Hot Spots

The It List 2009

by Ondine Cohane

Rajasthan, India

Given the region's political fragility, and the unanswered questions about the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India is expecting a low-profile year, tourism-wise. It almost seems fitting, then, that Rajasthan—a region known best for ultra-luxurious hotels carved from maharajas' palaces—is shifting its focus to small properties and more muted pleasures. Among the properties on our radar is the The Serai, which opens spring 2009 in the Thar Desert. It promises to be the new word in posh camping, with 26 superplush tents among the wild scenery that Rajasthan is so famous for. Day trips include camel trekking and exploring local villages, but when night falls it's all about dinners amid the dunes and in-tent spa treatments. If you prefer your ride sans humps, consider Mihir Garh, a new retreat with an emphasis on well-trained horses. Opening around the same time near Jaipur, it will have nine huge suites with open terraces and plunge pools—perfect for cooling off between rides around the desert landscape. You'll still want to explore the impossibly beautiful lakeside palaces of Udaipur, but now you can skip the expensive grande dame hotels in favor of a new itinerary from Cazenove+Loyd that combines small heritage hotels and stately private homes such as the ten-room Shahpura Bagh, a former royal summer house surrounded by 45 acres of gardens.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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