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“AWESOME!!!!”
Review of Mahua Kothi

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Mahua Kothi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 March 2012

We stayed at Mahau Kothi for three nights in february 2012. This place is just amazing!!! the kutiyas are stunning, with the most comfortable bed i have ever slept on!! and windows so clean it looks like there isn't any glass there!!! ( i did ask for their secret!). And the staff.....wow...where do i start with the staff!!! at every level, they cannot do enough for you. Our naturalist, Allwyn was incredible, whatever question we fired at him, he had the answer for. We developed an excellent rapport with him during our stay. He,and our tracker were as excited as we were when, after 3 drives with no tiger spottings, we turned the corner on a tiny dirt track, and there lying in the sun was a magnificent male tiger. We were the only jeep for over 15 minutes!! it was a very special moment! and so lovely to see it meant as much to Allwyn as it did to us!!! you can just tell he loves his job so much.
the food too was extreemly good, with our evening dinner being served at a different location within the lodge's grounds every night. It was quite magical to sit with a camp fire, and oil lamps twinkling in the marula tree, everyone excitedly recounting their days adventures, and showing their photo's. our last night we were treated to some local tribal dancing, with everyone being encouraged to join in...including the chef!! Another lovely touch was the flower strewn hot bat that awaited us after our last game drive. what a thoughtful touch!
Mahua Kothi's manager Neel also needs a mention. A place is only as good as it's staff, and Neel clearly leads by example. I have never known of a manager who is willing to get up at 4am to see his guests off!!!

well done to everyone, keep up the excellent work!!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank sianseamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 February 2012

Another perfect &Beyond property joined together with Taj hotels. After many stays in Africa at the luxurious &Beyond properties I knew they would not disappoint, Mahua Kothi is perfection in India.

The attention to detail impeccable, starting with the lavish (never-want-to-leave) kutiyas (jungle village huts) with the warm welcoming petal covered bubble bath surrounded by candles to be enjoyed after a long dusty safari drive, to the ambiance created for the most scrumptious meals (custom made to your taste.... the chef is very talented) served under the large Mahua tree with its swaying bells… just to mention a few.

The guest common area is a large, high ceiling lounge, dinning room with a long open-air veranda where many wonderful global conversations were had over various libations.

It was a little bit disappointing that on six safaris we did not have a tiger sighting, (there were tracks and growls offering great anticipation) although large spiders, snakes and various deer were spotted.

All in all the most wonderful stay and highly recommended.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank wonderfulworld5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2012

We booked this place directly contacting TajSafaris telephone number in Mumbai and they handled the booking efficiently. They gave a contact, Mr. Sajid for arrangement of car pick up from Jabalpur and drop to Katni Railway Station. This guy was very efficient in making these arrangements. Before, we started the journey, Tajsafaris wanted some details like the passport copy, authorization to charge the credit cards etc., which was generally, not the usual practice when you book other Taj hotels! Anyhow, we were told that it would facilitate our entry to the Jungle. Me and my wife, arrived at the hotel around 6 pm on 20th Jan, 2012 and we were taken to our room ( cottage?). The room was well heated ( the temeprature outside was quite cold!). The gave the dinner under a tree on the open field ( or the extension of the jungle? ) which was quite cold, but they provided enough fire woods.

Next day, we were ready to go to the jungle at 6 AM and we were taken in a open jeep type vehicle with our Naturalist, Mr. Raj Kishore. He is an excellent guide to the forest. We could not see any tiger. We took 2 safaris on 20th and one early morning safari on 21st. We could not spot even one tiger! But our Naturalist tried hard to take us to the nook and corner to get a glimpse!

Anyhow, the services provided at the hotel were really superlative! The food was usually, a set menu and nothing spectacular or exotic, but functional, neat and tasty! A shade better than any company guest house food! The services of this facility can be compared with those of Falaknuma or Wildflower Hall kind of very high end hotels in India ( where you pay as high as USD 300 plus for one night!).

The hotel staff and our Naturalist felt very sorry that we could not get tiger sightings which is not their fault! They could have at least informed the tigers about our arrival much in advance! We left on 21st evening with an intention to return to the hotel to see the tiget at some other day!

