India customer reviews
We are very proud of the feedback that we get from our trips and are pleased to share reviews from past travellers. These are kept as up to date as possible. Please have a read through to get a real sense of the kind of experience that you might have on a family trip to India with us. And please do ring if you’d like to talk with someone who has been there and travelled with the kids.
Rayner McKenzie Family (with adult child)
Travelled Easter 2018 – Rajasthan
Hi Kelly – We really enjoyed our trip to Rajasthan. All the guides were very good. So starting with Agra, for a modern hotel it was very good and the staff made it exceptionally good. The breakfast restaurant staff could not do enough for you and were extremely helpful and friendly. We thoroughly enjoyed our city tour and actually enjoyed this more than the trip to the Taj Mahal! We enjoyed it because it was quieter and the views of the Taj Mahal from the Moghul gardens at sunset were stunning. As with all major attractions, the visit to the Taj Mahal was a lot busier. It was still stunning and we did enjoy it, but we all felt it was one of those attractions that has the wow factor from afar. Hence the views from Agra fort and the gardens of it were beautiful, so I would advise anyone visiting Agra to do these excursions too.
Knight Family (with children aged 8, 11 & 13)
Travelled Easter 2018 – Rajasthan
We had a really really amazing trip, we all just loved it, Thank you. Highlights included Udaipur (Jagat Niwas Palace is just fabulous with delightful staff and a lovely atmosphere plus amazing views of Pichola Lake), Dera Amer (… it is a truly magical place especially for kids, expensive but I don’t think anyone would want to go for more than a night anyway, it was just out of this world and the children were in heaven hugging and washing the elephants)…
… we loved Ranthambore fort and were lucky to see a tiger (although people who went on the private non-canter tours saw many many sightings, so just so you know for future reference you absolutely don’t need to do the canters and lots of people at our hotel were not).
Amber fort was amazing and has been beautifully restored since I last went there, and perhaps the icing on the cake was Samode. We got there very late at night down a 3k bumpy track only for a night security guard to tell us that it was shut due to lack of people, BUT they upgraded us to the Samode Palace which was absolutely spectacular and I am very glad that happened as I hadn’t quite realised that it would have been the third hotel in a row where we would have been in tents in 40 degree heat!
Most of the logistics worked very well with all the partners (who are a bit OTT in their hanging around looking after you, but they are probably just trying to justify their existence!) and the drivers were all good.
Re hotels we had mixed feelings, some were superb and some not so. A quick run down:
First hotel in Mumbai – was adequate…
Jagat Niwas – wonderful
Puskar Palace – we got a very funny feeling in Pushkar, not a nice one… We managed to get ourselves moved the following night to the sister Jagat Palace which I would definitely recommend over the Pushkar Palace.
Dera Amer – their website is awful, but the place is a dream.
Ranthambore Bagh – this was a rather strange place… Very very dated! Tents were fine, although quite near the road which was also odd as they had loads of land away from the road.
Jaipur hotel – we were outside the old city in a rather boring area. The hotel was fine, it had a pool (maybe that is why you suggested it) which was unfortunately out of order both days we were there, but it was a shame to be so far out of the action and there was no where near to go and eat or soak up any atmosphere…
Samode Palace – faultless, probably the best hotel I have ever stayed in.
Overall thought it was a really wonderful holiday which we will never forget.
Thornton Family (with children aged 11 & 14)
Travelled Easter 2018 – Rajasthan
Hi Lee – We had an amazing holiday thank you and I really think we did get a good flavour of Rajasthan with its people, its culture and its history. The trip was a true whistle-stop tour, but it didn’t really feel that we did too much travelling and meant that we did get to see a really diverse area.
Ridout Family (with children aged 6, 9 and 11)
Travelled February 2018 – Kerala
Hi there – We had a lovely time and Kerala was beautiful. The boys really enjoyed it as well. We loved our time there and of special note, Manwell, our driver, was fantastic.
Family W (mum and children aged 7 and 9)
Travelled Easter 2017
Hello Lee – I wanted to provide you with feedback further to our 3 weeks in India, but in particular mention our first driver, guide in Jaisalmeer BM Singh, guide in Jaipur, Vijay Singh and our last guide in Agra, who were simply outstanding in their care, attention and genuine service towards myself and my kids. We could not have tipped them enough!
We had a fantastic trip and the historic hotels were simply astounding and wonderful, foremost the hotel in Narauli and the B Villas in Karauli were simply stunning… we felt truly spoiled like Maharajas.
We were equally greeted by the local rep in Jaipur, who asked for further feedback and comments, which was appreciated.
