Opened in 2005, Amanbagh, an Aman resort, is a 40-room property set in foothills of the Aravali Mountains. The secluded resort was created in collaboration with esteemed Paris-based architect and designer Ed Tuttle, who also masterminded Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand, and the Amanjena resort in Marrakech. A two-hour drive from Jaipur, Amanbagh is a romantic, palm-shaded mise-en-scène of Moghul-style architecture crafted in Indian sandstone. Upon arrival, it’s clear that the service runs as smoothly as the polished surfaces throughout. Guests, many of them honeymooners, can hide out in serene, luxurious suites with private courtyards and pools. Dine in the terrace restaurant where the menu features Western and Indian dishes such as snapper with roasted pimentos and Kashmiri-style lamb chops. (Many of the greens, vegetables and herbs come from on-site organic garden). Excursions to nearby historic Moghul forts and remote archaeological sites, such as the temple town of Neelkanth, are also among the highlights of a visit to this magical place.
Hotel Narain Niwas Palace
Built in 1928 as the garden house of a noble family, this heritage property is one of the few to still remain family owned. Spread across three floors, the hotel’s 37 rooms and suites are ornately painted and feature period furniture. The Kanota suites, including room 36, are especially dramatic, thanks to high ceilings and four-poster beds. Rooms 51 and 57 on the ground floor are also charming and close to the pool. Heirloom portraits and pieces, such as the family silver showcased in rosewood cabinets in the dining room, also lend the property a real, lived-in authenticity; it feels much more like a private residence than a hotel.
Also of note: the stunning Hot Pink boutique on-site, which was a destination onto itself for many visitors to the Pink City. The high-end store, opened in 2005, was a collaboration between late Munnu Kasliwal of the Gem Palace and French jeweler Marie-Hélène de Taillac, and carries clothing by Indian designers such as Rajesh Pratap Singh and Namrata Joshipura, gorgeous shawls by Kashmir Handloom, as well plenty of other colorful and kitschy accessories.
Lebua Resort, Jaipur
Meant to evoke the angular architecture of Janta Mantar (a sculptural garden of monolith-like astronomical instruments in Jaipur dating back to 1728), Lebua Resort charts a new course for Rajasthani hotels. Opened as part of the Devi Resorts family in 2011, the all-suite property was rebranded under Bangkok-based Lebua resorts in 2013. Still central to a stay here is the bold, contemporary design of the hotel, which features plenty of curved sandstone latticework on the exterior. Rooms are decorated in jewel tones such as garnet-red or emerald-green, but also come outfitted with lenticular prints (a modern take on the region’s miniature painting) and modern furnishings. The on-site Vajra restaurant serves European and Indian fare; or sip cocktails at the planetarium-like Chakra Bar. The property’s design shop carries great pieces by local artisans for crowd-pleasing gifts.
A royal guesthouse with a hip twist that is perfect for design aficionados and those who prefer boutique properties.
Just minutes from the clamor of the Pink City’s bazaars, the Samode Haveli offers travelers a tranquil haven with its ethereal Rajasthani-style suites. While it might lack some of the international polish of properties such as the Oberoi Rajvilas, the original décor and architecture will appeal to those in search of Indian authenticity, such as English designer Allegra Hicks. Though more sparse than the public rooms, most guest rooms feature antique draped four-poster beds and elaborately painted Moghul-style walls. Original marble floors, stained-glass windows and family heirlooms add to the genuine atmosphere. All in all, it’s a great escape with a glamorous pool. Don’t miss candlelit dining in the leafy courtyard, with a puppet show in one corner; and the plaintive sounds of a costumed tribal group playing tabla and sitar in another.
Taj Jai Mahal Palace Hotel
The former residence of a prime minister of Jaipur, this 100-room property is a quiet retreat, set on 18 acres, which includes gardens and an elephant polo field. After a day of sightseeing and gem shopping, the hotel’s calm interior, with its white marble floors and colonial-style furniture, is an ideal backdrop to unwind. Request one of the handsome traditional suites; the “modern” rooms feel more standard. Don’t miss dining at the on-site Cinnamon restaurant, named for the cinnamon-saffron route that once connected Punjab and Moghul India. The hotel’s Marigold Bar is also a stylish spot for cocktails, especially since the city boasts only a handful of bars and lounges.
Taj Rambagh Palace
The Oberoi Rajvilas
The Oberoi Rajvilas features all the requisite royal Rajasthani touches as well as plenty of modern amenities.