Ratan Vilas Hotel in Jodhpur, India

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by Santorini Dave • Updated: October 9, 2019

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Review of Ratan Vilas in Jodhpur, India.

Ratan Vilas – Adorable colonial-era guesthouse with English gardens and resort-style pool.

This guesthouse was built about a century ago, but was only converted to a hotel in 2002 by the family owners who still live on-site. So much is reminiscent of the British India days: from the terraces full of wicker chairs and photos of Indian nobility to the rose gardens and spacious guest lounge. Yet, it also boasts a pool with a size and setting the envy of a Delhi resort ten times larger. Admirably resisting the temptation to overbuild, the twenty rooms are set around two European-style courtyards. Packed with old-fashioned furniture, rooms are particularly spacious and the bathrooms, pleasingly modern. The guesthouse is set back from the road and is located about halfway between the airport and Old City, with plenty of auto-rickshaws hanging about the front gate.

Ratan Vilas – The Location

  • Address: On Loco Shed Road (also known as UIT Road), in the southern fringes of Jodhpur. Front gates are about 100m from a roundabout called Bhaskar Circle.
  • Area: Quiet suburban part of the city. A few basic shops and cafés nearby, but an auto-rickshaw trip required for anywhere else.
  • How to Get There: Only 3.2km (7-minute drive) from the airport. At the attractive (and low-key) terminal, there are pre-paid booths for taxis and auto-rickshaws. Other important places nearby include: the train terminal (2.2km, 6-minute drive), bus station (3.5km, 9-minute drive), and Mehrangarh Fort (6km, 16-minute drive).

Ratan Vilas – The Basics

  • Guests: Not interested in families or tour groups. Caters overwhelmingly for older couples, some of whom return year after year.
  • Views: All rooms feature 2 sets of windows: 1 facing the terrace that overlooks the courtyard, and the other facing neighboring gardens or backstreets. A few rooms also face the pool.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Certainly not expected or provided at a historic guesthouse like this in Jodhpur.
  • Wi-Fi: Available free throughout for all guests.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 (0)291 261 4418
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: ratanvilas.com

Ratan Vilas – Amenities

  • Pool: Surprisingly, there is one, and it’s considerably larger than those found at mega-hotels in major Indian cities. Sparkling blue, offering natural shade and a terrace with lounge chairs. It’s a standout feature of the guesthouse.
  • Spa & Fitness Center: Not expected or provided.
  • Other Facilities: Same-day laundry. Souvenir shop.

Ratan Vilas – Food and Drink

  • Restaurant & Bar: The fairly large restaurant in a purpose-built extension offers a range of Indian and western meals and snacks at pleasingly low prices. Inside, some intimate tables face the gardens, while wood fires are provided in the winter for those sitting along the terrace. Alcoholic drinks can be ordered, although what looks like a bar doesn’t function as one. Also, live sitar music on most evenings.
  • Breakfast: A wonderful breakfast is included in all rates, and is served in the restaurant, on the terrace, or in the gardens.
  • Room Service: Available during restaurant hours – 7 am to 9 pm.

Ratan Vilas – Rooms

  • Room Types: Courtyard Standard Rooms • Courtyard Superior Rooms • Pool Facing Superior Rooms
  • Smoking Rooms: No smoking in the rooms or public areas.
  • Best Room: All rooms are fairly similar. The quietest and most secluded are those on the upper floor and at the end of the courtyard, with private porch areas.
  • For Families: Not really interested in children. Only option is 2 rooms next to each other.

Ratan Vilas – Local Transport

  • Walking: The road outside is reasonably quiet. A couple of interesting shops and cafés are at the roundabout 100m from the hotel gates.
  • 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 they can’t enter the Old City. Auto-rickshaws are good enough for going anywhere in Jodhpur. These can be flagged down along the main road. Taxis and auto-rickshaws can also be ordered through the Uber app.

Ratan Vilas – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

  • At the Bhaskar Circle roundabout, 100m from the hotel gates, some places sell street food, and the Bakeology Bakery & Eatery serves western-style snacks like pies and sandwiches. 1-minute walk.

Within a few minutes (2.5km) by auto-rickshaw are 3 excellent places very close to each other. They are just down from Panch Batti Circle roundabout (with the landmark Chandra Inn).

  • One Airport +91 77425 257212 – Fashionable bar/café with a garden setting away from the main road. 5-minute drive (1.5km).
  • The Filos Café & Restaurant – Outstanding Greek-inspired bistro with the longest menu of western food in Jodhpur, including pizza, pasta, and burgers. Opposite One Airport. 5-minute walk (1.5km).
  • Winds Restaurant & Bar – Elegant, spacious, and popular, with a focus on organic ingredients. Further down from The Filos. 5-minute walk (1.7km).

