From the legendary Taj Mahal to the City Palace of Jaipur, one of the most wonderful things about India is the incredible palaces, forts and heritage buildings waiting to be discovered. So why not go one step further and actually sleep in one?
The luxury hotel brand Alila (of Alila Seminyak and Alila Ubud in Bali) recently unveiled one of India’s most exciting new heritage hotels – Alila Fort Bishangarh near Jaipur. This 230-year-old warrior-fort-turned-boutique-hotel sits perched atop a granite mound amongst the hills of the Aravalli Range, and grants spectacular views across lush green mountains dotted with villages, temples and haveli (grand Indian townhouses).
The property first opened its doors in early 2017 following a painstaking renovation that lasted almost a decade. Entrance portals, arches, columns and jaali screens (latticed windows) were all lovingly restored to emulate the original features, and local traditional materials were used wherever possible.
Rather than gilding the fort in an elaborate style of typical Rajasthan heritage property, the design is refreshingly clean and simple, marrying contemporary style with traditional Rajasthani elements such as Jharokha-style windows, stone jaali work, hand-printed fabrics, brass embossed panels and wall frescoes.
Stories of the past echo through the Amarsar restaurant (located in the former royal quarters of kings, the only area of the fort to be bedecked with marble rather than sandstone), Spa Alila (a luxe spa carved out between granite rocks in the dungeon) and the turrets, cellars and secret passages which have been transformed into bars, lounges and meeting spaces.
The love and care invested in this thoughtful renovation has certainly paid off, with The Telegraph UK already declaring Alila Fort Bishangarh ‘One of the World’s Most Luxurious Travel Experiences’ within its first year.
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