Chambal Safari Lodge is true to the name.. Its practically a lodge with bare minimum facilities. Please do not get deceived by the high tariff which isn't justified by any means, be the quality of service or the way the property is maintained. Our short stay of 3 days was the most inhospitable holiday ever. First of all getting to the place is fairly inconvenient with no attempt from management to make it simple. Directions offered to you are perhaps 3 years old and doesn't identify current roads. And when you finally reach, there's no one to look after you as the facilities are handled by some local trained staff. There's no manager forget about concierge.. The owners of the lodge perhaps find it below their dignity to entertain or look after the guest. The place reeks of aristocracy which bleeds into the staff who thinks they have done a favour by letting you in.
In terms of costing, the management takes full advantage of lack of facilities around the lodge as the area is highly undeveloped from tourist point of view. They not only appeared secretive about sharing info but presented you with an obnoxiously priced rate card for basics. Buffet lunch with basic menu offered for 900+ per head and for some reason dinner price was jacked up to 1250+. Eventually you would land up paying for meals more than your room tariff. Breakfast wasn't cheap either at 450 per head. Not just this a makeshift bar in the evening serves drinks at flat 500 bucks for 30 ml and the brands served were smirnoff and old monk. They insist of no package deal some how knowing well the client has no choice. It doesn't just end here as sightseeing and safari etc are charged at 1650 plus taxes per head. A walk along to the near by temple complex is also charged the same.
Of all the places I've ever visited this one certainly goes at the bottom of my list for all the inhospitality straight from the mail exchange for my room reservation till the time we drove out. Their staff doesn't even bother to smile at you as you step out. The place is run with basic facilities be the linen, furniture, furnishings or the quality of food. Water is served in recycled wine bottles, wonder why couldn't they offer packaged water considering their tariff was almost 12000 per night.
There's no doubt the place is quite and serene but that's just incidental. The management somehow tries to create that sense of eco friendliness and cover up their inadequate provisions. Thanks God I was travelling with my family and had no problem going out mixing with locals and finding my way around.. Else this holiday would have just left me at least 30-40k poorer and a lot unhappier for the way we were served.
The lodge is located in lovely surroundings with lots of vegetation and great bird watching opportunities. The three different spices of owls to be found on the property are a real treat.
Our room was enormous, as was the bathroom. The bathroom was equipped with a small water heater which provided just enough hot water for two bucket showers. Dont know how a family of four would cope. We stayed four nights here and although we really enjoyed it, we would have liked a nice hot shower, particularly as it was very foggy and chilly a lot of the time. In fact, the cold was our main problem as there was only a small electric heater in our room but there was no heating of any kind in the rest of the lodge. The dining room was so cold, with all the doors open, that the cutlery nearly stuck to your hands! Electric heaters appeared here on our last morning, sadly a little too late for us to enjoy. The library is a lovely room but also the plug had a loose contact so no heating in there either. The warmest time of the day was sitting round the communal fire in the evening, and this was delightful. We were offered an extra quilt and a hot water bottle on the last evening of our stay and although rather late in the day, we enjoyed the latter.
The staff were all very helpful and friendly but the food was average. Breakfast was rather disappointing as it was the same every day, not even the fruit changed. Complimentary tea and coffee were available 24/7 and was very welcome during the cold weather.
We went on two safaris, the river safari which was absolutely fabulous and for birders, the bird life is amazing. The Gharial crocodiles were fascinating as were the marsh ones. We saw also saw a soft-shelled turtle and many tent turtles. The second safari was to see the Sarus cranes. This was quite a long drive but we often stopped along the way to see other birds and wildlife. Our special thanks go to our naturalist Charan Singh who was very knowledgeable, enthusiastic and flexible and looked after us well.
The owners were charming and we much enjoyed their company and the company of their family and friends around the fire on New Years Eve. It was a shame we did not get the opportunity to say goodbye as they were not around at the time guests were checking out.
With a big lawn and hammock in the garden, one feels relaxed as soon as you enters the compound. The first lunch was also served in the open air with birds coming to clean up your remains as soon as you left the table. The rooms are rustic and oversized, so is the bathroom, a little too big when I was staying alone. Anyway, it was a nice stay in particular because the surrounding of the lodge already provided a lot of birding opportunities. A great place for birders indeed.
The setting for this lodge is fantastic with extensive grounds full of wildlife and the management is clearly committed to conservation and running an eco-friendly establishment. The staff and owner were extremely friendly and helpful
Breakfast, dinner and lunch are served buffet style (the latter outside) with a choice of hot dishes, largely traditional Indian. We enjoyed the food but found it was not always hot (temperature) enough.
Our room was lovely - spacious and full of character with a good shower. Useful complimentary items included insect repellent (although hardly needed while we were there).
As well as a nice outdoor seating area around a fire where drinks are available, guests have access to an impressive indoor area including an extensive library.
Wifi is, by the lodge's own admission, painfully slow.
Useful information in the rooms includes a checklist of the wildlife seen in the grounds.
Our excellent nature guide based at the Lodge, helped us find many birds around the grounds as well as on the river safari.
Wildlife we encountered in the grounds, included Jungle Cat, Common Palm Civet, Flying Foxes, Golden Jackals, Grey Mongoose, Brown Hawk and Indian Scops Owls, Spotted Owlets, Black-headed Munia, Barred Buttonquails and Plumb-headed Parakeets.
For anyone interested in wildlife or just peace and quiet, I would recommend this as a relaxing and enjoyable place to stay.
Two night stay here. We had a great time. My daughter and I had a beautiful room with a huge bathroom almost the same size again as the bedroom. The bed was extremely comfortable . The food in the restaurant was delicious and plentiful. The grounds are very pretty , we saw many birds and also a hare in the front lawn every morning. It was very pleasant to sit around the open fire in the evening. The camel trek to the fort was fine, and the river safari was very interesting and again picturesque ..we saw garials, crocodiles, turtles, many types of birds and even river dolphins. Overall a great stay.