Mahout Routes

MAhout Routes

Mahout hotels are India’s ‘non-hotels’, in that they are truly special and unique. They cannot be given star ratings and a stay at any one of them will make you feel you are a friend of the family rather than a visitor; that it is your home rather than a temporary halt; that you are a part of the country and not ‘looking in from the outside’. Our hotels give you an insight into aspects of Indian life that other hotels cannot hope to do. Sometimes you are staying with families / owners of the properties; sometimes you are staying in newly built hotels but which have a sense of peace and intimacy and exclusivity that is rare in India; and sometimes you are in a boutique hotel in the heart of a city but still you feel you are an honoured and welcomed guest with an identity rather than a room number!

Sometimes it can be difficult to work out how best to link the hotels together but there are many ways in which it can be done, to provide the perfect itinerary of varying lengths. We list a few ideas below.

Rajasthan

We have a collection of hotels in the major cities, the South-East of the state and the more Western reaches. All can be linked but they also form their own ‘satellite’ itineraries around the major hubs. We believe that one can turn a visit to Rajasthan into a very leisurely but no less exciting nor culturally interesting journey but visiting a small area, based around a major city and with little travel involved.

Eastern Rajasthan - Ramathra Fort, Sher Bagh, Shahpura Bagh and Samode Hotels, Raj Mahal, Lebua Lodge or Lebua Resort, in and around Jaipur, all fit beautifully together without too much driving involved. Agra can also be included before Ramathra or after Jaipur, with Delhi being the entry and exit point. The most lovely itinerary, which cuts down on travelling / driving but which combines cities, culture, shopping, wildlife, countryside, village life and family life would, therefore, be: Delhi – Agra – Ramathra Fort – Ranthambore (Sher Bagh) – Jaipur (Samode Palace, Samode Haveli or Samode Bagh) – Delhi.

Shahpura Bagh then fits perfectly between Jaipur and Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur or Jaipur and or Narlai (Rawla Narlai).

Chhatrasagar fits perfectly between Jaipur and Jodhpur or Nagaur (Ranvas).

North-Western Rajasthan - Chhatrasagar, Ranvas, Raas, The Serai, Rohet Garh / Mihir Garh / The Wilderness Camp all work well together as an itinerary around Jodhpur and Rawla Narlai, Bujera Fort and Devi Garh can then be added on perfectly to give more of the hill country of Rajasthan. So a fabulous western Rajasthan itinerary which combines cities, forts, culture, desert, lakes, village and family life, would be: Delhi – Jodhpur (Raas) – Chhatrasagar – Nagaur (Ranvas) – Jaisalmer (The Serai) – Rohet (Mihir Garh, Rohet Garh or Wilderness Camp) – Delhi.

Rawla Narlai and Dev Shree fit perfectly between Jodhpur and Udaipur and are the perfect bases for Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh.

South-Western RajasthanRawla Narlai, Dev Shree, Jawai Leopard Camp, Devi Garh and Bujera Fort all provide wonderful places in this stunning area of lakes, hills, fabulous architectural sites and the epitome or Rajput history and hospitality. fits perfectly as a wildlife option for anyone visiting the Udaipur area and the Aravalli Hills.

Using Bujera Fort as a base for Udaipur, Devi Garh as peaceful break in the hills and combining them with Jawai Leopard Camp for some glorious wildlife experiences, Rawla Narlai for a traditional Rajput hunting lodge experience and stunning hill scenery, and Dev Shree for cosy, hosted, relaxed village life – this would make for a wonderfully relaxing break, with longer stays at each, combining wildlife, hills, forts, temples, cities, lakes and village life – the perfect trip!

Alternatively, a more mainstream itinerary can be done incorporating only the Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur areas but with, perhaps, the odd ‘country retreat’ inserted in between. There is a delicious ‘Mahout hotel’ at each destination!

