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Hot List 2011
Samode Safari Lodge, Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Bandhavgarh National Park,
Tel: 91 142 324 0014
Tel: 91 141 263 2407
From the dirt approach road winding through the jungle at the edge of Bandhavgarh National Park, this lodge initially appears as a group of unprepossessing buildings. But when you reach its vast upstairs drawing room/reception, spectacularly raftered with rough-hewn tree trunks and with French doors on all four sides, its prospect grows from favorable to sensational. Grounds encompass 12 local-style villas, an infinity pool and solar-heated whirlpool with canopied daybeds, a spa, and 11 grassland acres near the less-trafficked Kothi entrance to the park, where guests take twice-daily game drives to spot tigers. Sensitivity to the environment is at the forefrontpains were taken to avoid felling any trees during construction, the building materials are local, rainwater is harvested. Light Mediterranean-style lunches are served under a capacious mahua tree strung with cowbells; Indian dinners are given on a dining terrace warmed by flaming braziers. Shady courtyards in front of the 1,500-square-foot adobe-walled, tiled-roof villas lend them privacy. But the accommodations' tour de force is their indoor-outdoor bathroom (separated by a glass wall), notable for a giant forest-scene mural painted by a local Gond artist, and an immense stone tub with views of the stars above.
Which room to book: The villas are very similar; for convenience, get one close to the dining room and pool.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.