Room Tip: Thay have only 12 or so rooms and nothing much to choose between them.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Qwelt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2012

This was our second trip to an &Beyond property and we absolutely loved it! Every single comment is picked up and reacted to. We mentioned that we were avoiding fresh vegetables because of health worries. After this every salad involved only grilled vegetables. The rooms are large. We visited in December and were pleasantly surprised to find the mattresses heated for us upon return to dinner. The staff works hard to provide great meals in different locations around the grounds. As wonderful as everything was, I think I enjoyed sitting in my courtyard and simply reading. The staff is so friendly, the service incredible, and the rooms absolute luxury. Only one warning. After being here, you and your family will be very sad to leave!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank LADuckFan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2012

This was our first visit to wildlife sanctuaries in India, and must say it was an incredible start. The thing which stands out most for us is the exemplary Taj hospitality - whether it was making note of our favorite drink, the fact that we favored the chef's special bamboo pickle, or accommodating special requests. The service was top notch and always delivered with a smile. A personal butler was assigned to us and his eagerness to please was touching. From his unobtrusive multiple-times-a-day housekeeping, greeting us with hot towels and steaming ginger honey tea after every game drive, setting up unique dining experiences - lunch under the Mahua tree, candlelight dinner in our courtyard to a surprise awaiting us on the night of our final stay (that included a rose-petal strewn aromatherapy bath treat!) - we were thoroughly spoilt. A special night was also planned for new year's eve, with some wonderful entertainment by a local tribe and a lavish spread set under the twinkling skies and rustic oil lamps.

A word is also due for the highly-trained naturalists who accompanied us on our game drives. Our safaris would just not have been the same without their knowledgeable instruction, their lively humor and dedication to making sure we got the best possible experience in the wild. We had been on quite a few drives and had possibly viewed most of the beautiful flora and fauna that the Bandhavgarh reserve had to offer - yet the majestic beast, the tiger, eluded us. Yugdeep, one of the naturalists who drove us around the park, made it his mission to ensure that we had at least one tiger sighting before the end of our stay. His persistence finally paid off, and how! We saw the biggest male tiger in the park mate with a young tigress and that sight will remain with us forever. Ratna, the other naturalist, is somewhat of a celebrity in the wildlife circles in India. She is India's first woman naturalist and is also lovingly referred to as "India's Jungle Jane". Her passion and commitment to the cause of tigers is inspiring and we were really lucky to have her with us on our drives.

The lodge has 12 cottages, each with a private courtyard. The rooms are well-appointed and built with indigenous materials such as bamboo thatched roofs, and have an outdoor shower area. While our room was delightful, my only gripe with it was that the roof leaked. Our last night at the lodge, we received particularly heavy showers and our bed was soaked. And this was at 2am, so I was definitely not a happy camper. The management was apologetic the next day and insisted that we should have woken them up in the middle of the night. My travel partner even joked that since we wanted the “real India” experience, we should accept the “leaking roof” as part of it! Apart from this inconvenience, the rest of our stay was wonderful and we were definitely sad to leave. The entire team at Mahua Kothi was commendable and really helped make our stay a special one. Our recent experience has converted us to wildlife buffs and we're definitely planning a trip to Africa in 2012!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank BlingCat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2012

This was a truly magical, wonderful 4 night stay for our family.

The lodge itself is wonderful. The "cabins" are delightful and spacious. A large bedroom, a large bath/dressing area, a big tub, and a huge shower area.

Wonderful views into grassy meadows and bamboo thickets.

The service was extraordinary. Each cabin is assigned to a butler, who serves as your interface with the rest of the lodge. Our butler, Avi, was truly amazing. He took care of everything, anticipated what we would want, and just made it happen by working hard in the background to make it so, and in a way that you'd never notice happening. All you'd notice is that everything smoothly materialized around you just the way that you'd want it.

The food was the best we had in India. Chef Sanath is both very talented and extra ordinarily hard working. He, more than any other chef in India, figured out that we just couldn't take the spices in typical Indian food and toned it down. Mahua Kothi was the only place where we could eat Indian food, and it was all because Chef Sanath toned it down enough that we could stomach it. The food was delicious. And he was also terrific at making continental food.

More than anything, we were so touched by how hard the chef -- and indeed everyone at Mahua Koth -- worked to make our 8-year old daughter feel so very special, just like a little princess. Chef asked her on the first day what she liked for dessert, and of course, the princess responded "ice cream" and "brownies". Well, Chef points out that there isn't good icecream in India and he has to make it by hand (with an old fashioned hand cranked churn). And then he proceeded to make ice cream for her every single day. So the poor guy is making special food for us (non-spicy food), making it earlier than their standard dinner (to accomodate our midwestern preferences to eat dinner at 6 pm), and on top of that he's spending a couple of hours every day cranking at a hand ice-cream maker.

