Very few define luxury hospitality like Raffles Udaipur. Travel + Leisure India & South Asia discover inner peace, serenity and curated experiences on this private island of Udaipur during a blanket session with global influencer Masoom Minawala. By Chirag Mohanty Samal
Produced by Aindrila Mitra
Photographed by The pixel house
Stylized by Anaita Shroff Adajania
Assisted by Chandani Mehta
Make-up & hairstyle by Maniasha; Faze management
Assisted by Nasra
Location: Raffles Udaipur
As I stepped into the battery-powered wooden boat waiting along the shore of Lake Udai Sagar, my mind instinctively drifted to WB Yeats, the English poet and his Innisfree Island Lake. Yeats wrote of the inner peace, sanctuary and serenity he found on a small island in County Sligo, Ireland. I had also gone to an isolated private island. Will I find my inner peace there? I looked expectantly at the brightly lit building on the remote island. I was looking Raffles Udaipur, the ultra-luxury property that opened in India last year. It was like a fascinating vision at dusk.
The boat, almost by magic, sailed gently towards him, and all I could hear was the chirping of birds. The calm caused my mind to drift back to Yeats again. I snapped out of my reverie when the boatman pushed me out onto the pier. The stately property that greeted me bore no resemblance to Yeats’ austere abode on the island, but carried an eerie sense of peace and tranquility. The main structure looked like a mixture of a stately English country house and the palace of an ancient Mughal ruler. However, a quick scan revealed a few global benchmarks. For example, the neat Baroque lawns near the entrance were reminiscent of the elaborate gardens of Buckingham Palace in London or Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, and the pair of obelisks beside the gardens were inspired by Egyptian mythology and imposed as symbols of balance. and harmony.
Spread over 21 acres of a private island, Raffles Udaipur boasts lush green landscapes, ornamental gardens and panoramic views of the surrounding lake, hills and a 400-year-old temple. While providing guests with enough options to connect with nature, it also allows them to experience a slice of remote island extravagance.
Arriving in the lobby, I am greeted with a delicious drink and shown to my room. At Raffles Udaipur, you don’t wait at reception to check in. Check-in formalities are done in the comfort of your room, and quickly. Luxury doesn’t bother anyone. The hotel has 101 exclusive rooms, suites and suites that artfully fuse Western cultural elements with the rich heritage of Rajasthan and facets of Mughal architecture. Expect to find vintage Victorian furniture, local Rajasthani woodwork and stunning Mughal murals here. Ground floor suites come with private pools, cabanas and a private garden, while upstairs suites have spacious balconies overlooking the lake and the Aravalli range.
Raffles Udaipur, an oasis of luxury and calm is a union of global aesthetics and local flavor and served as the perfect destination for our August cover shoot with Masoom Minawala — a global influencer, content creator and entrepreneur. Asking her what impressed her the most about the property, she was quick to reply, “Besides the beautiful architecture, the warmth and hospitality. And we couldn’t agree more.
Private services and experiences
When it comes to luxury services, low-key butler service earns overwhelming approval here. Personal butlers assigned to the suites take care of every little guest requirement. From getting the bath water flowing to creating special moments, they do it all. Nirmal Kumar Singh, Chief Butler at Raffles Udaipur, shared: “The butlers [here] are trained to deliver tailored experiences. One of our guests wanted to celebrate life, so we organized a special day which started with a meditation session, a walk through the green landscapes followed by a snack at one of the sunset points with views spectacular.
With the onset of the pandemic, we have all become more aware of how and often why we travel, and wellness is high on the list. In response to this increased interest in wellness, the Raffles Udaipur offers programs aimed at healing body, mind and spirit. For example, the Raffles Spa offers exclusive therapies and personalized treatments. The spa’s Alchemy Bar allows guests to create their own scrubs and packs. The spa manager was candid: “The idea of Alchemy Bar [was born because] customers are sometimes allergic to certain ingredients in ready-to-use scrubs and they [cannot do] the therapies. But now, [you] can choose [your] own ingredients to create [your] own scrubs. And that’s not all, therapists are trained to administer massages that can release any trace of negative energy or stress in the body.
The hotel’s dining experiences are also in line with the larger goal of holistic rejuvenation. Singh says, “Chefs not only create personalized menus based on the dietary needs of customers, but also provide food options based on diners’ zodiac signs to further enhance their well-being. The dining room is divided into three parts: Raffles Patisserie with outdoor dining, Rasoi, the cooking school and Sawai Kitchen, serving Indian specialties. From long-lost royal recipes and regional dishes made with organic farm produce to world cuisines and desserts, these three restaurants together offer a wide range of dishes.
The hotel has no shortage of options to please its well-traveling guests. For savvy bibliophiles who like a drink alongside a good read, there’s The Writers Bar, an impressive floor-to-ceiling library that houses nearly 1,000 books and serves craft cocktails. If you’re in the mood to socialize, the iconic Long Bar is a fitting destination. You can choose from the Indian spirits, single malts and local beers on offer, or better yet, try the signature Udaipur Sling, the gin cocktail made with local produce and homemade syrups.
Raffles Udaipur has undoubtedly transformed this tiny island into one of India’s most opulent destinations. But what has stuck with me is the fascinating story of the couple – whom the locals wholeheartedly believe – who had settled on the island, long before it became a luxury lighthouse. According to folklore, the island was gifted by a Rajasthani courtier to his daughter, who fell in love with an English trader. The young couple built a house and a farm and lived on the island. The original house, a symbol of love, still exists on the property. It has been renovated and named The Residence. It stands proudly right next to the Long Bar. As the sun set, painting the sky pink and orange, my mind found its way back to the couple’s stories and the legacy of romance they left behind on this small island, adding yet another touch of enchantment to this modern architecture. wonder.
Getting to Raffles Udaipur
Several airlines, including Vistara, Air Indiaand Indigo, operate direct flights to Udaipur from several Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Pune. The resort also provides airport shuttle services for guests staying at the property.
Raffles Udaipur is a royal getaway overlooking the beautiful Udai Sagar Lake and the Aravali Ranges. The ultra luxurious resort is an oasis of calm and offers unparalleled dining experiences. It is also part of Accor’s Lifestyle Loyalty program, ALL–Accor Live Limitless. Double from INR 40,000++
Related: Women On The March: Masoom Minawala Mehta on How to Empower Local Women-Led Brands