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Reviewed 18 February 2018

Sher Bagh

We are a family of safari aficionados and avid travellers. Having been numerous times to all of the major safari destinations in Africa, I was thrilled when, after years of discussions and much planning, a tiger safari – at a lodge belonging to the prestigious Relais & Chateau group, no less – was finally decided. Dates were finalized and a total of five of the 11 tents at Sher Bagh were booked. My time to see a tiger in the wild was finally going to come true. I was over the moon with excitement. Unfortunately, no sooner had it started, the excitement rapidly crumbled giving way to extreme skepticism about the chosen venue.

Our questioning of the decision to stay at Sher Bagh began when we tried to reach out to the team, hoping to get some guidance about the game drives. No two staff members we spoke with ever gave the same answer, often contradicting each other in the information provided. Frustrated with the dubious behavior demonstrated by the Sher Bagh team, we managed to get in touch with Yusuf Ansari, who, in contrast to his colleagues, was immensely helpful, transparent, and prompt in his responses to our questions. He explained to us the differences between a state run vs a sher bagh game drive as well as what a full day and half day drive entailed. If it weren’t for Yusuf, we were certain to cancel our stay at Sher Bagh.

The second phase of utter disappointment came when we arrived at Sher Bagh. When staying at an expensive safari camp that belongs to the renowned Relais & Chateau group and when your group is large enough that you’ve booked almost half of the tents at the property, one expects nothing short of perfection. Boy were we disappointed.

More fat than flavor, our meals at camp was less than mediocre. When we requested that the chef use less butter and ghee when preparing our meals, instead of accommodating our needs, he gave us lecture on how Indian food is prepared. He also very audaciously told us that since we were Indians living abroad, we did not know what authentic Indian food tasted like. Our breakfast preferences went unheeded. Even more annoying was the arrangement the camp had for delivering hot beverages. In the cold early morning hours, the staff would bring us tea, in a tea pot, that was cold to the touch. Coffee was brought already poured in an open cup floating in a bowl of water! We had to ask that a tea cozy be used to keep our beverages warm.

During the day and even in the evenings, it was common to go for hours without a single senior staff member in sight. In the common area, even if we needed a glass of water, we had no choice but to walk around the property in search of someone who could fetch a glass for us. For a group as large as ours, we expected slightly better treatment. I am still reeling in disbelief that Sher Bagh made into the Relais & Chateau group.

While the game drive was good and our guide was knowledgeable and polite, he was not engaging in the way of other guides we have had. He didn’t ask if this was our first safari, what we wanted to see, or if we had ever seen tigers in the wild. There is also no hand sanitizer in the safari vehicles – so make sure you take some along with you.

Overall, at Sher Bagh, we were made to feel like second class citizens. But I don’t think that is something that Sher Bagh is too bothered about – note how none of the negative reviews on tripadvisor gets a response from management.

I would suggest to the owners of this property that they take a trip to a Relais and Chateau safari lodge in Africa and take notes on how to treat guests like family.

Sher Bhag’s failure to deliver has left me feeling robbed and cheated. I am sure to go on another tiger safari, but never again will Sher Bagh get even a cent more of my hard money.

  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank TiyendePamodzi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SUJANFAMILY, Manager at Sher Bagh, responded to this reviewResponded 25 February 2018

Dear TiyendePamodzi,

Thank you your comments about your stay at Sher Bagh last November. We are naturally taken aback and extremely disappointed to hear your views and experience, as you have described it. Contrary to your view that, “none of the negative reviews on tripadvisor gets a response from management”, we do respond to each review and take guest feedback very seriously. Our response is the result of carefully considered inquiries and an in depth assessment with management of what went wrong internally, and this sometimes takes time so we apologise for the delay.

At the onset, we of course deeply regret that you felt treated like “second-class citizens”, something inconceivable for us to get our head around or understand how this could be so as we have never and would never make anyone feel this way. Please do allow us to come back to you on your many grievances.

Whilst we appreciate that the flavour of our cuisine & style of cooking was not to your liking, it is important to remember that as a result or your dislike, immediate action was taken and our Chef in fact met you personally to explain our cooking style and methods. At no moment did he intend to be condescending- he was just trying to explain and was in fact, as you witnessed, more than happy to then create an entirely separate menu for you and your family, in addition to the set menu being served to all our other guests at camp. As a result of this, two sets of meals were especially prepared during your stay with us. We understand it was also communicated by your group to our management that everyone was in fact very happy with the food – with the exception of the first night when you found it very buttery.

We do apologise for that your teas and coffee's arrived slightly cold in the morning with your early wakeup calls. The cup is in fact placed in a bowl of hot water to ensure the coffee remains hot, allowing guests to take their time to prepare for the morning drive, however we are sorry on this occasion this failed.

