Let me start this story with a confession Rajasthan is one of my favourite places in India. It’s one of those cities I’m happy to keep returning to. And so here I was in Jaipur yet again, just a few months after my first trip early this year.
Now, what do you look for the most after two weeks of backpacking, travelling in buses and being on the road constantly (apart from an impending pedicure of course)? Well, all I needed was a place where I could be pampered all day while I layed around and enjoy some peace. And happiness found me the moment I was welcomed with a Tikka and garland at the Lebua resort in Jaipur. I felt my tired eyes light up as I looked at the vibrant colours around me.
Situated about 18 kms from the Jaipur airport amidst the Aravallis, Lebua resort aims to attract the local market with its high-end architecture and spa offerings.
The interiors and architectural concept of Lebua Resort, Jaipur are inspired by Jantar Mantar. Domes and arches rise out on the horizon, towering structures in red sandstone filter the light of the sun creating patterns on the ground as you approach this inspired destination. However, the resort’s pièce de résistance is the lustrous gem-craft of Jaipur which is reflected in the materials used and the intricate quality of detail in public and private spaces. The resort is inspired by “Nav Ratn”- nine pure gemstones that are said to focus the cosmic energy of an associated celestial body, ruled by a deity.
As I walked towards my private villa, I couldn’t help but notice how despite being relatively new and no royal lineage, the property manages to make you feel like royalty.
I was soon escorted to my abode for the next three days a 1900 sq ft luxury villa set in an enclosed courtyard with a private pool and Jacuzzi. The private pool takes up at least 30% of the suite. There is a separate entrance for unobtrusive butler service. The villas are a celebration of textures, patterns, latticework and colour. Vibrant gemstone hues, unique black and white terrazzo flooring, traditional bay windows for seating, a private pool that looks out at the Aravalli mountains that flank the entire 21 acre property.
I’m glad happiness for me isn’t about having a schedule to stick to because all I did the next day was enjoy a quiet swim in my private pool. And yes, this pool has a permanent place in my heart as it is here that I found myself giggling and screaming like a schoolgirl without even realizing when I overcame my hydrophobia. Naturally then, the first swim of my life was followed by a huge, well-earned lunch. And so I started off my gastronomic experiments with some traditional Indian food with a twist of traditional Rajasthani spices.
The in-house restaurant Vajra, which has indoor and outdoor seating with views overlooking the Aravallis, serves both Indian and International cuisines. Their variety of paranthas, the traditional Lal maas and Maas ke Sule with mint and yogurt sauce and much more manages to hit the taste scales well. Apart from the restaurant and the in-room dining, the resort offers some special venues for exclusive dining. These range from intimate spaces under the stars, alfresco dining with a mesmerizing view of the mountains around and sunken dining, a sure-fire hit on the romantic front.
Helping you unwind with a drink is the Chakra bar, a fun space integrating the colours and energy of Rajasthan yet again. The bar along with offering familiar favourites also has a special tasting menu to induce the taste buds. The lights and interiors are done up to create a sense of night-sky that seems to envelope you. If this doesn’t get you heady, you can turn to the bar deck where a mist of fountain further heightens the senses by creating a feeling of cloudy moonlit sky.
On my early morning stroll around the property the next day, I noticed that it is the architecture that lends the resort its unique spirit, its character and a flavour that sets it apart from the other luxury resorts in the city. An all suite resort, it has 14 luxury suites, 27 executive and 19 deluxe suites apart from the three private villas. The resort’s 60 suites come with all the standard mod cons, including private attached sit-outs that offer spectacular views of the Aravallis.
On my last day at the resort, I decided to get a restorative massage at the 20000 sq ft la Terre Spa by L’Occitane. The spa in partnership with the renowned French beauty brand L’Occitane encourages guests to pluck fresh flowers and herbs they would like mixed with natural L’Occitane products to create bespoke recipes prepared a-la minute for their treatments. Offering a fusion of Indian and Mediterranean treatments for the weary traveller, the spa comes with its own relaxation room, yoga studio, Jacuzzi and gymnasium.
Just when I thought it doesn’t get any better than this, I was told that I was booked for the night for a private dinner and all I had to do was choose a location for myself, sit back and savour the night specially created for us.
We were welcomed to the Machan for our dinner that night with a wide array of flowers and candles flickering in mirrored walls, the gentle sound of flowing water and a view of the mountain peaks lit by the moon. A tongue-tingling assortment of dishes, the menu offered everything from watermelon and feta cheese with balsamic treacle to the traditional kandhari faldhari tandoori chaat, Murg Jodhpuri and lots more. The rest of the night was spent enjoying the candle-lit meal and listening to Live Jal Tarang and Flute recital in the background.
As my stay at Lebua was coming to an end, I truly wished there was more. On your next trip to Jaipur, you might want to consider giving a lot of other resorts a skip and visit Lebua. You’ll experience all that the resort has to offer and rediscover what being relaxed truly feels like. In an increasingly accelerated world, this is one travel experience that’s still about slowing down.