North India and Rajasthan camps - RAAS
The owners and architects of Raas have done an amazing job of combining modern design with an old building to create a calm haven in a busy city without actually shutting it out. Raas sits in the middle of the old walled city of Jodhpur at the foot of Mehrangarh fort, of which there are the most stunning views from the rooms, swimming pool and numerous cosy outdoor corners.
Building around a wonderful 300 year old haveli (mansion house verging on being a palace), new contemporary blocks are constructed from the same pink sandstone or painted in Jodhpur blue and stylish contemporary design is fused with the traditional architecture.
The 39 minimalist rooms have wonderful latticed jalis (screens) to let in soft dappled light until you pull them back for a full eyeful of the fort. There are hand-cut wall panels, custom made rosewood furniture, a muted palette of fabrics and all the modcons you’d expect of a city hotel. While four of the rooms are without fort views, these are compensated for with their own little walled gardens and huge strategically placed mirrors to give a reflected view of it.
There's also a spa in the former women's purdah quarter where massages and treatments are beneath high stone carved arches, a boutique shop, two restaurants and excellent unobtrusive service. The rooftop sunset bar is a brilliant place for cocktails at night, sitting there with soft lighting and candles all around, gazing up at the staggering, beautifully lit fort above you. The swimming pool is heated, quite a necessity in winter, though it's the only one in Jodhpur.
Considering that you are just five minutes’ walk from the bazaar and15 minutes from the fort it is surprisingly quiet once you are in Raas’ courtyard garden. The only thing you're likely to hear is the call to prayer from the nearby mosque at dawn and dusk. (Ear plugs are provided if you'd prefer not to have an early wake up call).
The great central location is ideal for exploring the surrounding labyrinth of lanes and markets on foot but if you are not feeling very energetic Raas has customised blue auto-rickshaws to buzz around in – heaps of fun.
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