A Regal Resort, Amidst Nature

By Swarnendu Biswas

While sauntering through the stone carved road of Ramada Resort Kumbhalgarh one can easily get the impression of being in a majestic fort, straight out of the Rajput era. One can get the feel of being transported to another time…

But beyond its huge regal gate, the resort also offers amenities and facilities which can easily satisfy the demands of the discerning travellers and tourists of the twenty-first century. Ramada Resort Kumbhalgarh is owned and operated by Kumbhalgarh YatriNiwas Pvt. Ltd.

A Romantic Gateway

Located in the vicinity of the mighty Kumbhalgarh Fort, and only two hour drive away f r o m the Udaipur airport, the Ramada Resort Kumbhalgarh comes across as a stunning luxury resort and romantic getaway nestled in the Aravalli hills, in Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan. It is spread across six acres.  

Here perennial nature, medieval heritage, modern facilities together manages to create a very post-modern reality of hospitality, for both the domestic and inbound travellers. 

“The resort is designed like a fort and every single stone in the resort has been handpicked and handcrafted to re-create the ageless beauty and opulence of the forts of Rajasthan,” informed Gaurav Shandilya, the Hotel Manager of the property. Here the scenic environment around and fresh air can refresh the city jaded souls.  

From the resort, besides the sombre hills gazing through eternity, one can also view the lake named Lakhela, which though was dry during my visit to the resort, according to Shandilya, gets totally filled up during the rains, thereby adding to the beauty of the surroundings.  

The Hotelier’s Vision

The 84-room hospitality property was launched in December 2016.  Jeetu Mehta, a first generation hotelier who is Mumbai-based, is the man behind the vision, whose fruition took place in the form of this fort styled resort. 

He was not only guided by the profit motive to come up with this project, but was also induced by the passion to fulfill his childhood dream to do something special for his native village and provide employment to the local people, and promote tourism in the Kumbhalgarh area. 

“Ramada Resort Kumbhalgarh is my tribute to my village. Ramada Resort Kumbhalgarh is the first and only luxury resort in Kumbhalgarh.  The resort is the perfect blend of traditional design and local flavor, complimented by international standards of service that Ramada brand name brings with it,” Jeetu Mehta pointed out. 

The resort is a fully a vegetarian resort. “Ramada Resort Kumbhalgarh’s purely vegetarian approach is driven by the philosophy of adopting a ‘compassionate and loving approach’ towards our flora and fauna,” articulated Mehta.  

“This environmentally-friendly philosophy is deeply ingrained amongst the people of Kumbhalgarh and we have carried forward this sentiment. The people of Kumbhalgarh are passionate about protecting wildlife and animals, and the American catfish pond, located in the vicinity of our resort, is an example of this. The villagers here don’t kill any catfish and protect them because of their belief in respecting lives,” he elaborated further. 

I also enjoyed a lot while feeding breadcrumbs to the crowd of American catfish in the pond, whose animated expressions in anticipation of the bread crumbs is worth observing.   

Room for More

The luxurious rooms of the hospitality property can be segmented into six categories; Standard, Superior, Premier, Pool Villas, the Regal Suites, and the super-exclusive Rani Mahal & Raja Mahal Suites.   

According to Shandilya, “There are 28 Standard rooms, spread across first and second floors, 26 Superior rooms, 13 Premier rooms, 11 Pool Villa rooms, four Regal Suites, and one each Raja Mahal and Rani Mahal Suites.”

Overall, the guest room facilities include Internet access/Wi-Fi, LCD television, in room digital safe, mini bar, room temperature control facility, hair dryer, tea/coffee making facility, among others. 

The Pool Villa rooms, on one of which this writer stayed during his visit to the resort, has a swimming pool attached to the classy room. Each Pool Villa room is spread across 905 sq.ft.

The Raja Mahal and Rani Mahal Suites embody unbridled opulence. Both are endowed with private pool and jacuzzi. The balcony in each of these ultra luxurious suites opens onto a private terrace with an exclusive outdoor jacuzzi, overlooking the wonderful Aravalli ranges. Both these suites are spread across 1074 sq. ft. each. 

