Joanna Lester-George

Hip, Hip, Hooray for RAAS - Review of Jodhpur's First Luxury Boutique Hotel

September 29th, 2012 | Visit the original article online

Ib raas shot night fort

Finally a visit to ‘RAAS’ - the famously hip hotel I had heard so much about since it first opened its doors three years ago. This is Jodhpur’s first luxury boutique hotel and a particularly classy number, situated in the dreamiest of locations at the foot of the spectacular Mehrangarh Fort. So innovative and contemporarily stylish is RAAS, that there is simply nowhere in Rajasthan to compare with it.

In the olden days, the royal Queens of Jodhpur were separated from their royal husbands (and their antics) by latticed screens known as ‘jalis.’ These were latticed walls used in the Zenanas, or Womens’ Quarters, in place of windows to afford a seductive peek at the action below. Essentially, a kind of purdha in marble. The clever architect at RAAS has made ingenious use of this theme, and created a hotel with walls devised almost entirely from rose red sandstone screens. Offering tantalising little oblong-shaped glimpses of the Fort through the spaces, entire sections of the outer walls have also been designed to swing open to reveal breathtaking views of Rajasthan’s most award-winning attraction.

Navigating the narrow lanes of the Blue City in a car to find this exclusive hotel isn't easy, and the entrance is so unassuming you literally stumble across it the first time around. However, a flurry of smart attendants will immediately appear to welcome you with a chilled drink and a garland of flowers. Once you step inside the property, the hustle and bustle of the market place is left far, far behind and you can instantly relax into a stylish oasis of calm. Inside the main courtyard, you will find beautiful landscaped gardens, a square shaped infinity pool, two dining rooms with terraced and indoor seating and a candlelit rooftop bar - all of which face directly onto the fort. It is literally a ten minute walk from your breakfast table to the main gate of Mehrangarh. Perfect.

Mirrored elevators with striking full length colour photos of local tribespeople will whisk you smoothly straight up to your room or suite. Each of the thirty-nine rooms offer larger than life views of Mehrangarh, with the exception of the four Garden Rooms which have spacious grassy sit-outs as consolation and are thus ideal for families. Special consideration when booking a room should be given to the Dupleixes, which open out onto a colourful mishmash of Brahmin blue houses and of course the magnificent fort itself. Who could resist drinking a glass of bubbles in the bath surrounded by that incredible view?

There are plenty of chic and shaded daybeds to choose from where you can curl up with a good book and a G and T - but I loved the discreet spaces best ; deliciously private courtyards and cosy lounges with deep sofas. The staff are friendly and attentive, and there is a fabulous on-site boutique selling clothes, jewellery and locally crafted gifts. Although it may require quite some effort to tear yourself away from this gorgeous hotel, the fascinating city of Jodhpur is right on your doorstep and just waiting to be explored.The hotel will even provide you with a fabulously kitsch tuk tuk to whizz you around the tiny streets.

So if during your KOKOindia holiday you fancy experiencing the most magical of settings yet in a place of quietude where you can catch up with your thoughts, RAAS is every discerning traveller's dream - relaxed, supremely comfortable and without doubt one of the most stunning hotel locations in the world.