The Raas Jodhpur, Jodhpur
As you drive deeper and deeper through Jodhpur’s frenetic narrow inner city streets and bazaars you begin to wonder how on earth there could be a hotel there – until you turn through 2 huge ancient wooden gates into a quiet, tranquil courtyard – a complete refuge from the city right outside. It is such a pleasure to be welcomed by the smiling staff in the modern glazed and open Reception area before being shown around and escorted to your room.
The RAAS is Jodhpur’s first boutique hotel and is uniquely situated right in the heart of the city, based around an ancient 18th century haveli which was once the home of the aristocratic Thakur family. It comprises four original ancient beautifully restored stone buildings together with three additional contemporary buildings, thus combining the old with the new. Overlooking it all is Mehrangarh, an awe-inspiring 15th century fort looming 400 feet above the Jodhpur skyline. When lit up in the evenings, the views are simply beautiful.
The atmospheric Stepwell Suite is the largest suite in the hotel and as its name suggests, overlooks the fascinating 1740 Stepwell which has been adopted by The Raas. Three very spacious Heritage Suites also situated in the 18th century part of the hotel with views over both the hotel courtyard gardens and up to the Fort. For anyone who is less mobile, please do bear in mind that there are steep steps up to all the suites.
The 23 ensuite airconditioned Luxury rooms and 4 Duplex Suites are located in the modern block of the hotel, all with their own private balconies – and best of all, the balcony doors fold back to reveal the astonishing view of the Mehrangarh fort right above you with the myriad of Jodhpur blue buildings on the steep slopes below. Breathtaking. (On balance we prefer the Luxury Room category as they are on one level, and have the best views of the fort). For a secluded feel there are 4 charming ensuite Garden Rooms on the ground floor, which are the same size as the Luxury Rooms, but each with their own small private walled patio garden instead of a balcony.
The Darikhana (Chamber of Carpets) building which once served as the Haveli’s guest house now has Jodhpur’s well known excellent alfresco Darikanna dinner restaurant on the first floor, whilst the calm enchanting all day Baradari (twelve pillars) restaurant serves delicious food and is in what was the family’s entertainment pavilion – overlooking the courtyard gardens and pool, and with views up to the fort on the side terrace. An absolute must each evening is to climb the spiral stone staircase to enjoy pre dinner drinks on the roof of the Baradari under the gaze of the lit up Mehrangarh Fort. Magical.
Surrounding the courtyard on three sides are the old stables now converted into lovely comfortable alcoves with sofas in which to relax with a good book.
Right next to the hotel, the old lanes around Stepwell Square have been cleaned up and restored with some lovely boutique shops to enjoy visiting, and the delightful Stepwell café overlooking the Stepwell itself is a great spot to have a coffee and take in the atmosphere in this incredible setting.
There are endless choices of what to do and see – sunrise yoga on the roof the hotel, visiting the magnificent Fort is an absolute must, take in the peaceful beauty of the Jaswant Thada white marble mausoleum nearby, ride the heart racing zipwires to get a great birds eye view of the city and the fort, brave the bustle of the frenetic markets and streets around the Clock Tower, or take the hotel tuk tuk right into the heart of the colourful bazaar.
The modern comforts of this boutique hotel, its great service, delicious food and its unique setting inside the walls of Jodhpur under the ancient Mehrangarh fort combine to make this a wonderfully unique and fascinating stay in the heart of this ancient vibrant city.
(NB: Please be aware that the local mosque sets off prayers early in the morning at around 5 am for about 10 minutes or so. The call to prayer also occurs a couple of times during the day for a few minutes, and occasionally in the evenings, sometimes during dinner. This is just part of daily life in this part of the world and the ‘fabric of the city’ – so best to just “go with the flow” to enjoy this amazing location.
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