Live Like a Maharaja at Samode Haveli, Jaipur
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Vegetarian Friendly Factor –
Living like royalty is a quintessential part of your visit to Jaipur. So, before my recent trip to Jaipur, I started searching for a heritage haveli (palace) where I could get to experience the resplendent heritage and splendour of Jaipur, and came across the gem that is Samode Haveli.
After my stay here, I can highly recommend this luxe haveli where everything from the rooms to the décor to the food and service were excellent.
Samode Haveli was built 175 years ago as a residence of the rulers of Samode (a village near Jaipur). Located in the hustle bustle of old Jaipur, the mansion is steeped in history and has a distinctive regal air about it. Not surprising, as the royal family of Samode still resides in a part of the old haveli, they have converted the rest into a boutique luxury hotel.
I did have an ‘unsure’ moment when my pick-up car started going through small, not-too-clean lanes and headed through an approach road that was, let’s just say, less than perfect. I wondered then if I’d picked the wrong place. But my fears were quickly laid to rest as I reached the haveli and was greeted by the beautiful entrance (picture below).
The former royal apartments have been converted into deluxe rooms and suites, with en-suite bathrooms having been added at a later date (surprising but true, even royalty didn’t get private bathrooms in the 1800’s). This means that the rooms haven’t been built on a set template sans any personality. (As is evident in the pictures below) each room is unique, with a distinctive character and has been decorated in a manner that suggests a personal touch.
The rooms and suites are replete with rich furniture and furnishings and spell understated elegance and luxury. My room was beautifully done up in Rajasthani haveli style opulence, and appointed with all modern-day amenities. Age-old pictures of the Samode family adorn the walls, further reflecting the history and culture of Samode, while at the same time adding to the authenticity. For me, it is these personal touches that set it apart from the run of the mill hotels. By the way, if you want to go all out, book yourself into the Sheesh Mahal Room (Palace of Mirrors).
Samode Haveli’s location is another reason for a stay here (as if we needed another reason). The hotel is located right inside the Pink City, making it the perfect base to explore the attractions within the walled old city. For someone like me who loves to admire old architecture, shop for knick-knacks at roadside stalls and visit prominent landmarks like City Palace, Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal, the ease of being just a tuk tuk ride away from all these was a deal clincher.
Facilities at Samode
Samode Haveli offers the usual facilities, with a pinch of beauty and a dash of grandeur. The gym overlooks the pool, so you can work out while enjoying the view. Or if you want to be lazy, lounge around in the poolside pavilions while your little ones splash around in the adjoining wading pool. If you’re ready for some pampering – head over to the spa to relax and rejuvenate.
Whatever else you do, do head over to the hotel’s Living Room, which, to me was an attraction in itself. Everything from the rich red furnishings, to the artefacts and chandeliers, to the hand-painted murals on the walls and ceiling, screams royalty. The Living Room has books and games to keep you busy but chances are you might just be too busy admiring the room and taking pictures to have time for anything more than a glass of wine.
Dining at Samode
Whatever I say about the food will be an understatement; every meal that I had at Samode Haveli was fantastic. A travel agent told me that Samode’s food is better than Taj’s and I believe him. Understandably then, Samode Haveli’s restaurant is a popular hangout for the hotel guests as well as tourists. A lot of tour groups think of it as a mandatory stop for the true-blue experience it affords. The food is simply outstanding, the restaurant has a regal ambience because of grand chandeliers and paintings of maharajahs that adorn the walls.
Afternoon tea is a treat on the airy veranda and the beautiful fountain courtyard serves a-la-carte meals throughout the day, including Rajasthani and International cuisine. Private meals and candle-lit dinners can also be arranged. Samode’s lunch buffet serves North-Indian, Rajasthani and Continental fare. The Aubergine Raita, Dal Makhani and Ker Sangri are drool worthy. The delicious Rajasthani Thali that I had for dinner has now become my idea of what defines Rajasthani cuisine.
In fact, the food was so good that I can’t do justice to it in a single paragraph – it deserves a whole article by itself, so here it is.
All in all, Samode Haveli was an experience I highly recommend for everything from the stay and hospitality to the food.
You can expect to pay around SGD 180/Deluxe Room or SGD 220 for a Deluxe Suite. Do note that hotel prices in Jaipur vary depending on season and can go much higher during the peak season, so book early.