Hidden away in the Arvalli hills in Rajasthan, a world away from the crowds on the conventional Jaipur-Jodphur-Udaipur trail, is Fort Bishangarh - a 230-year-old defensive fortress which has been seven years in restoration and undergone a brilliantly sensitive transformation. Alila Fort Bishangarh will open in February 2017 with 59-suites. It is Alila’s second property in India and follows the opening of 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 forts 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 quest in the preservation of this ancient warrior fort inspired the creation of a world-class boutique resort for guests to appreciate the beauty of the Aravalli hills. The project grew out of a love for the heritage of the building and the surrounding landscape, with sustainability as a core commitment. The original fort has been left intact and much care has been given to the reconstruction of new residential areas to ensure it is everything a modern-day Maharaja or Maharani could wish for and more.
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 exciting F&B options innovatively curated by a renowned chef. There's Amarsar, an indoor speciality 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.
Meanwhile, down the hill is the 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:
Day visits to historic palaces, temples and forts. Amber Fort is a 45-minute drive
Wellness at Spa Alila, visits to the local communities for farming, seeing marble artisans and carpet weavers, teaching at the village school
Walks & picnics, biking, horse-riding, trekking, ATV adventures (All-Terrain-Vehicles), hot-air ballooning
Traditional cooking school and special food trails
From grand celebratory events to intimate wedding ceremonies
The hallmark of Alila is the combination of innovative design and luxury in unique locations, set apart by an unprecedented level of private space, crafted artisanship, personalised hospitality, and bespoke learning journeys. Alila means “Surprise” in Sanskrit, which suitably describes the refreshing character of our properties and impressions of our guests when they stay with us. In support of sustainable tourism, Alila hotels adopt EarthCheck operating standards, integrating the natural, physical and cultural elements of their environments. To stay at any of Alila's hotels & resorts is to embark on a destination experience – be it in recreating the flavours of the local cuisine, enhancing your well-being through ancient healing arts or the thrill of adventure sports, you will re-discover the luxury of living at Alila.
For more information, visit alilahotels.com
About Two Roads Hospitality
Created in September 2016, Two Roads Hospitality is an international lifestyle company encompassing an unrivaled collection of distinctive properties, passionate people, and remarkable experiences around the globe. The company is named for the newly-merged Commune and Destination Hotels, bringing together over 40 years of combined expertise exclusively dedicated to the boutique and lifestyle space. Comprised of Joie de Vivre Hotels, Thompson Hotels, Destination Hotels, tommie and Alila Hotels & Resorts, the company is the leading operator of independent and lifestyle hotels with almost 100 properties in eight countries and growing, also boasting an extensive roster of award-winning restaurants and bars, stunning vacation residences, world-class golf courses, and indigenous spa and wellness offerings.
For more information, visit tworoadshotels.com
About DISCOVERY programme
DISCOVERY is about making travel unforgettable. The eight million members of the programme receive recognition and rewards across 550 hotels, resorts, palaces and spas. Local Experiences, the innovative rewards of the DISCOVERY programme, are unique, authentic experiences, which are curated by each hotel to give a taste of local traditions and culture. Members also receive stay benefits, such as complimentary Wi-Fi, room upgrades and enhanced personal recognition as they move through the membership levels, each and every time they stay within the portfolio.
Check it out: www.discoveryloyalty.com
Check it out: www.discoveryloyalty.com