Check in to a castle in the sand, complete with whimsical turrets and impenetrable walls. Opened in December 2009, this is a new property constructed in local style from wattle, mud and wood. But don't be deceived by the humble building materials: Mihir Garh ('Sun's Fortress') gives a taste of desert life at its most luxurious. Nine suites are decorated with Rajasthani textiles and delicate murals. Six have plunge pools; the first-floor rooms have terraces - the perfect sunset vantage points. Guests can lounge by the infinity pool, or take a horse-riding expedition through the desert. Mihir Garh's sister property Rohet Garh, which is known for its stables of indigenous Marwari horses, is a (bumpy) short drive away. Wow factor: Enjoy a romantic picnic, served on a royal scale. Flight time: From nine hours 30 minutes via Mumbai to Jodhpur. Go: Doubles from £200 full board (mihirgarh.com). Bales Worldwide (0845 057 0600; balesworldwide.com) offers a seven-day trip to Rajasthan with two nights full board at Mihir Garh from £2,545 per person, including Jet Airways flights and transfers.