A Royal Throwback #hiddengem #budgetfivestar #summerescape #IssSummerBaharNikal

Tripoto

Sometimes while on a trip to a well known tourist destination we stumble upon a quiet gem of a place where we can unwind in peace while not being too far away from the place we had intended to visit.

The Place - Sandur

The famous gorge of Sandur

Photo of Sandur, Karnataka, India by PG

The quaint town of Sandur was our discovery during a visit to Hampi. It is an hour away from the dusty ruins of Hampi, up in the verdant hills of Bellary district. It used to be a princely state and still retains much of the quiet grandeur. There is an ancient temple further up in the hills which are also the site of the blooming of the rare Neel Kurunji flowers around September. Somehow the place reminded of the movie "Jo jeeta wahi sikandar" probably because of the residential school there.

The Hotel

The WelcomHeritage Shivavilas Palace hotel in Sandur, was our destination of choice to unwind in royal luxury in the midst of a long and arduous summer road trip in Karnataka. After travelling almost 230 odd kilometers from Bijapur (Vijaypura) to Sandur, we hoped to unwind in the lap of relaxing luxury - and the palace-hotel did not disappoint us. We had selected it amongst all the five star hotels in the region purely for the deal (including meals) that we had got on Cleartrip. But on arrival a pleasant surprise awaited us. It is by all standards a medium sized palace turned into a heritage hotel and while not very opulent if compared to the other big princely states in India, it has a quaint and old world charm that neatly strikes ones mind as you enter the gates of the palace grounds.

The hotel

Photo of A Royal Throwback #hiddengem #budgetfivestar #summerescape #IssSummerBaharNikal by PG

The palace was built some time during the early 20th century in a neat mixture of modern European and Indian architecture and is very pleasant to look at and of course to stay. The rooms have huge bathrooms and equally huge balconies, which to a metro-dweller is itself a big gift. Our idea of ultimate luxury is to have a nice garden outside the room and the hotel is surrounded by greenery. Also, it has a nice little pleasure pool to unwind and cool off. There are the remnants of a bygone era like a billiards room where a proper pool table is still in use, a small car collection which hosts the royal car collection of Sandur, a cool library, a museum of royal collections of arms and other nick-knacks and last but not the least a sprawling garden for long walks in greenery. Two temples are also housed in the main building.

A standard room

Photo of A Royal Throwback #hiddengem #budgetfivestar #summerescape #IssSummerBaharNikal by PG
Photo of A Royal Throwback #hiddengem #budgetfivestar #summerescape #IssSummerBaharNikal by PG
Photo of A Royal Throwback #hiddengem #budgetfivestar #summerescape #IssSummerBaharNikal by PG
Photo of A Royal Throwback #hiddengem #budgetfivestar #summerescape #IssSummerBaharNikal by PG
Photo of A Royal Throwback #hiddengem #budgetfivestar #summerescape #IssSummerBaharNikal by PG
Photo of A Royal Throwback #hiddengem #budgetfivestar #summerescape #IssSummerBaharNikal by PG
Photo of A Royal Throwback #hiddengem #budgetfivestar #summerescape #IssSummerBaharNikal by PG

In the quiet environment of Sandur, the palace stands testimony to the unhurried era of royalty and presents a window to the luxury of a different class. In the heat it turned into the perfect site for a staycation, particularly as the hotel was practically empty and we got the space to ourselves. The staff is very courteous and though sometimes they are edgy around Hindi and English there is nothing that cannot be managed. The only letdown for us was that being the only guests around, we had to do with the set food menu with limited average fare (the good meal package at the time of booking made up for it). The complimentary minibar items and toiletries were great.

Overall a great place for a get together as well as a solitary break away from the crowds.

Best Time to Visit

Will definitely be winter. However, September is the best time if visiting to see the flowers.

What to see around

The most important attractions are:

1. The world heritage site of Hampi

2. The ancient Kumarswamy Temple

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