Hotel Rani Mahal in Jodhpur, India

by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 28, 2019

Review of Rani Mahal in Jodhpur, India.

Rani Mahal – Exquisite, unique, and convenient – the finest in this part of the Old City.

Guests will be instantly mesmerized as they step up from the chaotic street and enter the reception area – almost medieval with its stone columns, trickling fountains, and arched niches. Inside the four-century-old building, only redesigned to become a hotel during the mid-2010s, rooms feature individual layouts and décors that blend so well with the unique theme throughout. Rooms can be a little dark, which is typical of hotels in the Old City, but they are far more spacious than at neighboring rivals. (The room on the rooftop is particularly bright and airy.) The ground-floor restaurant is worth visiting just for the setting, and the rooftop café offers wide-ranging views of the meandering alleys and the fort, which is only five minutes away on foot.

Rani Mahal – The Location

  • Address: Along Old Fort Road (really just a lane), in an area called Navchokiya in the western part of the Old City.
  • Area: In the Old City, with all the vibrancy (and chaos) that it entails.
  • How to Get There: About 7km (18-minute drive) from the airport. At the attractive (and low-key) terminal, there are pre-paid booths for taxis and auto-rickshaws, but note: taxis cannot enter this part of the Old City. The train terminal (3km, 16-minute drive) and main bus station (4km, 15-minute drive) are easily accessible by auto-rickshaw.
  • Handy to: Old City. Mehrangarh Fort.

Rani Mahal – The Basics

  • Guests: Most are independent travelers who relish the setting and convenience.
  • Views: Within an ancient building along a crowded part of the Old City. With minimal windows, most rooms are dark and face the internal courtyard and very few offer outside views.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Certainly not expected or provided at a historic inner-city guesthouse like this in Jodhpur.
  • Wi-Fi: Free throughout for all guests.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 (0)291 263 9595
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: theranimahal.com

Rani Mahal – Amenities

  • Pool, Spa, & Fitness Center: Not expected or provided.
  • Other Facilities: Travel advice/bookings.

Rani Mahal – Food and Drink

  • Restaurant: The ground-floor Jeeman restaurant doesn’t provide views, but the setting is still superb – almost medieval – and prices are pleasingly low. The same meals can also be served at the more informal café on the rooftop.
  • Breakfast: Included in most rates, but double-check when booking.
  • Room Service: Limited service available during restaurant hours – 7 am to 9 pm.

Rani Mahal – Rooms

  • Room Types: There are no categories of rooms because each is different.
  • Smoking Rooms: No smoking in the rooms or public areas.
  • Best Room: A couple of rooms on the lower floors offer separate living areas, but the most appealing is the one on the rooftop. The exterior is reminiscent of a Greek island guesthouse, but the décor inside is bright and Rajasthani, and there are plenty of windows.
  • For Families: Not really set up for families, but certainly space enough for 1 or 2 extra single beds in some rooms.

Rani Mahal – Local Transport

  • Walking: The Old City is fascinating to wander around, but there are no sidewalks, so all pedestrians share the scarily narrow streets and alleys with maniacal motorcyclists and anarchic auto-rickshaw drivers. And watch out for huge piles of fresh cow dung.
  • Public Transport: Nothing of use for tourists anywhere in Jodhpur.
  • Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: Taxis (unmetered) can be ordered through the guesthouse for longer day-trips, but can’t possibly enter the Old City. Auto-rickshaws are good enough for anywhere around Jodhpur. These hang about junctions in the Old City. Taxis and auto-rickshaws can also be ordered through the Uber app.

Rani Mahal – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

    Nothing better than eating or drinking at one of the (surprisingly few) rooftop cafés offering expansive views of the streets and fort, which is especially stunning after sunset.

  • Raj Mandir +91 98290 23390 – Open-air, faultless views, and pleasing prices. Ideal for a sunset beer. About 50m down the street. 1-minute walk.
  • Castle View – Impressive setting and long menu of Indian, Chinese, and western food. The winding lanes and numerous steps are worth it. Look for the signs just past the Raj Mandir.
  • Jewel Palace Haweli – Cute guesthouse offering the same tasty Indian and western food on the rooftop and in an air-conditioned area at a lower level. About 100m down an alley that starts almost opposite the Rani Mahal.
  • Singhvi’s Haveli – Finest rooftop café because it’s so close to the fort. Hearty meals (vegetarian only) and beer available. Look for the tall light-orange building behind the Rani Mahal. 2-minute (180m).
  • Inside the fort are: Chokelao Garden Café (lunchtime buffets), Mehrangarh Fine Dining Evening Restaurant (spectacular views, dinner only, and booking required), and Palki Café (snacks and drinks). 8-minute drive (2.2km).

Shops & Markets

  • Facilities in the general area are for locals, not tourists, so take an auto-rickshaw to Sardar Market, based around the iconic Clock Tower and opposite the renowned Pal Haveli hotel. Open all day every day, the market is clean, quiet, and hassle-free, so it’s fun to wander around. 9-minute drive (1.4km).

