The Telegraph

Telegraph Review/

7/10

This heritage hotel, with its stunning entrance façade, has been with the same family since it was built in 1926, giving it an authenticity that is hard to duplicate. For a taste of Jaipur with all its charms and quirks, stay here.

Location

7/10

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

7/ 10

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.

Service & facilities

7/ 10

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.

  • Wi-Fi

  • Laundry

  • Parking

  • Bar

  • Pool

  • Restaurant

  • Room service

  • Sauna

  • Spa

  • Steam room/hammam

Shoba's Notes

The owners are known to me. Their daughter, Padmini Kumari is married to a distinguished family in Umerkot, Pakistan.

The son, Pratap, runs the hotel along with his father, Man Singh Kanota.

Rooms

6 / 10

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.

Food & drink

8 / 10
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. New restaurant, Shikar Bagh, serves barbeques and grills.

The Salt Grill, which is only open for dinner, has alfresco cabana seating by the pool. Meats like tandoori chicken and New Zealand lamb chops are grilled on pink Himalayan salt slabs. Vegetarian options include a good cauliflower bisque, deconstructed greek salad and fragrant basmati rice.

Ministry of Food is the all-day dining restaurant. It serves themed buffets during different days of the week including Pan-Asian, European and Indian counters. The well-priced Saturday and Sunday brunch attracts locals. Re:cess is the coffee and pastry shop for a quick burger or sandwich on the go.

The breakfast buffet includes Asian, continental and Indian dishes, along with some excellent south Indian coffee made from arabica and robusta beans. The mixlogists at Klinx are young and enthusiastic, experimenting with galangal and curry leaves in their drinks, which are wheeled around on a drinks trolley.

Value for money

7/10

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.

Family-Friendly?

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.

Address details

Kanota Bagh, Narain Singh Road, Jaipur 302 004, Rajasthan, India.
 

00 91 141 256 1291

 
hotelnarainniwas.com
 
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