The address is the name of the hotel. Right behind the governor’s house and near the chief minister’s residence in the Civil Lines area, the neighbourhood is nothing if not safe. That said, the sound of horns and traffic are constant throughout the day, just as it would be in a Jaipur home. Boutique shopping and the Old City bazaars are 20 minutes by car.
Built by a French architect for the late great Munnu Kasliwal, the founder of Gem Palace, 28 Kothi in its current, guest house avatar is two years old. It is a collaboration between Munnu’s son, Siddharth and a Mumbai-based hospitality firm. The Instagram-friendly interiors have been designed by Lebanese designer, Nur Kaoukji, who owns Ecru, the lifestyle firm, which does its production in Jaipur. The feel is minimalist for India, but maximalist for say, Japan. There are the obligatory yellow marigolds floating in water in the bronze uruli (container), but there are also amusing touches: parrots that are cut-out from metal adorn landings and walls, star-shaped marble trays hold candles, glass tables with golden corn-sheaf like trunks mimic real-life sheaves.
Magazines such as Suitcase, Racquet, Hole & Corner, are lined up on the hearth along with Vogue, Tatler, and Porter. Contemporary and traditional art line the walls.
The resident manager and tiny staff make up in friendliness what the guest house lacks in facilities. The manager sits with guests in the living room to discuss sightseeing, dinner, and shopping options. The one-room Pahadi Local spa does basic massages. There is laundry service but that’s about it. Dinner and yoga lessons are to be pre-booked. That said, you stay at this property for its whimsical and rather wonderful design touches: a hooded cobra candle-stand, fish holding napkins, and antique ladles on the bathroom walls.
This tiny hotel is a favourite amongst the fashion crowd
Each of the five rooms is named after a jewel. Choose Spinel if you like hot pink interiors. Moonstone is naturally white and has a lovely bathtub with salts: the only such room in the property. Topaz is the standard room. It comes with a queen bed, an attached balcony with lots of plants, and an en suite bathroom with a shower. Fragrant Kama toiletries are kept in the bathroom along with organic cotton towels. There is even a soap-menu. Guests choose from five fragrances: lemongrass, musk, rose, ylang ylang, and aqua. Soaps in that fragrance are kept in the room. The tiny Philips boombox that can be connected to an iPhone is a nice touch. There is no minibar, but quinoa and kale chips, ginger ale, and a few other healthy snacks and drinks are kept in the room. The cupboard is painted with a palm tree and inside is a safe and hairdryer. Indian elements are everywhere from the aluminum trunks to the cotton furnishings and colourful cushions.
There is no restaurant as such but the in-house kitchen serves dinner with advance notice. The menu is vegetarian, largely organic and quite superb. Dinners are served in the garden by candle-light. Guests can choose a three-course supper or an Indian thali– a round plate with an assortment of little dishes. Try the Rajasthani thali – it is flavoursome and gluten-free.
Shoba Narayan is an author, journalist and columnist. Besides writing, she is interested in nature, wine, gadgets and Sanskrit. Her lifelong mission is to get fit without exercising and lose weight without dieting.