Live the life royale
Suján Luxury’s latest offering—Suján Rajmahal Palace—is the erstwhile private residence of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II in the heart of Jaipur, built in 1821, where once were hosted the Queen of England and the Duke of Edinburgh (as were Lord and Lady Mountbatten). Among the several talking points in the hotel, launched earlier this year, are the sprawling gardens, an original marble staircase, fabulous chandeliers and mirrored ceilings. Only 14 suites are open now (the full complement will eventually comprise 30 suites). Adil Ahmad, family friend and designer extraordinaire, invests the interiors with royal motifs and old art alongside eclectic elements from the inner sanctum of the City Palace, the family’s current residence. (from Rs 20,000).
Designed to stimulate mind, body and soul, the ila Only wellness retreat at Jodhpur’s Raas is inspired by the energy of its surroundings. It helps the mind by introducing it to the rich cultural heritage, flora and fauna and living history of Jodhpur; the body by indulging it with spa therapies, innovative cuisine and yoga sessions; and the soul by helping it experience peace and joy through spa programs and romantic tours. You can choose to take either the three-night (Rs 73,000 per couple) or the five-night package (Rs 1.5 lakh per couple), both of which will give you time to experience the spa, local cuisine and yoga at the hotel.
‘I do, I do, I do’
What if you could experience your wedding all over again and make it prettier with absolutely no stress? If that’s a tempting thought, you might want to consider allowing Jaipur’s Oberoi Raj Vilas to woo you with extravagant hospitality over an evening that begins with special spa therapies for the blessed couple, ceremonial mehendi and hairstyling for the lady, and a horse-drawn carriage to convey you both in royal fashion to a traditional Hindu ceremony at a gorgeously flower-adorned nearly-three-century old Shiva temple in the tranquil gardens of this regal resort. End the magical celebration with a romantic poolside dinner to the accompaniment of Indian music. (half day, Rs 1 lakh plus taxes).
Let’s go leopard spotting
The Jawai Leopard Camp represents the very best of luxury in the wilderness. The camp is open from September to June, and is an easy three-hour drive out of Udaipur or Jodhpur. The landscape in this part of the Aravali hills is wild and remote, the ageless home to resplendently turbaned Rabari herdsmen who venerate leopards as sacred guardians. The dam nearby attracts avian species, including flamingos, and JLC’s naturalist guides acquaint you with the region’s other wildlife as well. The luxury is unstinted with tent-suites sumptuously outfitted, the stunning drama and sophistication of the interiors designed to captivate the seasoned traveller. (from Rs 40,000 for doubles inclusive meals safaris).
In the lap of luxury
Designed by Gautam Bhatia and Navin Gupta, Devi Garh, the iconic lebua property in Udaipur, is housed in an 18th-century Delwara palace, home to royalty till the mid-20th century. There are 16 expansive Palace Suites (60sqm), which have interiors worked with semi-precious stones and marble inlay work, and there’s one enormous Devi Garh Suite (111sqm), which comes with a private sun deck and jacuzzi. Together they form the super-exclusive Presidential Complex with the best views in a hotel that’s built around fantastic vantages, and between them they share a pool crafted from magnificent black marble. (Palace Suite Rs 14,400 per night for doubles, Devi Garh Suite Rs 29,600, plus taxes and fees)
Wild luxury in Ranthambhore
Few wilderness experiences are as luxurious as a stay at the Oberoi Vanyavilas in Ranthambhore. Designed just like travelling colonial caravans of yore, and situated next door to the tiger-rich forest of Ranthambhore, it has grand tents that have been put up right in nature’s lap; you could wake up to the mesmerising sight of peacocks gaily prancing about. Vanyavilas is home to beautiful lily ponds and a fantastic spa, and the gifted chefs whip up fabulous treats. The hotel offers a special package for winter starting from October (Rs 42,000 per night for 6 to 7 nights). Go for multiple safari rides to Ranthambhore, visit the fort inside the forest and follow it up with spa therapies (25 percent off) and visits to Sawai Madhopur nearby. Or make day trips to Jaipur.