The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore
What We Love
- Jetsetter 2015 Best of the Best Finalist: Best for Communing with Nature
- Proximity to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
- Luxe tents so spacious they feel like mini villas
- Staff will spoil you with sorbet, fresh juice and fruit around the pool
- Only 25 tents, so the resort never feels crowded
- These aren’t typical tents: four-poster beds, hardwood floors, TVs and more
What To Know
- Reserve your jungle drive well in advance; visitor numbers are restricted
- The restaurant serves a mix of Indian and Western fare
- Due to monsoons, the resort is closed from July to September each year
- Tiger sightings are not guaranteed; the best months are May and June
- The nearest city is Jaipur, more than three hours away
- WiFi costs about $20 a day
- Parking On Site
On the edge of Ranthambore National Park and Tiger Reserve, the Oberoi Vanyavilas is an upscale escape in wild Rajasthan. Although the accommodations are called tents, there is no such thing as roughing it here; each of the 25 spacious units features hardwood floors, a four-poster bed and air conditioning. Amenities aside, the real draw is the proximity to the magnificent Indian tigers — an increasingly rare treat.
Bed and Bath
“Tent” is a bit of a misnomer: The accommodations are pure luxury, with four-poster beds, clawfoot tubs and hardwood floors — even the canopy is embroidered with tiny tigers. Lounge in your private garden or on your sundeck with a drink from the minibar in hand. After a few hours here, it’s easy to see why the Vanyavilas was named the best hotel in the world by Travel & Leisure in 2010.
An even bigger draw than the unique accommodations are the elusive tigers living in the reserve. Resort guests can sign up for a safari that offers the chance to see these magnificent animals up close. Ranthambore is a particularly good viewing point because of its low rainfall: The grass is slow to grow, leaving open patches where animals congregate. If you don’t see any stripes, the park is also teeming with monkeys, birds, sambar deer and ancient banyan trees. And after days spent bouncing around in a Jeep (or riding one of the resort’s two resident elephants), relax with an indulgent treatment at the spa or a swim in the palatial pool. A stroll through the grounds of the resort before dinner is also highly recommended, as you can find peacocks strutting among the manicured lawns.
In the Area
For an extra charge, the resort arranges shared jungle rides in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve daily. But be warned: Visitor access is restricted to a few people per day, so it’s best to call the resort in advance of your stay and reserve a time. About seven miles from the resort sits the ancient Ranthambore Fort. Hike up the stone steps for a great view of the area. The Jogi Mahal, a forest home once owned by the maharajas of Jaipur, is worth a visit. One of India’s largest banyan trees stands on the property.
How to Get There
During our stay in India we have stayed in many Hotels that are 10/10 but this one cannot be compared in that way it is clearly better than 10/10. As an experience it is a must the whole is far greater than the sum of the parts. The attention to detail is exceptional and personal. They know your schedule and have prepared everything before you ask. The service is totally genuine and discreet from everyone. Their priority is your happy memories and they go out of their way to deliver just that. It’s magical and will make your holiday a forever experience!
This hotel is stunning. The tents (although only the roof is canvas) are beautiful, large, comfortable rooms, but with the sound of the jungle as a bonus. The staff are exceptional, so friendly and professional, they are beyond any service level I have seen anywhere. The food was excellent. The jungle drives were stunning seeing tigers in the wild. The grounds are a haven for birds of all sorts as well as being beautiful and perfectly maintained. Just stunning in every way. I would recommend everyone to come to this area to see the tigers, and if you can you should stay here.
All hotels, even those in corporate chains, have claim to individuality, usually for the wrong reasons. Vanyavilas is undoubtedly a “hotel” of the first rank and at times IMO is at the leading edge for Oberoi’s character in terms of guest reception, experience and support. Vanyavilas has the specific purpose of serving/supporting safaris in Ranthambore Tiger reserve and as such, one might say there are no other comparators, however despite its unique place and differentiated accommodation in luxurious and magnificently appointed “tents”, Vanyavilas still scores no.1 for its outstanding (certainly 1st class) service. Tents stand in their own hedged / walled garden areas with space in direct sun or shade for recuperation post-safari. A central indoor and courtyard adjacent to the main reception and bar room, provides the basis for the restaurant. Food quality is very good (catering for all tastes) and for once an establishment that understands that smaller portions is no insult to the quality of its food. This is my second visit to Vanyavilas and even after four years, the facilities and service appears even better than my memory relates. No problem is too large or small for quick resolution. It is invidious to mention specific individuals given the exemplary service of all staff, but Ratna (general manager), Saitel (house front manager), Satchin & Zeeshan (naturalists) and Abhishek (food service) all went beyond their duty in service and courtesy. It is these types of behaviours that make me want to return – as well as seeing Laxmi the wonderful greeter of all visitors: now there is the “lady” who controls all in this hotel! A final warning note – early morning safaris can be very cold, so ensure as a visitor you have multiple layers, a woolly hat to cover the ears and gloves. A great change since my last visit, is that some jeep drivers provide a hot water-bottle for the lap, as well as the ubiquitous blanket. And yes, I did see tigers this time – see associated image.
Ratna the lady in the picture leads the magnificent team at Vanyavilas . If I start naming I may skip some but each and everyone of them are superb !! The three chefs Arindam adit and kunal are experts in their own fields and the set up for the meals at various venues the amphitheatre the observation tower and the mango orchard are true with nature ! The jungle rides with goldie and battilal were super luxury and they know so much about the animals !! The massage therapists all four are too good but I have to name Sonam who is my favourite she just transcends you to peace !! I would fail if I don’t mention lakshmi their elephant who welcomes you and Saikat who is the man who makes everything happen and Himanshu who is ever smiling making sure the food is yummm .their three naturalists are very knowledgable zeeshan Atarsh and sachin I think pardon me if I haven’t got these right .
The jungle of Ranthambhore is full of birds animals and water for now .we saw Krishna with her three full grown cubs then Jai and Veeru very close up then we saw arrow head and her most adorable two cubs three months old !!
The padam Mallik and raj Bagh have their own beauty
We saw a kingfisher with a huge fish in her beak trying to break it on a branch
An eagle with a snake in her beak !
Oh I can go on and on
And we missed seeing a bear and two tigers standoff ! And arrow head with her cubs on the road !!
Well well they say as you enter the jungle it’s all about chance !! But at vanya vilas oberoi they definitely make it happen they are amazing !!
Very good location Luxurious tents with great bathrooms out of imagination.Huge green well maintained lawns.Only 25 tents.Bar is good only one restaurant multicuisine but limited options.Exclusive experience one can dream for