The third city we visited on our recent Oberoi tour of India was Jaipur, the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan (and also, along with the cities of Delhi and Agra, part of the Golden Triangle, popular with tourists). While there, we stay at the beyond extraordinary Oberoi Rajvilas. As I mentioned in my post about the Oberoi Amarvilas, the hotel we had stayed in the days previous to our time in Jaipur, I don’t normally write just about hotels, but these hotels are so extraordinary that they compel me to do so. That was definitely the case once again with the Oberoi Rajvilas. As much as we were visiting Jaipur to go on guided tours of the city’s most amazing sights, staying in this hotel all on its own was enough to guarantee us an extraordinary experience with the utmost in comfort.
Our previous two Oberoi hotels, the Amarvilas which I have already mentioned and the New Delhi Oberoi, were fairly conventional in their general construction (especially the latter), in that they were composed of a large building full of hotel rooms and other amenities. This hotel is very different from that. It is built in the style of a medieval Indian fort. Surrounding the property is a red clay wall. Within the property, the grounds are covered with grass and trees, and home to something like 50 varieties of wild birds, including a number of peacocks (more on that later). There is a main building through which you enter that houses the main restaurant, offices, gift shop, and so forth.
Lobby of Main Building of Oberoi Rajvilas
Hallway of Main Building of Oberoi Rajvilas
Then the rooms are contained within a number of bungalows – each bungalow contains four of five guest rooms around a central courtyard.
Courtyard of our Oberoi Rajvilas Bungalow
There are also a number of tents which serve as the even-more-luxurious rooms (more on that later as well).
You can walk to get around the grounds, but since some things are maybe a half mile away from each other, it is better to take a golf cart to get there, and those are always available – we would just call the main desk and in less than a minute, someone would arrive with a cart to take us wherever we wanted to go.
Staff Member in Gold Cart
So upon arrival, we took a cart to our room (our luggage was sent on its own golf cart, and incidentally, we never had to even touch our luggage at any Oberoi hotel – it was always removed from taxis and brought to our rooms and back again by hotel staff), in one of the aforementioned bungalows. Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what we are talking about. First, the bedroom:
Canopy Bed in Oberoi Rajvilas Bungalow
Easy Chair in our Room at the Oberoi Rajvilas
My Desk in our Oberoi Rajvilas Room
The Closet in our Oberoi Rajvilas Room
Therese’s Main Area of Activity, a Windowseat in our Oberoi Rajvilas Room
Vanity Table in our Room at the Oberoi Rajvilas
Next, the bathroom:
Double Sink in Oberoi Rajvilas Room
Sunken Bathtub in Oberoi Rajvilas Room
You’ve already seen the courtyard (above) – the next morning, when I poked my head out, who should I see there but one of the majestic peacocks?
Peacock Out For His Morning Stroll at the Oberoi Rajvilas
And to round things out, here is a bit of the grounds to give you an idea of how green it was.
Grounds of the Oberoi Rajvilas
Gazebo at the Oberoi Rajvilas
Back Entrance to Oberoi Rajvilas Main Building
Outer Wall of Oberoi Rajvilas
On the first two mornings of our stay, we had breakfast in the communal area in the hotel’s main restaurant, the Surya Mahal, which is part of the main building. The first day, I had cereal with bananas, nothing too exciting, except for the fact that, once again, they had soy milk on the bar along with the dairy milk options (yay!).
Cereal with Bananas and Soy Milk
The next morning I was feeling a little more adventurous, so I chose a more eclectic mix of foods for breakfast: hard-boiled egg, turkey roll, hash browns, hummus and pita. When a waitress saw me cutting my own pita bread that I had picked up from the breakfast bar, she insisted on bringing me some toasted pita. I thought, sure, why not? And wouldn’t you know, not only did she toast and slice up the pita, but she put it in its own little basket to keep it warm! Another great example of how incredible the service is at Oberoi hotels!
Breakfast of Hummus, Pita, Turkey Roll, Hard-boiled Egg and Hashbrowns with Peppermint Tea
Basket of warm toasted pita
Our second evening in Jaipur, we elected to have dinner in the Surya Mahal as well. They have an outdoor terrace where they have live dancing and music as well. We couldn’t pass up the chance to hear more classical Indian music, and see some traditional dancing as well. This time, there were two musicians – a zither player and a percussionist, and the zither player also sang, and sang very well to my ears. I can’t tell you much about the dancing, other than to say that the young lady was lovely, nicely dressed and danced well (gee, I guess there isn’t too much more that I should say, huh?).
Dancer and Musicians at the Oberoi Rajvilas
What did we eat? Well, Therese ordered from the Indian section of the menu, wishing to explore the local cuisine, and I went for the non-Indian, non-spicy parts of the menu. Without going into too many gory details, my stomach was at sixes and sevens for most of the time in India, making ordering food an adventure; but once again, the staff at the Oberois was very helpful in helping me to keep my tummy happy. Anyway, my dinner began with an amuse bounche (sorry, I don’t remember what this was, and my flash didn’t work, so the picture is dark).
For my appetizer, I once again went for hummus and pita, along with other Middle Eastern staples, baba ganoush and falafel.
Hummus, Baba Ganoush and Falafel
Then for my main course, I had Chinese-style noodles with shrimp, rather plain, but just the sort of thing to settle an unsteady stomach.
Shrimp with Chinese Noodles
So after checking in, we had settled into our bungalow room, and were very happy at the Oberoi Rajvilas. There was just one thing that didn’t cooperate: the shower. The hotel is about 14 years old, and I have a feeling they haven’t upgraded the plumbing during that time. In spite of having a couple visits from staff members, the assistant manager even, the shower just wasn’t making it. I was able to get it to work once, but the hotel was still so apologetic and felt so bad, that they upgraded us for our last night, to one of the tents.
It was actually two tents, surrounded by a bit of grounds and a clay wall of its own. It would take many many words to describe it to you, so let me just share some pictures of it with you, and you will see how glorious this was. So the first of the two tents included a bedroom and bathroom, in an open plan, with a wood framework and floor-to-ceiling windows covered in wicker blinds, and the tent ceiling overhead.
Bathtub, Sinks and Shower
Bed in the Tent
Bedroom and Bathroom Tent
Outdoor Chaise Lounges
Patio with Table and Chairs
Tent Roof from the Inside
Then between the two tents was a walkway with a gate in the middle of it.
Walkway and Gate Between the Tents
The second tent contained a living room and dining room with a large beautiful round table.
Second Set of Chaise Lounges
Living and Dining Room Tent
Interior of Living and Dining Room Tent
Dining Room Table and Writing Desk
After having an incredibly relaxing night in this bucolic setting (our only complaint being that we were only going to be spending one night there!), we decided to have breakfast before finishing our packing and heading to the main building to meet our driver for the long drive to our next destination, Udaipur. They brought our sumptuous breakfast to us all on a golf cart, and you know what? When it got to us, it was still hot! They even brought a toaster with them to make us fresh toast, but when they couldn’t get that to work, they sent back to the main building for some toast, and it arrived, I swear, in about 20 seconds. Still hot, of course.
Breakfast in for our Last Morning at the Oberoi Rajvilas
I don’t know if it was the same peacock that I had seen on our first morning at the hotel, but during breakfast, we even had a visit from one of these regal birds who are such a presence around the grounds of the hotel, and whose mournful-sounding cries are heard every evening.
Peacock Outside Our Window at Breakfast
Peacock Even Closer Still Outside Our Window
Oberoi Jaipur was my favorite hotel of the entire India trip, and if we go back (when we go back), we will definitely stay in a tent during our entire time there!