This Nine-Suite Desert Fortress in India’s Rajasthan Makes Every Guest Feel Like Royalty

Down a dirt road where local herders tend to their sheep, goats, and cows, Mihir Garh emerges from nowhere, an unprepossessing oasis within Rajasthan’s Thar Desert. The five-star hotel resembles a fortress, with much of its architecture derived from nearby villages: rounded edges, open fireplaces and alcoves, plus an exterior doused in beige redolent of the surrounding windswept sand-scape. Overgrown bougainvillea adores different parts of the exterior.

Part of Relais & Chateaux, the stay feels secret with just nine suites (yes, every room is a suite here—and we love that). Inspired by the resplendent fortresses of India’s Maharaja era, you’ll feel like royalty here. And it goes beyond the impeccable service: a private jacuzzi or plunge pool accompanies each suite, then top-line bespoke furnishings such as handwoven kilims, embroidered cushions, plus homespun rugs coexist with horse-shaped lamps and warm color schemes. You might even see one of the area’s enchanting peacocks outside on your terrace. 

Outside, an infinity pool vanishes into an as-far-as-the-eye-can-see desert, with cushioned couches and lounge chairs surrounding it. Right beside it is the hotel’s delicious restaurant, a euphoric affair of traditional dishes (try raan: spice-crusted roast lamb). Illuminated lamps set the mood come nighttime, rubbing shoulders with floral arrangements and tables grounded via high-backed rattan chairs. Look up at the constellation-clad sky during dinner, where no star sequence is compromised due to the dearth of light pollution. 

If sun-dappled sandy landscapes are the face of the Thar Desert, its villages and the people living there are its veins, arteries, and heart. The hotel’s immersive programming ranges from horseback riding to a signature Village Safari, which brings guests to local villages where they’ll play witness to denizens’ folkloric craft, clay buildings, and to many peoople’s surprise, their completely legal opium trade. 

You’ll also love the spa, where muscle-soothing massages are on the menu. If you ask us, it’s the perfect place for pampering after a day of activities. 

Top Takeaways

Location: Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India (between Jodhpur and Pali)

Rating: Five-star

The vibe: A Maharaja-inspired fortress where you’ll feel like royalty 

Our favorite thing about the hotel?: Suites’ pleasant terraces and the desert-spying private plunge pools that accompany them.

Food + Drink: There’s a traditional restaurant with both hyper-regional and Indian cuisines on the menu, helmed by Chef Bahadur. The poolside terrace is where you can sip Indian wines and Kingfisher beer as day becomes night, among other imbibing delights. Oh, and you’ll love how room service—full of both Indian and western noshes—is available 24 hours a day. 

Amenities: Riding stable, library, gardens, WI-FI, Mountain Valley toiletries, minibar, flatscreen TVs, and library

Any neighborhood recs? You undoubtedly should sign up for the Village Safari as it will give you a full-fledged look into what quotidian life is like for those living in the surrounding areas (their legal opium trade is fascinating). The hotel can arrange everything, all you need is a couple of hours.

Pricing: $402

Rooms: 9 suites 

Closest Airport: Jodhpur Airport 

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