I can’t decide what is my most special Leela moment in Jaipur. Gazing at the gleaming, moon-licked, silver-foiled domes under the sitaron ki mehfil by the shimmering pool. Or hearing the call of the peacocks, ringing through the dawn-lit air, the cool breeze wafting through my hair as I slip into warrior pose on my yoga mat, against the backdrop of the Aravallis. Or savouring the sharabi maas in its spicy splendour in the Maharajah Suite, reclining against the velvety bolsters on the private terrace while the dipping orb lazily coloured the sky pink and orange.
Luxury lies in discovering magical moments, and The Leela Palace Jaipur brings in a jaw-dropping melee of such moments that serenade your senses throughout the day. Caparisoned tuskers salute and garland you to the pounding of the nagadas as the ceremonial tilak is applied on your forehead under the welcome shower of rose petals. White marble elephants gaze silently in veneration from every direction as you walk past the flowing water into the palatial premises that come awash with stunning regional craftsmanship. It is a rich, textured visual feast—from the intricate thikri work celebrating reflections in the fine glass mosaic and the mother-of-pearl inlay detailing running through the décor to semi-precious stones lacing the floor of the Devi Mandir, the hand-painted indigo florals on the white walls, and the araish work on the grand columns.
Dazzling Turkish chandeliers hold court in the reception area, Tulsi Mahal, suspended protectively over the gurgling fountain in the centre—a precise replica of the fountain inside the Red Fort in Delhi. The soothing murmur of this stunning fountain sets the tone for the sensorial experience that slowly unfolds.
Local design language
There is a beautiful lilt that creates a rhythm in the flowing spaces as the indoors melt into the outdoors, rather effortlessly. The combined strains of the stringed and percussion instruments helmed in the open, fuse to create a symphony of sorts. The musical essence of the santoor, cupped by the dholak or the tabla, fills the air with a decided sweetness and the breeze carries the notes afar, across the lotus ponds, and through the baradari—the 12-doorway space roofed with mini domes to accentuate the acoustics. The soft notes of the flute being played during the breakfast hours float through the air, amidst the birdsong and sunshine.
The blue expanse of the pool at the heart of the property, the gurgling of fountains, and the gentle swish of the water as it sparkles and moves along in the tiny, interconnected flow-aways, together with the soothing drop of the cascading rush into the private, temperature-controlled plunge pools in the villas compose the relaxation quotient here just so easily. All while you spot clusters of retort-shaped nests by the baya weaver, on the palms, and observe and the male robin, and rufous treepie amidst the fiery spread of the bougainvillaea.
A sheer sensorial treat while you nod off on the recliners. It is among the stunning expanse of jharokhas and unending Shekhawati paintings along the walls, replete with the regalia of the past, that the crowning glory emerges in the Dharohar experience in the foothills. The mood is set when the sun slowly begins to slip into the horizon.
Regal feasts and desi flavours
The traditional folk dances of Rajasthan, with live musicians breathing local flavours into the mela-setting—complete with a puppet show, the astrologer with a parrot, bangle sellers, hot masala chai, the quintessential pyaz kachori and more—create an unforgettable experience. A special mention for the prowess of executive chef Ganesh Teli who brings the entire ecosystem of the desert state onto your plate through prized local darlings. The spicy ker sangri ki sabzi, mouth-melting kathal ke shammi, the seasonal ber ki chutney served up with nutty kathal ke samosa, khad ka gosht and more woo your tastebuds as you relish the delicacies. Aujasya forms his latest lip-curling offering, in a melee of fresh, nutritious specials hinged on the goodness of Ayurveda.
On offer are a variety of delectable dishes, from sorghum idlis to sattu paratha with kachumber, amaranth pancakes, and pearl millet pesarattu. You can delight in these specials in the peacock courtyard as the vitamin and antioxidant cocktail pours itself into your bowl.
It is not just the gourmet gospels that confound. Even the subtle and lingering fragrance of the kumud (lotus) and the rare neelakurunji (Nilgiri, that blooms once in 12 years) slowly and surreptitiously romances your senses in its quiet signature touch, throughout the property.
A stay at The Leela is also evocative of the notes of Tishya, the specially-crafted array of treasured bath salts, shower gel, lotion, and fragrance sprays created by the luxury major. This elevates that all-important sensorial bed and bath experience to another level, suffusing the environment with a delicate hush.
As you revel in a full body massage at the spa under expert finger strokes—the warm, womb-like personal steam room lacing the therapy area completes the treasured experience. Later, as you sink into the plush mattress in your villa, amidst sumptuous colours pulled from the bolts of splendid Indian fabrics, you slowly absorb it all—in royal aubergine, emerald greens, rani pinks, and treasured blues that gild your private cocoon in a profusion of zari-clad cushions, and fabrics with traditional stitches dotting the walls.
That’s the luxurious sensorial experience, of Rajputana Heritage, in the Pink City.
Address: The Leela Palace Jaipur, Jaipur-Delhi Highway, NH 11, Kukas, Rajasthan 302028 Phone: 01426 350 000
Log onto: theleela.com/the-leela-palace-jaipur
Stay: Choose from 88 uber luxe villas (with personal plunge pools), and 200 luxury rooms.
Price for room: INR 20,000 onwards per night
Price for villa: INR 35,000 onwards per night
- The royal welcome on arrival
- A personalised tour of the palace
- Evening tea at Dharohar, by the Aravallis
- A dip in the mega swimming pool in the heart of the property
- Birdwatching and buggy rides
- Experiencing Mohan Mahal (a la the famed Sheesh Mahal) for Indian dining, and Hawa Mahal for rooftop dining
Good to know:
- The Leela Palace Jaipur is located 26 km from the city airport
- There is an ATM on the premises
- You can find some key tourist attractions within 10 kilometres of the radius, like Amer Fort, Jaigarh palace and Jal Mahal.