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The desert state; The Golden City: rising up out of the Thar’s arid sands like a mirage in the distance. There is something magical about Jaisalmer. A former stop-off along a well-traversed trade route west it has witnessed a cast of colourful characters, worthy of the ‘1001 Nights’ tales. Our pick of the best places to stay in Jaisalmer all reflect the living history and exoticism of this unique city.
To pass through its ancient ramparts is to enter a world of winding alleyways littered with people, animals, cycle rickshaws and street hawkers. Look skywards and you will see intricately carved spires and turrets pointing toward the firmaments. With its Labyrinthine Fort, consisting of ninety-nine bastions surrounding its still inhabited twisting lanes it is a conglomerate of temples, havelis, shops and dhabas.
This is camel country. Camel trains can be seen toing and froing from the city; heading out for an overnight stay in the desert. Something of a tourist trap, but they do provide a truly immersive stay. Ask your hotel to recommend or book you a trip with a reputable camel safari company to avoid disappointment. Sleep by the fire under a blanket of stars.
Synonymous with the town of Jaisalmer, is its fort. It is a living monument with 3000 inhabitants still residing within its walls. Founded in 1156 this ancient structure is today a World Heritage Site and a visit to Jaisalmer is impossible without exploring this masterpiece.
To truly appreciate Jaisalmer’s majesty and its sheer isolation walk around its walls. Surrounded by shimmering sands, relentlessly baked by the Rajasthan sun you cannot see another city for miles. It is a sight of biblical intrigue.
A first amongst equals Patwa-ki-Haveli is our top pick amongst Jaisalmer’s seemingly endless offering of heritage haveli properties. Built by five Jain brothers who made their fortunes in in textiles and jewellery today it is part museum, part private dwelling.
It goes without saying that Jaisalmer is a desert town. Therefore, like much of the rest of Rajasthan it is best visited during India’s winter months, between October and March. But bear in mind that it can get pretty chilly in the evenings (especially in the desert) so bring some layers for those evenings under the stars.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Jaisalmer all provide a unique, heritage stay.
For a central location
- The historic properties of Garh Jaisal and Killa Bhawan are both located within the historic walls of Jaisalmer Fort. Well priced, excellently located and steeped in 11th century charm they feature heavy iron clad doors, bright Rajasthani silks, traditional furnishings and stunning roof terraces with views of the city beyond. If these walls could talk.
For a magisterial stay
- Boasting ornate Mughal architecture the 16th century Fort Rajwada is to step back in time. Dine al-fresco around the glistening pool. There is also a spa and some impressive painted wall murals.
- Further out of town Suryagarh, surrounded by the golden sands of the Thar desert is a truly princely stay. Complete with palatial rooms, billiards, as well as all the amenities you would expect from a 5 star Indian stay: pool, spa, yoga and excellent service.
For ultimate desert luxury
- The jewel in Jaisalmer’s crown, The Serai is where one comes for some serious pampering (if you can afford the hefty price tag that is). Well worth the money, guests are treated to luxurious tented accommodation in the heart of the desert. Fine dining, plus a renowned spa and stunning pool. The ultimate desert experience.
Still not sure which to book? From heritage to tented, browse through our list of the best places to stay in Jaisalmer to start to plan your trip. Widen the net by checking out all our Rajasthan recommendations, or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Jaisalmer
Killa Bhawan 8 rooms from $59Jaisalmer (Near City Palace)
Traditional townhouse property within the fortress walls. Stone walls and floors, Indian carpets, furnishings in deep, vibrant hues. Stunning views of Jaisalmer from the roof terrace. Vegetarian homemade Indian food can be served on request. Excellent location with tremendous comfort.Sights nearby - Located right in the centre of Jaisalmer, you can get to all the best sights on foot.Roof terrace - Roof terrace decorated with Indian floor cushions and stunning views over the cityLocal exploring - The perfect location and base for exploring Jaisalmer and the wider area.Value chic - Doubles from as little as £45 per night including breakfast.
Garh Jaisal 7 rooms from $72Jaisalmer
11th-century historic townhouse within the walls of Jaisalmer Fort. Jewel-toned furnishings on sumptuous, carved king beds in rooms with exposed stone walls. Languish in exquisite comfort, soaking up the old-world atmosphere & stunning city views. Restaurant serves Indian and international cuisine.Historic - 11th century townhouse situated within the walls of Jaisalmer FortOutstanding location - Within the Jaisalmer Fort, 100 yards from the sacred Jain templeViews - Balcony with view over the whole city of JaisalmerSights nearby - Bang in the centre of Jaisalmer
Fort Rajwada 95 rooms from $108Jaisalmer
Heritage hotel with impeccably designed interiors and authentic, ornate Indian architectural detail. Lavishly furnished rooms provide a taste of old-world princely comfort alongside modern amenities. Spa, gym, pool. Enjoy a drink in the bar, steeped in 16th-century charm, & dine on local cuisine.Local exploring - The perfect base for exploring the delights of Jaisalmer and the surrounding area.Sights nearby - Located close to the UNESCO listed Fort in JaisalmerDesigner - Opulent but gracious interiors designed by an eminent opera-set designerViews - Views onto the Sonar Fort from the in-house restaurant and bar
Suryagarh 62 rooms from $234Jaisalmer
Mesmerising palatial hotel in the heart of the desert. Authentically prepared regional cuisine. Spa, gym, pool, billiards, yoga, meditation. Opulent interiors inspired by indigenous handicrafts. A remarkable location steeped in local culture offering a traditional taste of a luxurious lifestyle.Outdoor dining - Breakfast with peacocks in the desert, oasis picnic, dinner on the dunes or in the gardensArcherySpaSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
The Serai, Jaisalmer 21 rooms from $466Jaisalmer (Bherwa Village)
Stunning luxury tent camp in the desert transports you to another time. Mesmerising views from the tranquil outdoor pool. Private tents and tent suites furnished with an eye for refined comfort. Spa, massage, reflexology, gym. Exquisite regional and international cuisine, private dining possible.Swimming Pool - Candlelit outdoor swimming pool, a unique inversion of a traditional Rajasthani step-wellSpa - Spa and wellness centre managed by internationally recognised spa company Raison d'EtreRestaurant - Cordon bleu cuisine, catering for both Indian and European tastesTented Camp - Luxurious desert camp and spaRecommended by - Tablet, I Escape, Relais & Chateaux