Royal Delights at Narendra Bhawan

We had entered Bikaner a few minutes earlier and after negotiating a few intricate twists and turns, reached Narendra Bhawan, a palace turned into a hotel. The driver, dressed in ethnic outfit was quite a pro and took about 5 hours from Jaipur to Bikaner including a lunch and a tea break.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Narendra Bhawan Palace Hotel View from outside. See the coloured glasses, which is in keeping with the traditional design.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
How old do you think this Morris Minor is? By the way it is in perfect working condition


Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Night View of Narendra Bhawan

On entering the palatial building, we were ushered in one of the many sitting rooms after crossing a luxurious veranda and even more luxurious long hall. Immediately there were a couple of staff members with wet towels and lemon drinks to disintegrate our tiredness. While we were offered to be taken to our rooms, we wanted to start exploring the palace.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Priceless artifacts on display at the outer veranda
Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Outer Veranda

Wherever we saw, there were artwork, old photos of the bygone era, paintings of the royalties, trophies, decorations, trinkets and such, which had once belonged to the kingdom commenced by Rao Bika 500 years back. This aristocratic hotel was a veritable museum!

The two of us have stayed in many other palaces converted to hotels, but this was different. The building felt alive. Maybe because the hotel part of the building completely surrounded the small 2-storied palace. The old palace still remains with restricted access.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Ferocious Leopard!
Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
This is a shield , possibly made out of tortoise shell. On it you will see the intricate and exquisite Usta art.

The reason perhaps was to tell the story of the maverick Maharaja Narendra Singh, who was born a year or so before the birth of Independent India, the way he would have wanted to tell. He loved dogs and cows and was generally liked all animals. Hence the area just inside the main gate is called “Gaushala”, where it is planned to have live cows in the future. The new palace retained the Rajasthani style of architecture and was built using red sandstone, it appeared more modern.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Onyx table at Gaushala

Well, there are stories and stories.

We walk towards the lift for our rooms but on the way we are stopped abruptly by the presence of bright red baby piano that was so out of place yet, once you understand the psyche of the owner of palace, made sense in every way.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Inner Hall. You can see the red baby piano at the far end.

Like all havelis, here too there was a courtyard but on the second floor. The old residence of Narendra Singhji was right under our feet! I felt Goosebumps forming. However there was a cheery ambience at this courtyard called Diwali Chowk. It was decorated with marble fountains shaped like the head of cows and several planters with orange trees. From third floor onward there are corridors built much in the lines of a plush royal haveli.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Royal Corridors!

 

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Intricate Jali work at Narendra Bhawan Corridors

ROOMS:

The rooms are tastefully bedecked fitting a royal guest. It was quite large compared to many a luxury hotels we have stayed in. It was one of the most comfortable beds we had ever slept in.
The lighting was pretty good and the there were several lights that could be individually operated to suit ones needs.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Bedrooms at Narendra Bhawan
Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Queen’s letter case! well almost 🙂

There are many categories of rooms, the smallest has an area about 30 SqM and the largest, and the republic suites are 70 SqM. The interiors also vary in congruence with name and style. On the work station was a very British looking red letter case, apparently designed on the same lines as the Buckingham Palace and this was common to all the rooms.

What pleasantly surprised us was our photos framed nicely and kept on the table. Where they got our photos from? You better ask them. 🙂

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
This was a pleasant surprise!

DINING:

In all the lines above, I should say we’d barely scratched the surface. Good food is most important to us especially while travelling. Something to say about Rajasthani hospitality, is that they sweetly persuade you to eat a bit of this and taste a bit of that. Soon before you know, you have eaten a lot more than you would normally, especially when there is variety of tasty food. So much so, we started avoiding the likes of Balveer Singh and Himmat Singh! Jokes apart, I think our stay was gastronomical delight to say the least.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Culinary specialties!
Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
More culinary delights fit for the royalties

Pearls and Chiffon
Elaborate dinner was served at this uniquely named dining hall. It is really not a restaurant but a private dining room for a sit down party. Sachit Jha the famous corporate chef, dished out courses after courses of mouth-watering delicacy that knowingly we were wolfing down whatever came to the table.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Pearls and Chiffon, Private dining room

Mad Hatter, the bake house

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Madhatter bake house with Himmat Singh at the helm

This is managed by Himmat Singh with his proud pencil moustache. The café had an assortment of cakes, puddings, rolls and sorts and is truly international, nothing Rajasthani. This was yet another thing that made sense in this particular surrounding. Himmat was an artist, especially when he served coffee. Have a look!

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Himmat Singh’s Coffee Art, Portrait of Nisha!
Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Himmat Singh’s Coffee Art, Portrait of Vasu!

Pool Side
The roof top pool side with Arabian nights setting is a perfect venue for an evening get together or party. Sachit again waved his magic wand and wove a perfect last night dinner, dance and music. At my request, he specially ensured all were served mulled wine, which was a manna during the wintry night.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Roof top pool to chill out. It also doubles up for a perfect evening pool party.

