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
We were actually booked to stay at a different hotel in Ranthambore but checked out after being there for 2 hours as we were so disappointed.
The Oberoi were quick to sort out a very last minute reservation and came promptly to pick us up. This is an expensive resort but you get what you pay for and it far exceeds its 5 star rating.
The grounds are absolutely immaculate. We enjoyed a walk around them and saw the organic plot where they grow their own herbs and vegetables for the restaurant. There are so many staff always on hand with a smile and a greeting to help with absolutely anything you may need. Our tented accommodation was stunning, I could have lived there. The rooms cleaned and refreshed regularly throughout the day, fruit, chocolates and newspaper delivered regularly.
The food was to die for and the chef would accommodate any specific requirements. We had the best safari experience which was expensive but again you get what you pay for and we were lucky enough to spot a couple of tigers.
We stayed for 3 nights in what I think was the best hotel we have stayed in. When we checked out early this morning a member of staff accompanied us to the railway station ensuring we were safely on board and our reserved seats were as they should be.
Absolutely first class hotel and a wonderful experience.
Ranthambore as a place is very close to my heart. I remember visiting it as a child while on a school trip and spotting 2-3 tigers. So, when I was traveling to Jaipur last year we made an impromptu plan of visiting Ranthambore and the team of at Oberoi’s were so kind to arrange us a game drive for the next day and we finalised Vanyavilas strictly based on the fact that we promised a game drive.
Upon reaching the property we were more than surprised with the most amazing welcome and warmth of team Vanyavilas. The rooms are impeccable, the food is devine and the whole vibe of the resort is another level positive. Since, we were just there for a night we never had the opportunity to enjoy the resort to the best and hence planned another trip a bit longer just to make sure we were able to enjoy, which is possibly the best property in all of India if I may say so!
And this time round- It was even better. One of us had our luggage stuck on The Delhi airport which never made it to Jaipur and the very kind - Abhinav helped us through the entire process making sure we did not distracted from enjoying our holiday. Ranta and her team are running the most wonderfully positive resort which I want to run to at every chance I have to a holiday.
PS on the our second visit we even got to see a tiger!
The property is beautiful and so green. We had peacocks outside our room garden, squirrels and birds who enjoyed breakfast with us. (Which honestly is such a cool thing to have experienced)
The chef even made me a special “none spicy” Laal Maas which honestly was to die for. And if you are going there please do try the chocolate fondant with the banana caramel ice cream. (Its delish)
All in all, its a wonderful little heaven I see myself re-visiting for a very long time.
Wow. What an amazing hotel.
The Oberoi chain of accomodation is unbelievably good.
Service, as usual, is impeccable. Food is incredible.
Bedrooms, bathrooms, grounds are all of the highest standard imaginable.
Had a fantastic 2 night stay here with our group from Gippsland Travel.