Jaipur: Away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of the Pink City, this majestic property welcomes you with a warmth and hospitality that perhaps the Mughals and Rajputs would have experienced in days of yore.
A convenient drive of a little over 250 km from the capital, Fairmont Jaipur, the first luxury property of the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts in India, has the silhouette of a royal fort. And royalty is what you experience from the word go. The sound of the traditional trumpet followed by the sound of a gong is what greets you when you enter the calm, tranquil and spacious environment that the place offers.
It feels like a palace, and is truly made to be so.
"It offers you a royal experience...you feel like kings in the hotel and it is great to feel what it would have been in those times, yet with the functionalities one needs in a modern hotel. Our art, design and experience are in touch with old times, but all set as a modern hotel," Fairmont Jaipur general manager Rizwan Shaikh said.
The staff, dressed in Mughal-inspired outfits - intricately embroidered achkans and angarkhas - is hospitable and ever-smiling; the rooms are tastefully done with simple and classy interiors, linen and decor; the restrooms too give you nothing short of a royal experience with an elaborate bathtub; the design elements - a 300-year-old door from Jodhpur, an interesting outdoor pool, domes and open spaces, as well as a sprawling convention space - all put together make Fairmont Jaipur a delight for a traveller with an inclination for "premier luxury destination".
Based on this, Shaikh hopes to pull in a pool of leisure tourists from across the world that Jaipur attracts as a high-end destination.
Also, since their convention space is huge - with flexible meeting rooms, boardrooms and a magnificent Grand Ballroom, the property has the capacity and capability to attract major events, conferences and fancy destination weddings.
The food turned out to be more salivating than I thought. Chef Anurag Bali has his team working hard to create interesting concoctions using Rajasthani flavours and cuisine. Never one to eat the traditional dal-baati-churma, I found myself digging into the plate when I was served the non-vegetarian version of this delight at the hotel`s Zoya all-day dining restaurant.
There`s also an Indian specialty restaurant, Zarin, which highlights classical dishes prepared using traditional techniques and spices with a modern flair; a tea lounge Anjum, which gives you a chance to savour teas infused with herbs such as basil, lemongrass and mint; and Aza, a library bar stocked with fine wines and malt whiskies.
Cigar connoisseurs can head to the classy Cigar Diwan, and for those who wish to experience luxury more luxuriously, there`s an exclusive Fairmont Gold Floor, which has a dedicated lounge. Guests on this floor can avail of several added benefits.
A major attraction that is still in the works at the property is the signature Willow Stream Spa.
"It is our USP and a claim to fame for our hotel chain. We will offer signature services and treatments and it will have unique elements like a mineral water pool," Shaikh said.
For now, its spa offers some basic yet comforting and relaxing treatments, following which a tea-tasting session for me was as therapeutic as it could get to break the monotony of the busy life one leads every day.
What adds to the soothing effect is a view of open fields with the beautiful Aravalli hills in the backdrop. But what accentuates the experience is that away from the city life where skyscrapers dominate the skyline, you can soak in the joy of dusk and dawn and marvel at nature`s bounty.
* Location: Riico Kukas, a little over 250 km from Delhi.
* How to reach:
- Air: Jaipur`s Sanganer Airport is situated 12 km from the main Jaipur city, and receives flights from major national and international destinations.
- Rail: The Jaipur railway station, situated half a kilometre from the city centre, has multiple trains coming in from all quarters.
- Road: National Highway 8 connects Jaipur to Delhi, while Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation buses are also available.
* Tariff: Starting Rs.6,000 per night to Rs.12,000 per night for Fairmont Gold.