You’ve seen the Expedia.com commercials with the couple in the beachside bungalow with mosquito nets… and the thought of going on vacation to stay in a tent gives you the creepy crawlies already. Not to worry, you won’t need a sleeping bag and a bottle of Off! for this exotic vacation. When was the last time you stayed in an air-conditioned, 790 square-foot tent with wooden floors, embroidered interior canopies, private gardens, outside deck for sunbathing, king size four-poster bed, freestanding rolltop bath and separate shower? And just to make sure you don’t feel like you’re “roughing it,” your tent comes with a DVD player and minibar.
It’s seems contradictory that the words “luxury” be used to describe a tent but at the Oberoi Vanyavilas, located between the Aravali and the Vindhya mountain ranges in South-Eastern Rajasthan, India, the concept is far from novel. Nestled among 20 acres of landscaped gardens, lemon and mango trees, and lakes and fountains, are 25 tents, bordering on one of the most extraordinary wildlife reserves in the world, Ranthambore National Park and Tiger Reserve, which is home to the majestic Indian tiger, as well as deer, leopard, and crocodile.
Now, before you think that this is an isolated retreat, consider the fine dining options and extensive spa services available. In the Dining Room and Inner Courtyard, Executive Chef Saurav Banerjee and Indian Master Chef Arjun Singh Yadava present an impressive spread of Western, Thai and Indian cuisine from a revolving menu. The exquisitely decorated restaurant features hand painted frescoes of flowers and animals by the celebrated miniaturist Mohan Singh Kumawat. Outside is the walled terrace of the Inner Courtyard which is lit at night by a massive log fire (camp fire songs optional).
As with any quality resort, there is a spa, where you’ll find steam rooms, showers and private therapy suites and a long menu of spa treatments, massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. Try the stimulating Indian Spice Wrap and a delicious Orange Wrap. All the massage and aromatherapy treatments are aimed at relieving stress and promoting a deep sense of relaxation and wellbeing. And for fitness buffs who can’t miss a workout, there is an exercycle, rowing machine, steppers and a treadmill, as well as an outdoor heated pool.