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“Beautiful location with a welcoming pool!”
Review of Banjaar Tola

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Banjaar Tola
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 April 2014

Tents (canvas, wood, canvas) lovely and incredibly spacious (though floor boards very creaky and in need of a little maintenance...) with an amazing view across river, seemingly private and cosy. Staff kindly and attentive - special mention to Ahmed (manager) and Hersha (our Naturalist) - a welcome sense of humour found in both! (other Naturalists we spoke with also incredibly knowledgeable and fun!). Pool cleaned daily and a welcome relief in the afternoon leisure time though maybe more than four sun loungers might be preferred. We stayed in East camp, apparently West camp identical.

Food nice but maybe a little 'samey' (variations of the same meats/veg) though safari breakfasts were plentiful, varied and very tasty. Wi fi, should you need it, requires collection from camp and taken to staff quarters (4 min drive away) to then sit in office whilst work continues ... maybe not convenient for all .....

Safaris here were good and jeep entry point to park close to the camp which saves a bumpy initial ride, though as woodland more dense here, sightings rarer in our opinion. However, learned a lot about bees, ants and deer. Sadly elephants in woodland are chained at feet and working - really heart wrenching they are not permitted the same freedom as other creatures....

Would we stay here again? Well, that very much depends on fellow guests should you have a choice for once the noisy local family with children and staff had left, the peaceful ambience returned and the stay much improved! (noise travels in tents!!)

Room Tip: We were in tent 5 which was closest to restaurant though not hampered by any noise ... lovely.
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank TheUKChapmans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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139 - 145 of 227 reviews

Reviewed 16 April 2014

This has been our, one of the most Cherished & memorable holidays with the Taj Banjaar Tola. The experience of being in the plush yet in the lap of Mother Nature, guess is an unforgettable memory one can carry back. Coming to hospitality, the people starting from Yogi (the manager), Dharam, Chef Siddharth or Chef Ajit, Pradeep and most important Pradeep Rana (Naturalist), seems like having hospitality ingrained in their DNA with a dash of smile on their face each time you meet them. Having “Rana” as your naturalist is a boon in disguise, with him we got to see a leopard in one and a tiger in the other of the only 2 safaris we did. It seems as all these big cats in the wild talks to him and tells him where they will be.

Without talking about & Thanking Abhishek (Via.Com) truly this review would remain incomplete, since he is the one who suggested this made this all possible for us.

Kudos Team Taj Banjaar Tola & most certainly Team Via.com for letting us cherish a few moments for the rest of our life

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Rajatmukherjee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2014

We had a wonderful time and of course the entire trip (designed by &Beyond) went like clockwork. We were met by someone at every step and everyone we dealt with was completely professional and courteous. The Taj/&Beyond property, Banjaar Tola, did not disappoint! The staff was so nice. We loved our butler, DiDi. He got to know us quickly and instead of meeting our jeep with cold lemonade DiDi would meet us with 2 glasses of red wine! Our chef, Nim was a delight to talk with and his meals were exceptional. Our luxury tent was well appointed and soooo comfortable. We loved the Forest Essentials shampoo, lotion and conditioner supplied by the lodge. Also, we did book a massage which was given in room and both were excellent.
My only tips for improvement would be to upgrade the WiFi capabilities. Make WiFi available, if not in the tents themselves, in the common areas of both camps rather than guests having to walk or ride to the office. Also the roads to the property are horrible. I realize that this is not in the hands of &Beyond/Taj resorts but a 4 hour drive through streams and over one lane dirt roads is pretty tough, although our drivers did a wonderful job of making us as comfortable as possible. A nearby airstrip would be wonderful. Wishful thinking?
The safari part of our trip was a huge bust and kind of a snoozefest. Maybe I would feel different if I had seen a tiger but I didn't and by day three looking at deer and monkeys was boring. Also,I found our naturalist to be a little difficult to understand. The other complaint is about the vehicles. &Beyond/Taj have larger, more comfortable vehicles than all of the other lodges but if there are only 2-3 people for a game drive they will often switch to a smaller jeep like vehicle which i found to be extremely uncomfortable. At these prices guests should always be driven in the larger vehicles. Lastly, I did not realize that game drives in India had to be "on road" at all times. In Sabi Sands, SA we were able to drive off road while searching for lions and leopards. We also would stop for morning and evening cocktails in some beautiful scenic part of the park. In India, all vehicles stay on the main roads at all times. The only way to see a tiger is if it walks across the road in front of you :( Also our stops or breaks were in the communal area where the bathrooms are located so snack time was with about 20 other jeeps. Just saying that this experience was TOTALLY different than what I expected based on my previous safari in SA.

