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Castle Mandawa: "Proceed with low expectations" Mandawa Hotel Tip by Chrischopp

Mandawa Hotels: 10 reviews and 36 photos

  Courtyard view from room
by Chrischopp
  • Courtyard view from room - Mandawa
      Courtyard view from room
    by Chrischopp
  • Entrance from parking/receiving area - Mandawa
      Entrance from parking/receiving area
    by Chrischopp

A popular stop over point for tourists on their way to Bikaner and Jaisalmer, Mandawa and the Shekhawati Region of Rajasthan are home to several fascinating well-preserved painted havelis, forts and temples. The elegantly restored fort-palace Castle Mandawa sits smack in the middle of this small, dusty village roughly halfway between Delhi and Bikaner, India.
On approach, you’re a bit shocked to find the hotel sitting so close to the main road. Traffic here is fast, loud and constant. Up a small hill from the road, past the large main fort gate you come into a small gravel courtyard receiving area. First impressions have you wondering what you may be in for until you see the beautifully painted entrance restored like many of the havelis in town. Friendly, helpful staff dressed in familiar “traditional” Rajasthani attire are quick to assist. Check in is smooth and efficient.
The layout is a hodgepodge of hallways, rooms and walkways. Be sure to mind your head as some of the doorways are quite low. Finding our way to the room from the front entrance took a little practice which adds to the experience.
Inside the room there was plenty of space for two of us to spread out. This extra space applied to the bathroom as well. The shower was oddly placed toward the end of a narrow room,but hey, we had a shower with hot water. The toilet did make horrible noises throughout the night adding to the charm. The matching double beds complete with canopies were comfortable yet squeaky when tossing.
Our room was on the top level providing great views of the countryside as well as the grounds of the castle. With few options in this town for neat & clean food, we opted for the buffet dinner served in the outdoor courtyard. Open sided tents line the grassy area, low shrubs hug the pathways to the buffet line or back to the rooms. Inside the tents are large glass tables with comfortable wicker chairs. Bright exterior lights bouncing off the castle walls lit up the dining area with strung lights inside the tents adding to the already relaxing atmosphere.
I had high hopes for the food based on the other accommodations but that is where this hotel fell short. My travel partner and I sampled several dishes, all of which were bland. With the hotel catering to so many foreign tourists I understood their need to keep things rather simple, but there were no other choices for those that wanted spicy Indian. Several Non-Indian dishes were options as well but I chose to skip those based on the previous choices. I may have been a bit picky; looking over at other tables the guests were not only enjoying their portions but going back for more. After the disappointment of the buffet, I ate packed cereal bars in the room.
For entertainment we were told we “may” get to see a rather famous fire torch artist perform. Sure enough, he arrived and performed, probably like clockwork every night. The display was nothing more than an older gentleman wielding two lit torches doing an odd walk/dance to music back and forth through the main pathway. The other tourists loved the performance but given my food experience, I was rather numb to the whole idea by then.
Breakfast was served upstairs in a central dining area. We woke early that morning to walk Mandawa before the locals rose. Upon returning we found our food choice was a bland buffet of mixed continental dishes. I enjoyed the coffee, picked at my plate and settled for more cereal bars once we left the hotel.
Guide books have been writing more on Castle Mandawa as the Shekhawati Region of the state of Rajasthan continues to grow in popularity. Given the location in the area, it’s a wise choice to bunk for the night and day trip to the other haveli tourist attractions. Food service my have improved since my 2005 stay. Barring uncertain food, the blaring temple music that starts at the crack of dawn may be hard for some to overcome.

Address: Jhunjhunu district
Price Comparison: more expensive than average
Directions: Right off the main road
Phone: 159/222-3124; 159/222-23480 to 8
Price: US$80-120
Theme: Hotel

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 22, 2009
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