After another bone jarring meander down one of the country lanes that masquerade as “highways” in India, it was time for a stop in Jaipur. Thankfully this tortuous ride was only around 3-4 hours.
With the bad taste of the Amarvilas fresh in my mouth, I was poised to check out another Oberoi property, the Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur.
Before we get into the hotel, I have to say that I really liked Jaipur. Yes bars pretty much have to close by 11pm in Rajasthan by law, so nightlife doesn’t exist, but everything else about Jaipur far exceeded my other stops in India. Jaipur is known as “the pink city,” and I think that’s what improved my mood. So much of India seemed to be drab, caked in dust and devoid of color or any signs of life save for the pulsating masses of humanity thrust together at every turn. Jaipur had color, it was vibrant, it wasn’t depressing.
Ascending the Amber fort via Elephant (my elephant was #52…good elephant) was one of the best things I did in India and honestly, I found the Amber fort as viewed from ground level and on the way up to be as impressive if not more impressive than the Taj. Did I mention I REALLY hated Agra?
The Rajvilas was a big step up from the Amarvilas. It’s clear they are shooting for an Aman type vibe, but they fall a little bit short. Perhaps they need to get ole Mr. Zecha on speed dial.
The standard rooms come in clusters of four around a fountain. Each mini-village of four rooms is a stand alone development, and all of the rooms are separate from the main building which houses the bars and some of the restaurants. There is an excellent pool area near some of the room clusters. I was in a Luxury Tent (there are also 1 or 2 Royal Tents which have one tent that is the bedroom, and a second, separate tent for use as a living room).
The luxury tent rooms have a bedroom area with a desk and some luggage storage immediately behind it. This portion of the room is divided by curtains from a bathroom area. Each luxury tent is as it sounds…a stand alone tent. There are lounging areas outside the tent.
While I found the room to be very nice and perfectly agreeable, I am a bit of a crazy person. As the luxury tents are going for a throwback colonialist feel, most of the fixtures are in this style. This meant a small colonial style bathtub. I am somewhat of a bathtub enthusiast, and I knew that the rooms in the class immediately below the luxury tents had large, marble, sunken bathtubs that were more akin to kiddie pools than normal sized bathtubs. I viewed the regular rooms and found them to be roughly equivalent to the luxury tent. As a result, on my last evening at the Rajvilas, I took a voluntary downgrade from a luxury tent to a room. I may be the first nutjob in history to request to be downgraded in order to get a better bathtub, but I regret nothing.
Pros: Nice pool, well appointed and spacious rooms, helpful staff, decent Indian food (although not close to as spicy as the stuff in town), nice bar.
Cons: Can be difficult to navigate in the dark, the best rooms have the worst bathtubs, far from central Jaipur and most tourist attraction.
Verdict: I would check out the Taj property next time in Jaipur just for comparison, but I was perfectly happy with the Rajvilas and would recommend it to anyone passing through Jaipur.