Room Tip: All rooms are spectacular and overlook the banjaar river.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank paljoey1075BD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2014

I doubt if any other place can offer such hospitality and service...they have amazing staff to guest ratio...every service is customised to your request...only drawback could be the lack of variety when it comes to things to do...ideal for a 2 or 3 night pampering get-away

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank rahul_2k3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2014

This is a nice Tented Place.
The Manager - Mr. Gill & the Chef are great persons - hospitality is top end.
The Food was average 6/10
Service was always with a smile.
The Tents were well appointed.
The Safari vehicles were below par 3/10
The Cost - way too much for what we were offered / given @ US $'s 1/-K per night.
This is a nice place - would be good to get a breakfast in bad on our own porch & the quality & quantity of food must be reviewed - needs to improve drastically.
This is a good place - would be perfect @ US$'s 300/- per night.
Bhagwan
Mumbai
India

Room Tip: Look for better deals - in and around - this place is too expensive @ US $'s 1/-K per night - no...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Bhagwan72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2014

We transferred form Mathua Kothi to Banjaar Tola. Our driver, arranged by Taj Safaris, was not a great driver. We much preferred the driver we had from the airport to Mathua Kothi who also drove us from Banjaar Tola to the airport. The van was clean, he was always in control and we always felt safe. On our way from Mathua Kothi, we had two flat tires. One happened before the driver reached us and we fixed the tire after we were picked up. Then we got another flat tire so we had to replace it and patch it. This wasn't a big deal and we had already assumed that if the roads were bad the trip might take a bit longer but our driver could have been so much better. Who eats a bag of chips while driving?

The camp is split into two camps - east and west. I personally enjoyed this because you could walk and run from one camp to the other and to the gate (I wasn't alone) as exercise and it meant that the public areas weren't too crowded.

The staff were friendly and we were welcomed with drinks and towels every time we arrived at camp. We were escorted to our room. We thought our room was fantastic. The balcony was brilliant, the bathroom was fantastic, the bed was so big and comfortable. The room was luxuriously decorated and being over the river is brilliant. I could have stayed in our room all day. It's great that you can have your lunch in our room if you want to. I had a foot massage in the room. It was better than the massage at Mathua Kothi but again, overall the massage wasn't as good as the massages I typically have. This is an area of needs improvement.

I have to say that the food is good but not as good as Mathua Kothi and our butler was also not of the same quality. We appreciated the fact that there had been a phone call from Mathua Kothi to Banjaar Tola before our arrival to let the staff know what our preferences are. This was nice. Mathua Kothi staff really went above and beyond in terms of service while the staff at Banjaar Tola were pleasant but they didn't make as much of an effort. The exception was our female safari guide/naturalist who was brilliant.

The biggest problem facing this lodge is permits. I would advise anyone staying at the lodge to make sure that they have permits before booking in. The rules have recently changed and there is a permit shortage. You don't want to show up and then find out you can't go on safari. I'd also try and find out which part of the park the permits are for. Some of the permits can be a 1hr drive away from the lodge. This was potentially going to be a problem for us on our last day because we had a far permit but we needed to be out of the park by 10am. In the end it was fine; we went for a short drive.

Although the bush is high and it is difficult to see tigers during Dec, we got lucky and saw a female tiger. The other issue with this park is that you can have 20 jeeps all chasing the same tiger in the bush. So there were jeeps driving all over the place to try and catch a glimpse of this one tiger. It made for a subpar experience. Nevertheless, we got really lucky and the tiger came right next to our truck so we had an up close and personal experience. The safari trucks are comfortable, they have blankets and water bottles so you don't mind being in the truck for a long time without seeing tigers.

We really appreciated the special christmas celebration, the chocolates, santa hats, fire, music and dinner buffet. It was a really nice evening. Thank you very much!

It's a good lodge.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Constantlyontheroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2014

The property is just lovely and the tents are spectacular. However the designers concentrated more on decor than safety. The bed is on a platform and you have to be very careful in the dark. The deck and view were outstanding but our outside lights did not work and were not fixed during our stay. The game drives were very disappointing and we did not see a tiger in 3 days - nobody's fault.Good thing there were no tigers because when our vehicle got a flat tire, we all had to pile out of the jeep in the middle of this reserve. Our friends in another jeep had a breakdown. Now shouldn't the Taj properties look into the safety and mechanics of these jeeps? Our entire group questioned whether it was worth a very difficult 5 hour road trip to come to this area.
On the positive note, the property has a fantastic dinner in the bush where the villagers join you for music and dance. We also had a lovely visit to the home of one of the staffers and then we rode around the village which was quite interesting. Also kudos to a fabulous chef, Ajit Swain. He can come to any four star restaurant in New York! In all, the staff was kind, courteous and attentive.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank shapgo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Banjaar Tola

Address: Village Mukki | District Balaghat, Kanha National Park 481111, India
Phone Number:
Region: India > Madhya Pradesh > Kanha National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 44 Speciality Lodging in Kanha National Park
Price Range: £328 - £509 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Banjaar Tola 5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Taj Safaris' third jungle safari lodge is situated along the banks of the Banjaar River, directly overlooking the heart of Kanha National Park. The luxurious, yet lightweight, ensuite tents have been designed in a contemporary style, with pressed bamboo wall panels, gorgeous bamboo floors and locally crafted furniture hewn from the timber of exotic Indian trees. The textiles have been designed in tones of delicate saffron and acid-washed green, with rich block-printed Madhya Pradesh cottons and silks. The atmosphere is light, ethereal and organic. The lodge boasts two elegant camps of nine suites, each with its own intimate tented sitting area. Banjaar Tola has its own unique identity, celebrating the Bastar and Dogra art that hails from nearby Chattisgarh. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Banjar Tola Hotel Kanha National Park

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