Jaipur’s Best Hidden Heritage Hotel

I’ll admit I wasn’t impressed when we pulled up to 34 Ramganj Chaupar, the location paralleled a street market in full swing, a noisy roundabout and a line of auto rickshaws shouting for our attention. Not my idea of bliss. We passed through a courtyard, a pleasantly lit passageway and up a bird’s nest freckled stairwell to be greeted by another courtyard surrounding a 250-year-old fountain and high, painted archways reminiscent of havelis past.

Karnot Mahal’s shabby chic decor exceeded our expectations – although the first room we saw was on the street market side (we turned it down due to the noise), the next room they showed us was perfect. Black and white tiled floors, colorful flowing silk panels, hand painted details and crown molding – along with the compulsory painting of the Hindu god, Vishnu. Strong air conditioning and hot and cold showers sealed the deal. Tip: Ask to see several available rooms and choose your favorite.

Princess Court, with high ceilings, columns and more hand painted details is where we took our breakfast, which was more than substantial: your choice of omelet (I recommend the masala version), fruit, toast with butter and jam, a choice of coffee or tea and cornflakes. The Floating Terrace restaurant, located on the rooftop was not operating during our stay – it was the monsoon season – but we were still able to sneak up there for a great view of the sun setting over the city.

Internet is available for 50 rupees in the small reception office, but the connection was less than fast. Laundry service is also available – we had 10 pieces of clothing washed and pressed for about 500 rupees, delivered the same day. The staff was very pleasant and helpful, offering tips on auto rickshaw prices and restaurant addresses; and though they ran out of Kingfisher beer on our second night they were quick to offer spirits instead, which we took beside the antique fountain.

The deluxe double rooms go for 3,000 rupees, about 60 dollars at the time of writing, but check for discounts and ask to have breakfast included in the fare.

I strongly recommend this hotel for history buffs longing to live as Indian royalty did, while still enjoying modern comforts.

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