My stay at the ITC Rajputana happened by pure luck. An overnight business trip to Jaipur had suddenly come up and initially I had booked a room at one of the branded “business hotels” that have cropped up a little outside the main city.
However, since my work consisted of being in the city, a random check on travel websites for nearby hotels brought to light a lovely little deal at the Rajputana. Even though it was late and I would not get a refund of my prior booking, it just seemed easy to forgo that amount and plan a stay at this “Luxury Collection” hotel.
It was a decision that proved to be right. How often do we get to say that now?
Not only was the property situated centrally, reducing my local travel time tremendously, but the experience of staying at this opulent hotel was almost like a tiny vacation.
ITC Rajputana has a very somber look from the outside. The recently completed metro track tuns on one side, the boundary walls hide most of the hotel from the eyes of the casual passerby, it’s only once I arrived, through the gates, and made way inside, that the grandness of it all began to emerge.
A magnificent chandelier hangs in the center, a marble “flower” fountain underneath it, natural light piercing through every direction, there is a sense of calm which automatically makes everyone present speak in hush tones. The lobby is vast, with the bar on one side, the blue of the pool barely visible through its window. The extravagance is understated, yet it makes a remarkable first impression.
The check-in was seamless and I was welcomed as a long-lost friend – even though this was my first visit. However, I was a long-lost friend they wouldn’t give the password to the WiFi, for free; my one pet peeve about the hotel business, when they don’t offer free internet in this day and age.
Basic formalities out of the way, I was guided through the maze of corridors by a host to the room; small talk a plenty. “Where are you from?” “Is this your first time in Jaipur?”, but this was a genuine interest in this conversation, a chance to make the guest – me – feel at home.
The room was simple, sophisticated, cleanliness impeccable, the amenities all in place. It’s subtle luxury, and at the price I paid, more than what I can expect.
ITC Rajputana celebrates the local heritage and culture of the “Pink City” and the architectural style of the building merges well with that of its surroundings, even though it has a slightly more squarish look. Inside, modern decor and furniture combine with local classic and vintage styles so that it’s hard to differentiate between both.
The pool, that unfortunately I had no time to dip into since I had spent the earlier half of the day in search of another local institution – Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar – and by the time I had walked in the hotel, I was stuffed, possibly a few kilos heavier, and certainly in no mood of any form of exercise, is truly an oasis, surrounded by rooms and large covered verandas where one can enjoy an evening drink or just relax in one of the swings on the side.
ITC Rajputana for me is the epitome of service. A general tweet about no free internet had the hotel manager calling within minutes asking for my feedback. The staff, no matter where you are, in passing or inquiring, will smile, wish you first with a “Namaste” and be there, always ready to help.
The cheerfulness continues at breakfast with a delicious buffet that caters to both the local and international guests of the hotel. Chefs and staff present to attend to every whim or enthusiastically speak about the ingredients they have used. By now I am being referred to by my last name – “Good Morning Mr. Modi please have a seat”. I feel almost embarrassed, trying my best to read the name on the gentleman’s badge so I too can respond back in a similar manner.
The fresh juice, delightful food, the setting prefect for the most important meal of the day, it all adds up, it just all fits perfectly.
Alas! The time has come to move out, attend meetings and head back. Proximity to home (4 hours by Car) means an overnight was all I could manage, but I leave in the hope to come back, with family someday, and stay a little longer, not just to experience the city, which is an experience on its own, but to relish the hospitality of the ITC Rajputana, once again, at a more leisurely pace.