Padmini Haveli in Chittorgarh is complete perfection!
I think it can be agreed that a good review must contain some constructive criticism of a place, so I will begin by confessing that I could only find one fault with this pretty, little arty hotel; I was highly disappointed to discover that the chain of the bicycle I borrowed from them came off three times. I jest not! This is the only complaint I can muster about Padmini Haveli Guest Home. (I would like to add that this was actually a mountain bike with multiple gears, fitting for the slightly hilly surroundings and was thus in fact a treat!)
To understand the incomparable location, one needs to understand that Chittorgarh is a thirteen kilometre squared forted city, unlike say Mehrangarh in Jodhpur, and thus has a resident population of approximately four thousand. Most of these residents have collected into a small village at the north end of the fort and it is in the midst of these colourfully painted concrete homes and Shiva temples that the newly renovated Haveli sits.
It is run by a native family and a French couple and this dynamic pairing truly combines the best of both worlds as far as hospitality is concerned. The sheets are pristinely white with quilts from Jaipuri brand Anokhi, the bathrooms spotless, the furniture both appropriate and beautiful and the walls of every room sport stunning photographs of Chittorgarh taken by Anne Marie (of the husband and wife duo). They have cleverly and classily incorporated bottle green Hermes sculptures using the ‘H’ to represent Haveli and installed a cosy library with an abundance of coffee table photo books and WiFi. All rooms are complete with air conditioning units, heaters and hot water.
The typically large Indian family whose home the Haveli originally was, still live here. Parvati, the most engaging of the staff has impeccable English and is extremely attentive to her guests. The wives and aunties cook simple but delicious food, and will go easy on the masala if asked, and their children are adorable and polite. The coffee is real, the drinks complimentary and all food totally vegetarian.
The rooftop, which is a new addition to the building, is quite heavenly, and is the tallest for kilometres around. I dined in the mornings with the Devas, overlooking expansive plains, Chittor town below and a plethora of palaces, which when I stretched my imagination I could pretend were all mine!
Padmini Haveli is somewhere that I am itching to return to; my experience of this homely and charming hotel was nothing short of magnificent.
All photos are credited to the Padmini Haveli website: www.thepadminihaveli.com