Narain Niwas is close to the museums, temples and bazaars of Jaipur. It’s also adjacent to Jaipur’s ‘Central Park’, with its five-kilometre jogging track. If that’s not enough, some of Jaipur’s most stylish shops, like Hot Pink and Anantaya, are right within the property.
Style & character
The hotel, built in 1928 as a palace for one of Rajasthan’s aristocratic families (thakurs who served the king), still retains the quirky touches of a family home. The verandah, with its photogenic mango-yellow façade, proves a fetching backdrop for magazine covers. Stained glass windows mimic the peacocks that wander the grounds. Ornate chandeliers hang over purple velvet sofas and carved wood balustrades.
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Service & facilities
The outdoor swimming pool and the surrounding greenery offer a relaxing antidote to the bustling city outside. A wooden swing hangs from a tree: a charming Indian touch captured in countless Indian myths and paintings. Caged parakeets screech and squeal, which, depending on guest proclivity, can be a pleasure or pain. The spa offers traditional ayurvedic treatments but only in season (October through April). The staff, some of whom have been with the family for a generation, don’t have the slick professionalism of chain hotels but make up for it with an authenticity that is hard to duplicate.
- Room service
- Steam room/hammam
The rooms in the main house have high ceilings and nice proportions, but the curtains and upholstry could use an update. The Kanota suites with four-poster beds and large bathrooms are the best in the property. One of them has an original East India Company bed and dressing table. Archival photographs and paintings, mostly of the owners’ family, decorate the room. The poolside rooms are smaller and darker even though they have access to the verdant lawns. Four apartments with one bedroom, living room and kitchenette are designed for longer stays.
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Food & drink
The owner is a passionate chef and does cooking demonstrations for guests. The family has preserved ancestral handwritten cookbooks with unique recipes that are incorporated into the ‘thali’ dinner menu (multiple dishes served altogether). There are three restaurants. Bar Palladio, painted in shades of blue, is a buzzing nightspot and serves a range of non-Indian food—tempura to tiramisu, with salade niçoise and salumi misti thrown in between. It is enchanting in the evenings, particularly in the winter with a martini, gin, or Pimms and the lights sparkling all around. Mohan Bagh is the multicuisine restaurant where the daily buffet breakfast is served. Newwe restaurant, Shikar Bagh, serves barbeques and grills.
Value for money
Double rooms from INR 7680 (£93) in low season; and from INR 11,520 (£139) in high, including tax and breakfast. Free Wi-Fi all across the hotel but spotty in parts.
Access for guests with disabilities?
One room is kitted out for guests with disabilities. There are ramps for guests on wheelchairs.
While there is no kids’ club or interconnecting rooms, extra beds are available on request for a nominal charge. The large gardens with roaming peacocks and chirping parakeets provide some distraction for young children. The kitchen tries to modify dishes to suit younger palates.
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