Move Over, Maharajahs

A new wave of small hotels and guesthouses makes touring the subcontinent more intimate

Samode Haveli

A view into the lounge of the Samode Haveli Hotel in Jaipur.

Goverdhan Singh Rathore broke the news gently to his young guests: there might not be a tiger. They had traveled all day through the Indian countryside by car and train with their families to Ranthambhore National Park to see the tigers, and Rathore, a medical doctor turned hotelier who grew up in the park, wanted them to understand why there were only 32 remaining in the 155 sq. mi. (400 sq. km) reserve. It was cocktail hour, and the families staying at Khem Villas, the 15-room guesthouse opened by Rathore and his wife Usha 2 1⁄2 miles (4 km) from the...

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