Dera Mandawa Hotel in Jaipur, India

Home > Dera Mandawa Hotel Review
by Santorini Dave • Updated: October 9, 2019

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Review of Dera Mandawa in Jaipur, India.

Dera Mandawa – Graceful, family-run, and serene, yet very convenient to the Old City.

Considerably nicer than a guesthouse, but not quite a palace hotel, the Dera Mandawa rightly bills itself as a ‘family-run boutique heritage guesthouse’. From the dusty street, an unassuming entrance leads to attractive buildings of whitewashed walls facing gardens packed with trees and birds. Even more impressive are the exquisite suites. Only 12, each is individually decorated with bright, alluring colors. Some also feature mezzanine levels with extra seating, study areas, or even second bedrooms, while those in the newer wing pleasingly still maintain an old-world charm. Adding enormously to the appeal are the effusive owner/manager, activities such as cooking classes, and proximity to the Old City. But note: this hotel is deliberately old-fashioned, so no pool, and no TVs in the rooms.

Dera Mandawa – The Location

  • Address: Along Sansar Chandra Road in the inner city. Look for the signed gate opposite the Windsor Plaza office block.
  • Area: Close to the Old City, but the streets outside are very dusty, noisy, and crowded.
  • How to Get There: From the airport (13km, 30-minute drive), take a pre-paid taxi or walk outside for an auto-rickshaw. The train terminal (2.1km, 10-minute drive), main bus station (700m, 9-minute walk), and nearest metro station (250m, 3-minute walk) are also close by.
  • Handy to: Old City.

Dera Mandawa – The Basics

  • Guests: Most are older independent travelers who relish the setting and history.
  • Views: Maintaining its old-fashioned design, windows in most suites are small and offer limited views of the internal courtyard and gardens.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Certainly not expected – or provided – at this sort of inner-city guesthouse in Jaipur.
  • Wi-Fi: Available free throughout for all guests.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 (0)141 403 7377
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: deramandawa.com

Dera Mandawa – Amenities

  • Pool: Maintaining the delightfully old-fashioned design and ambience, there is no pool.
  • Spa & Fitness Center: Not expected or provided.
  • Activities: Classes in kite-flying (including lessons in wearing saris and tying turbans) and in traditional cooking, with a visit to the markets in the Old City.
  • Other Facilities: Board games. Free traditional puppet shows with music. Library. Lounge with TV.

Dera Mandawa – Food and Drink

  • Restaurant & Bar: Lunch and dinner can be served in the courtyard or dining room, or delivered to the room or private patio area. Bit pricey and limited choice, but superb Indian food using organic ingredients.
  • Breakfast: Substantial breakfast included in all rates. Served in the room or courtyard.
  • Room Service: Informal service available from 8 am to 8 pm.

Dera Mandawa – Rooms

  • Room Types: All rooms are called ‘suites’ and are individually designed and decorated.
  • Smoking Rooms: No smoking in the rooms or public areas, but permitted elsewhere.
  • Best Room: Suites in the older wing are quieter, and some feature (for no extra cost) mezzanine levels which greatly add to the feeling of space.
  • For Families: One of the suites with a mezzanine level features a second bedroom with 1 or 2 single beds. One single bed could also be added to the other suites.

Dera Mandawa – Local Transport

  • Walking: Very little within walking distance of interest to guests. The road outside is very crowded, dirty, and noisy, with virtually no sidewalks.
  • Public Transport: The Jaipur Metro is of limited use to tourists – at least until the 2 new stations in the Old City are completed in about 2021. The nearest station to the guesthouse is Chandpole, about 250m away (3-minute walk).
  • Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: Taxis (unmetered) are poorly-marked and almost impossible to find without help from the hotel reception, and useless in the Old City anyway. Otherwise, Uber and Ola work effectively. However, just about anywhere, including the airport, is accessible by abundant auto-rickshaws. Some are electric and feature 2 small benches.

Dera Mandawa – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

    Unfortunately, not a great choice within walking distance.

  • Alsisar Haveli – Gorgeous old guesthouse with a magnificent restaurant featuring chandeliers, mahogany tables, and traditionally-dressed waiters. Can also eat in the courtyard or along the poolside terrace. Bar attached. 3-minute walk (220m).
  • Hotel Mangal +91 (0)141 237 5126 – Dreary indoor setting but excellent vegetarian food at low prices. 6-minute walk (500m).
  • The Bella Italia – Rooftop setting next to the guesthouse. Better selection than just pizza and pasta, with crepes and Chinese also available. Open for breakfast. Almost opposite Hotel Mangal. 6-minute walk (500m).
  • Chitra Cafeteria – In the Arya Niwas guesthouse, next to The Bella Italia. Big thalis (set meals in steel plates) are a specialty, enjoyed on the terrace or lawns. Vegetarian only. 7-minute walk (550m).

Shops

  • The road in front of the guesthouse offers little of interest, so head to the Old City.