As a sole suggestion I would recommend that a guide is organised for Jodphur, the only city were a male guide would have been appreciated and I suggest that you change the hotel accommodation for Pushkar, as this historic hotel was truly on the tired side.
Lastly, thank you for creating a fabulous itinerary and I will not hesitate to recommend your services to anyone else and consider you for our next trip down south!
McIntosh extended family (from grandparents to kids aged 9 and 12)
Travelled Easter 2017 – Northern India & Goa
Dear Kelly – We had the most amazing time and everyone loved it. Sadly Angus and I were quite ill at one stage and I had to go to hospital in the night for tests and treatment. Phil and all the hotel staff were brilliant and after various jabs and some intravenous medicine, I was up and running again. Angus also had the services of a doctor, but all our consultations and medication didn’t exceed £100! What a bargain.
Luckily Angus and I had been to India before so we had seen the sights.
I cannot fault the service given by Phil. Every visit was seamless and his local knowledge was a huge asset. The suggestion that we donated 2,000 rupees per person to him at the start of the trip was a master stroke. As we had no idea of who to tip or how much, it took away any concerns on that front. His restaurant suggestions were also spot on.
The coach driver was also to be recommended. Having been to India before, I was aware that the standard of driving and the road conditions were not as we know them here. However, the driver was very competent and we all felt safe in his hands.
It is worth saying the Taj resort in Goa is more than paradise. Having a week of luxury was perfect after the heat and dust of the first week. It was worth every penny and although it was not the cheap option, it cannot be faulted.
The accommodation choices during the first week were also excellent. Plenty of variety and the Palace at Karauli was a hit! We were also bowled over by the free lunch at the Sikh temple along with thousands of others! Mass catering on industrial levels.
We could not have done it without your expertise and patience. The reason I chose your company was that you listened to what we wanted from the start and in the end delivered. I’m sure at times you must have wondered what you had taken on, as increasingly I brought up new challenges. We must have been a challenge! All the timings and transfers, the balance of sightseeing and travelling were good. After all the months of organising I could sit back and watch my family having the best of times. For fourteen members of a family to spend two weeks together, without a single cross word made me very proud.
Thank you Kelly for enabling this experience for us and if you or your company ever need a recommendation, just give me a shout.
With many good wishes
Ps We didn’t see a tiger, maybe next time!
Emus Family (with children aged 6, 8, 11 and 13)
Travelled Easter 2017 – Northern India
Dear Liddy – We were only talking about you yesterday. We had a really great trip, the transport was perfect, not even a glitch. The Tour reps were great as well, meeting us when they should and were very helpful. We thought the tour guides were all good although a few I found hard to understand through accents not their English but all in all it was an amazing trip, everything I had hoped for and more.
Only two negatives were the Hotel in Udaipur (which was always going to be a challenge as I lived there for 4 months 15 years ago). The location was fine, but our rooms were very shoddy, and my husband even told me to take a photo of the wall in our bedroom as literally there was a TV and nothing else, just a blank wall. For a large comfortable room, it was far from it, and although there was a swimming pool you had to walk through an unfinished part of the hotel to get there, which made me furious. The woman said we had wonderful rooms that unfortunately weren’t ready for our arrival so we went up a floor to identical rooms that were ready but very uninspiring and ordinary which frustrated us both.
The chap that met us had already left but when he collected us two days later to take us to the train I mentioned it to him and he was very sorry and couldn’t have been more helpful.
My other disappointment was the hotel in Jaipur as again it was tired and shabby with a fridge that was rusty inside. Again I felt the same disappointment as we had had such a perfect trip staying in simply wonderful places. I warmed to the hotel as time went on but I did mention it to the rep who I didn’t warm to at all. I think it was a personality clash with me to be honest, as he gave a few chaps on the train station a talking to as they were smiling at us when we arrived in Jaipur, which was unnecessary as by then we were very used to being stared at and had hundreds of selfies with the children.
All in all it was an ACE trip, managed beautifully by your contacts in India, nothing went wrong apart from the two hotels but to be honest everything had been so magnificent up until that point I was hard to please as the standard had been so great.
I would definitely use your company again and would suggest friends to use you if they wanted to plan a trip with children to India. It was simply wonderful, the finer details were amazing and knowing what could have occurred in India I can only commend the organisation and thank you.
Stephens Family (mum, gran and one child age 6)
Travelled October 2016 – Northern India
What a truly amazing time we had on our holiday. India is breathtaking and we were enthralled by its colour, smells, sights and more than anything, its soul. The people were beautiful, and the places we visited truly wonderful. Every single guide and driver was fantastic, so knowledgeable, kind and wonderful with C too…he’s made some friends for life! We were lucky enough to see 2 tigers on safari, which was magical too.
