I get sent information about a lot of new hotels. I’m going to try and post more of them from now on. Even if you and I never get to visit them, they’re nice to look at on the top deck of the bus on a Monday morning in October!

Bikaner is a city in Rajasthan, east of the border with Pakistan and surrounded by the Thar Desert. It was once a great staging post on the great caravan routes that criss-crossed the region. In terms of tourism it’s number one attraction is the Junagarh Fort, built between 1588 and 1593.

This is the newly-opened Narendra Bhawan in Bikaner. Formerly owned by the last Maharaja of Bikaner (HH Narendra Singhji, 1948 – 2003), the hotel’s interiors play on his journey through life, and are full of carefully-sourced antiques and artefacts from around the world. 

Narendra Bhawan - Bikaner (27)

Facade

Corridor 2 NEW

Diwali Chowk NEW

Narendra Bhawan - Bikaner (19) Entrance

The craftsmanship is superb and Art Deco furniture contrasts brilliantly with Rajput and European.  Built of soft pink sandstone, the tall building surrounds a pretty inner courtyard, overlooked by airy corridors, and has a lovely rooftop pool.

There are 82 bedrooms: some are contemporary, others more traditional and some more avant garde. The interiors of each reflect the different categories and phases of the Maharaja’s life.  They vary from bright and minimalist to more ‘arty’ or more traditional.

Narendra Bhawan - Bikaner (69)

Prince Room

Infinity Pool

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 13.10.35

You can find more information at the website of India travel specialist Mahout. (The details and photos here has been provided by Mary-Anne Denison-Pender, the MD of that company, who is encyclopaedic in her knowledge of Indian hotels.)

The price for a “Prince Room” is from £190 per room per night (for two people) including breakfast.

This is an article I wrote that appeared in last weekend’s Financial Times, on driving from Delhi to the Spiti Valley, bordering Tibet

(Click below to enlarge)

Spiti Valley JPEG

 

SLOW DOWN

Getting somewhere first, before anyone else, has very little real and lasting meaning.
Seek instead to encourage others to come along, and you’ll find the journey much more fulfilling.
When you hurry through each moment, you miss out on the richness that could be yours. Take the time to live, to experience where you are, rather than being so obsessed with getting to the next checkpoint.
When you stop demanding to have it all now, you’ll discover that you have plenty already.
Learn to experience joy where you are, and you’ll experience it in abundance.
Yes, it can be wonderfully exhilarating when life moves quickly.
But do not move so quickly that speed becomes your only experience, for there is so much more to enjoy.
The terrain of life is filled with wonderful and astounding detail.
Slow down and take in all its richness.

Spare some time for your friends.

(The above was given to me on a card at my hotel in Kalpa, India, last month)