Attractions

  • The overwhelming attraction is the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort that dominates the Old City. The secondary entrance is only 300m up the main street from the guesthouse (5-minute walk), while the ticket office is at the main vehicle entrance at the other side of the fort (2.2km, 8-minute drive). Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Also, check out the lakes at the end of the street, about 300m up from the guesthouse (4-minute walk).
  • Jaswant Thada – Also known as the Taj Mahal of Mewar, a marble marvel amidst lush, landscaped gardens and next to a serene lake. The intricate marble lattice screens as well as the city views are superb. Easily paired with a visit to the Mehrangarh Fort. 9 am to 5 pm. 9-minute drive (2.3km).
  • Umaid Bhawan Palace – An architectural marvel; one part of the palace still serves as a Royal Family residence, the rest has been converted to the Taj Hotel and museum. Only the museum is open to the public, and it’s very popular for the vintage car and clock collections and vast gardens with peacocks. Great spot for a romantic meal. 10 am to 4.30 pm. 21-minute drive (8km).
  • Mandore Garden – Historic garden, home to beautiful empty tombs of the Royal Family. The Hall of Heroes, temple of 330 Million Gods, and Government Museum are worth seeing. Visitors can also explore the Mandore Fort ruins or have a picnic on the grounds. Located just outside the city. 21-minute drive (9km).

Rani Mahal – The Hotel

The hotel is located in the western part of the Old City.

The Rani Mahal is along a main street within the western part of the Old City of Jodhpur.

The modest entrance opens to an extraordinary setting inside.

The entrance of this 400-year-old building is modest compared to the extraordinary setting inside.

The vegetarian Jeeman restaurant has a fantastic ground-floor setting.

At ground level, the vegetarian Jeeman restaurant at the hotel is worth visiting for the setting alone.

There are lots of cushion-filled niches to lounge in.

The niches within the hotel restaurant are packed with cushions.

Jeeman also offers rooftop seating.

Guests can also enjoy the same meals from the Jeeman restaurant on the hotel rooftop.

The rooftop offers excellent views of the Mehrangarh Fort and the Old City.

Views from the rooftop of the Rani Mahal extend across the Old City and include the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort.

The fort dominates the views from most buildings in the Old City.

The fort dominates views from many buildings in the Old City over 3 levels high, including the rooftop café at the Rani Mahal.

The rooftop room has a cute Greek-island vibe.

Particularly cute is the room on the hotel rooftop, with an outside setting reminiscent of a Greek Island guesthouse.

The rooftop room has a typical Rajasthani decor.

The décor inside the rooftop room is still typically Rajasthani.

Narrow corridors with lots of seating link all the rooms.

Rooms are on 3 levels and are linked by narrow corridors with plenty of seating.

Room optimize use of the limited space.

All rooms make the most of the limited space within the 400-year-old building, and the décor is so authentic.

The modern bathrooms are brightly decorated.

All bathrooms are modern and brightly decorated.

Some rooms have a larger but unusual layout because of the old building's architecture.

Some rooms are larger than others, and feature an unusual layout due to the design of the ancient building.

The hotel is in the western part of the Old City.

The hotel is deep within the western part of the Old City.

The neighborhood is not designed for tourists but is still fascinating.

Facilities around the hotel are limited and more suited to local residents than foreign tourists, but it’s still fascinating to walk around.

Castle View café's rooftop cafe nearby is also terrific.

It makes sense to eat and drink at one of the rooftop cafés around the Old City. Follow the signs to the Castle View café that start about a minute’s walk from the hotel.

Raji Mandir close by is a great place to enjoy cheap meals, beers, and fort views.

Only 50m down from the hotel, Raj Mandir offers flawless views and cheap meals.

The rooftop cafe at Singhvi’s Haveli guesthouse is close to the fort.

Singhvi’s Haveli guesthouse has a divine rooftop café that’s so close to the fort.

The Chokelao Garden Café is located about 300m from the fort's secondary entrance.

Inside the fort, the Chokelao Garden Café offers popular buffets. About 300m within the fort from the secondary entrance in the Old City.

Dinner at the Mehrangarh Fine Dining Evening Restaurant is a great experience.

The Mehrangarh Fine Dining Evening Restaurant, about 400m within the fort, is truly spectacular. Dinner only, and bookings essential.

The fort's secondary entrance is close to the hotel.

The secondary entrance to the fort is just around the corner from the end of the street along which the hotel is located: about 5 minutes on foot.

The ticket office is by the main vehicle entrance at the northern end of the fort.

The ticket office is at the main vehicle entrance about 600m through the fort (therefore, much can be seen before needing to buy a ticket).

The fort is best enjoyed leisurely.

The fort is enormously impressive, but allow half a day at least to explore it.

Sunset views of the magnificent fort are impressive.

The fort is even more impressive for a few hours after sunset.

Auto-rickshaws are advisable in the Old City to avoid getting lost.

Getting lost among the meandering alleys of the Old City is almost inevitable, but auto-rickshaws can come to the rescue.

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