The reason I booked with you was because of the variety of accommodation, which did not disappoint. We loved the diversity of the different places we stayed and the quirkiness too. The desert resort was amazing, the palace in Karauli just beautiful and the Dera Rawatsar in Jaipur has gorgeous bedrooms.
The only place that we had any negative thoughts on was the Ashok country resort we stayed our final night at. The staff were quite rude (our only experience of rudeness in India) the rooms… just generally not a pleasant place to stay, especially after our amazing experiences for the rest of the trip. It certainly didn’t ruin our experience but was a shame to spend our final night there.
…We had an absolutely wonderful time, Thank you for all your help and i’d like to chat to you about our next adventure! I’ve already recommended you and will be using you again for sure.
Family A (with two children aged 9 and 11)
Travelled Easter 2016 – Southern India
We had the most amazing time in Kerala, it does feel like a distant memory but I am sorting out the photos and bringing our memories alive. The best parts of our holiday were undoubtedly the houseboat and the home stay at Vanilla County. In Vanilla Country Baby Matthew and Rhani made us feel most welcome and relaxed, they looked after us well and ensured we got to see all that was on offer in the area. Taking us to see a working elephant, teaching us how to play traditional Keralan board game and prepared the most amazing food were just some of the highlights.
The houseboat was everything I imagined, the crew were again very attentive, ensuring the food they prepared was to our taste and suitable for the girls. We were taken on a small canoe down some smaller canals at dusk and this just added to the trip, it was an unexpected addition.
All the guides that were allocated to us were very knowledgeable and helpful, tailoring each outing to our specific needs. Our driver for the week, Mohan deserves a special mention, he was very helpful and again accommodating to ensure we saw all that Kerala has to offer, even additions that were not on our itinerary. He was always available to take us places and made sure the journeys were as comfortable as possible, he had good knowledge of where to stop on route, so that facilities were of the highest standard.
For us the only let down was the stay in Theakady, although nothing was wrong with our stay and the hotel was nice it seemed a little soulless and there was little interaction from the staff, again not unfriendly but maybe because we had been so well looked after at Vanilla County it seemed lacking.
We are already thinking about where our next adventure will take us and will not hesitate to be in touch when we need some help.
Thanks you for all your efforts in helping make our holiday memorable.
Family B (with one child aged 9)
Travelled Easter 2016 – Northern India
Just wanted to thank you and your team for putting together such a wonderful trip. We all had a fantastic time and long to return to India! I loved Chandelao Gargh and want to move in with the Bishnoi people! Dehli was fab, great day! Driver was wonderful and we loved him!
Loved Karauli and the staff at Pat Havali were so kind when A had a touch of Dehli Belly. Everything is Jaiselmere was perfect, the camels, the hotel, the guide! The hotel is Jaipur was disappointing, room dingy with a broken telly but the main problem was the very grumpy receptionist and waiting staff, such a shame!
Holi was hilarious – a real experience and we all really enjoyed the Holika festival that happened the evening before.
We had a wonderful time and seem to be inspiring a rush of adventure holidays from our friends, which I will naturally push in Stubborn Mule’s direction! Again, many thanks for all your help.
Also see excerpts from the family blog:
Day 1 – Delhi
Overslept badly. Patient guide was waiting for us while we had our breakfast. Afterwards we went to look at an amazing Muslim temple called Jama Masjid built by Sha Jahan (Taj Mahal) in 1650s.
It was enormous and beautiful. It had rained and we got wet feet as we had to remove our shoes.
Swapped our taxi for bicycle rickshaws and visited the bonkers market, which sold wonderful things, bangles, Saris, spices and glitter! We noticed the water pistols and dried pigments ready for the festival of Holi on the 23.
The rickshaws were fast and the drivers were fearless! It was a great way to explore the market. At lunch we met a snake charmer with 2:snakes, one a cobra! Photo to follow!
Day 3 – Jaiselmer
We did our first Indian train journey leaving Delhi at 18.30 (one hour late) and arriving at Jailsamer the next day at 1pm. First Class not what it used to be with the sleeping cars not nearly as pristine and we even has to make our own beds! This was A’s first Indian train journey and his first sleeper train anywhere. I think he enjoyed it. Kids from next door berth made friends and were very chatty in perfect English.
Jaisalmer – An amazing old 12th century fort in The Thar Desert near the Pakistan border. Looks like a giant sandcastle – our hotel is literally a palace with even its own maharaja.