As for your comments about the lounge area- the guest areas are constantly manned by members of the team and while each tent comes with its own bottles of mineral water – replenished daily and with our compliments – we of course agree that it would not be acceptable that members of staff were thought to be absent in the short durations between your game drives and/or in the evenings. With decades of experience behind them, our team are constantly available and on call and have always been quick to respond to guest queries, we do apologise if you felt this wasn't the case. Every time a guests arrive or leave camp whether on excursion,a safari or a walk there is always someone from our team there to welcome and see them off safely.

We do concede that on some occasions we are unable to oblige certain requests of yours – for example your desire to watch television. It is important to note that at none of our SUJÁN camps do we have televisions- on the whole we find our our guests are more than happy being amongst nature and enjoying the great outdoors. At many of the best camps in Africa this is also the case as I am sure you are aware from your travels.
Once more, we are sorry our tents are not equipped with television screens, we would not want to spoil the tranquillity of the property and our identity with such introductions. Nonetheless, we hope the laptops the team provided you with, with the live streaming of the programme you wanted to watch was an adequate substitute.

Our game drives and wildlife experiences are the cornerstone of our identity, and have been since our inception. We are sorry you were not wholly satisfied with these though we do recall members of your group giving us the feedback that your drives were “amazing” so this remains a little confusing for us.

We were also thrilled for you all that our guides had managed to secure the very elusive “Ranthambhore Hat-trick” for you; the sighting of Tiger, Leopard and Sloth Bear on the same game drive – this happens perhaps once or twice a year and is incredible rare and special! All our jeeps are equipped with hand-sanitizers as well as a fully loaded First Aid Kits. We apologise if on that occasion your driver/guide was unable to locate this for you.

As we said before, we are disappointed to hear your feedback especially where necessary corrective action has already been taken. Each and every guest who walks into Sher Bagh is immediately recognised as our own family, visiting our family home and we do everything we can to ensure they feel this warmth. We pride ourselves on our hospitality ethic and we hope you will give us another chance to serve you in the future.

It seems a shame to have had such a negative note from you, as at the time of departure, you seemed extremely happy with your stay and said you would come back again, so we very much hope this is the case.

With our sincere good wishes and wishing you a very happy Holi to come.

The SUJÁN Family

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2018 via mobile

Sher Bagh was a must for us on our first tour of India. We knew we wanted to go to Ranthambore and as soon as we saw Sher Bagh, we knew that’s where we would stay and what a treat!
From the welcome upon arrival, to the wonderful tented accommodation, to meeting at the campfire before dinner, to the actual safari; everything was of such a high quality and tastefully done and provided in such a friendly manner that staying at Sher Bagh became the highlight of our holiday.
The Sher Bagh safari guide we had was a fantastic man with a wealth of knowledge and gave us so much information. Living so close to the main gate to the park ensured that we were always the first on site on all three drives we completed.
There are 12 tents on site and they were beautifully presented. Warm, spacious, with a large bed and large en-suite. They are perfect to relax in and after the evening meal, perfect to return to for a great night sleep.
There is no doubt that we want to go back to Sher Bagh and will recommend it to anyone wanting to complete a safari at Ranthambore.
Thank you to everyone for making our stay fabulous.

Stayed: December 2017, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Bolsox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SUJANFAMILY, Manager at Sher Bagh, responded to this reviewResponded 10 February 2018

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your kind words. We are so pleased you enjoyed your stay with us and that your time with us at Sher Bagh became a highlight of your holiday.

We very much look forward to welcoming you back to SUJÁN soon for more wonderful food, wildlife and authentic luxury here in Rajasthan.

With love,
The SUJÁN Family

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 January 2018 via mobile

The luxurious tent, delicious food and drinks and impeccable service made Sher Bagh the perfect place for 3 nights glamping. The staff wakes you up at 6 am for morning safari with tea or coffee service. Hot porridge with brandy to line your tummy before the morning drive. Coffee and tea with cookies midway through the morning safari. Breakfast and lunch at leisure with a nice nap in between. Afternoon safari is from 2 pm to 6 pm.
Important note: Always go with the Sher Bagh vehicle and guide. Our last drive, we had Dennis and he was the best! The other guests that went with him saw tigers every time, morning and afternoon. Sher Bagh vehicles are much nicer and less bumpy as well.
Our travel agent, Ampersand booked us with guide from the forest service with old Jeep. We did not see any tigers for 4 drives. That was a total ripoff! Make sure you check and insist on using Sher Bagh guide and vehicle. That totally ruined our experience at Ranthambore.

We met some other guests from around the world by the camp fire each night. Dinner always delicious Indian Thali. Maybe they can alternate western and Indian food. Sincere and amazing service, we recommend Sher Bagh whole heartedly!

Stayed: January 2018, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Lee L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SUJANFAMILY, Manager at Sher Bagh, responded to this reviewResponded 29 January 2018

Dear Lee,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a great review of your recent stay with us at Sher Bagh. We are thrilled that you enjoyed your tent and the "impeccable service."

