Concierge.com's insider take:
If you want to stay in a real Rajasthani palace without having to pay a king's ransom, then look no further than the Mandir Palace, tucked into the edge of Jaisalmer's Old City next to a small temple and a horse stable. The 26-room property is a maze of wings connected by corridors that open onto beautiful courtyards and terraces, and is still partly inhabited by Maharaja Hukam Singh, a descendant of the family that originally constructed the building more than 200 years ago. The intricate carving that appears throughout the property, from latticed stone screens to decorative arches, is one of the hotel's most impressive features. The cheaper rooms are clean but bland, so if you can stretch your budget, or if low-season vacancies throw a bargain your way, opt for a suite such as the 1914 Surya Mahal suite: Almost covered in intricate stone carvings, the room is divided by a series of decorative arches separating the bed from the living room area, and there is a striking terrace with carved arches and columns. The swimming pool is hidden away at the back of the hotel (unfortunately, it doubles as a drinking hole for a population of local pigeons). Be sure to visit the roof terrace to catch a terrific view of the Jaisalmer Fort at sunset.—Vanessa Able
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