by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 28, 2019
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:
- Open House Cafe – Quaint, inviting, and directly overlooking Stepwell. For Indian, Chinese, and western meals. And beer available. 11-minute drive (3.2km).
- The Stepwell Café – Along the same lane as the Open House. More spacious seating and loftier views, but a little pricey. 11-minute drive (3.2km).
- Jharokha 360 – Rooftop of the incongruous modern building. Broad views and classy Indian food. 11-minute drive (3.2km).
- A couple of handy Indian-style grocery stores at the roundabout, 100m from the hotel gates.
- 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).