Hotel Reviews - Asia

An Indian Adventure: The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore

Today, in the third installment of her Indian adventure, Caroline looks at a great hotel option in Ranthambhore…

Our train journey to Ranthambhore was quite an experience. Suffice to say that it is amazing how good one’s bladder control can be when you can smell the toilets from the opposite end of the carriage! I was just glad that we were only on board for two hours as opposed to the thirty-two that it takes from Amritsar to Mumbai!

We were met on the platform by staff from Vanyavilas hotel, which was to be our home for the next few nights. What a palatial home it was, surrounded by rugged jungle and set in twenty acres of lush gardens with accommodation in sumptuous air-conditioned tents, complete with wi-fi, four poster bed and free-standing bath, the last word in luxury.

The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore

The welcoming elephants!

We were glad after our train journey (and the puncture which had preceded it en route to the station) to have a relaxing lunch by the pool and then a leisurely swim. The whole poolside experience at all of the Oberois is made extra special by the level of service, with everything you could wish for being provided without even having to ask: iced tea, sun screen, cold towels for face and hands, a spray of iced water, frozen grapes and of course someone on hand to move the heavy loungers and parasols should the sun attempt to encroach on my shade!

We were booked in for a couples’ massage before dinner. Predictably the spa was beautiful, overlooking a lily pond and set in a Mughal inspired courtyard. I had opted for a Swedish massage, whilst Richard (being of a ticklish disposition) decided he had better go for the more robust Balinese version, finished off by a soak in a bath of rose petals, the profusion of which spared his blushes!

The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore

Check out that bath!

Walking from our tent to the restaurant, down pathways lit by flaming torches, gave us a taste of the romantic setting where we were to eat: a beautiful courtyard, pristine white table linen and soft candlelight awaited us and complemented the exquisite food to perfection. A nightcap in the colonial style bar rounded off a wonderful evening.

The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore

The beautiful surroundings of the hotel

The following day started at the crack of dawn as our game drive was scheduled for 6.30a.m. True to Oberoi service standards, we were settled in to our jeep with blankets, hot water bottles, flasks of tea and coffee, biscuits, bottles of water and binoculars.

One thing the Oberoi could not arrange, however, was an appearance by the elusive Bengal tiger. After four hours we had seen paw prints and plenty other animals but it was getting hot and we decided to call time for the morning and head back later in the afternoon.

By the time late afternoon arrived I had started suffering with a head cold and was comfortably ensconced on the chaise-longue on our verandah so Richard set off on his own with the driver – needless to say he was lucky with his tiger spotting.

When the observant staff noticed that I was under the weather, everyone was most solicitous, offering to call a doctor and getting the chef to prepare me some tea with ginger, cloves and cinnamon to ease the congestion – gestures which were much appreciated and epitomised the personal touch offered by the Oberoi.

Luckily by the time we were due to travel to Jaipur I was feeling much better – just as well since our trip to Amber Fort was to prove one of the highlights of our trip.

Tomorrow, Caroline discusses her stay in Jaipur…

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