulgence. The impeccable hospitality, chef leaving no stone unturned to take you on a gastronomical delight, interiors — a visual treat and painstakingly researched curated experience takes you to one of the chapters of history. It was a helluva relaxing vacation for sure with loads of pampering and free-flowing drinks 😉
Special Thanks to Siddharth for taking time out from his schedule and making sure we all had a good time at the property.
Must visit Places / Things to do in Bikaner:
- Junagarh Fort
- Jain Temple
- Sadul Singh Museum
- The Royal Cenotaphs
- Lalgarh Palace and Museum
- Karni Mata Temple ( Rat Temple)
- Havelis of Bikaner
- Shop for the famous Bikaner snacks
- Devour on sweets and local cuisine
- Shop for Minakari jewelry
- Get lost in the bylanes of Bikaner
You can find more information about the property and tariff on their official website.
How to reach Bikaner
By air – There are two airports nearby, Jodhpur and Jaipur.
By train – Bikaner is well-connected to major cities.
By road – The city is well-connected by buses to all major cities. From Jaipur, it takes around 5 hours to reach Bikaner.
Best time to visit Bikaner
Winter is the best time to visit Rajasthan. Plan your visit between October and March.
December and January are the best months for sure.
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Special Thanks to Narendra Bhawan Bikaner for hosting us, opinion as always is our own.