Raffles Udaipur, a flagship hotel in the Raffles Hotels and Resorts’ portfolio and the revered brand’s first location in India, offers a fresh perspective on the city of Udaipur and region of Rajasthan, from a 21-acre private island set in the middle of the serene Udai Sagar Lake.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the expansive property is reminiscent of a magnificent country estate, with beautifully manicured, ornamental gardens and panoramic views of the surrounding hills, tranquil lake and a 400-year-old temple. Arrival is via a scenic 20-minute drive from the airport, followed by a calming boat ride tailed by migratory birds, as a natural spectacle unfolds before the eyes of visiting guests. Sightings of some of the most exquisite birds, such as the greater flamingo, the ibises, great egret, painted stork and pied kingfisher, paint a mystical picture as the guests move slowly towards the island.
The influence of the island’s flora and fauna can be seen in the intricate details of the country estate, ‘greater flamingo’ being the most prominent one. The hotel is meticulously adorned with a variety of flora, ranging from the fragrant white frangipani and the night-blooming jasmine to stunning spider lilies and the peepal tree that holds great religious significance.
The hotel itself is an architectural marvel of 101 luxurious rooms, suites and signature suites that elegantly interweave western cultural references with Rajasthan’s royal heritage and elements of Mughal architecture. Guestrooms have uninterrupted lake views, private gardens, balconies, plunge pools and an east-west design aesthetic with murals, handcrafted furniture and other crafts by local artisans.
“I am proud and delighted to see how Raffles Udaipur has opened to such acclaim and established itself as a market leader in such a short space of time. As a member of Raffles’ close-knit global portfolio, it is bringing to life our shared vision of true hotel craft,” said Stephen Alden, CEO Raffles and Orient Express.
Under food and beverage director Prasad Metrani, Raffles Udaipur is a culinary aficionado’s paradise with fresh, new flavours to relish every day. At Sawai Kitchen, the Indian speciality restaurant, guests can expect to be graciously served the lost recipes from the region’s royal households, reinvented for modern tastes. Harvest, set to open before the end of the year, offers an interactive farm-to-table dining experience with produce foraged from the estate farm, spotlighting the region’s food traditions; while culinary enthusiasts can enjoy a co-cooking experience at Rasoi, the cookery school.
The Raffles Patisserie offers freshly baked breads, classic French desserts, signature Raffles pastries and more. Guests can dine under the crystal clear sky, overlooking the breath-taking views of the lake at the Belvedere Point. Mindfully crafted alfresco dining experiences, framed by the picturesque hills that surround the lake, draw inspiration from the five elements: earth, fire, water, air and space.
For a sophisticated and discreet experience, guests can linger over intimate conversations or take a book to read at The Writers Bar, while indulging in bespoke artisanal and classic cocktails, as well as a Champagne and caviar menu. For the elegant Afternoon High Tea experience, guests can anticipate exquisite savouries and desserts, along with specially curated teas from the Kangra hills in Himachal Pradesh and the best coffees from Southern India, introduced by the Tea Sommelier.
In contrast, the iconic Long Bar, a hallmark of the Raffles brand designed with European wood and leather, with engravings by local artisans, is a perfect place to socialise. It offers fine Indian spirits, single malts, local brews from across Rajasthan and the signature Udaipur Sling – the Singapore classic remade with fresh produce from the island and home-made syrups.
The Raffles Spa, a space full of natural light with an embroidered canopy to encourage a sense of nurturing, offers a private escape, with authentic treatments and personalised programmes that prioritise both emotional and physical well-being. The fitness centre is well-equipped for an invigorating work-out and the swimming pool invites guests to take a languorous dip, while enjoying a beautiful sunset.
Raffles Udaipur, as with every Raffles hotel around the world, reflects the cultural and natural heritage and mood of its location, offering unforgettable experiences, from a celestial cruise under the moon, to guided farm tours, astronomy, yoga and meditation. Raffles’ legendary service is delivered by private butlers and thoughtfully tailored to individual travellers’ needs.
“Whether you are looking for a rare place of extraordinary discovery or a romantic getaway with captivating sunsets, Raffles Udaipur is the ideal choice,” said Abhishek Sharma, the general manager. “With breath-taking views of the lake from every room, the chance for long, leisurely, romantic walks around our magnificent gardens, and experiences like star gazing and full moon rituals, we are a sanctuary for travellers on a quest for peace and rejuvenation.”
Guests can also choose this island location as a memorable setting for special events and celebrations. The Grand Ballroom of 9,000 square feet, including pre-function area, multiple outdoor gathering areas and an on-site temple, is set to make landmark moments simply unforgettable.
Speaking about the opening, Puneet Dhawan, senior vice president of operations – India and South Asia at Accor, said, “India is a strategic focus with long-term growth potential for Accor and it’s an exciting time for us as we present the iconic Raffles brand to the market. The rich cultural heritage, the regal past, and the grand architecture that gives the city its splendour all contribute to the Raffles Udaipur experience.
“Discerning travellers will now be able to experience the bespoke and immersive hospitality that is quintessentially Raffles. We look forward to warmly welcoming our guests and allowing them to discover what we have created, a confluence of Raffles’ global ethos and local Indian sensitivities.”
Guests can plan their first stay at Raffles Udaipur with an exclusive Royal Escape featuring Raffles high tea, morning yoga with the in-house master and sunset cocktail hour. Visitors are encouraged to breathe in the enchanting views of the Udai Sagar Lake and discover the lush green landscapes with the in-house naturalist during their stay. Enjoy culinary sensations at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The ‘Royal Escape’ package starts from USD 600 plus taxes per night and is valid until 4th November 2021.