Situated at a 3 hours drive from the capital of India, Neemrana Fort Palace in Rajasthan is one of the many forts and heritage properties that are slowly being converted into luxurious and boutique residences and hotels.
The drive from New Delhi is pleasant with the roads being in excellent condition throughout the journey; the only slightly tricky section being the Neemrana village at the foothill of the fort.
Situated on a hillock, the fort cements its strategic uniqueness instantly with magnificent birds-eye views of the village and the nearby town which over the years has developed owing to it being categorized as an international industrial zone.
Our visit to Neemrana coincided with the beginning of the monsoon season, and thus the trees where all bursting with bright green leaves and the smell of wet mud was evident in the air.
Although certain areas of the hotel were still under construction when we stayed there and while their open air swimming pool was of a decent size, the fact that they now have two, certainly adds to the luxury of the property. In addition, they have a Spa which we tried, tested, and fully appreciated.
The Fort Palace also houses a restaurant that serves an afternoon and evening buffet service – breakfast is served elsewhere on the property. Due to the somewhat secluded location of the hotel, there are no restaurants in the surrounding areas, and one is compelled to eat at the hotel restaurant. The food though is a good enough mixture of local Rajasthani food with some typical North Indian and continental choices.
The Neemrana Fort, due to its proximity to the city of Jaipur and Gurgaon, attracts a number of day trippers. The pool is only available to the hotel guests, so the only place where you might see a rush around the afternoon is the restaurant or along the historical area of the fort.
All “outsiders” are required to leave by 5:30PM and in all honestly having a few extra individuals roaming around the fort during the day wasn’t too intrusive or bothering.
The fort, its architecture, the walls, and the aura around the rooms bleed with history and if antiques fascinate you – like they do me – then the hotel can prove to be a little treasure trove of wonders.
Built in 1464, the fort was one of the few “kingdoms” that refused to adhere to the British, but eventually it was captured and distributed amongst the nearby states that had joined hands with the British. Since then it had been in a state of degradation as the owners tried to desperately sell it.
It was only after 1986 when the fort was acquired and restoration commenced that we see what stands now as a magnificent symbol of the hard work and money that has gone into painstakingly renovating the property to its original splendour.
Whatever the changes might have been over the years – and there have been quite a few – the aesthetics and historical importance of the fort is never manipulated or endangered thus keeping its authentic charm in place.
Surya Mahal – Palace of the Sun –our abode for two nights was a grand – enough to host two small families – and airy room with small nooks proudly displaying tiny surprises like a table with a chess board or steps leading up to the open bedrooms. The room might not have been regal in terms of the furniture but it still oozed vintage charm.
Outside, just like in the room, there are lots of places to discover across the entire property. The swimming pool is a focal point and most guests can be found in or around it during late afternoons. The location of the pool is such that the views from it are nothing short of extraordinary and it makes for a wonderful vantage point to view the sun set every day.
So, what exactly does one do at Neemrana Fort Palace?
To start with it, Neemrana is a great place to “get away from it all”. Read a book, lounge by the pool, explore the fort, get a spa treatment, or just appreciate the views.
For the slightly adventurous, when the season is right, they have Zip Lining and/or you can always go trekking around the fort or to nearby hills.
The Neemrana Fort Palace is also popular as a venue for Weddings, Birthdays, and other Private Events. Therefore, it might be a good idea to check with them before booking your trip in case you are looking for some peace and quiet.
Neemrana works as a destination for a romantic getaway, a family weekend break, or an outing with friends. A two night stay – maximum – is good enough to take in all that the hotel has to offer and also enjoy some of the more natural views and activities of the region.
With satisfactory service, roomy residences, modern day amenities, and history thrown in for good measure, Neemrana Fort Palace is especially recommended for anyone visiting India and of course for that much needed weekend away from the hustle-and-bustle of modern day city life.