THE Balaram Palace Resort is best described as the jewel in the crown of Gujurat’s heritage hotels. In this case, it wasn’t actually a palace but the former hunting lodge of the Nawab of Palanpur, but that doesn’t really make it any less special.
Balaram exudes its royal connections in bucket loads. It has a wonderful Moghul garden that has been restored to perfection. There’s also a Nawab period swimming pool that is fed by a spring. Inside the resort oozes charm with its marble galleries, wooden staircases and antique furniture with modern luxuries like air conditioning to make it just that much more enjoyable. This is a stay you won’t forget in a hurry.
What makes it special?
Balaram was designed using neo-classical Baroque architecture and this has given the place a truly regal air that seems more in fitting with the Moghul empires of old than something more recent. However the 13 acre estate and its buildings were actually rather badly dilapidated not that long ago and it is really thanks to the Gopi Group, that undertook the renovation of the property in 1993, that it has returned to its former glory.
While it is one of the heritage hotels in Gujurat that does not still have a connection to the original family, the Gopi Group has done there best to retain its original character and make visitors welcome.
What to expect?
Balaram Palace Resort lies within the Balaram Ambaji Reserve Forest and is surrounded by nature. The hotel lies on a hilltop overlooking a river and lush green gardens. In the distance you can see the Aravalli hills.
As you might expect accommodation is available in rather grand looking rooms and many are booked out on weekends by families, couples or groups from Ahmedabad. For a quieter stay you may therefore prefer mid week. The pick of the rooms is without doubt the Nawab Suite.
What is there to do?
While many come for a relaxing getaway there are things to do here. Starting on the hotel grounds itself staff can organise camel-cart rides for children, there’s an indoor gym and lovely walks on site. The swimming pool is under renovation but once it is finished it remains a wonderful place to relax or spend a few hours, particularly if you have children. Staff can also arrange for cultural excursions to places nearby such as the weavers of Patan, carvers at Taranga or to visit local temples.
What’s the damage?
Despite the royal tag, the prices at Balaram Palace Resort are very reasonable and there are discounted rates for single occupancy. Even the most expensive room, the Nawab Suite, is just Rs. 5500 (US $102) per night. Although do note there is a 12.5 per cent luxury tax and an additional 5.15 per cent service tax. Meals are not included in the room costs and as the nearest town is four kilometres away it is likely you will eat all meals at the resort.
To find out more or contact the owner click here.