I was flying from Jaipur to Kolkata; seated next to me was a businesswoman from Kolkata in her late forties. During a brief interaction, she mentioned her weekend escape in Jaipur. She stayed at The Fairmont and was in absolute awe of their hospitality. This reminded me of a similar conversation I had a week ago with a guest at The Fairmont.
This is not a sponsored post. My stay in The Fairmont Jaipur was in February 2018, this is based on my own experience.
I was enjoying the crimson & amber-tinted sky at the poolside, while I was waiting for the checkout formalities. I met Cynthia, an Australian ex-pat now a Hong Kong resident. During the conversation, she compared her stay at The Fairmont to a famed hotel in South Goa. It was one of the notable properties in Goa from India’s most eminent hotel chain. Definitely one of the best you can find in South Goa based on my own experience; the first five-star property to come up in the post-1980s. She quelled my curiosity. “It is the people who make all the difference.” I agree, the staff at The Fairmont Jaipur were one of the friendliest and most courteous. Apparently, Cynthia was unhappy with the hospitality during her stay in Goa.
My first stay at The Fairmont Jaipur was in 2013, soon after its launch in Jaipur. It was a brief stay, so I did not have enough time to indulge in all that is offered. Thereafter, I have been to The Fairmont a few more times sans a stay. In February 2018, I experienced the real “Fairmont Experience.” My stay this time was more relaxed and experiential.
A number of elements in the hotel seem to be inspired by the architecture and culture of Jaipur. As a car pulls up on the driveway of the hotel, one gets a musical welcome in a grand Amer Fort style.
Naubatkhana was one of the 36 Karkhanas or departments of Amer Fort; it was the department of music. In the past, the musicians in Naubatkhana at Amer Fort played music based on occasions. Until a few years ago, Naubatkhana was active during the Amer Fort elephant ride hours. The sound of trumpets and drums, transport you back to the medieval days. Here are pictures of instruments that were played in Amer.
The Mughal garden that leads to the lobby is inspired by the ones at Amer.
Had a long flight or tiring road journey? Fret not! A beautifully done lobby is where one waits during the check-in formalities which ease the weariness.
Being a sunrise & sunset lover, I requested a room with a sunset view, and I was not disappointed. Fairmont Signature room overlooking the swimming pool & the sunset is what I checked into.
It is difficult to comprehend the dominant influence in the room. There are a variety of design cues. One of the walls adorned “the magic flower”, a unique Mughal motifs at the Sheesh Mahal, Amer Fort. Read more about this in Amer Fort Guide
Here is a picture of the original art from the Sheesh Mahal, Amer.
The lofty windows are reminiscent of the vernacular architecture. It blends perfectly with other styles. The white color is omnipresent and dominant in the room.
The sizeable part of the room is the bathroom. It is huge and comes with a set of sinks, one each for the king and the queen. Something you are unlikely to witness in other hotels.
The bathtub prompts the luxurious life the king lived and is inspired by the Hamman of Amer Fort. A view of the Aravali hills or the sunset from the bathtub is one of its kind experience.
The philosophy of attention to detail can be seen to be at work even in the restaurants, Zoya & Zarin, as well as the coffee house, Anjum. I had a scrumptious lunch at Zoya, followed by high tea at Anjum, and wrapped my day with a dinner at Zarin.
An outdoor lunch was arranged at Zoya. Inspired by the hunting expeditions or Shikaar parties of the royals; I was served a lavish meal in the “Dabba Tiffin.”
It is these Shikaar trips of the royals & visiting British dignitaries that led to the extinction of tigers & lions from the Indian subcontinent. Read more about Shikaar parties in the post on Shikaar Bagh
The interiors and the food served at Zarin draw their inspiration from Persia. The subtle light peeping through the Persian chandelier sets the mood just right. The chef is sure a master at making mildly infused flavorful dishes, something that the food connoisseurs will appreciate and relish.
The influence of Rajasthani architecture is evident at the Fairmont. The cupola or Chhatri reminds me of the ones at Sahelion Ki Bari in Udaipur. The huge carved wooden gate is typical of western Rajasthan. It is sourced from a fort possibly from Jaisalmer region. A glimpse of the Mughals is apparent in the restaurants & food. The Fairmont is a unique blend of Rajput & Mughal cultures.
I think the experience lies in how you make the people feel and some hospitality chains understand this well.
What could have been better?
The unfinished look of the exterior of the building standouts. However, I’m not an ardent fan of this color & finish. In my opinion, this robs the hotel’s grandeur; the splendor remains an essential element of a luxury hotel experience. This seems to be missing. While the architects have emulated many elements from the Jaipur royalty but the building is at best understated and lacks opulence.
This is valid even for the interiors. In my opinion, Le Meridian, the next-door neighbor represents an excellent example of modern hotels when it comes to opulence. Fairmont’s architecture retains a strong contemporary flavor for my liking. Certainly, this is a personal choice. Fairmont, you could have done better!
This also reminds me of my first stay in 2013, soon after its inauguration. My stay wasn’t pleasant as the room had a terrible stench of formaldehyde, possibly from the new furniture. However, this wasn’t the case in February 2018. But it did cause me to think why should a guest experience something like this in a luxury hotel?
Hotel Industry in Jaipur
Jaipur is one of the most sought-after destinations in India, and it is, therefore, logical for the hotel chains to ensure their presence in the pink city. The city features a large number of businesses and luxury hotel chains along with many stand-alone boutique properties. What makes Jaipur highly coveted in the hotel industry? Jaipur lists high in destination weddings along with MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions) and tourism. Even though most international and national chains are already present in Jaipur, the list of new hotels seems to be growing every year. While the hotel industry in Jaipur might complain about increasing competition, it does provide a huge benefit to the tourism industry. Also, Jaipur is rated high on the list of destination wedding market. Wedding events are a huge money spinners for hotels in Jaipur, therefore, every property tries to utilize this opportunity. Read Guide on which areas to stay in Jaipur – A guide on Jaipur hotels.
In India, The Fairmont is present only in Jaipur, as of today. The Fairmont is part of French hospitality group, Accor. It is the largest European hospitality chain, and one of the top ten in the world. Accor owns some of the most leading hotel chains like Grand Mercure, Movenpick, Pullman, Swissotel, Novotel, Ibis, to name a few.