Otherwise, get an auto-rickshaw (3.5km) to Stepwell, an ancient pond and square in the Old City, known locally as Tunwarji ka Jhalra. These 3 places are clustered together:

Shops

  • A couple of handy Indian-style grocery stores at the roundabout, 100m from the hotel gates.

Attractions

  • 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. 7-minute drive (3km).
  • 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. 16-minute drive (6km).
  • The overwhelming attraction is the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort that dominates the Old City. The ticket office is at the main vehicle entrance of the fort (6km, 16-minute drive). Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • 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. 22-minute drive (10km).

Ratan Vilas – The Hotel

The hotel is located in a quiet suburb between the airport and Old City.

Ratan Vilas is along a quietish suburban street about halfway between the airport and Old City.

The hotel buildings are set away from the busy main road.

The main building is about 100m from the road, with all rooms quietly positioned even further back.

The hotel's design is very appealing.

The hotel design is instantly endearing.

The guest lounge has an elegant colonial vibe.

The guest lounge also exudes an elegant colonial vibe.

The hotel has a striking design and color.

The design and color of the main building is quite striking.

The hotel has a lovely English-style garden.

Between the front gates and main building is a lovely English-style garden.

Guests can enjoy the sun or a gin and tonic on the hotel lawns.

Lawns alongside the gardens are ideal for soaking up the sun and/or sipping a gin & tonic.

There is also a tiny souvenir and clothes shop on-site.

Also beside the hotel gardens is a tiny shop selling clothes and souvenirs.

The on-site restaurant offers all-day meals and garden views.

The hotel restaurant faces the garden and offers meals all day.

The restaurant is larger than expected.

Considering the limited number of guests, the hotel restaurant is surprisingly spacious. It also offers more intimate tables overlooking the gardens.

The restaurant has a bar.

Within the hotel restaurant, the bar doesn’t actually function as one, but beer and other alcoholic drinks can be ordered from the waiters.

The large pool comes with plenty of shade and lounge chairs.

Alongside the large sparkling-blue pool, there are plenty of lounge chairs and shade.

A covered terrace by the pool is good for lounging away from the sun.

At one end of the hotel pool is an undercover terrace, ideal for sheltering from the fierce summer sun.

The hotel has a 2-story building surrounding the courtyards.

Rooms are built on only 2 levels around a couple of courtyards.

One of the European-style courtyards has a fountain and tiled flooring.

One courtyard with a fountain and tiles resembles the sort found in European guesthouses.

The hotel has a colonial era-style design.

The hotel design invokes images of the colonial era.

Guests can lounge on the chairs in the common terraces.

All guests have access to private chairs along the communal terraces.

The spacious rooms are elegant.

Each room is pleasingly spacious and as elegant as imagined.

Rooms come with functional, old-fashioned furniture.

All are packed with old-fashioned furniture that is also suitably functional.

Pictures of Indian nobility adorn the walls.

Walls are dotted with old photos of Indian nobility.

The bathrooms are all modern.

While rooms are likably old-fashioned, the bathrooms are modern.

The hotel is located close to a small roundabout.

The hotel gates are about 100m from a minor roundabout.

The roundabout has a few interesting places like a bakery and cafe.

At the roundabout are a few places of interest, including a bakery/café.

The facilities around the hotel are interesting.

Shops in the immediate area around the hotel are for locals, but there’s enough of interest and use to guests.

The Filos is probably the finest cafe in Jodhbpur.

Arguably the finest café in Jodhpur, The Filos is a short auto-rickshaw trip from the hotel.

One Airport offers shady outdoor seating.

Opposite The Filos, One Airport is an inviting café with shady seating.

Open House Café in the Old City serves good food and beer.

Within the Old City, the Open House Café faces Stepwell square, and serves beer and tasty food.

The Stepwell Café next door features excellent views.

Behind the Open House, The Stepwell Café also provides fabulous views of the ancient square in the Old City.

Jharokha 360 is a rooftop cafe with a classy Indian menu and excellent views.

Jharokha 360 is a fashionable bistro on the rooftop of the unusually modern building at Stepwell.

The fort's main entrance is 7km from the hotel.

The main entrance to the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort is 6km from the hotel.

The fort is best enjoyed leisurely.

Allow at least half a day to explore the vast fort.

Sunset views of the magnificent fort are impressive.

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

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