At last there is a really stunning, well run, hotel in this oft-neglected but fabulous ‘desert’ city. A much needed and exciting ‘first’! A brand new hotel in the heart of Bikaner, Narendra Bhawan is a stunning, eclectic, fascinating ‘design’ hotel. Formerly owned by the last Maharaja of Bikaner (HH Narendra Singhji, 1948 – 2003) , the hotel’s interiors play on his journey through life with different rooms and areas reflecting the different stages. More of a ‘design’ hotel, it is replete with carefully sourced antiques and artefacts from around the world. The craftsmanship is superb and Art Deco furniture contrasts brilliantly with Rajput and European. Built of soft pink sandstone, the tall building surrounds a pretty inner courtyard, overlooked by airy corridors, and boasts a lovely rooftop pool, reminiscent of a Moroccan riad rooftop pool.
The 82 bedrooms are themed with some being contemporary, others more traditional and others more avant garde – there’s one to suit all tastes! The interiors of each reflect the different categories / phases of the Maharaja’s life – be it his flamboyant time in Bombay, time in the military or time overseas and finally his calm, later life. They vary from bright and minimalist to more ‘arty’ to more traditional. The public areas have a strong Art Deco theme and are all different and interesting – each has a story. The outdoor/indoor arrival verandah is a wonderfully relaxed, airy space and it leads into an equally stunning inner verandah which is replete with yet more interesting artefacts and a bright red baby grand piano! It’s all eye-catching with motifs and design elements creating the feel of a vibrant, bygone age whilst juxtaposed with modern Indian furniture, Portuguese tiles and tribal artworks.
The beautifully calm restaurant serves mouth-wateringly good food with items meticulously singled out from the annals of history that were once favourite of the Royals, along with exceedingly good western cuisine. The cosy bar and billiards room provide perfect after dinner spaces, being more cavernous, velveteen, dark and intimate. At Narendra Bhawan there is a special focus on providing lasting memories for guests. If tired of sipping cocktails listening to jazz at the illuminated marble-topped outdoor bar, try out their ‘White Nights’ experience for a magical candlelit evening, feasting and drinking in a gorgeous spot by a lake – all to yourselves!
Bikaner itself is a glorious small, edge of desert city which is easily reached from Nagaur, Chhatrasagar, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer so it is a natural adjunct to this north-western circuit. With an almost ‘frontier-like’ feel to it, there are wonderful things to see and glorious architecture – from the immaculate fort to former palaces to varied temples and beautifully kept cenotaphs. Narendra Bhawan is perfectly placed for journeys taking in Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Nagaur. It’s fun and it’s different and unspoilt!
For reservations please contact at +91 7827 151 151, or email at the hotel direct.
The White Nights experience at sundown!
By air from Delhi.
By train from most Rajasthani cities.
By road from Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Chhatrasagar, Rohet, Jaipur, Shekhavati.