This little gem of a hotel embodies understated elegance in tune with an exemplary restoration of traditional townhouses—in the shadow of a stunning fort rising from the desert plains of Rajasthan.
Surrounded by and towering over the “blue city” of Jodhpur, the Mehrangarh Fort spans the crest of a mighty mountain, intimidating every side of the city—and beyond—with its sheer size. And yet it is rarely visible from the street level in the oldest parts of Jodhpur. Blocking the view are townhouses painted in beautiful blue or rosy pink, forming a maze of narrow medieval alleys.
The Raas hotel cuts through the urban chaos, turning an uninterrupted view into a real spectacle.
Our driver steered the car through an old picturesque gate and we were welcomed in the all-glass reception. As we were led further, an impossibly tall corridor, seemingly splitting the main hotel building in two, opened onto a truly magnificent view.
The architecture is clearly designed to unveil the Mehrangarh Fort in a most dramatic fashion—and the part of the hotel that the pathway leads to is arranged almost like an auditorium to the fort.
With the swimming pool in front of the main restaurant and rooftop bar above, with gardens and water features, spa and Heritage rooms at the back, this is where things are happening at the hotel.
Exploring the blue city
We loved to start our day with a delicious breakfast on the Baradari Restaurant terrace, eyeing the fort and listening to the chirping birds and the humming city.
From there, on to city exploring—Raas is ideally positioned for that. Busy street life is just outside the gates and the hotel is within walking distance from the Clock Tower bazaars.
It was also nice to be able to come back to the hotel when we got tired, without having to rely on taxis or tuk-tuks. But, that’s also fun—and we did use this ubiquitous method of transport on occasion, and also rode the hotel’s original blue tuk-tuk, exploring the winding streets of Blue City in style.
After sightseeing, what’s better than chilling out by the hotel’s swimming pool, under the canopied daybeds? Finally, we would end the day with sundowners on the rooftop bar, watching the sun hide behind the fort, and waiting for its walls to lit up with the night lights. This is when the Mehrangarh is at its most spectacular.
RAAS is as secluded from the incredible hustle and bustle of the old city as it is immersed in it. It offsets the city’s rough charms with sophisticated luxury while grafting contemporary design onto the local architecture.
The hotel showcases a high level of craftsmanship. Custom-made rosewood furniture, shiny black marble terrazzo floors, creamy monochrome stone bathrooms all are tasteful and minimalist. Fabrics are light and neutral. Inspired by the medieval havelis decor, the rose sandstone shutters cast geometric shadows across corridors and the stylish bedrooms.
From glass reception and sleek bathrooms to organic cavities of the Heritage Suites and spa, the hotel feels eminently fashionable and cool.
Checking out many a hotel during our Rajasthan trip we observed that too often these properties would simply restore old palaces and conform to a traditional style. Among them, Raas is a rare—and welcome—thing.