Weekend at Hill Fort Kesroli, Alwar, Rajasthan

Hill Fort Kesroli is a quaint resort built into a 14th century fort in Alwar district, Rajasthan, about 4 hours driving from most locations in the NCR. Indu, Cherie and I visited the property as part of an offsite trip organised by her company. Below is a log of what happened there. The route is unremarkable – Google Maps will quickly, accurately and unerringly take you straight to the front door of the property.

The fort, pool and stage come together quite well in the evenings.

Immediate Attention

The moment we pulled into the (rather limited) parking lot, two kurta clad men materialised – one to confirm our reservations and the other to pick up our bags. I suggest letting the man do the heavy lifting – the path to the reception desk is steep. The picturesque nature of the property begins right here and you might just find yourself whipping out a camera.

Quick Check-in

The reception area is a small room just off the main lawn. Checking in was quick, involving the sharing of photo identification and filling in our details in a large register. All rooms are non-smoking, and the rooms have names, not numbers. Ours was named “Narendra”. 

Quaint Routes & Gardens

Being built on a hill, the routes to and from different areas of the property can be all or any of unexpected, steep, picturesque, creepy, cute and confusing. It all adds to the atmosphere of Hill Fort Kesroli – who needs a view, when the route from your room to the pool makes you click 5 photos?! Having said that, there is a nice rural view of the adjoining village and fields. 

Keep the possibility of steep climbs within the property in mind. If your group has any elderly members or those with knee, breath, heart issues, you may want to discuss the rooms and their location before arriving.

Unique Rooms

Having been built as a fort and re-purposed as a resort, the rooms at Hill Fort Kesroli are all different shapes and sizes, just like us. Consequently, the placement of furniture and in-room amenities vary, in addition to differences in design, fabrics, furniture, layout, colours and more.  Speaking for myself, old and quaint is welcome, though dysfunctional isn’t. While being varied, unique, comfortable and pretty, the rooms are also defective in places, such as stuck windows, wobbly furniture, misaligned tabletops etc., which some may perceive as part of the whole quaint and time-worn theme, and some may not. I don’t.

Cheerful Staff & Fast Internet

The staff members we met came with cheerful countenances, helpful attitudes and ready smiles. In addition, I had full cellular reception in our room, fast 4G Internet access plus very acceptable in-room WiFi Internet Access. In fact, the WiFi appeared considerably faster than most properties I’ve visited, rural and urban. If you’re looking for a change of scene while plugging away at your laptop for work, this property may be a good choice.

High Tea @ 5pm

Each day, high tea is served on a section of the lawns, which you’re free to pick up and roam about or plonk yourself wherever you like. Featuring a selection of teas, a coffee plus some simple eats like pakodas, biscuits and tea cakes, high tea at Hill Fort Kesroli is a good time to catch up with others members of your group. High tea is laid out in the open though and be warned, it can get hot and the number of flies can be pesky. There’s also a resident cat who struts around dripping disdain, but will happily eat any tea cakes offered to her.

Cultural Show at 7pm

The stage next to the pool hosts a fairly lively cultural show each evening, comprising traditional Rajasthani dance forms and singing. If you’ve seen similar acts before, you aren’t likely to be enthralled though this is a great time to unwind with a drink or two before dinner. Definitely feels nice being showered with rose petals. Smells good too. You can also dance with the artistes if you like, at the end of their regular routine.

Excellent Food

Most resort and similar locations I’ve visited have awful food and they get away with it mostly due to their location. Hill Fort Kesroli doesn’t offer room service, doesn’t have televisions in rooms and may have rough surfaces all around, but they certainly have paid attention to bringing in someone competent in the kitchen. While there were of course places of personal disagreement with flavours etc., there’s no denying the thought and the effort put into ensuring the food is enticing. Both dinner and breakfast were well spread out, presented a number of options in vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Indian and western flavours, all of which were highly acceptable to say the least and even excellent in some cases. When you visit this property, I don’t think food will be one of your concerns.

A view of the pool and the fort. 

Miscellanea

The booze is reasonably priced though there may be inventory issues at times (its location could be a reason), the pool is well maintained and you’ll need a swimming costume, bicycles are available if you want to explore to surrounding areas, the reception has a collection of books likely left behind by previous residents… and the buffet has bacon. 

The pool looks serene, has separate areas for children, laps and an area with water jets. On its left is the fort and on the right, fields and hills.

We drove from Greater NOIDA to Hill Fort Kesroli via Dhaula Kuan, Gurgaon, Manesar and Bhiwadi. On the way back, we drove from the property to Bhiwadi and from Bhiwadi, took the Eastern Peripheral Expressway, which was what we ought to have done on the outward trip too. The expressway is well maintained, has low traffic and completely insulated us from the maddening traffic we certainly would have encountered all the way from Bhiwadi to Ashram.

Eastern Peripheral Expressway. 

Conclusion

Hill Fort Kesroli is a great choice for a weekend getaway, a change of pace and scene for work or a venue for a family or work gathering. 

This trip was privately funded and this review written without the knowledge of the property or its management. I’m being a little impatient with this post, being my first post after ‘reclaiming’ my blog. I’ll update the photos as they’re available from different sources, including Cherie, who took photos of the rooms and more of the property, while I focused on the cultural show.

Photos by Cherie and Sid Khullar.

Sid Khullar

Sid Khullar is the founder of Chef at Large, a blog that began in 2007. He enjoys cooking, writing, travelling and technology in addition to being a practising Freemason. Health and wellness is a particularly passionate focus. Sid prefers the company of food and animals to most humans, and can be reached at sid.khullar@chefatlarge.in.