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All reviews richard holkar the river boat ride each meal central india vegetable garden hidden gem different parts evening drinks excellent cuisine royal suite early morning various locations can't wait to come back traveling alone the guest relations manager lunches and dinners
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Reviewed March 22, 2018

This was a much anticipated return visit to Ahilya Fort - after my first visit a couple of years ago I thought it possibly the best hotel I had visited in almost 20 years of travelling to India. The location remains breathtaking - very much rural India at its most fascinating and engaging. The rooms and public areas are a unique delight and the hospitality remains first rate - the staff, still overseen by the formidable Kunta Bai, are efficient, courteous and immaculate. What seems to have slipped a little is the management focus. The occasional presence of the "Host" is one of the Fort's main USPs but it clearly adds a degree of pressure and anxiety that is not helped by an unclear management structure. Ahilya Fort remains one of the great Indian experiences.

  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
4  Thank SunBunny50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 17, 2018 via mobile

I was expecting to stay in a historical, cozy setting, but Alihya Fort has totally exceeded my expectations. When at the Fort, one is surrounded by trees, flowers, a garden for the kitchen, beautiful sculptures, a small Ganesha temple. The views of the ghats are stunning. And the towel they give you when you come back from your walks is chilled and smells like lemon. So fabulous! There are nooks and crannies to hang out everywhere. The service is also impeccable, with the staff trying to accommodate any whim. Absolutely fab!

Stayed: March 2018, travelled solo
Thank NitzaA1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 2, 2018

Understand exactly what you are getting here. From the price and the website you might expect a 5 star destination experience. That is not what this is. The Daily Telegraph describes the hotel itself as “shabby chic” and that nails it. It is an old building, shabby indeed, perched at one end of an older fort. It has its charm, certainly. The entire place is more like a comfortable old shoe rather than a luxurious resort. I think it would be a BIG mistake to ever stay here with children or teens. Like a Regent Cruise Ship, it is for grownups.

The large patio is wonderful [when not in the 100* full sun] and a perfect venue where everyone gathers for an absolutely delightful cocktail hour at 7:30. The extensive tropical plantings and vegetable garden are beautifully done and place you in a calm and relaxing oasis in the chaos that can be India. All dining follows at 8:30 and is candlelight al fresco [as is breakfast and lunch] in these beautiful gardens.

We had booked the $850 per night Royal Suite. It spans the entire top floor riverside with a delightful balcony overlooking the ghat, always teeming with life, and river. and is quirky and charming. It is comfortably appointed, even though some of those appointments, like the ac and coffee machine are faulty, and the bathtub useless unless you are happy bathing in two inches of water. The tariff is full board, including all alcohol, wine and beer and even includes unlimited one day laundry service and a very modest river boat trip at sunset. A wonderful, full body one hour massage is less than $20 [IRN 1200] . Leave a generous tip!

Do be aware if you are over about 5’9”. There are seven points in the Royal Suite where the support beam is at about that height and if taller than that you must walk around like an orangutans to avoid knocking your head . I am 6’4” and this was an issue at first. I adapted!

The food is good. Lunch is kind of a mix of Indian and continental and dinner is all Indian. The Indian food is not authentic, in my experience of eating the real deal the ten years I lived in London and the three weeks we’ve been in country this trip. They try to do a health food haute cuisine version of their own creation and it disappoints. REAL Indian food, from the Imperial in New Delhi to the State Government Tourist run places outside places like Ajanta Caves to the free community kitchens at every Gurdwara is SOOOOOO good! Why mess with it? And serve naan for heavens sake! All Indian Dishes are toned down spice wise, probably to cater to their very obviously western tourist target market. This is a bit surprising in view of the very large British contingent, who are well used to the real deal. That said, there were some truly outstanding dishes: the kale and okra dishes were outstanding. The wine is Indian Sulu brand and is excellent. Unfortunately, they do not serve Indian beer, which is excellent, but Tuborg. Go figure.

One does expect perfection in feature detail at this price but there were keen disappointments. The ac in the bed area was a problem from the first; it clacks loudly like an Indian railway train every time the compressor turns on, going on and off, all night long, making restful sleep impossible. We asked that this be rectified when the Housekeeping Head showed us to the room, as it rattled loudly away the moment she turned it on. Nothing was ever done. To add insult to injury it quit working entirely our last night. It is pretty obvious that this is an ongoing problem with the ac and it would be surprising if no other guest has mentioned it or staff has noticed it.

Lack of hot water was a big problem. There is only enough for a bath in 3 inches of water and one shower every hour or so.

The worst experience, one that colored the entire stay, involved the Guest Relations Manager, an American ex-hippy who has been in India for 35 years and the only member of staff with whom one can have a conversation in English with any confidence they understand you. On our last evening, after my third trip in two hours to reception to have their IT guy log me on to wi-if, which had suddenly stopped being possible from our room (I give them a pass on unreliable wi-if, which can happen anywhere, but does much less so good hotels), after mentioning our frustration with the ac, the lack of hot water, etc, she told me that “this is an old building and you must expect difficulties. As you are obviously unhappy I suggest you leave and check into another hotel for your last night.” Of course, the only other places are fly-blown hostels. I ran a service business for 23 years. If one of my employees ever said that to a customer they would have been fired on the spot.

TA rates Ahilya Fort 4 stars. At $850 per night it must be one of the most expensive 4 Star hotels in the world. I would concur with this rating even at this if they executed everything well, which one expects at this price point. They do not and I give them three stars.

Room Tip: Don't book the Royal Suite unless they guarantee they have fixed the AC and hot water.
  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Odusseus1000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
rholkar, Owner at Ahilya Fort, responded to this reviewResponded March 4, 2018

Greetings, OdysseusAz,

Thank tou for taking the time and trouble to write a comprehensive review of your experience at Ahilya Fort. I am sorry that it did not live up to your expectations.

Regards


R Holkar

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 14, 2018

What can i say... the best part of the trip to Indore was going to the fort. Its so so beautiful and the experience is really refreshing. Its a must visit for all. The food is very good- we tried the Indian and so is the service. All in all a great place and a great choice.

  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank nirupamakaaushik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
rholkar, Owner at Ahilya Fort, responded to this reviewResponded February 15, 2018

Thank you Nirupama Kashik

Such words are so encouraging to the whole staff.

Do come again

Regards

R Holkar

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 13, 2018

We decided to stay at the this hotel with our two year baby. It was the most amazing experience for us. The hotel feels like a non hotel. It has all the amenities of a luxury property but in an understated way.

The food is lip smacking and very fresh as the produce comes from their own little cultivated farm. There is a little area allotted to farm animals where my daughter enjoyed every morning with the rabbits, ducks, turkey etc. The pool is relaxing and the the entire place has many hidden doorways and open areas which are very tastefully done.

Every night dinner is set in one of the many courtyards which is set up beautifully.

Our stay was delightful especially with my daughter. We experienced Mashewari textile weaving, took a boat ride of the river narmada, fed the fish and enjoyed the sound of the evening aarti on the ghats.

Perfect choice for our family

Two drawbacks:
I expected to have a high chair for my daughter which was not there.
We had the Tent too room. The outside of this tent is accessible to the public. So it was a little difficult to put my daughter to bed for her afternoon nap with all the noise.

  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank arwamamaji
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
rholkar, Owner at Ahilya Fort, responded to this reviewResponded February 14, 2018

So happy that you were satisfied with your choice.indeed we try to make AhilyaFort as non hotel as possible. Apologies for the missing high chair, odd as we used to have one. Immediate remedy. The noise alas is out of our control . Regards r holkar

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