“The resort has been attracting around 70 percent occupancy per year, on an average, and during our peak period, which spans October-February, the occupancy climbs up to 80 percent and above,” observed Keshar Singh Chauhan, the GM, Ramada Resort Kumbhalgarh, who has been associated with the project since June 2015, that is much before the project evolved into a grand property. “During April-September, the resort attracts an average occupancy of 60 percent,” informed Chauhan. 

MICE and Wedding Haven

“Besides rooms, MICE & weddings are other important verticals of our revenues,” affirmed Chauhan. The resort attracts lots of lavish weddings per year. Family crowd is the main clientele of this luxury resort. Though Chauhan didn’t divulge the financial details as he said it would go against their “internal policy,” but he asserted that “since its inception, the resort has been doing very well, both in terms of reputation and revenues.” 

The hospitality property has exhaustive conferencing and banqueting facilities, which can appeal to the MICE and wedding segment. “Our Darbar Hall, which is spread across 6000 sq.ft, doesn’t have a single pillar to ‘interrupt’ the open event space,” observed Khubendra Singh, the Front Office Manager of Ramada Resort Kumbhalgarh.  This stylish venue can come across as an ideal choice for a wide gamut of gatherings, ranging f r o m weddings and product launches to cocktail parties and business meetings. Darbar Hall can accommodate 625 persons in theatre style and 200-225 persons in classroom style.

“Our other indoor conference venues like Darikhana & Choupal are spread across 2000 sq.ft area with the ceiling height of 14 feet along with the pre-function area, where buffet can be laid,” informed Shandilya.

With over 4000 sq. ft. of event space, Darikhana at Ramada Resort Kumbhalgarh gives you a pre-function area of 2000 sq. ft. and a main event space of 2000 sq.ft. 

Choupal too has a pre-function area of 2000 sq. ft. and a main event space of 2000 sq.ft. Both Darikhana and Choupal can accommodate up to 220 guests in theatre style.  

“Be it a wedding reception or a corporate product launch, the pre-function area of Darikhana and Choupal are ideal for welcoming guests or for displaying corporate or vendor exhibits. Wide and spacious, just outside the main event area and easily configurable, they could be the perfect areas for cocktail hours or event registrations too,” elaborated Singh. 

“The Ramada Resort Kumbhalgarh has arguably the largest banqueting venue in Kumbhalgarh at its lush green, spectacularly manicured and landscaped garden spread across approximately 44,000 sq. ft. area. Named Baradari, this lawn is perfect for weddings, corporate events and conferences,” Singh stated further.  Baradari can be an apt venue for guests thinking of hosting an opulent wedding or any other outdoor celebrations. It can accommodate 2000 guests at a time. 

“Overall, the resort is well-equipped to handle thematic gala dinners, corporate award ceremonies, team building activities, conferences & seminars, management training, corporate parties & celebrations, HR events, entertainment events, press conferences & press meets among others,” offered Shandilya.

“In conferences we do organise LCD projector, mike, audio-visuals, etc. on chargeable basis upon guest/s’ request. Musical evenings with DJ can also be provided on chargeable basis,” he added further.

Veggie Delights at Pangat

Pangat, the 96-cover multi-cuisine restaurant of the property, which, if one ignores the sleek and huge glass windows, may apparently seem like a medieval fort.  Pangat is a wonderful choice for any time of the day. Breakfast offers a choice of international and regional favourites. For lunch and dinner one can enjoy either an à la carte menu or a fabulous buffet.

From Pangat, one can enjoy the scenic surroundings while having one’s breakfast, lunch or evening snacks. Despite being a lover of non-vegetarian Mughlai delicacies, I enjoyed the vegetarian offerings at Pangat. 

