Fort Chanwa Luni, Jodhpur: Culture and antiquity in regal Rajasthan
A CASTLE-LIKE grand fortress carved out of red sandstone, Fort Chanwa Luni is more a romantic escapade than a heritage hotel.
What makes it special?
Its magnificent exterior and ornate architecture is the prime draw of this hotel, situated in the village of Luni, 35km away from Jodhpur city. The structure hasn’t seen a drastic renovation, but has been painstakingly restored to prevent losing any semblance of its past. It has all the usual suspects; imposing pillars, courtyard towers, lattice work friezes and traditional jharokas (intricately-carved overhanging balconies) intricately carved out of red sandstone. But it is the centuries-old, maze-like water purifier system made of stone that is a must-see part of this hotel.
It’s a treat to walk around exploring the property, but certain areas, such as roof-tops are poorly maintained, so you may want to rethink that candle-lit dinner you hope to plan up there. The rooms resonate with hints from the past through their antique curios, glass lamps and ethnic furnishings, paired with four-poster beds and plush balconies. Popular as a set for films and television shows, the hotel is also a great location for a destination wedding. The staff is prepared to materialize a full-fledged themed wedding with all the required fanfare and trimmings.
What to expect?
You can expect a full-blown cultural experience of all things Rajasthan. The hotel strongly focuses on maintaining the traditions and culture of the region by introducing guests to folk music and dances, as well as the tribal community that contributes to the local handicrafts and weaves. The castle-like property also makes for a great romantic getaway; and indulgent candle-lit dinners can easily be arranged. Whereas guests have known to really enjoy horse riding here, the massages are not highly recommended owing to inexperienced masseurs. The restaurant provides delicious food and the bar is stocked to match international tastes, but the buffet is slightly overpriced as opposed to the a-la-carte menu.
What is there to do?
The hotel houses a large swimming pool, health club, massage parlor, stables, and a gift store where you can purchase souvenirs. They also offer village safaris—taken aboard jeeps or camels—where tourists can opt to dress like the locals during a visit to their homes. During the safari, one can also avail of wildlife sightings of the elusive black buck, and antelopes and peacocks. Or head out for a lavish outdoor picnic lunch with a mini bar setup.
What’s the damage?
With room rates at about Rs. 6,500-7,500 for a double room, Fort Chanwa Luni definitely has value for money. The 60 rooms available here have WiFi, air-conditioners, attached bathrooms, telephone and fax facilities, cable TV, and a tea/coffee maker