WORDS: AMRITA LALL
GREAT FROM: New Delhi, Ahmedabad
GREAT FOR: Some serious splurging
The only kind of traffic that city dwellers are familiar with is the kind that involves a lot of honking, plenty of road-rage and bosses’ reprimands when one tries explaining that the jam-packed roads are to blame for the lateness.
At The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, you will find your paths blocked often as well, but it’s the kind of jam you won’t mind in the slightest. The expansive grounds are home to over a hundred peacocks who think nothing of blocking your way – they’ll stop, stare, and move out of the way only when they feel like it. Sometimes, they’ll even treat you to a little impromptu dance. At any given point of time during your stay, you will encounter more birds than humans, and that’s only one of the many guaranteed joys here.
Located just eight kilometres away from Jaipur, it’s the perfect base from which to explore the Pink City. Be it the stately fort-like setting, the cascading fountains in the courtyards or the traditional design elements in the living quarters, every element at The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, boasts a strong connection to the city’s opulent heritage and fine craftsmanship.
You’ll be welcomed by the resident parakeets as you walk over the moat bridge to take the path that leads to the living quarters. You’ll find, on your way, a beautiful 280-year-old Shiva temple set on a little island. Located across the temple is the majestic pool, made with Jaipur’s famous handmade blue pottery tiles in rich shades of lapis, turquoise and ultramarine. Right behind the pool is a painstakingly-restored 280-year-old Rajasthani haveli, which houses The Oberoi Spa. Furnished elegantly with block-printed linen and hand-painted frescoes, the spa offers a wide range of holistic therapies for beauty and relaxation.
The Premier Rooms, located in clusters of four and six, come with views of the lush grounds while each of the Luxury Tents has its own private garden surrounded by a traditional Rajasthani mud wall. The living quarters showcase Rajasthan’s traditional crafts including the extensive use of lime plaster finish, blue pottery tiles, and stone and marble carvings. Be it the corridors leading to the rooms or the lobbies of the main hotel building, you’ll run into intricately-detailed art made using vegetable dyes, hand-painted wall murals and original paintings by renowned Indian artist Paresh Maity.
If you’d like a break from idling by the pool and taking long walks, there’s a wide range of activities on offer, the most insightful of which is the hour-long discussion with famed local historian Ranbir Singh, who offers never-before-heard perspectives on Indian history. You can also spend evenings chatting with a miniature-painting artist, watching a bangle maker at work, and sharing a laugh with the kids at the traditional puppet show.
As you walk back to your room after a sumptuous dinner at the gorgeous Raj Mahal, you’ll find yourself smiling: at the memory of the delicious khatta maas you just had, the cackle of the birds retiring in the trees, the sound of Rajasthani folk music gently wafting through the air, and the promise of a new day at this property that guarantees the highest order of luxury and hospitality, making you feel like Rajputana royalty, if only for a little while.