Truly the most magical place we stayed in Rajasthan, Dhora Desert Resort is a desert camp 2-hours north of Jodhpur, that’s nothing short of bliss. Located in the semi-arid desert, surrounded by nothing but sand dunes and wonderful wildlife, it’s the most chilled out, luxurious destination where I’d highly recommend a night or two. A total contrast to Rajasthan’s busy cities, you can kick back by the pool, ride camels, bounce over dunes on a jeep safari, spot wild antelopes, eat incredible family-style Rajasthani food, and spend your evening staring at the stars. No rickshaws or blaring car horns for miles, it’s definitely as blissed out as you can get in India.
We spent just one night at Dhora Desert and instantly on arrival wished we’d allocated longer in our itinerary. Located in the most idyllic setting among rolling dunes, tents are a far cry from the usual connotations of camping, with comfy double beds, air-con, hot showers — plus hot outdoor showers! —bedside lamps, decorative rugs, and plug sockets. WiFi is available at the camp but it doesn’t stretch to the tents. Got to say though, being (a bit) off the grid feels pretty damn good once in a blue moon…
Arrive mid-afternoon to enjoy a lunch of delicious home-cooked Rajasthani food in the tented dining room, then spend the afternoon pool-side, reading on loungers, and soaking up that hot desert sun. As soon as the sun falls behind the dunes, take up the offer of a jeep safari and head out onto the dunes with Dhora’s founder, Mahirudra. Jeep safaris are so much fun. I hadn’t been on dunes since I was a kid in Dubai, but we had the best time with Mahirudra bouncing over the rolling sands, spotting antelope and gazelles, and then admiring the most magical sunset from the top with absolutely, no-one around. For something a little tamer, go for a camel safari instead — another desert experience we absolutely loved, though it was very obvious neither of us were born to ride…
Once you’ve put extra layers on (the desert sure does get chilly at night — we were there in December and went from baking in our swimmers by day to hats and extra jumpers by night!), head to the dining tent for dinner. The home-cooked feast will not only be some of the most delicious Rajasthani food you’ll eat on your trip, but there are camp fires and lively Indian music and dancing to top off the experience too, brilliantly done in the least bit touristy way.
Come morning, savour an undisturbed lie-in, a lazy morning by that glorious pool, and some delicious puri bhaji for breakfast before heading off on your way. Itinerary wise, Dhora Desert is the perfect place to stop off en route to Jaisalmer, but if you’re not going as far as that, I urge you going out of your way for it too. Just two hours from Jodhpur, it shows off a totally different side to Rajasthan that's impossible not to love.
DHORA DESERT RESORT, rates from £170/night