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The Serai, near Jaisalmer 

near Jaisalmer
India 345 001
Tel: 91 11 4606 7608
Tel: 91 11 4616 3718
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
A 45-minute drive from Jaisalmer's beautiful pink-sandstone fort city, The Serai features 21 grand campaign-style tents tightly arrayed in rows like a colonial encampment amid scrubby, featureless terrain. Each 1,100-square-foot suite is pitched on a raised stone base, with its own enclosed veranda, in-room seating, and a bathroom with a walk-in shower but no tub. A heater, towel warmer, and hot-water bottles keep you cozy in the desert's chilly night, although other typical basics are oddly absent from the elegantly spare accommodations: A hair dryer has to be requested, as well as the services of a staffer to whisk one's valuables away for safekeeping. Guests while away the time by taking a sunset camel ride over the sand dunes on the far side of Jaisalmer accompanied by a hamper of sundowners. Afternoon tea and drinks are served in the Library Bar Tent, and come nightfall, drinks and snacks materialize around a fire where local musicians serenade. Served in the Dining Tent, organic produce grown on the grounds yields a light international menu providing relief to a traveler's overtaxed digestion. (The more durable will enjoy the well-prepared rich and spicy Indian dishes.) —2010 Hot List

Which room to book: Although by no means inexpensive, the basic tents near the dining tent and (unheated) raised swimming pool are the better value. More lavish, private, and costly setups with pools are farther out, but service takes longer.

Open September through March.

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