Last month, on our trip around Rajasthan, India, we stayed at many different hotels, but Bhanwar Niwas was certainly our favorite. The room was lavish, the food was excellent and the service was outstanding.
Bhanwar Niwas, a heritage hotel in Bikaner, was originally commissioned by the late Seth Bhanwarlalji Rampuria in 1927. The architecture of the haveli and its interiors is a fascinating blend of Indian and European styles.
We arrived at the haveli in the early morning of March 16th, after a long (and hilariously bumpy) night train from Jaipur to Bikaner. As our reserved room (bedroom 2 on the website) was not yet ready, the very kind man at the reception gave us room 32 for a few hours while we waited until our room was ready. We thought this was a very nice gesture. The bedroom was small, but lavishly decorated with fine dark wood furniture.
All 26 rooms of the haveli are layed out in two levels around an enclosed courtyard, which itself is roofed by a large net to keep out birds. Still, small house sparrows manage to crawl through the netting and fly around the large open space. We looked around the courtyard and lounges and then had a lovely breakfast of toast, tea and juice on the balcony outside the dining hall.
At around 10:30 our room was ready and we checked in. Our room, number 4 (not number 2 as on the website), was on the ground floor, and it took our breath away. The bedroom had hand-painted walls and ceiling, there were eight ornately decorated red and yellow round lamps hanging on the ceiling, and there were lovely little statues and paintings around the room.
When you enter room 4, you first enter a long hallway, with the entrance to the bedroom on the left. At the end of the hallway are steps up into the bathroom, with the tub (and shower), toilet and sink in three seperate spaces.
The service at the reception and from the tuxedo-wearing waiters at the dining hall was exceptionally good; we felt like we were treated as royals. We had breakfast three times, and dinner twice. Most times we sat at one of the two tables on the balcony, over-looking the courtyard, and just once we sat inside the dining hall. Both dinners were very delicious, with many different Indian items and also some more western casseroles. During dinner time there were two musicians playing in the courtyard, which gave an extra nice touch.
Bhanwar Niwas was the most expensive accomodation on our 18-day tour of India, but it was well worth the money. On our second day in Bikaner we visited the Lallgarh Palace, which is a huge and extremely fancy palace built by Maharaja Ganga Singh, and now run as a hotel. Our guide there told us that the hotel rooms themselves, however, are quite plain. In fact, he knew of guests who cancelled their booking at the palace after having a tour of our haveli, in order to have a more lavish room there!
We recommend you stay at Bhanwar Niwas when staying at Bikaner, and we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.
Two thumbs up!