Just extraordinary. And he'll never let you know that he's going all out -- we just figured that out for ourselves.

So the way it works here is that you wake up very early and go out for a pre-sunrise safari with a naturalist, and then you do the same again around sunset. Since you spend a few hours out with the naturalist on each safari drive, the extent to which you hit it off with your naturalist is going to have a huge impact on how much you enjoy your stay.

Gaurav was our naturalist. He was a perfect fit for us, and we really enjoyed our time with him. At the beginning we were wondering if perhaps he was a little too passive, and might we not want someone who would more aggressively try to find tigers for us. But, as we saw and experienced what that more aggressive approach is like, boy oh boy were we ever glad that we had the benefit of the calmer, more holistic approach that Gaurav favors.

Gaurav took us to great places within Bandhavgarh. The park itself is a special place. Lots of micro-habitats, from thick bamboo forest, to stark desert and rocky plateaus, to thickly canopied decidious forest. The thing that struck me was how quiet the place is. Living as we do, we ever really hear total silence. The absence of movement. It was wonderful when the jeep would be turned off, and we'd just sit in the middle of some forest micro habitat, enveloped by total silence.

We did see several tigers here. It was extraordinary. It's hard to believe that this is actually a wild tiger, in the forest. They are beautiful. And they walk with a confident self-assurance that lets you know they know they're the top cats in the forest. Just extraordinary.

Now a couple of notes about some bad things about Bandhavgarh and the whole tiger preserve safari thing. First, there is just not a lot of wildlife in these preserves. Not just tigers, but any kind of wildlife. Remember how I talked about the silence? While it was wonderful to experience that silence, it's also remarkable that a wilderness could be that quiet. Where are all the birds? The small mammals? These are just very sparsely populated forests. Second, these are incredibly dusty places. Especially when you have some 30 jeeps all running around like mad on dust trails (you're only allowed to go on these designated dirt trails) in a pretty small area, trying to hunt the couple of tigers that are around. Any sign of a tiger, and all 30 jeeps go driving like mad converging to the same place, churning up huge rooster tails of dust, until there is just a huge cloud of dust some 20-30 feet tall. And you're in there, breathing, eating all that dust.

I don't know what a better approach to organizing safaris in these parks would be, but I have to believe that there is a better way. The amount of eating dust (as the naturalists put it) is just ridiculous. I have bad allergies, and breathing all that dust was really not good for my respiratory system.

OK, back to the good stuff again. The physical plant at Mahua Kothi was outstanding. It is incredibly well conceived and perfectly executed. It really is a special luxury experience in the wild. The service was even more outstanding. Avi, our butler, worked incredibly hard. There was a very large (17 people) and very loud and raucous (I'll even say obnoxious) group from Mexico at the lodge while we were there. Avi and the chef noticed how we were really turned off by that loud group, and arranged for us to eat our dinner at an earlier time, and a place that was very private and far away from the large group. Even when it caused them a lot of effort to do so, they did it. Avi would be walking around with trayfuls of food all over the property, to serve us meals by the pool, or in the courtyard of our cabin, or on the roof of the lodge, just so we could have some peaceful quiet and not have to be around the large and loud party. Chef Sanath is very talented, really goes out of his way to figure out what you want, and makes it all happen. Even to the extent of hand cranking ice cream every day so that he could delight a little girl. Gaurav, the naturalilst, was a wonderful guide to the forest and made us feel so very special.

An example of how much they cared for us, how sensitive they were, and how hard they worked. The roads there are really bumpy. Really bumpy. On the last day we were kind of bumped and dusted out, and decided to just skip the afternoon safari and hang out. Gaurav suggested that he would take us on a walk through the lodge property and show us their vegetable garden. Sure, that sounds good. Well, at the end of the walk, Gaurav pulls out a little table and a cooler and pours us all a cold beer. Wow, that was nice. Even better, with a twinkle in his eyes, he asks our daughter if she can identify that plant over there. We all look the way he's pointing. He's found a little tree, and hung all over it little truffles that he's covered in foil to look like giant Hershey's kisses. He looks at our daughter and says, yup, that's a chocolate tree, and it's in fruit now, you'd better go pick some. The guy had spent the afternoon thinking this up, getting truffles from the chef, wrapping them in foil to look like giant Kisses, and hanging them from this little tree so that our daughter would be delighted. What a special thing!


