by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 28, 2019
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).
- 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).