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Review on Mandvi Palace

by on September 11, 2007

mandvi-palace.jpgTwo and a half kilometers of beach, a perfect honeymoon getaway, all to me was my idea of enjoying the camping holidays with my family on a weekend destination within Gujarat. The waves gambol in the few feet away. I’m at the beach at Mandvi Palace. It is in the middle of 450 acres of mildly domesticated jungle that make up the backyard of Vijay Vilas, the summer retreat of the former rulers of Mandvi, situated in Kutch, Gujarat. It is the only private owned beach in India, with the property extending to the waterline. I have heard that the Mandvi family has refused offers from various chains to take over and the run the palace as a hotel. Mr. Pragmulji III is the current head of the family. I didn’t get to meet him either because he was off campaigning for the elections way over on the other side of the Gujarat, but when we spoke his enthusiasm for the place was evident. He liked the idea of tents instead of making sculptures so he and his wife designed tents in their own way and got them made locally. It is an accommodation of 10 pairs of guests at the moment, so it works out to a comfortable 200 meters of beach per couple at peak occupancy. Well, I exaggerate and came to know that the place was also for the day trippers however charging them a fee for access to the beach, so it may not be so deserted.

The camp consisted of 10 tents in a clearing, each sleeping two, a sand dune and a line of scrub and trees separating them from the beach and protecting them from the worst of the weather. Each one is set on its own concrete plinth, a little sit out in the front with a couple of dinky camel leather deck chairs. The styling is reminiscent of royal expedition tents like scalloped edges, carved finials atop the tent poles, awning over the entrance. The tents are set rather too close to each other, with the support ropes of neighboring tents overlapping. The tents are triple layered, a candy striped inner tent, over that a thicker outer, and over it all, a waterproof roof and the lack of natural ventilation is more than compensated for with a high power air conditioner.

Inside, a carpeted floor, twin beds, bedside tables with small storage space, carved wood chairs and a writing table. The chair are nice looking but not to comfortable. Lighting is a couple of lamps beside the beds. At the back, behind the flap, is a largish tiled, walled bathroom, its roof an extension of your tent. Meals are delivered to your tent or you can amble over to the thatched roof restaurant that looks out on to the beach. It served continental, Chinese and Indian.

Overall, the place does itself a disservice with its branding as it calls itself a luxury beach camp which raises expectations way too much. It is no doubt very comfortable and gives fair value for money.

Driving Directions

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