Diwali Chowk and the surrounding corridors could also be used as meeting place. There were tables in the courtyard and cots in the corridors where one could order food.

Diwali Chowk
Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Early Morning Diwali Chowk
Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Corridors with sitting facility
Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Courtyard area of Narendra Bhawan
Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Care for some snacks?

WELLNESS:

The roof top infinity pool and a well-appointed gym was direly needed with so much devouring and guzzling we were doing!

GENERAL

Narendra Bhawan staff had painstakingly curated a few outings into the city to give an orientation to the 5 centuries old city. Siddharth Yadav, the VP of the company, accompanied us to the Royal Exploration and Ram explained to us the old city’s havelis in Merchants Exploration. They also organised a sundowner party at the sand dunes, some distance away, which was quite enjoyed by the participants.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Queens Tea Room. A small cozy place for a few people. We, however, had coffee here.

The entire staff is always at your service. Right from the VP Siddharth himself till the junior most, left no stone unturned when it came to serving the guests. Speaking about food, my advice is, do not fill your stomach in the beginning itself….. there’s more to come. If you ask them how many courses more, do not expect a reply. They, especially the likes of Balveer Singh and Himmat Singh, would bring dishes after dishes…. so much so, we started avoiding them. Jokes apart, I think our stay was gastronomical delight to say the least.

Narendra Bhawan, palace, Royalty, Bikaner , Rajasthan
Oh! What a spread! at one of the havelis

PS: We were invited to be the guests of Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner. However, as always opinions are our own.


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32 thoughts on “Royal Delights at Narendra Bhawan

  1. This is a lot of luxury. I envy you guys.

    Not been to Bikaner yet but your earlier post and this one made me rethink about it.

  2. Narendra Bhawan looks so beautiful and authentic! The interiors look wonderful and so beautifully put together it really adds to the experience doesn’t it? I would love to spend a few nights here (hopefully I could afford it, it looks very posh haha!). The photos are a nice touch as well to make the place feel more homey 🙂

  3. This hotel is absolutely gorgeous! I love the inner courtyard with the decorative corridors surrounding it. It seems like they’ve thought of every detail to make the hotel genuine, from the decor to the artwork, to the food. I don’t usually stay at luxury properties, but when I see hotels like this it’s oh so tempting! 🙂

  4. We visited Narendra Bhawan too, while on a vacation to Bikaner earlier this year. It really is a fabulous property, every detail planned to perfection. Would recommend it to everyone.

  5. This place is beautiful! Your pictures are fantastic. We left India after 3 months quite recently, we didn’t get to Bikaner, perhaps we need to spend at least a night here!

  6. This hotel is beautiful! So grand and regal – it would be easy to feel like a princess here! The architecture is stunning too, I could spend hours photographing the different areas of the hotel.

    1. Thanks Mark. Of course we were pampered no end. 🙂 Apart from the place it is the people who make the place warm and welcoming.

  7. A really beautiful place, I was in this part of India late in 2016 for the camel fair but had not hear about this spot. Sad, I know I would have made the journey as you did. The food looked really good which is my favorite part of India. Wish I knew a little more about the area and what else there is in that location.

  8. You took me there again! I am craving for that food now. They sure know how to enter guests’ hearts! Of course the other facilities too were ROYAL!

    1. Thanks Stacey. and let me tell this one is a very small palace compared to many others in Bikaner and other parts of Rajasthan.

  9. Wow, what a fantastic experience. You have presented this palace so beautifully. I love your use of shadow in many of the photos. Speaking of photos, did you find it really cool, or kind of creepy to find your photos?

    1. Thanks Rhonda. Definitely not creepy 🙂 You must see it to believe it as many times pictures do not bring out the right ambiance of a place.

  10. Narendra Bhawan is truly representative of the royal heritage and grandeur that one associates with Rajasthan. This is a gem in Bikaner, a city with so many unsung treasures and which is overshadowed by the more hyped destinations of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. The grand hotel combined with the traditional warmth of Rajasthani hospitality must make it an unforgettable experience.

  11. What an amazing looking hotel! The rooms are truly fit for a king. And I love that there were so many courses you couldn’t even find out how many. The artwork is quite impressive too. I especially like that shield. What a great stay!

  12. I’m not a fan of luxury, but I wouldn’t say no to a place like that in no universe I would say no, IN NO LIFETIME I would say no to a place like that.

    The pool really looks like a great place to relax and chill indeed!

  13. Rajasthan and royalty are synonymous. But this is another level of hospitality! 🙂 Love the personalised touches given by hotel, the frames and the Latte art 🙂 So awesome!
    The architecture is simply fabulous. Brilliantly captured too. The corridors, tiles, facades and symmetry:) A very comprehensive review.

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