“We serve Indian, continental, oriental, and Mexican cuisines. We serve a wide variety of vegetarian dishes to excite and pamper the taste buds of our guests. The most popular dishes at Pangat are traditional delicacies f r o m Rajasthan. Some of them are Gatta Curry with Laccha Parantha, Ker Sangri with Dhaba Roti, Dal Baati Churma, Kadhi Pakora with Khichidi, Rabori Kandha with Makka Roti, Badi ka Saag with Tandoori Roti,” averred Narendra S.Thalal, the Sr.Sous Chef of the resort. However, traditional north Indian dishes like Malai Kofta and Dal Makhni also tasted delicious at Pangat, when we dined there

Among the desserts, Rabri, Mango Kulfi, Baadshai Falooda, Mohan Thaal are some of the delicious options to savour at Pangat. 

The Chef informed that he had introduced Makke ka Soweta in the menu during his tenure. “This is a traditional Marwari dish and is very popular in Rajasthan, which is served with makka roti. The guests like the preparation as it is mildly spicy and good for digestion,” he articulated.  Eggplant Provencale, an Italian dish, was also introduced by the Chef in the menu of Pangat. 

According to Narendra S.Thalal, the resort has been getting a section of walk-in guests at Pangat not despite it being a vegetarian restaurant, but because it is a vegetarian restaurant.

Other F&B Options 

Mewadi Thal offers traditional Rajasthani delicacies to the guest rooms,. Aakhali is the 50-cover coffee shop where one can enjoy filling sandwiches, mouth-watering pastries, cakes, pies, croissants and other bakery and confectionery products, with rejuvenating cups of coffee.  And if you are interested to unwind or feel the need to go heady after an excursion to Kumbhalgarh Fort or to the nearby Udaipur, just head for Jalsa – The Bar.

Jalsa is well-stocked with spirits. From rare spirits to vintage Champagnes, along with an exhaustive list of cocktails, Jalsa can satiate varied tastes for alcoholic beverages. 

Relaxing with Wellness

For relaxation and rejuvenation, the resident guests at the resort can head for the swimming pool with clear blue waters, affording wonderful view of the valley, and also at the Akasa Spa, where you can get Indian, oriental as well as western spa treatments. “Our spa sessions offer relaxation & rejuvenation to create a balance between the body and  mind,” conveyed Singh.

The resort’s expanse of greenery also can be used for a number of outdoor sports like cricket, volleyball, badminton, football, etc. The indoor sports options at the property include air hockey, carrom and chess. 

Green Measures

Keeping in line with its corporate philosophy, Ramada Resort Kumbhalgarh has an impressive array of environmental-friendly options. “Use of LED lights and CFL, solar panel, STP plant where water is recycled and then used in the garden of the resort, battery operated golf cart, are some of our green measures,” disclosed Chauhan.

“In addition, we have linen re-use programme for the guests staying with us for more than one night in place where tent cards are placed in all guest rooms asking them to let us know if they want us to change the bed or bath linen once their room is being serviced.  We are getting good support f r o m our guests regarding this. Use of eco-friendly cleaning materials, and energy efficient appliances in kitchens are other environmentally-friendly measures adapted at the resort. We also promote organic food in our restaurant & staff cafeteria. We purchase the vegetables f r o m the local vendors,” elaborated Chauhan.

The sustainable character of the resort is also reflected by the fact that mostly local craftsmen were being employed for the construction of the property. 

Sights and Sounds

The earlier mentioned catfish pond, along with Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, and of course the mighty Kumbhalgarh Fort, whose lengthy 36 km walls are the second longest in our blue planet; next only to the Great Wall of China, are some of the wonderful sights and sounds around the resort. It is always intelligent to visit the nearby Udaipur too, f r o m the resort.

Among the several tourist attractions of the City of Lakes, a boat ride on the Lake Pichola where one can get to marvel the ethereal Taj Lake Palace in the midst of blue waters, is a memorable experience that shouldn’t be missed even if you are short of time in Udaipur. Another must visit spot in Udaipur is the City Palace, whose museum showcases some enriching facets of Rajput art and culture.

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