Reliving an era of gracious hospitality

Kathiwada Raaj Mahal

Kathiwada Raaj Mahal

Near 

Vadodara
, Gujarat
, India

The Raaj Mahal mansion has sprawling spacious rooms with high ceilings, and plenty of natural light. Artistic art deco furniture, well curated corners with photographs and memorabilia fill the place. The arches, wide courtyards and tiled floors give the wonderful heritage accent to the home that India’s erstwhile royal mansions are so renowned for. This is a step away from mainstream hospitality, but yet embedded with modern comforts. The meticulous restoration has been done keeping the essence of the mansion true to its roots, but plugged in with all the comforts for a modern traveller.

Our Rating: Premium
Property Type: Heritage

Destination

Located on the western edge Madhya Pradesh, in the heart of India, Kathiwada is firmly off the beaten track. It does not lie close to the main tiger reserves or heritage trails that draw thousands of travellers each year. Instead it stands delightfully elusive, close to the Ratanmal plateau, home to the lesser known sloth bear and leopard sanctuaries. Discerning travellers will love this place for its lack of being pinned on travel itineraries. Kathiwada is the ideal location to get an unadulterated, filter-less glimpse of India’s rural scapes and life. Treat this as a holiday for an authentic immersion in local life of India; it might be unsensational but will forever be etched in the memory. This holiday promises art, architecture, tribal culture, farming, pottery, wildlife and life of the royals – all rolled into one. Kathiwada and its surrounds offer travel riches ranking with the best without a major spotlight on it.

The town bristles with the finest local experiences and a chance to step into the historical past with your hosts. The Kathiwada Raaj Mahal in Madhya Pradesh is nestled amidst 120 acres of privately owned orchards. The mahal was commissioned by Rana Onkar Sinh as the erstwhile royal family’s hunting lodge in 1895. Surrounded by the Vindhya Hills, the 19th-century colonial style mansion makes for a striking picture framed by clear blue skies, mountain views and vast stretches of farmland. Kathiwada Raaj Mahal’s family history can be traced 700 years back. The mansion is dotted with memorabilia, vintage furniture, sepia toned books and family photographs collected over generations that encapsulates the regal era gone by.

Accommodation

There are two kinds of rooms at the property. The Royal Suites have a balcony with views of the gardens and Vindhya mountains on the north side. The Heritage Rooms overlook the property and the lush gardens. The rooms are spacious, modern with all amenities but retain the bona fide Deco pieces of furniture. The furnishings, high ceilings, large windows and minimalistic decor epitomises the design intentions of the blend of modern chic and heritage vibe of the property.

Dining

Ancient recipes preserved and handed down since generations and other cuisines are served in the property. Kathiwada Raaj Mahal offers a range of atmospheric indoor and outdoor dining facilities. Authentic local cuisine is the highlight for travellers. All the food is made from fresh produce picked right off the private farms. Breakfast and lunch are served on the ground floor while dinner locations vary across the many stunning spots on the property.

Experiences

The potent energy field, no pollution and deep silence in Kathiwada makes it an ideal location for yoga and meditation retreats. The world class cricket ground built passionately by Digvijay Sinh Kathiwada has hosted international teams and continues to draw sport enthusiasts to this property. Guided treks in the nearby forest give an insight in to the indigenous trees, and visits to the village, pottery, farming and understanding the mud architecture are activities one can keep busy with. Many travellers like to settle in at the library, which is dedicated to late Yuvraj Bharat Sinh, a prolific reader. To honour his passion for horse riding, his wife, Sangita Devi has designed the upholstery in hand-woven English tweed to represent riding gear.

Great For
veering off the trodden path for holidays and exploring a slice of India that is tucked away from the expected trails. The property is a great mix of outdoor exploration and relaxation.

Operational status
Kathiwada Raaj Mahal is closed from April to October.

Why we love this place

All the rooms overlook the lush garden, and the pool area is where you can lay eyes on the Vindhyas to the North and gorgeous sunsets to the West. The views are irresistible and relaxing.

About your host

Recently restored by Sangita Devi Kathiwada, the Mahal is the perfect embodiment of heritage meets contemporary. The eleven suites retain an old world charm and are inundated with hunting memorabilia, art deco furniture, precious books and family photographs that encapsulate the regal era gone by. The spacious rooms offer plush amenities and modern bathrooms, and the modern art that decorate the interiors of the mansion are a reminder of the present-day. The rooms open out on to verandas and terraces that offer a spectacular view of the picturesque countryside.

The potent energy field, no pollution and deep silence in Kathiwada makes it an ideal location for yoga and meditation retreats. The world class cricket ground built passionately by Digvijay Sinh Kathiwada has hosted international teams and continues to draw sport enthusiasts to this property. Guided treks in the nearby forest give an insight in to the indigenous trees, and visits to the village, pottery, farming and understanding the mud architecture are activities one can keep busy with.

The Kathiwada family consider themselves to be privileged custodians of the rich culture and heritage and invite like-minded individuals to come and enjoy a royal experience woven with tales of an era gone by. Ideal to be connected on a textile trail beginning at Bhopal via Maheshwar, Kathiwada and onwards to Baroda and Ahmedabad, Kathiwada is close to the craft centre of Chota Udaipur and the heritage town of Champaner.

Responsible/Sustainable Tourism

Letting the travellers be privy to the history of the region is the key focus of the property. Old photographs, curios and the family’s history in memorabilia has been preserved and made a part of the experience. The staff at Raaj Mahal is hired from the local community. The food served at the property is made from ingredients sourced locally or from the farms. The local tribal culture is spotlighted via curated trips that include a trip to the local potter’s home, a tryst with the art of the region and a block printing unit. The secrets of the lush paddy fields and local farming techniques can be learned at farming specific experiences.

Our Recommendation

Don't skip going to the nearby leopard and sloth bear sanctuary or a swim in a secret natural pool close to the property. Keep ample days to enjoy the hospitality and see Madhya Pradesh with fresh eyes.

Can’t find a suitable itinerary that features a destination, experience or accommodation you fancy? All our group tours and holiday ideas can be personalised, or we can create a tailor made itinerary for you.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)