Contributor/ Woody Anderson
Best Known For
The Samode Haveli is a 175 year old townhouse, built as a city retreat for the Royal Family, decedents of whom still live within the mansion walls. The luxurious hotel is situated in the historic Pink City of Jaipur, and is part of the Samode group which consists of the Samode Palace, Samode Bagh and Samode Safari Lodge; all within the state of Rajasthan.
The Good Stuff
Having travelled throughout the state we’d visited various royal residencies, but this was the first we’d been able to sample firsthand. Walking in was as if the volume had been turned down on the world, and the pace of life slowed dramatically. We were welcomed as members of the Samode family, and made to feel at home. A quick tour of the airy courtyards, leafy gardens and various buildings showed us that history seeped from every wall, and we soon realised we were in for a real treat.
The majority of our time was taken up at the beautifully tiled mosaic pool, a true oasis in a chaotic city. A glance around fellow guests highlighted that the majority of residents were leisure seekers, taking a much needed respite from fast paced world that hurtled by outside. The highlight for us was the evening meal which took place in the exquisite dining hall. With its art laden interior and high ceilings we were taken to a bygone era where we romanticised about how life must have been as a royal. The food was a welcome surprise as we were craving some home comforts, opting for a more traditional English fare over Indian cuisine; we were not disappointed.
Inside the Hotel – 7/10
The Samode was designed in Rajput and Mughal style and is a rabbit-warren of rooms each filled with fantastic frescos, antique furnishings, scalloped arches, beautiful pavilions, patterned Rajasthani carpets and fading pictures of past residents. The staff were very friendly without being overbearing or too familiar, and the general manager came across as a loveable uncle.
This is a heritage hotel so you should expect an authentic experience; some doorways and ceilings were very low, and rooms lacked natural daylight due to minimal windows designed to keep the heat out. But where it may have lacked in some of the qualities you’d expect from a built for purpose property, it undoubtedly made up for in character and charm.
Outside the Hotel – 9/10
The historic centre of Rajasthan’s capital is within close proximity; there you’ll find Hawa Mahal – Jaipur’s distinctive honeycomb landmark, Jantar Mantar – the must see architectural wonder that is the royal observatory, the City Palace and various colourful bazaars. Just a short rickshaw ride away is the marvellous fairy-tail Amber fort where you can live out your regal fantasies.
Image courtesy of Samode