The bold, striking architecture of Alila Fort Bishangarh, Jaipur, sitting atop a granite hill, overlooks the sublime Aravalli Hills and appears seamlessly sculpted from the surrounding rustic terrain. Once a warrior fort occupied by the Rajputs eons ago, this luxury hotel now has 59 palatial rooms, each propped with understated decor, and offering uninterrupted views of Bishangarh’s rural beauty. If you fancy doing something different by exploring the outdoors, the hotel can arrange an “Alila Experience” like a cooking class, temple visit or camel ride through the village.
Defying the rule of prolific opulence in Indian heritage hotels, this one boasts clean lines and minimalism, with smooth marble and dark wood forming the core of its foundation. “The irony and dilemma of the design was in creating luxury with complete simplicity, and capturing the 360 degree views without disrupting the architecture of the fort,” reveals Ritu Khandelwal, an interior designer from Jaipur firm Sthapatya Architects, who worked intensively on the project.
The food concept and menus are innovatively curated by the renowned chef Ranveer Brar, to bring back the olden ways of preparing dishes on an open fire and slow cooking in hot sand. Ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced wherever possible, with produce grown in the organic kitchen garden too. There are several dining options, from Nazaara, the beautiful al fresco restaurant offering traditional Rajasthani delicacies, to Amarsar, an airy and atmospheric, tile encrusted room, with a menu inspired by the Silk Route.
Alila Fort Bishangarh remains completely at home in its organic setting, respectfully preserved in a unique marriage of history and modernity that is truly surprisingly different.