The townhouse of the aristrocratic Samode family; this is a sanctuary hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the streets. Tour groups are not accepted, which makes for a much more relaxed and convivial experience for independent travellers. Book well ahead to get a room.
Address: Gangapole, Jaipur, 302002, India.
Style & character
This 300-year-old haveli has been sensitively brought into being as a one of Jaipur’s best-loved heritage hotels by a family with impeccable taste and a flair for design. Bedrooms are hidden all about the rambling building set around a series of courtyards and gardens. The planting is superb and paths are lined with rows of pots containing dahlias and geraniums. At night the gardens are lit by oil lamps, heightening the romance of a stay here.
Service & facilities
This is a slick, professional yet friendly operation, overseen by a delightful general manager. Guests are greeted with fresh basil tea and cold towels in the open-air reception lounge. The 20-metre pool is one of Jaipur’s finest, with a bar beside it and a well-equipped gym above.
There are 39 rooms spread across a series of former royal residences. All are beautifully – and individually – decorated in a classic Rajasthani style: four-poster beds, block prints and hand-woven damasks, Kashmiri-style rugs, original artworks and artefacts. All have fans as well as air-conditioning units, satelllite televisions, and well-stocked minibars. Bathrooms are luxurious with organic toiletries and new-generation plumbing; some have roll-top baths as well as showers. For a real treat reserve Room 115, the haveli’s original sheesh mahal, which has stunning 18th-century murals and mirrorwork.
Food & drink
Meals are served in a gloriously over-the-top dining room, all chandeliers and plaster swirls, and on the outdoor terrace, which is warmed by heaters in winter. Traditional Rajasthani dishes dominate the dinner menu (but with a light hand on the ghee) as well as a good selection of fish dishes and other European favourites, accompanied by a very good wine list.
The best breakfast in Rajasthan is found here: fresh juices (orange, spinach and cucumber, pomegranate), top-class pastries and cakes, Indian specialities and drinkable coffee (a rarity). There’s even complimentary sparkling wine to celebrate.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Wading pool and room-share option for children.
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