NAME: Sher Bagh Ranthambore.
LOCATION: Ranthambore in Rajasthan, India.
THE HOTEL: An award-winning luxury safari camp.
WHO’S BEHIND IT: SUJÁN Luxury.
DID YOU KNOW: It was Jaisal Singh’s ( SUJÁN Luxury) family who put Ranthambhore on the map through their pioneering filming of tigers in the wild.
WI-FI: Free but available in limited areas.
RATES: Start at INR40,000/USD600 for a Luxury Tent including all meals for two people (excluding alcohol).
VIP CONTACT: Resident Manager, Sunil Joseph (firstname.lastname@example.org).
ADDRESS: Sherpur, Khiljipur, Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan 322001.
CLOSEST AIRPORT: Jaipur International Airport.
PHONE: +91 11 4617 2700.
Nestled on the borders of Ranthambore National Park on a private estate lies the luxurious safari tented camp, Sher Bagh (which means tiger park). This magical camp, which promotes sustainable tourism and is eco–friendly, transports you to the 1920s evoking life on safari during the heyday of the British Raj. Sher Bagh is also part of the Relais & Châteaux family who focus on preservation of nature and biodiversity, world heritage of cuisine and customs as well as sharing the beauty and unique offerings of the local terroirs. Together they help create exceptional personal experiences focussing on the fine ‘Art of Living’.
From here you are a stone’s throw away from thrilling game drives in Ranthambore National Park which is home to tigers, leopards, striped hyenas, sambar deer, chital, jackals, sloth bears and Indian wild boar to name a few. However, it is most famous for the majestic Bengal tiger. So if seeing Asia’s most iconic cat is high up on your bucket list, then a trip here is in order. There are only 3,200 wild tigers of six unique species left in the world. At present, 56 Bengal tigers and can be found roaming Ranthambore National Park.
SHER BAGH RANTHAMBORE REVIEW
Who Visits: Families, honeymooners, industrialists and wildlife, safari and photography enthusiasts looking for an authentic luxury camping experience.
The Style: It’s a 1920s classic safari camp decorated with beautifully handcrafted campaign style furniture. The presence of the tiger is larger-than-life as you see it in the art, photos, books and furnishings throughout the camp. Every evening guests gather around a campfire (the soul of the camp) and exchange safari stories from earlier in the day.
The Service: The service is attentive, flawless and always with a smile. Our butler, Ram Avtar, went the extra mile every time.
Accommodation: There are only 12 air-conditioned and heated tents on the property. Each tent is grand, spacious and very safe. There are 10 identical luxury tents, The Luxury Pukka Sahib Suite and The Royal Burra Sahib Suite. I stayed in The Luxury Pukka Sahib Suite which comes with its own walled-in garden, a netted veranda to lounge in and view the birdlife around, a Jacuzzi and an open-air tree shower. Think plush white cotton canvas tents, exquisite Edwardian campaign style furniture in rosewood and teak and bespoke Halycon Days accessories with hints of the glorious tiger throughout the room. There are no TVs; if you feel the need to watch TV when you are in the wild for a few days, then maybe a safari is not your thing.
Children: Kids are welcome on the property and can stay in their parents’ bedroom for an extra charge. There is no babysitting service.
Room Amenities: You will find bottled water, slippers, robes, a Nikon Coolpix P600 camera (unique to The Luxury Pukka Sahib suite), a mini-library on wildlife and exquisite lotion, soaps, shampoos and shower gels custom-made for Sher Bagh by renowned soap maker Gulab Singh Jobrimal.
Savour: All meals are included in the rate. Lunches are Anglo-Indian meals made using fresh produce from the property’s organic farm while dinners are traditional and served in thaali’s (a selection of Indian dishes such as tandoori chicken tikka, slow-cooked lentils, the perfect naan and more served on a round metallic plate) under a star-lit sky. Private dinners can also be arranged.
Socialise: Head to The Library Bar post your meals and safaris for a great selection of champagne, international and local wines and spirits served in the finest crystal ware. There is Wi-Fi access here too.
Unwind: After a day of safaris, treat yourself to a massage or a reflexology treatment at the secluded Sher Bagh Jungle Spa, which lies under an ancient peepal (fig) tree. The pot-hole reviver is the treatment to try. You can also hang out by the pool, which overlooks the park. If you are lucky you may spot some wildlife
roaming around as you practice your backstroke.
What’s Unique: I loved that the camp plays no music during meals, has no gym and uses minimal electricity (unlike most other camps in the area) to make sure you connect with the sights and sounds of nature.
Love-Hate: This is minor by any standards, even for a luxury food and travel journalist, but if I had to pick on one thing, it was that there was no dessert wine available at the property. Trust me, I dug deep for this one.
The Damage: The Luxury Pukka Sahib tented suite we stayed at will set you back INR61,500/ USD923 per night for two people including all meals, WIFI, laundry, high tea and transfers from and to Sawai Madhopur railway station, helipad and airfield. The rate excludes taxes, safaris and excursions, alcohol, spa treatments and a Conservation Contribution of INR1,000/USD15 per person per night.
Dress Code: Casual-chic; it’s a classic safari camp at the end of the day. Carry your sunglasses and a hat for the safaris.
Safaris and Excursions: You can book safaris directly through the hotel. There are lots of safari tour operators, however, in my opinion, Sher Bagh’s vehicles are far superior. They have been specially kitted out for the smoothest ride. Be warned, a lot of safari tours and vehicles do not have shock absorbers and can make you feel quite sore the next day. Look out for my post on my safari experience soon. They can also organise a guided tour of Ranthambore Fort (A UNESCO World Heritage Site within the park), which is highly recommended. The best time to visit is at sunrise when it’s least crowded with people and monkeys. Other activities include birding and lake, tree life and plants exploring.
What’s Around: Sher Bagh’s organic farm, other lodges and the entrance to Ranthambore National Park, which is a short 10 minutes drive away.
When to Go: The ideal time to visit the park is throughout the year. April may be hot but it offers great tiger sightings while May can offer exceptional ones.
How to Get There: You will need to fly into Jaipur and then drive out about 3 hours to the town of Sawai Madhopur, which is where Ranthambore National Park is located. The best way is to get a car and a driver who will stay in Sawai Madhopur during your stay at the camp. I used Get Me Cab (www.getmecab.com) and it was a great experience. Alternatively, there are daily trains to Sawai Madhopur from Jaipur (2 hours), Delhi (4 hours) and Bharatpur (2.5 hours).
Voyageur Chic Insider Tip: Book your stay and safaris well in advance as slots do fill up quickly. The better zones to view a tiger are Zone 3 and 5 while 6 is good for sighting sloth bears. Having said that, animal sightings are unpredictable and have been known to occur in all zones. Also, carry along mosquito repellent. We were hardly bothered by bugs but it’s good to have just in case.
Good to Know:
–Useful Hindi phrases: Na-ma-ste (hello and goodbye), shu-khri-ya (thank you), haa (yes), nahi (no), aap kaise hain (how are you), yeh kit-ne ka hai (how much is this).
–Currency: INR (Indian Rupee). Check the conversion rate here.
–Visa requirements: Visit here for more information.
Pictures: Sher Bagh and Voyageur Chic.
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