Asecond home, Fifu's oasis in the Indian desert A review of Hotel Fifu
I hope by writing this, more people will have the fortune to stay with Fifu in Jaiselmer.
Fifu's guesthouse is the one place in India that we were truly made to feel like we were staying with friends rather than as paying customers. This is all down to Fifu. When we booked our room on the internet our hearts fell, Fifu's brother was getting married that week and we assumed we would have to look elsewhere. Instead we were invited to his brother's wedding! This set the tone for the whole of our stay with Fifu.
Like a previous reviewer, we arrived in the cold small hours of the morning and were shown into the warmth of a lovely room which we were not expected to pay for. The room was more expensive than the one we'd booked but Fifu insisted that we should not pay any more if we preferred it.
The hot shower was the best in India and like the rest of the airy sandstone building was beautifully designed - think carved horseshoe arches and stone balconies - and lovingly cared for. Out of the window we saw the sun rise over farmers herding cows past the guesthouse, all was quiet. Up on the roof, the view of the fort was spectacular, particularly in the glow of sunset. This is somewhere that makes you want to have no reason to leave. Our stay was made all the more charming by the appearance of treats of chai and the most delicious lassi I have ever tasted, all on-the-house.
I have no idea what the food is like in the evenings because at 8.30 we would wander into town - 10 mins walk - with Fifu to his brother's wedding feasts to eat/process/dance with his family and friends. This was a side of India I would never otherwise have experienced and I feel richer for it.
Fifu himself, intelligent, kindly and generous, is great company. Interesting and keen to chat, he is careful never to overstay his welcome. Refreshingly, in a country where so many conversations come round to the subject of selling you something, with Fifu, he knows that if you want something you will ask. I wish I had known about the tips jar (mentioned by a previous reviewer) but tellingly it was never mentioned. Not for nothing is his slogan "tourism with honesty".