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Hot spots: Devi Ratn, Jaipur

Christina Pfeiffer

 

What is it? Devi Ratn is a countryside resort located in India's Rajasthan state, 10 kilometres from Jaipur and years into the future.

Why would I stay here? Devi Ratn offers a contemporary alternative to Jaipur's historic havelis and palaces. Futuristic it may be, but the resort's design still manages to pay homage to the Unesco World Heritage open-air astronomical observatory, Jantar Mantar, built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur in 1728.

Sounds intriguing.Tell us more. From a distance, in daylight, the sprawling collection of buildings could be mistaken for an industrial complex. Upon closer examination, its rose-coloured domes and arches, curved walls, skylights and latticework reveal themselves to be a contemporary interpretation of the geometric instruments used at Jantar Mantar to measure constellations, stars and planets. At night, dazzling neon columns, runway lights, illuminated curves and endless shimmering corridors bring to mind some kind of space port.

So, what's it like inside? Ultra-modern, although the reception is dark and moody, with glittering coral pink walls and a domed ceiling. A 120-metre corridor of polished black granite, with light bouncing off domed ceiling can't fail to catch the eye. The space-age Chakra Bar has a glittering mirrored ceiling and neon tables. Strobe lights whirl around the room to create a sensation of spinning in space, so it's probably best not to throw back too many cocktails here.

What about the rooms? Think Bollywood bling. If you like brightly coloured walls and things that sparkle, you'll love the 60 suites and three private villas. You could describe the suites as flamboyant, although, compared with the muted tones preferred by many luxury establishments, some might call them gaudy. Either way, they are not going to help you much with that Chakra Bar headspin.

The "cheap" suite is a modern red and black boudoir with red walls and black and white zigzag terrazzo flooring. A central feature is a contempor-ary interpretation of a traditional Hindu temple box, painted red with doors and panels that pivot and slide to reveal hotel stationery, a mini bar and tea and coffee-making facilities. Bathrooms are massive, with white marble walls, shiny black floor-ing and sunken marble tubs. The next category up are suites with rooftop gardens that come in a choice of blindingly bright blue, green or yellow themes - the colours of the gemstones Jaipur is famous for. Top-of-the-range villas each have a private courtyard with a plunge pool and jacuzzi. They are decorated in either copper, brass or silver, with intricate inlay, hammered metal sur-faces and mirror work.

Sounds amazing. Is there a downside? Well, the service is a little aloof. Staff members are helpful when asked to do something but for an Indian resort of this quality, you would expect them to be a little more attentive.

What about the food? The Vajra restaur-ant is a pillared chapel with elegant gold and grey arches serving delicious local cuisine as well as Asian and European fare. The more casual Jal Poolside res-taurant offers up an Asian menu. A romantic dinner for two can be arranged at the Pavillion, the highest point on the property and the best place from which to gaze upon the Aravalli Hills.

What else is there? An outdoor pool and a health club with a jacuzzi and a sauna. The spa is a partnership with L'Occitane, and guests are encouraged to pick fresh flowers and herbs to add to the products used in treatments.

What's the bottom line? Executive suites are 30,000 rupees (HK$4,150) a night; villas are 150,000 rupees. Prices include airport transfers and breakfast.

 

Devi Ratn is at Jamdoli, Agra Road, Ballupura, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, tel: 91 141 3050 211; deviresorts.in

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