Just outside Jaipur city. This hotel is great for jetlagged travellers who want a little respite before exploring Rajasthan. Its location diminshes traffic, noise and pollution so that all you hear are the sounds of Asian koels and temple bells.
Rajvilas exudes Rajasthani exuberance while somehow managing to keep it from going over the top. It looks like a sprawling desert fort built by a meticulous Singapore design firm, which, in fact, it was. There are the typical floral designs and arches punctuated with lotus ponds lined with handmade Jaipur tiles in jewel tones. Sandstone sculptures stare at peacocks and lapwings. There are overlays and inlaid marble floors that blend together without appearing garish or overwhelming.
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Service & facilities
The staff, led by charming general manager Abhishek Sharma, are adept at making guests feel special. The ancient temple in the middle of the property allows interested guests to engage in a “renewal of vows” ceremony. The spa offers an unusual chakra-balancing Himalayan stones massage. Daily yoga and meditation are available at 7.30am. The concierge can arrange shopping and sightseeing trips and also more unusual expeditions including a trip to Naila Fort, the Oberoi home where tea and cookies are served in the courtyard and an elephant safari is organised on request.
- Fitness centre
- Room service
- Steam room/hammam
Even the most basic of the four categories of room (72 in total) are spacious enough. The feel is old-fashioned, like an English cottage with actual brass keys and a walk-in closet. Courtyards in front of room clusters have fountains and floral trellises where parakeets and bulbuls come to screech and sing. Bathrooms contain fragrant toiletries perfumed with lime, holy basil and narangi (an Indian citrus). There is a bathtub and separate shower along with two sinks.
Amenities include a safe and minibar, but no Nespresso machine, buttons that open or close blinds, or docking devices. Instead, there are awnings and a bay window to sit and watch the butterflies outside.
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Food & drink
One restaurant, the Surya Mahal, serves all the meals: a boon or a bane depending on whether you like multiple dining outlets. The kitchen prepares everything ranging from Indian and Chinese to Italian, salads and sushi. The breakfast country eggs are light and fluffy. Healthy local fruits like Indian gooseberry are mixed into juices and smoothies. Dinner is accompanied by music and dance in the open courtyard. Both food and service are superb.
Value for money
Double rooms from 26,400 Indian Rupees (£320) in low season; and from 72,400 Indian Rupees (£880) in high. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.
Access for guests with disabilities?
The resort is equipped with golf carts, wheelchairs and ramps at multiple locations, and there is one adapted room.
The hotel makes a great base for a family trip to Rajasthan. There are interconnecting adjacent bedrooms, special menus, cots and extra beds, a children’s play area and a number of activities to keep kids busy. Most draw from Rajasthan’s heritage and culture and include kite flying, block printing, puppet making, and pottery as well as the usual mini golf, board games, treasure hunt, painting and films. Babysitters and guides to take guests shopping or sightseeing can also be arranged.