It would be our pleasure to share our other SUJÁN experiences in Rajasthan with you, we hope you will return soon to India and please be in touch when you do!

With love,
The SUJÁN Family.

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Reviewed 5 January 2018 via mobile

Been meaning to write this one for a while. We stayed at Sher Bagh for three nights in October 2017. Those four days were surreal. The hospitality, food, service, game drives, tiger spotting (we saw five), the owner Jaisal’s cooking (yes, we got super lucky), musicians, massages - absolutely everything was beyond perfect. The Singh’s made it even more special with their presence. This was definitely one of the best trips we’ve ever had. Can’t wait to visit their other properties and of course come back to Sher Bagh. So much love.

Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Anoushka_b6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SUJANFAMILY, Manager at Sher Bagh, responded to this reviewResponded 14 January 2018

Dear Anoushka,

Wishing you a very Happy New year from us all at SUJÁN. Thank you for your kind words. We are so pleased you enjoyed your stay. All of us at camp and Mrs & Mrs Singh thoroughly enjoyed meeting you.

We very much look forward to welcoming you back to SUJÁN soon for more wonderful food, wildlife and authentic luxury with us here in Rajasthan.

With love,
The SUJÁN Family

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 December 2017

Writing a review about this place has me torn. There were so many things that were great about it, yet so many that left more to be desired.

Ranthambore is a beautiful reserve, and the game drives were the most enjoyable part of our trip here. The awe-inspiring terrain dotted with ancient ruins, the flora and fauna were spectacular and humbling. We booked our drives directly through Sher Bagh after reading a detailed review about the nebulous manner in which this activity is conducted in the reserve as a whole. There is very little formal guidance as to how one can go about arranging for the best game viewing experience. Sadly, even the folks at Sher Bagh were not forthcoming in the information they provided, with one staff member often contradicting the other in our email communications (this led to a lot of frustration and some skepticism on our side right from the outset). Fortunately, our choice in game drives proved favorable. Our vehicle was comfortable and the driver and guide were skillful, knowledgeable, and friendly.

When one is paying so much for a luxury safari experience, the hospitality has to be impeccable. This, shamefully, was not the case at Sher Bagh. The staff was excellent when they were around. Unfortunately, they were not around very much. Maybe they were short-staffed. Maybe they were overwhelmed because we were a large group. Neither of the above should have been the case, since we made our reservations a good six months in advance.

Having been to several luxury safari camps in the African bush, we had certain expectations going in. Add to that Sher Bagh’s membership in the prestigious Relais & Chateaux family, we were sure the hospitality would be top notch. A butler designated to each tent, staff members at the ready in common areas for any of our needs, senior staff readily available to play the role of host (this last was especially disappointing, as it felt that the captain of the ship was either missing or too busy to tend to the guests). Generally being made to feel a part of the family. None of this happened. There was a very friendly and helpful ranger named Abhimanyu who was around for pre-dinner drinks to chat about the day, but other than that, it seemed as though the staff was busy bustling about, but not paying any attention to the guests. There were two other young girls, interns from England, who were eager to help when we sought them out. The lady who helped us at the shop was very friendly and patient as well.

Food was as a disappointment in its mediocrity. Lunch was usually Western and dinner was Indian. The Indian food was exceptionally heavy. When we pointed that out to the chef, he told us that being NRIs, we were not used to eating “real” Indian food, but that he would try to cut back in subsequent meals.

The camp itself is beautiful. The setting is serene and the tents are lavish. They are rather close together, and it is possible to hear full conversations, not only from the neighboring tents, but also other tents. Even though the tents are heated, the nightly hot water bottles were a much appreciated gesture. They also added an extra layer to our rather firm mattress the second day, for which I was very grateful. The common tent could be a little more decadent. The lighting was especially poor. Dim lighting is understandable, given the setting, but there wasn't even enough light to read a book without straining. Even the so-called library did not have appropriate lighting to read a book in the evening. Also, a friendly suggestion/request - please make all the common areas smoke-free. There was another couple in the common tent smoking away, and it was extremely disturbing and uncomfortable. Thankfully, after bringing it to the attention of one of the interns, the couple was requested to smoke in the privacy of their tent.

I would have given this camp three stars, but I added an extra for effort. They truly did make an effort to please whenever we asked for something. We just felt bad, because it seemed as though they seemed so overwhelmed, running around with chickens like their heads cut off, and in the commotion, getting things (e.g. our early morning breakfast preferences) wrong. This may all sound terribly nitpicky, but good hospitality is all in the details. It’s getting the little things perfect that distinguishes the exceptional from the good. Whenever the staff was around to help us, they were earnest, gracious, and very eager to please. And for that reason alone, I would probably come back to Sher Bagh.

  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Tivolem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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