Luxe stays, gourmet treats and a pulsating nightlife, all in one
The Jaipur of your mind is the one from the brochures – lofty architecture, placid lakes, finely crafted silver and gents with impressive handlebars. A thrumming nightlife and dining scene are the last things you expect of a trip to the Pink City. But the Marriott’s Rajasthan outpost is changing that. Located close to the airport but far enough from the main city to feel like a retreat, the business-friendly hotel shirks ornamentation for clean lines and subtle cultural accents like traditional stonework. Understated plush is the word on the spacious, well-appointed rooms, and the staff is cheerful and efficient.
Guests looking for cocktails and conversations after dark needn’t make the trek to the city – the hotel’s bar, Lounge 18, is fast becoming the after-hours hub for locals. The music is eclectic, the ambience, relaxed and the cocktails, deliciously potent; don’t miss the unusual watermelon and ginger cocktail. If you’re there during a weekend, make sure to catch the live music night, which features new and established bands.
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Jaipur has lots to see, so pace your jaunts into the city. The Birla Temple, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, The Jal Mahal and the City Palace are icons that cannot be missed. Take a shopping detour through Johri Bazaar and Bapu Market for ethnic jewellery, bandhini sarees and local spices.
A ceremonious way to end a sojourn in this dramatic city is to drive to the Amber Fort in the wee hours, for a hot air balloon ride, which offers spectacular views of the fort, the nearby lake and vast stretches of the rugged terrain (Skywaltz.com). Keep Instagram handy.
FIT FOR A KING
The food is the real star at this hotel. We suggest you start the day by sinking your teeth into the fluffy, freshly baked baguettes at Jaipur Baking Company, the inhouse deli. You’ll want to go easy on the carb comfort to save room for lunch at the Indian restaurant, Saffron, which specialises Awadhi, Hyderabadi and Mughlai cuisine. The low lighting and molten gold-brown palette of the décor set you up for the sumptuous meal that follows. The delicate galouti and kakori kebabs that melt on touch are a specialty of Chef Qadir Khan, who also recommends the tender, flavourful Mathonia mirch ka paneer tikka. Finish with the paan icecream, which tastes way better than it sounds.
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