Jaipur tops the list of royal heritage destinations when it comes to luxury travel in Rajasthan, and the city houses a good number of luxury and heritage hotels to impress the tourists! Here’s another prominent name added to the list of premium heritage hotels – Fort ‘Alila’ at Bishangarh.
Hidden away in the Arvalli hills in Rajasthan, here appears a world away from the crowded cities on the conventional Jaipur-Jodphur-Udaipur trail, is Fort Bishangarh! It is a 230-year-old defensive fortress which has been seven years in restoration and undergone a brilliant transformation. Alila Fort Bishangarh is expected to be opened in February 2017 with 59-suites. It is Alila group’s second property in India followed by Alila Diwa Goa in 2010.
Alila is the first international hotel group to open a property in the Aravalli hills between Delhi and Jaipur and Fort Bishangarh is thought to be one of the only warrior fort of its kind to be converted into a unique heritage resort of this stature. It has a remarkable presence, sitting up high on a granite hill with staggering 360-degree views of the Rajasthani landscape, surrounded by hills and dotted with havelis, villages and temples. A tiny village skirts its base and adds to the rural charm. This imposing structure is fortified by two-metre thick stone walls and majestic turrets with wonderfully intricate arched windows and jaalis – a perfect example of the Jaipur Gharana architecture influenced by both the Mughals and the British. The use of traditional materials in a contemporary manner is the basic design ethos.
The new structure – created above and outside the old fort – houses four different categories of suites. Each of the 59-suites has been custom designed to make the most of the stunning views from the large openable windows, resulting in 22 different layouts. Rooms come with all the modern conveniences, including expansive bathrooms, footed/inbuilt bathtubs and large day-beds.
Within the fort are various F&B options innovatively curated by a renowned chef. There’s Amarsar, an indoor specialty restaurant and Nazara an outdoor grill dining venue on the terrace, with spectacular views. Madhuveni is the hotel’s bar, with a cigar/cognac turret and there is also the Kachhawa Lounge serving the 4 C’s – Champagne, Coffee, Chai and Cakes. The library, amidst old marble pillars is where the Alila journeys begin. Spa Alila, carved out between granite rocks, is located in the dungeon within the main fort. Darbar, a large grand banquet hall, Daawat, the show kitchen cum event dining space and Saheb, the conference room, round off the banqueting experience.
On the down hills is a Haveli where some public areas are housed, comprising the arrival courtyard and tent, luxurious banquet lawns, the pool, pool verandah and terrace, a bar and pantry, fitness centre and the Play Soldiers Club for teenagers and toddlers separately. An organic garden and a green house set up amidst the ravines and various lounging areas located in this rural landscape brings one up close with nature.
Bishangarh Village in the Arvalli hills is in the Jaipur district. It is a three-hour drive from New Delhi and an hour’s drive from Jaipur. It is ideally located to explore the charm and beauty of rural Rajasthan with Alila experiences covering five core themes:
- Cultural Learning: Day visits to historic palaces, temples and forts. Amber Fort is a 45-minute drive
- Conscious Living: Wellness at Spa Alila, visits to the local communities for farming, seeing marble artisans and carpet weavers, teaching at the village school
- Active Spirits: Walks & picnics, biking, horse-riding, trekking, ATV adventures (All-Terrain-Vehicles), hot-air ballooning
- Culinary Arts: Traditional cooking school and special food trails
- Couples Celebration: From grand celebratory events to intimate wedding ceremonies
Rates at Alila Fort Bishangarh start from USD 280 per room per night. Price based on two people sharing, on a room only basis (excluding tax).