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Sara Vilas Mandawa: An idyllic getaway in Shekhawati

Mandawa in Rajasthan is popular world over for its grandiose forts and havelis. Perched in the heart of Mandawa, Sara Vilas is a spectacular resort designed to recreate the regal ambience of a bygone era. Anish V Punnackattu stays at the magnificent resort and recounts his experience

Monday, April 21, 2014, 10:00 Hrs  [IST]

sara_vilas_mandawa_1.jpgIt was a lazy Saturday afternoon and the Delhi – Jaipur Highway was comparatively lighter in terms of traffic. We were headed to the heart of Shekhawati Region of Rajasthan – Mandawa by car. My destination was Sara Vilas, Mandawa, a landmark heritage resort popular among all commoners because of its glorious history.

Launched in 2007, the resort is spread over ten acres of land, is 250 km away from Delhi and 150 km from Jaipur. The nearest airport to the resort is Jaipur while the nearest railway station is Mukund Garh. After crossing a breathtaking trail of wheat and mustard fields, I reached Sara Vilas, Mandawa. I was instantly lured by the incredible traditional and majestic ambience of the resort. The architectural design of Sara Vilas represents several aspects of Rajasthan. The decor adorns elephant statues, gigantic wooden doors, handmade paintings, brass pots, drums and many of interesting artefacts of our bygone era  including an 1862 model BSA motorcycle.

sara_vilas_mandawa_2.jpgThe entire concept of Sara Vilas was conceived and built by Khatri Hotels, a division of Khatri Group. Set amidst idyllic landscaped gardens, decorative fountains and pavilions, Sara Vilas seemed like a perfect getaway for me to relax and rejuvenate which otherwise is a far cry for me, the one who runs against deadlines throughout the year.

In my interaction, Mrinal Khatri, Managing Director, Khatri Hotels revealed, “We have started construction for Sara Vilas, Mandawa in 2005 and launched it in 2007. Our main idea was to build a heritage resort based on Rajasthani and Mughal theme.”

“We have been witnessing very progressive years since the launch. Last year, we saw a decline in foreign tourists. In normal course, 85 per cent of our guests are from Europe and remaining are from far-east and domestic guests. We normally achieve 90 per cent occupancy on an average in a year,” said Madan Rawat, Resident Manager, Sara Vilas, Mandawa.

sara_vilas_mandawa_3.jpgThe resort features 62 Villas and three Suites with uninterrupted and spectacular views with large terraces. The lively and highly functional guest rooms feature large bathrooms, walk in closets, television, direct 24 hours room service, dial telephone, mini bar, writing desk and in-room safety lockers just to mention a few. Every detail has been carefully considered for the guests privacy, while the tastefully appointed rooms bring guests unstinted luxury in an elegant, yet informal environment.

The hotel has a poolside, open air Indian restaurant that serves traditional Indian recipes and an indoor restaurant for gala dinners called Pakwan. I really enjoyed eating Dal Sara, a speciality vegetarian platter, and chicken tikkis et al.

The resort also offers bar lounge, an Olympic standard swimming pool, traditional Ayurvedic massages, library offering books on Rajasthan and various options for indoor games such as table tennis and billiards.

sara_vilas_mandawa_4.jpg“The Khatri Group is now in the process to add 25 royal suites, which will be built entirely based on European design, a gym, a swimming pool bar lounge  to the resort, which will be ready by 2016,” mentioned Khatri.

The majestic architecture, beautifully sculpted gardens and scenic beauty of Sara Vilas has also made it a popular venue for exclusive weddings, especially Rajasthani Royal weddings. Recognising this demand, the resort offers end-to-end services for wedding planners. The venue is also quite popular with meetings and incentives clients. The outdoor meeting space can accommodate up to 1,500 pax whereas the indoor meeting space can accommodate up to 250 pax.

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