A 250 years old haveli, a romantic candle-light dinner while enjoying the breath-taking night view of the beautifully lit historic Udaipur town from the roof-top, a 2 minutes’ walk to all the prime heritage spots of Udaipur, the chanting of the evening Aarti at the Jagadish Temple – what more could I have asked for my weekend in Udaipurwhile my stay at Kotra Haveli!
With its 2 domes that dates back to the 18th century, Kotra Haveli – a heritage, boutique property surely lives up to its name. The property belongs to Late Thakur Saab Kishan Singh Krishnawat, while his son, Dr Ajay Singh Krishnawat now runs the hotel along with his close family friend, Mr Mahendra Singh.
In 2012, the family built a few rooms in the open space available in front of the Haveli with the idea of running a hotel. Little did they know then that this idea would be a big success in the coming years. In 2016 they added more rooms after they started getting a good response. So what started with 10 rooms slowly evolved into a 22 room hotel today.
All the roomsare Deluxe AC; however, the distinguishing feature that sets all the 22 rooms apart are the furniture, their interiors and décor as none would match with the other. Mr. Mahendra said that he specially looks into planning the interiors of each room and see that not one particular design is repeated. The hotel sources out the furniture from Jodhpur, while curtains are brought in from Jaipur.
There are also 2 dormitory roomsunder construction – one for girls and another for boys that are specially designed for solo travelers and will be ready in sometime. Also by March, the swimming pool and the spa would be operational.
The hotel also has a parking facility for 6-7 vehicles.
With the new open air restaurant opening in the next 10-15 days at the roof top, this is going to be another attraction for the hotel. Once it is ready, the restaurant inside will have a capacity for 50 while the sitting area in the open will have a seating arrangement for 40 guests.
Currently candle-light dinner is being arranged in the open area with the beautifully illuminated City Palace serving as a picture perfect backdrop.
Another noteworthy feature is that the hotel has separate kitchens for veg and non-veg dishes. Jain food is also available if there happens to be any special request from guests. On special request, traditional dal, baati, churma is also prepared but that has to be informed 6 hours prior to dinner time. There is also a small coffee shop planned to complete the dining experience at Kotra Haveli.The hotel has also applied for a beer license. As it appears, as per a new govt. directive, any heritage property that has been recently converted into a hotel are getting a beer license as a special package.
We were fortunate enough to enjoy the Rajasthani Thali, especially prepared by the Krishnawat family and it consisted of Dal Baati Churma, Gatte ki sabzi, Kadi-pakoda, Laapsi (a dessert made from daliya), Ker Sangri ki sabzi, lahsun ki chutney.
In non-veg, we had Chicken Rajputana prepared by Mr Mahendra, though its Lal Maans is also quite famous that ranges from less spicy, medium spicy and original spicy, depending on how a guest would like it to be. There is an À la carte food service, though depending on guest occupancy, buffet services are also arranged.
USP of Kotra Haveli
Come the festive season and Kotra Haveli will be beaming with guests, with most of the rooms sold out for the upcoming festivals, starting with Deepawali and then Christmas and New Year. So why would one choose this hotel particularly?
Reasons are many. All the prime heritage spots– Jagadish temple, City Palace, Lake Pichola, Bagore ki Haveli, Gangour Ghat, Ambrai Ghat, Hanuman Ghat, Doodh Talai Lakeare situated within a walking distance of 2-5 meters from the hotel. For the convenience of the tourists, the hotel arranges taxis and autos for going sight-seeing. “We only rely on those people who have been in the taxi service for the last few years and have legal permits,” Mr Mahendra said.
The hotel has also over the years earned brownie points for its cleanliness, food and the cordial staff. The current staff strength is 20, but with the extension of the property, more people are going to be hired.
“Rajasthan is another name for hospitality and we are trying to keep to that name by providing our guests a hospitable environment. If we have named this property Kotra Haveli, then we should be able to give that Haveli atmosphere to our guests,” asserts Mr Mahendra.
The hotel also hasits expansion plans in the next 3-4 years’ time. “We are thinking of a resort but that too in a very authentic style that will have its own organic farms. So whatever we do, it is going to be a little different.”
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