In the village of Dhela, some 20 minutes drive from The Bijrani Gate of Corbett National Park, next to the river bed, is Jim’s Jungle Retreat (JJR). Once our TripAdvisor search narrowed down the abode for the 4 days we (Me, my father, my wife, and my 4-year-old daughter) were planning on spending visiting the famous Corbett National Park, it was only a question of booking and getting there.
Corbett is an excellent place to spend a few days in the lap of nature, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. A six hour almost smooth drive from Delhi, Corbett National Park is among one of the most visited national parks of the country. Our resort, Jim’s Jungle Retreat, turned out to be one of the friendliest I have stayed in around the world.
After an easy booking process through their office in New Delhi, we were quite surprised to receive a call from the resort a day before, detailing the route we had to take to get to them. Moreover, they offered to stay in touch during our entire drive and guided us whenever we needed help.
After checking-in and after a small and informative orientation by the resort General Manager, we got a chance to explore the premises which comprised of a swimming pool, a “camp-fire” area, a spa, and simultaneously also experience the quietness of nature.
It didn’t take long, in fact just our very first lunch, to realize that the food served truly stood out and was simply divine, homemade, finger-licking, what foodie dream are all about. Never did either one of us ever think that we would be complaining about overeating by the end of the trip, but we all did.
The package at JJR includes nature and bike rides organize by them during the day. I highly recommend making the most of these walks for getting to know the local flora and fauna up close and personal with the help of the learned guides at the property. JJR abides by and is proud of their motto “Seek the Tiger, Find the Jungle”. Corbett is one of the few places in India where one can see a tiger in its natural habitat, but unfortunately it seems most people are only interested in tiger-spotting, thus missing out on the beauty of nature that can be found in the parks other inhabitants.
We stayed for three nights, with just two guests on the first night, 4 on the second, and a full house on the third. We did feel that on the third day the staff was a bit overwhelmed by the big groups and the same detailed attention we received on the first two days was not there, but that’s just me being extremely critical.
The rooms at JJR are all wonderfully styled with antique furniture, but modern amenities. The bathrooms were clean. The family lodge was spacious and so was the tent. The tent can get a bit noisy if it gets windy so if you are a light sleeper, avoid it.
An important tip to keep in mind is that you should book your Jeep Safari (which takes you deep inside Corbett National Park) in advance through JJR, preferably at the time of booking your rooms. Last minute bookings are not possible due to the pass that has to be acquired from the government, as I found out the hard way. Also, the Elephant Safari is not really up to the mark since it only takes you in the buffer zone and not inside the actually park. That is also why it is called an “Elephant Ride” by the organizers. Although, it might be fun for the little ones, as my daughter did enjoy sitting on the elephant and going into the “jungle”. The elephant safari is recommended if you are staying at one of the government guesthouses inside the park.
JJR epitomizes service with a smile. My father, who made full use of the spa, was impressed with the variety of massages and treatments. We always had a packed breakfast for our early departures. There was ample bottled water and unlike some of the most expensive hotels we never felt the need to pay extra for anything (food or drink related) other than alcoholic drinks. Moreover, the driver/chauffeur stay and food was also included in the package and not charged separately.
Jim’s Jungle Retreat, since our visit, has replaced their General Manager, but I am told that the new manager is equally friendly and welcoming. Although we didn’t see any tigers or even that many animals, it was still 4 days of much needed rest and recreation with JJR’s service being the icing on the cake.
Booking Tip: While you check the website of JJR you are bound to find some package deals, but I would advise that before making any decision give them a call as you are likely to find a better deal with more options. Plus their office will guide you to the best possible scenarios based on the people (kids, adults, seniors) who are going.
Telephone Tip: When we visited JJR in early 2012 there was no Airtel coverage in the area. Vodafone does work. Airtel signals usually come around the Bijrani gate. So, in case you have Airtel, make sure you leave the landline numbers of the resort for the people at home. You can always request the Manager/Staff for one of their mobile numbers to leave behind for emergencies (as we did).
Note: This is an unsolicited review of Jim’s Jungle Retreat.