I first visited RAAS on behalf of KOKOindia Luxury Travels in 2013. It had quietly opened its doors two years earlier as Jodhpur’s first luxury boutique hotel, and there was simply nowhere else in Rajasthan to compare it with. Having been lucky enough to return several times since then, RAAS will always remains a timeless classic to me for many reasons.
Firstly, it is located right at the foot of Mehrangarh Fort – indisputably one of the most magnificent forts in all of India. Secondly, before it was lovingly converted into a design concept hotel, the original building was the stately residence of an eighteenth century nobleman. The innovative architecture used for RAAS’s stylish reincarnation pays respectful homage to its origins, as well as to Rajasthan’s extraordinary history.
In the olden days, the Queens of Jodhpur were separated from their royal husbands – and their royal antics – by screens known as ‘jalis.’ These were latticed walls used in place of windows in the Zenanas, or Women’s Quarters. The jalis kept the women hidden away from prying eyes, whilst also affording them a sneaky peek of the action going on below. It may sound romantic, but essentially this was a kind of purdah made of marble.
The clever architect at RAAS made ingenious use of the jali theme. He created a hotel with walls devised almost entirely from rose red sandstone screens. This meant tantalising glimpses of the fort could be seen through the tiny gaps. The pièce de résistance, however, is that large sections of the walls swing open to reveal breathtaking views of Rajasthan’s most award-winning attraction.
Navigating the narrow lanes around the Blue City to find this exclusive boutique hotel isn’t easy. (Don’t worry, your KOKOindia driver will know.). The entrance is so unassuming that you literally have to stumble upon it the first time around. Immediately, a flurry of smart attendants will appear to welcome you to RAAS with a cool drink and a garland of flowers. Once you step inside, the hustle and bustle of the city becomes a distant memory and you will find yourself in a stylish oasis of calm.
RAAS has a total of thirty-nine rooms and suites, almost all with spectacular views of Mehrangarh Fort. Mirrored elevators with lifesize photos of local tribespeople will whisk you smoothly up to your boudoir. The only rooms-without-a-view are the four Garden Rooms. With spacious private gardens as a consolation prize, they are however ideal for families with young children.
Special consideration when choosing a room should certainly be given to the luxurious Duplex Suites. Even the bathrooms have a vista of the Blue City and the towering fort above it. Who could resist a glass of bubbles surrounded by bubbles and with that incredible view?
Each of the hotel’s five star facilities was also designed to showcase incredible views of the fort. Set amongst landscaped gardens in the main courtyard, the glamorous infinity pool is perfect for cooling off on hot Rajasthani afternoons. There is also an on-site Ayurvedic spa, and a fabulous boutique selling clothes, jewellery and locally crafted gifts.
For dining options, RAAS has two acclaimed restaurants with terraced and indoor seating. Menus feature delicious Indian and international dishes using organic produce from Chef’s garden, which is a nice touch. For after dinner drinks, you can (and should) move on up to the ambient rooftop bar. With the fort illuminated high above you in the night sky, it becomes even more surreal in its scale and beauty.
Personally, I loved the charm of RAAS’s ‘discreet spaces’. Chic, shaded daybeds for curling up with a good book, secret courtyards and cosy lounges with deep sofas. It can certainly require some serious effort to tear yourself away from everything on offer at this gorgeous hotel. However, the fascinating city of Jodhpur is right on your doorstep and waiting to be explored. The fort is literally a ten minute walk from your breakfast table to the main gate, and the hotel can provide you with a kitsch blue Tuk Tuk to whizz you around the city streets.
If your KOKOindia itinerary includes a visit to Jodhpur, the chances are high we will recommend a stay at RAAS. It is every discerning traveller’s dream, and offers an unparalleled opportunity to bask in the magnificence of Rajasthan’s most spectacular fort. Not only is this a supremely stylish and comfortable place to lay your head, RAAS Jodhpur will forever be one of the most stunning luxury boutique hotels in Rajasthan.
By Joanna Lester-George