Explored the fort by tuc tuc much to A’s excitement. Cows everywhere. Jaisalmer seems much more spruce than 20 years ago when I visited before.
Our hotel: Jaisalmer Fort
Tour of fort – In the morning we went on a marvellous tour round Jaisalmer fort with an extremely interesting man who was telling all about how people would get pushed off towers into spikes with zero chances of surviving. Afterwards we looked at some stunning Jain temples. Did you know that they do not choose to wear proper clothes instead they would wear white robes everyday and they wear a mask around their face so do not swallow flies since they strongly believe that killing anything is bad enough to make you a bad person. Finally they also don’t believe in traveling on public transport so they walk everywhere whether it’s to the shops or to the other side of the world.
Camel safari – After a good lunch we climbed aboard a jeep and headed to the desert. There we met three camels. We climbed on our camels, mummy on the Lamborghini camel called Mr Babergee.
We went to sand dunes where I played football and rolled down the dunes. Then back on the camels to our camp. We had two tents, small but surprisingly cosy. We had our own chef who prepared a wonderful meal. My parents said it wasn’t spicy but I disagree! We ate it outside under the stars. It got very dark but we had our torches from granny. There was no loo, just a bush!
Family C (with three children aged 15, 18 and 20)
Travelled summer 2015 – Northern India
What can I say… the best family holiday we have had! I was worried when I went that all would have changed since I was last there – but although many more makes of car (where have all the Ambassadors gone) and mobile phones – as enchanting, vibrant, colourful, humorous and full of friendly people. The children and M loved it and we all wanted to stay – we will just have to go back. The whole of India seemed to want our picture – probably splashed on Indian Face books.
The arrangements were excellent and the guides and drivers fantastic. The train trips great (even though the steam trains had disappeared) and our health robust – we ate well – locals gave us good advice where to go.
So many highlights but we loved Mandawa.
Jaipur hustle and bustle and the elephants – a great experience
Karuli – well art deco or what – and we were the only people staying there so we became good entertainment for the Maharaja and his family – I have never had dinner at such a long table with royalty at the other end.
The temples at Khajuraho amazing and Varanasi – spiritual (and our first experience of Monsoon rain).
Great fun having clothes made – my oldest son a suit in 6hrs.
And the Taj as beautiful as ever.
The only thing I would say travelling to the bird sanctuary was fascinating but need to travel 30min before properly get in and then quite a lot to see and then Fatehpur Sikri (which again was interesting but our guide who we selected was a bit of a hustler) was quite a lot on top of travel – but added to our story board.
All I can say is thank you – a fantastic trip and I will certainly be recommending Stubborn Mule to others.
Families P and C (with three children between them, aged 8, 11 and 10)
Travelled Summer 2015
Many thanks for organising an amazing trip to India. We were very impressed with all the activities and accommodation. Your partners in India were outstanding. Organisation, guides and driver were all fantastic. I would recommend this trip to anyone. I just need to persuade my husband to try China next year so will be in touch!
Family R (with two children aged 9 and 10)
Travelled Easter 2015
Thank you very much for all you help – the trip went very well, everyone was quite happy. My wife liked Karauli best as it is still unspoiled real India.
Family P (with two children aged 8 and 11)
Travelled Easter 2015 – Northern India
I just wanted to drop you a line to say a big thanks for arranging our amazing trip to India!! We had such a brilliant time. The highlights (there are so many) were: seeing 5 tigers in Ranthambore, a cycle rickshaw ride through the streets of Old Delhi, being awoken in Samode by cheeky monkeys trying to steal anything they could get and having a private dinner arranged for us at Samode Palace by the staff to show how much they valued our custom.
Everything on the schedule happened just as it should and this really took the stress away from us. Please pass on a massive thanks to your partners in India. We will definitely use your company again and recommend you to our friends!!
The only slight piece of negative feedback was that the hotel pool in Karauli did not look like it was safe to use. We were assured that it was, but the water looked like it could do with a good clean, and we didn’t think we should take any chances with the kids…the service there, of course, along with everywhere else was second to none!!
Thanks again Liddy!
Family T (with three children aged 10, 12 and 14)
Travelled Easter 2015 – Northern India
Thanks for organising us such a fantastic holiday – overall it worked out brilliantly but we thought we’d share the bits that worked really well and those bits we found more of a challenge!
Our first day in Delhi was (not surprisingly) very overwhelming! Depending on flight times etc it may be useful to stay in a hotel out of the city that is more relaxing or to have a clear plan for the day with a guide to help adjust! Saying that we explored the market and then walked to Crossroads Restaurant, which was great and then got cycle rickshaws back to the hotel.