One thing that we did there that we really enjoyed was a trip to the local village. We went with Gaurav the naturalist and a young guy who is a social worker/village outreach specialist. It was wonderful to see and experience. This is a peaceful little village, and with the connections that the social worker had made, we were welcomed into the village and into their homes to experience their lives. These people were evidently nomadic until fairly recently, because, as we were told, they didn't believe in farming because "how can you cut into the earth that is our mother?" Really touching stuff. The Taj people, along with some other large Indian corporations (we were told the Tatas) are funding this effort to help these villages. They had begun by building for the villages chimneys in their little huts, so that the wood smoke gets cleared out of the house -- providing a huge improvement in health for the women and children who are in the house all the time. They were then helping plant vegetable gardens, the harvest of which was bought by the hotels to serve the tourists. And finally, they were working on helping them establish apiaries -- beehives, and on creating a beekeeper's cooperative. The villagers welcomed us into their homes, showed us around and showed us how they lived. Their homes are simple -- clay bricks, spackled with dirt and cow manure and with thatched roofs , built around little courtyards. But they are also immaculately clean, and beautifully decorated. The village trip was really an extraordinary experience, one that we couldn't have had without the connections that the lodge staff had made in working with the villagers.


We made a couple of references in passing while on safari about star gazing. Well, Gaurav heard that and immediately passed word to the lodge manager, Neel, who is a big astronomy buff. Next thing, Neel is treating us to a lovely introduction to the night skies. We go up to the roof of the lodge, he brings along his laptop that has a lovely star map, and he helps us orient ourselves and identify all the major stars and constellations.

Seeing the Milky Way spread out across the skies was just special.

Have I raved about this place enough? Mahua Kothi was a really magical experience for us. Everything there was just perfect. The physical plant is wonderful -- really luxury in the wild. The service was extraordinary. Caring, warm, hard working people who move heaven and earth to make sure your experience is truly special.

This was a really special place, and a very special trip. We'll cherish the memory for all our lives. Thanks so much to all the people at Mahua Kothi.

(One little tip -- if you're going in the winter, bring warm clothing. It's darn cold in the morning safari rides.)

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank JolietJakeBlues
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 October 2011

In a number of visits to resorts lodges and wildlife sanctuaries all over india and the world I would say this is one of the best.

Not in the case of spotting tigers or black faced langurs but in the case of hospitality , location and excellent overall experience. Attention to detail from the beginning and the feeling of home like he butler Ramayana who took care of us during the stay remembered from the beginning how I liked my coffee to my wife & daughters little needs .

The constant coaxing from the staff on why were such light eaters to what we wanted for any meal  at any time.  They just made it right all the time. They also grow some of the key ingredients on the property which give the freshness to everything you eat, aromatic and yum ! 

The must is to do a ride with the naturalist in the park, ours was Rajkishore his experience is of more than 17 years and the sheer determination to show the tiger was unbelievable with six attempts and we failed to see even one . But that's ok honestly ! As that's the best excuse to be back soon and really very soon.

The rooms designed by one Mr Chris brown thats what we were told - were really well appointed and comfortable with all amenities or should I say more than enough. The property is designed with keeping the surroundings and it really feels like your in the middle of the jungle. The park gate is close by and it hardly take 5 mins to reach there. The Indian formalities is not the lodges fault so cannot comment but it was too smooth compared to my previous experience at one of their Lodges.  There is wi fi in the lounge and a TV with Tata sky for those addicts but only a fool would switch them on.

If you are a person in looking for the best of both worlds catch a mode of transport and head to them ... And forget everything . It's taken care of.  


  • Stayed: October 2011
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Thank kasli-ani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mahua Kothi

Address: Village Tala,Thasil Manpur, Bandhavgarh National Park 484661, India
Phone Number:
Region: India > Madhya Pradesh > Umaria District > Bandhavgarh National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 35 Speciality Lodging in Bandhavgarh National Park
Price Range: $578 - $1,371 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Mahua Kothi 5*
Number of rooms: 12
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Also Known As:
Mahua Kothi Hotel Bandhavgarh National Park

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