We’ve just returned from a 1 week trip to Delhi, Agra and Udaipur. The usual “golden triangle” mandates that you go to Jaipur, but we were too late in our bookings and all the better accommodation were sold out. Hence, we inserted Udaipur into the itinerary and I was tasked by the hubs to research on Udaipur accommodation.
While traveling, we tend to pick homestays and B&Bs over the hotel chains ‘cos the former just have a lot more character and can be oh-so-charming. After pouring over reviews on Tripadvisor, I decided on Little Garden Guest House (LGGH) because 1) The reviews are great! 2) It’s the #2 homestay in Udaipur and 3) The pictures looked pretty decent.
Akshay, the owner of LGGH sent a driver (cost Rs650) to pick us up from the airport. From there, it is a 20-30 minutes car ride, depending on traffic. When the car came to a final stop, I got to admit, my heart SANK. We stopped outside a mom-and-pop shop and the street looked rather dirty with run-down buildings. “What have I led my hubs and in-laws to???” I silently cursed myself. It didn’t help when Akshay led us up a rickety path and gestured for us to enter a simple courtyard. I only breathed a sigh of relief when Akshay led us up a flight of stairs, drew back a curtain and opened a door to reveal this:
Uniquely Decorated, Clean and Comfortable Rooms
Akshay showed us the 3 rooms on the ground floor, and explained that he loves to collect local art pieces and vintage items. With these, each room is tastefully and thoughtfully decorated to reflect a unique style that is quintessentially Rajasthani and Indian.
Importantly, the rooms are very clean and comfortable. What mattered most to me was the mattress – most Indian homestays tend to provide very thin ones, but the ones at LGGH were of medium thickness and not overly firm. I had really good nights’ sleep there. :)
Each room comes with its own bathroom and hot shower (note: it takes around 15 mins for the water to heat up, but once it is ready, it IS HOT). Akshay, upon feedback from earlier guests, had included basic toiletries, bathmats and a hairdryer (check, check and check!) within.
Warm Hospitality and Wholesome Homemade Indian Vegetarian Food at its Best
Breakfast is included. You can also request for dinner, which comes at a cost, naturally. At the risk of sounding like a LGGH evangelist, I have to say, the food offerings have been the BEST we’ve had in homestays (and even the big hotel chains) in India. Akshay’s mum cooked with a very refined, delicate and balanced touch. The dishes she churned out were light (not too oily or salty) and extremely fragrant. We’ve had the great fortune of tasting fresh fruits every morning, poha (flattened rice), vegetable rice, dal dry (yellow lentils), chapati, ghat (savoury lentils and corn porridge), childa (chickpea flour, semolina and yogurt pancake), chutney and cups, and cups of chai (Akshay’s father makes a great chai, either flavoured with ginger or cardamon). Even our parents, who are not great fans of Indian food, loved it. Even better than a famous Thali restaurant in Udaipur, they said. ;)
One thing I was initially uncomfortable with was that Akshay’s dad and sister, Teena, would sit at a corner of the room and watch us eat. But once I got over the awkwardness, I found their company to be extremely enjoyable. They always made sure you have enough to eat, and Teena would explain each dish and how to make it. Akshay would join us sometimes and they would tell us some really interesting stories.
Location, Location, Location
Because LGGH is nestled in a little bylane away the main street, it is a little haven devoid of the constant hooting and tooting of Indian traffic. When you go up to the roof top, you will get a pretty good view of the City Palace, one of the main highlights of Udaipur.
Out onto the streets, you will find plenty of shops that will satisfy your varied desires – from Indian clothing to handmade leather goods to handmade paper products to local snacks. The main attractions of the City Palace, the lakes and the bazaar are all within walking distance.
A Most Hardworking, Streetsmart and Enthusiastic host
Through early conversations, I told the hubs that Akshay is a very hardworking, earnest and genuine chap. He also seems to know every other person in Udaipur! Based on this observation, we decided to also hire him as our City Palace tour guide and it was great. Akshay knows the City Palace inside out, given his linkages with the Royal family (you should ask him about it) and frequent tours of the place. I often resist hiring a guide because many spout nonsense, but Akshay is of a different calibre altogether. He gave us great insights into the City Palace and explained things that cannot be found in guidebooks. Most enlightening.
If we ever return to Udaipur (which we intend to), we will most definitely return to Little Garden Guest House.
Name: Little Garden Guest House
Address: 21-Bhattayani Chohtta Rao shabe ki Haveli, Udaipur, India
Landmark: Near Laxi Temple
Contact Number: +91 98 28 276535