Attractions

  • A frenetic maze of shops, markets, traffic, and more traffic, the Old City is both fascinating and frustrating to wander about. In the center, the City Palace (open daily from 9 am to 5.30 pm) is a marvelous example of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture, and is packed with courtyards, gardens, and museums. The nearest entrance to the Old City is Chandpole Gate, an easy 350m walk (11 minutes) northeast up the road. The City Palace (2km, 13 minutes) is better reached by auto-rickshaw.
  • Jantar Mantar – UNESCO World Heritage site featuring the world’s largest stone sundial and 18 other instruments. 1 of 5 astronomical observatories built in north India in the 18th-century by Maharaj Sawaii Jai Singh II. Right opposite the City Palace. 11-minute drive (2.1km).
  • Hawa Mahal – This 18th-century sandstone summer palace features 953 windows which let in cool breezes during the summer, and allowed the Royalty to view the streets below without being seen. Visit early morning to watch the sun’s rays filter through the latticework. 15-minute drive (3km).
  • Amber Palace – UNESCO World Heritage site, also known as Amer Fort among locals, featuring 4 must-see courtyards (Shila Devi Temple, public audience hall, private audience hall, and Mirror Palace), and sound and light shows in the evening. Open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. 30-minute drive (10km).
  • Nahargarh Fort – Historic defense fort overlooking Jaipur. Houses the Jaipur Wax Museum by the entrance, and features a second, updated Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace). 45-minute drive (17km).

Dera Mandawa – The Hotel

The guesthouse is located along a busy main road.

The guesthouse is along a busy main road within an inner suburb.

The signed main gate is easy to miss.

The main gate is easy to miss from the crowded footpaths, but is signposted.

Contrary to the elegance and charm within, the entrance is very modest.

The unassuming entrance belies such elegance and charm within.

The guesthouse sports a design typical of houses in Jaipur.

The design of the Dera Mandawa is typical of Jaipur, with whitewashed walls and arched window frames.

The garden courtyard is popular for enjoying breakfast and other meals.

Most guests enjoy breakfast (and other meals if required) in the garden courtyard.

Guests can enjoy meeting others and playing traditional board games in the courtyard.

The courtyard is also a fabulous place to meet other guests and play traditional board games.

The guesthouse owner/manager personally greets every guest.

One bonus is the enthusiastic owner/manager who personally greets every guest.

Guests can enjoy a free traditional puppet show in the courtyard every night.

Each evening, a free traditional puppet show is held in the courtyard.

The guesthouse manager offers traditional cooking classes.

The guesthouse manager also personally runs an extensive cooking class.

The Old City's spice and vegetable markets are fascinating.

A highlight of the cooking class held at the guesthouse is a visit to the spice and vegetable markets in the Old City.

The lounge areas in the family house are open to guests.

Guests are welcome to relax in the lounge room areas within the family house.

Guests can eat in the dining room if the weather is not pleasant.

If it’s too hot or cold outside, guests can also eat breakfast (and other meals) in the dining room.

The guesthouse is known for its generous thalis.

A specialty of the guesthouse restaurant are the generous thalis, which can be delivered to the suites.

Some sections of the guesthouse are brightly colored.

Sections of the guesthouse are brightly colored, especially the courtyards in front of some suites.

All suites have unique layouts and designs.

The layout and design of each suite is different.

All suites are beautifully decorated and have an appealing elegance.

Each suite is so beautifully decorated, with an elegance and historical ambience lacking in most guesthouses/hotels in Jaipur.

Some suites come with mezzanine levels with extra seating and/or study areas.

Some suites have mezzanine levels with extra seating and/or study areas. One even features a second bedroom.

The suites feature a beautifully coordinated decor.

The décor in each suite is delightfully coordinated.

The mezzanine-level sitting areas in some suites are quite big.

Some suites feature substantial sitting areas on a mezzanine level.

Suites feature bright colors.

Colors throughout the suites are bright, maintaining the rich heritage of the hotel and of Jaipur in general.

Bathrooms are spacious but less colorful.

Bathrooms are not quite as colorful, but are still spacious.

Some bathrooms have unique murals.

Some bathrooms feature a fascinating décor.

There are a few niches with comfortable seating around the older wing.

Around the older wing are niches with comfortable seating.

The busy hotel neighborhood is not pedestrian-friendly.

The streets outside the hotel are dusty and crowded, and not that pleasant for walking.

The Alsisar Haveli hotel's magnificent restaurant is close by.

The magnificent restaurant at the Alsisar Haveli hotel is about 200m down the road.

Hotel Mangal offers exceptional thalis.

About 500m from the Dera Mandawa, the restaurant at Hotel Mangal is fairly dreary inside, but the thalis are exceptional.

The Bella Italia serves delicious food on the rooftop.

Almost opposite Hotel Mangal, The Bella Italia provides tasty food on the rooftop.

Chitra Cafeteria is another pleasant restaurant nearby.

Certainly worth a short walk is the pleasant Chitra Cafeteria in the Arya Niwas guesthouse, next to The Bella Italia.

The Old City's western entrance is close by.

The western entrance to the Old City is only 350m away.

The guesthouse is located just steps from a metro station.

The guesthouse is conveniently only 250m from the nearest metro station.

One can see camels used for transportation in the area.

Camels are still used to transport goods to/from shops near the hotel gates.

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