South India

Our South Indian hotels link well across the area, combining Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Much of South Kerala is busy but north Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu remain wonderfully untouched and unexploited and our hotels can be linked together to form a fabulous itinerary. Fly into Chennai and travel to Tanjore (Svatma) for some incredible culture and architecture and temple time; and on to Karaikudi (The Bangala) for a ‘foodie’ experience and the chance to get into rural Tamil Nadu and a fascinating area of the state; and on to the wonderful hills and coffee estates of the state with time at Rajakkad Estate. A stunning drive then takes you over to Munnar (Windermere Estate) in the Western Ghats for the ‘tea’ and ‘Cardamamom’ Experience before dropping down to Thekkady (Shalimar Spice Garden) for time in the jungle, rafting and spying elephants in the jungle. From here one could head over to Cochin and up the coast to Neeleshwar (Neeleshwar Hermitage), India’s finest boutique beach hotel and time in the backwaters on The Lotus (the backwaters up here are so untouched and glorious compared to down south). The hotels all fit perfectly together and, when linked, reveal a wonderfully diverse itinerary taking in the backwaters, the jungles and spice area, wildlife, the hills and tea area, the city and the beach. Our suggestion would be to explore Tamil Nadu, the hills of South Kerala and then take the train up to Neeleshwar to end on the beach or further explore the backwaters – ideally: Cochin / Backwaters (Purity, Privacy or Discovery) – Kanam (Serenity) – Thekkady (Shalimar Spice Garden) - Munnar (Windermere Estate) – Cochin– Neeleshwar and / or Lotus (fun to do the backwaters up here as well).

From Munnar (Windermere Estate), it is an easy journey over to Rajakkad which makes an ideal entry point into Tamil Nadu and thence time explore from there - Madurai, Chettinad, Trichy, Tanjore, Pondicherry and Chennai. Or explore Tamil Nadu and have a welcome end at Rajakkad for some downtime in the hills before a short flight back to Madras or Bombay and home.

Similarly, Neeleshwar links up well with the Coorg, Wyanad and Kabini area so The Bison (Nagarhole) can easily be included on a holiday that includes Bangalore, Mysore, Kabini/Nagarhole, Wyanad, Coorg and Neeleshwar.

There are many permutations that work with our South Indian hotels and all will offer a hugely varied and personal experience.

Extended stay / end of holiday options

Ahilya by the Sea makes for a perfect end to a holiday for those wanting a few days to relax in a beach / sea environment before returning home. This lovely boutique hotel is ideally situated close to great restaurants, shops and beaches and is ultimately chic and sophisticated.

Ahilya Fort offers the perfect ‘beach’ alternative, being ultimately relaxing, ideal for longer stays, plenty to do if active and with a divine riverside location.

Glenburn is the ultimate place to end an Eastern Himalayan odyssey and provides and idyllically comfortable final few days after traipsing around Sikkim or Bhutan.

Shakti 360 provides the perfect, exquisitely luxurious end to a Shakti walk in the Kumaon Hills. Glorious walking, exceptional food and a location like no other.

Rajakkad is another perfect, peaceful place to finish off a hectic holiday full of culture and temples in Tamil Nadu. With its glorious hill location and intimate atmosphere, a few days here will see one fully rested before returning home.

Neeleshwar Hermitage is undoubtedly India’s finest, small, boutique beach hotels and offers a wonderful way to finish a holiday with a bit of beach life!

Wildlife Ideas

With India boasting some fabulous parks, Mahout is proud to represent the very best properties in 4 of them and they all combine fairly well in the perfect but diverse wildlife itinerary. A journey taking in the supremely comfortable Samode Safari Lodge in Bandhavgarh (which also works beautifully with Khajuraho and Kanha), the amazingly wildlife focussed Forsyth’s Lodge in Satpura (which also works beautifully at the end of a Dehli – Agra – Gwalior – Orchha – Bhopal – Satpura itinerary with just a flight from Bhopal to Delhi or Bombay and the rest by train – fun and economical and hugely diverse!) and the glorious Jamtara Wilderness Camp in Pench (which fits like a glove with Kanha and Pench and Panchmarhi). These will all give a guest a fantastically varied and interesting wildlife holiday with 3 very different but equally brilliant ‘wildlife experiences’. Not to be forgotten is the delightful Bison Camp down in Nagarhole National Park which works beautifully in an itinerary around Karnataka or one combined with North Kerala

Mountain Magic

Shakti Sikkim combines quite brilliantly with a visit to Glenburn Tea Estate for a bit of R & R after the walk, followed by a couple of days of buzzy city life and culture in Calcutta staying at the lovely new Penthouse and then ending with a few days complete relaxation in the countryside outside Calcutta at the unique and lovely Rajbari Bawali.

Shakti Kumaon combines wonderfully with a pampering, spoiling but still active stay at 360 Shakti and perhaps a further overnight luxury camp.

Shakti Ladakh is the ultimate ‘summer holiday’ for friends and family and combines perfectly with a few days of rest at the end, chilling out on a houseboat in Srinagar – Sukoon is truly divine.

Interconnections

By clicking on one of the major cities and / or the Mahout hotels listed in the dropdown menus below, you can very easily find out how to get from one to the other, see exactly where they are in the country, and how they can be combined to form a memorable holiday.

The ‘Get Directions’ button will bring up a detailed map which you may then zoom in and out of to start planning your ‘Indian Odyssey’.