I normally prefer to be in the thick of things. Right in the heart of all the action of a city center. But I find the tranquility afforded by WelcomHotel Jodhpur – a six month old, ten acre retreat on the edge of the Thar desert – rather appealing.
Access from the airport is quick and the Tikha welcome and check-in even quicker. My luggage arrives through a separate entrance, freeing the lobby from ugly baggage scanning paraphernalia and the usual check-in clutter, which is a nice touch.
The stark architecture draws inspiration from the desert oasis, with squat, sandstone clad structures deliberately veering away from the ornate haveli aesthetic. I am guessing the blue in the lobby, the only deviation from the warm rustic colour tones on walls, is the architect’s nod to the blue painted houses of the old city.
My spacious Jodhpur Chamber on the third floor is beautifully kitted out with every conceivable comfort. The bathroom, equally spacious, sports a deliciously large soaking tub and a separate roomy shower. And I appreciate the artful accessories and the full length mirrors in the hallway.
If I were here on a romantic getaway with hubby however, my choice of accommodation would have been one of two uber luxurious walled-in villas with a dedicated entrance, personal butler service and private pool!
My journey – from point to point including layovers – has taken a total of nine hours, and I am reluctant to leave the cool confines of my room for the rest of the afternoon. So the chef sends over a bottle of wine, a fabulous smoked salmon Caesar salad and freshly brewed coffee, that more than makes up for the horrid airline meals I have nibbled at all day. A shower and a shut-eye later, it’s time for the half hour drive to Mehrangarh fort for the Flamenco and Gypsy festival.
With the JFG festival being the focus of this stay, I do not get to participate in the interesting desert trails organised by the lovely Yamini Singh, the hotel PR manager. The late hours aren’t exactly conducive to early morning adventures. Besides, I had experienced similar overland excursions on a previous visit.
Neither do I get to dine in too often. Settling instead into a routine of sumptuous breakfasts and late snack lunches at the Welcomcafe Cinkara, and dessert and coffee in-room, on my return from the festival close to midnight.
But we – Iphone photographer Jack Hollingsworth, his colleague, video editor Muntakhab Jamil, and I – do get treated to chef Akshraj Jodha’s royal repast late one afternoon. An inspired contemporary interpretation of traditional Rajasthani cuisine that merits a whole new post. The romantically inclined can opt to have this exceptional tasting menu served in an intimate courtyard setting, complete with candlelight, flowers and tinkling water bodies. The blue blooded chef is all set to reign over a signature restaurant – the Sholla – that will highlight authentic ‘campfire’ cuisine from the erstwhile royal hunting kitchens of Rajputana.
In conclusion, an amazing stay, even though I regret not having sufficient time to fully experience all that the resort has to offer. Then again, there’s always next time.
Many thanks to WelcomHotel Jodhpur for hosting me. All opinions, as always, are my own.