Recommended place to stay:
Udaipur, Rajasthan, India|www.raashotels.com|
Official star rating:
This dazzling 18th-century fort palace in Rajasthan’s soft-focus Aravalli hills is every romantic’s dream of India. The hotel skilfully fuses old-world grace with contemporary minimalism; fairytale turrets, twinkling walls encrusted with gemstones and secret passageways to candlelit courtyards. Add warm jasmine-scented air and it feels more like a movie set than a boutique hotel.
That authenticity informs its approach to wellbeing, embracing the country’s ancient ayurvedic health system with subtle modern touches. Curated treatments can be taken in hidden nooks of the palace as well as pretty spa rooms. You can release the pressure valve, breathing in Himalayan salt in its hand carved chamber, try immersive exercise such as sunrise yoga on the rooftop and opt for delicious personalised meal plans or order G&Ts.
This is me-tox, not detox, so expect plenty of decadent touches such as the vast pool and spectacular al fresco hot tub that links you to this uniquely uplifting landscape.
Go off menu in the spa and ask therapists to recreate an age-old custom, for which you sit on a ‘smoking stool’ while frankincense is burned beneath your chair, followed by a slow, deep massage using handcrafted, organic oils. It sounds underwhelming but is completely unforgettable.
From the palace’s wide terraces you survey pristine empty landscapes, but you can hear the sound of village business drifting up in the sultry air from pretty Delwara beneath.
The stunning ancient Jain temples are about a 10-minute walk away; Udaipur is an easy hour’s drive on National Highway 8 road, which links Delhi and Mumbai.
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