In a small village inside the ancient Chittorgarh Fort is the Padmini Haveli Guesthome, a gorgeously restored heritage haveli renovated and redesigned to a contemporary, yet still ethnic, aesthetic. Padmini Haveli is a small, family-run affair, with just nine rooms and meals served communally, in the stone slab-studded courtyard adjacent to the kitchen.
Above the kitchen lives the family who own and run the guesthouse, while on the opposite side of the courtyard are the guest rooms. As such, there is a warm and intimate family feel to the place, as though you are staying with particularly hospitable friends.
The story of Padmini Haveli stretches back about seven years. Owners Parvati and Sudhir Sukhwal, a multi-lingual married couple, were working as tour guides, showing visitors around the 1,000 year old Chittorgarh Fort, when they befriended a Swiss couple, both Indophiles. They were looking to put down some kind of roots in Rajasthan, perhaps a holiday home, while at the same time, Parvati and Sudhir were looking for investors to help them fund their dream: to convert a decaying family property into a beautiful guesthouse.
They combined forces and in 2011, Padmini Haveli was born. Now, it plays host to visitors from all over the world, presenting to them a combination of European standards and a warm Indian homestyle feel. Rooms are spotless, beautifully designed and comfortable, while communal areas are inviting.
It should be noted that Padmini Haveli is a small affair in a village: there are no televisions in the rooms, and while there are air conditioners there are frequent power cuts – part of the experience of rural India, really. The food, while ‘pure vegetarian’ (no onions nor garlic) is fresh, tasty and wholesome, and we couldn’t get enough.
All up, we absolutely loved Padmini Haveli, and I would go so far as to rate it as one of the best properties I’ve stayed in India, given the warmth and hospitality of the owners.