The train station at night was pretty scary and overwhelming. Even the reps that met us thought we were mad and struggled to find the right platform and then our seats on the train. The children were very frightened and we were on the verge of booking a hotel for the night! Had this happened later in the trip we may have coped better but on day 2 it was a bit much for us all! Once on the train and with the help of a very nice Major in the Indian army we were absolutely fine! It is worth letting people know the seating / bed plan will be stuck to the outside of the carriage and make sure people know to take food and drink supplies to get them through the night!
Pal Haveli Hotel was lovely, right in the thick of it and has the most fantastic restaurant – both in terms of food and the view – book a roof terrace table!
People were surprised the palace at Jodhpur wasn’t included in our itinerary – is it worth it?
We did a very nice jeep safari into some local villages during the afternoon – visited a potter, weaver etc – this was fairly inexpensive but very enjoyable.
Pushkar Palace Hotel claims to have a pool but it doesn’t – it has an agreement with another hotel a kilometre away. It was great to be by the lake with views over the ghats although the website also shows their eating terrace overlooking the lake which we were looking forward to but this doesn’t exist!
Jaipur – you can no longer climb on the observatory – this wasn’t a problem for us at all but may be worth noting.
We know there were concerns about the elephants at the Amber Fort and how well they were looked after. It now seems as though things have changed and that they stop working at 11 am so they can rest (sounds as though things have improved) – the jeep was great though and cost 500 rupees.
Elefantastic was the best afternoon of the holiday! We were incredibly well looked after and the kids especially loved every minute! The mahouts were informative and great with the kids. It is worth telling people to take a change of clothes as we got soaked showering or being showered by the elephants – it really was an amazing experience.
Ranthambore was great (even though we were unlucky with the Tigers)! There were quite a few hours in between the game drives when a hotel with a pool may have been nice for the kids. It may / may not be worth paying a bit extra for a smaller jeep rather than the large canters.
Karauli was very nice although we were the only people in the hotel which was a bit strange. The pool was disappointing, as it needed a good clean. The food was lovely in the hotel but we did feel like a bit of a spectacle on our camel cart!
We payed the guide that was with us in Agra to come to Fatehpur Sikri with us which was useful. There are lots of unofficial guides there touting for business, which we were advised to be wary of.
I am worried this sounds like a list of moans which is not our intention – we really did have a fantastic time – it may just be worth doing the more challenging bits such as the train nearer the end of the trip when people (especially those with small children) are more acclimatised to the noise and number of people etc. With the exception of the train station we felt very safe on the whole and experienced much less hassle than we were expecting. Our guides were brilliant and pitched the pace and level of information at a good level for the children.
Thanks again for all your help in planning our adventure (we now need a holiday)!
Family B (with two children aged 12 and 15)
Travelled summer 2015 – Northern India
Some notes on the trip before I forget…. the hotels were good with a couple of exceptions. Dera Rawatsar was good but we were put on ground floor in dark rooms. They relocated us to better rooms on the first floor but not the best rooms we had upgraded to, they were full.
Ranakpur Hill Resort – very basic room, not clean, poor menu and poor service; the only place we carried our bags from our rooms. There were other hotels in that area that may have been better.
Sea Palace Hotel – not to be recommended. It’s an Indian Faulty Towers without the humour. Grim place with weird staff! We’ll remember it though!
The best hotel was Jagat Niwas Palace in Udaipur, very unique. The Mansingh in Agra, Pushkar Palace and Rawla Jojowar were very good too.
Because it was outside the tourist season, the hotels were empty so lacked atmosphere. The waiters were so keen to do a good job, on several occasions we had an audience watching us.
Delhi was as hectic as ever. We spent too long in the car getting across the city to see some sites. Might have been better getting a tuk tuk from the hotel.
The Taj Mahal was as wonderful as ever. In hindsight, we wouldn’t have had the guide and spent a couple more hours there to take it in.
Our driver, Rajeev, was great. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending him. His driving was 95% good with 5% random spurts of madness. Good for India though.
It only took 1.5 hours to get to Ranakpur from Jojowar. We could have done the next day’s driving that day too and spent an extra day in Mumbai. We enjoyed Mumbai, a more calm, ordered city.
The trains were all good. The sleeper was fine, an experience for the girls.
Because it was the rainy season, Rajasthan was green. No desert to be seen. Mount Abu roads were treacherous due to the rain, half the road gone in places. The Palace Hotel was nice but the rooms were very damp with no ventilation, and no one else staying.
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