We got off to a bad start today with the 6:45 a.m. wake up call arriving 45 minutes early… This was all in preparation for a 7 a.m. private yoga session with “Dharmendra,” Tree of Life’s resident yogi, who frankly was a bit intimidating. We were to meet in an outdoor meditation area, which was very attractive with niches built to display the owner’s collection of Ganesh statues. The yogi favoured a static approach, holding each posture for a long time. This was extra challenging with a chill in the early morning air.
Today’s project was to visit two sister properties due to open in the next month, both of which are offshoots of the highly regarded Devi Garh, a Frontiers favorite outside of Udaipur. Our first stop was Devi Rasa, located near the town of Amber at the base of the Fort, this is a totally new concept in India with 80 tented accommodation that were more like futuristic, glass fronted, canvas covered cubes. They were actually surprisingly attractive on the inside, fully air conditioned with ensuite bathroom. The reception and dining areas were still under construction but we kept looking for George Jetson to land at any moment — it was very funky and contemporary. But it should be a solid, lower-priced alternative for accommodation outside Jaipur.
Next was Devi Ratn which was rather industrial looking from the exterior, but inside was a sleek, contemporary project definitely aimed at the higher end of the market. The word “Ratn” means gemstone and in keeping with this theme, each of their 60 rooms are painted in one of four strong jewel tones: ruby red, emerald green, sapphire blue, and citrine yellow. Rooms are spacious and the bathrooms are some of the best laid out I’ve seen in my travels with huge dual sinks, and lots of counter space, all in sparkling white marble. The soft opening will occur April 1st, but the pool, spa, and other facilities still being built. This is for those in search of “design hotels” and won’t please those in search of traditional appointments, but I am confident the service will be very much up to par with other top contenders in Jaipur like Taj and Oberoi.
We took a few hours to update my shopping tips for Jaipur and discovered two new finds: “Hot Pink” which specializes in brightly colored garments, table linens, gifts, etc and then “Andraab” which is owned by a pair of brothers from Kashmir and stocked some of the most breathtaking embroidered bed covers, shawls and real pashminas I’ve ever seen. Both are well worth a visit!
It was nice to get off the building sites and return to the Tree of Life and our massage appointment at 4:00 PM awaited us. We had a selection of natural oils — I chose lime-ginger—and it was nice to be in an outdoor setting with the late afternoon sun enhancing the treatment.