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Hotel Highlights

  • Over-sized villas flaunting private outdoor bath tubs and spa pavilions, some with pools
  • Intimate setting of just 14 villas set among 7 acres
  • Lofty infinity pool, couple's day spa, gym and lush gardens
  • Short and sharp menu of pan-Indian and Western dishes; chef will talk you through the a la carte options each evening
  • Village tours, elephant treks and a host of other experiences on offer

Overview

Jaipur boutique hotel Tree of Life Resort & Spa is a vibrant pop of colour in the Rajasthan desert, with its rose-hued walls, aquamarine pools and glinting gold cupola. Tap into village life with elephant jaunts and mountain treks before returning to the serious business of day-spa pampering and poolside lounging.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Tree of Life Resort & Spa with us:

A 15-minute welcome head and shoulder massage for two

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

14 villas.

Check–out

Noon; check-in 2pm. Both are flexible subject to availability; there's a fee for check-outs after 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $195.91 (INR12,000), excluding tax at 12.79 per cent.

More details

Breakfast is an extra INR 800 a person.

Also

Each villa acts as one giant giftshop, so if you fall for that ceramic vase or cool cottan kurta (traditional pajamas), bag one to take home.

At the hotel

Spa with Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, gym, yoga pavilion, putting green, gardens, library of books, DVDs and CDs, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, home-theatre system, Lavazza coffee maker, Ayurvedic Kama toiletries, alfresco bath tub, shower and massage sala.

Our favourite rooms

These massive villas give you enough space to swing a camel, with king-size bedrooms, separate living areas, and bathrooms that lead into the garden. Dazzling colour palettes of fuschia, yellow, orange, aqua and lime, teamed with intricate thekri (mirror work), echo the swathes of sari fabric Rajasthan is famous for. Plump for a Luxury Pool & Spa Villa, and you'll get a suburban-sized backyard complete with plunge pool, Jacuzzi, marble bath tub, waterfall shower and massage pavilion. Honeymoon heaven.

Poolside

From its lofty position, the bell-shaped infinity pool commands knockout views of the grounds and mountain ranges. After taking a dip, chill out on the sunloungers or in the cushion-strewn chhatri (pavilion).

Packing tips

Leave the neutrals at home and embrace Jaipur's penchant for rainbow-bright garb. Bring soft and floaty threads for yoga and poolside posing, and a pair of jodhpurs for elephant jaunts.

Also

Book a couple's treatment at Ekam day spa and you and your Smith will have exclusive use of the Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. Pets are allowed, but you'll need to let staff know in advance. Smoking is only permitted outdoors.

Children

This is more of a romantic adults' retreat, although juniors can be accommodated. Baby cots are free and extra beds for children cost from INR1,500 to INR3,000 a night. Babysitting can be arranged for INR300 an hour and there's a kids' menu.

Eco‐friendly

Artisans from surrounding villages built this desert darling from the ground up, and many of the staff are locals. This big-hearted hotel also supports nearby Kukas School through scholarships and guest-led teaching sessions.

Food & Drink

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Tree of Life Resort & Spa - Jaipur - India

Hotel Restaurant

Ashtam is a sleek, circular space with carved stone walls and arched windows that overlook the putting green. Here, food miles are reduced to mere feet, as chef Santosh Chaudhary draws from his organic veggie patch and local producers to create pan-Indian specialities and Western favourites.

Hotel Bar

With a soundtrack of laid-back lounge and Indian fusion music, the bar at Ashtam is a suitably chilled place to sip a Kingfisher beer, expertly made G&T or the signature cocktail, a Passion of Amer.

Last orders

Ashtam winds down at 11pm, but snacks can be sorted at any time.

Room service

Nocturnal nibbles – whether it's curry or a club sandwich – can be ordered around the clock from the extensive in-room menu.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Cool and casual is order of the day. Bring a cashmere wrap for mid-winter dinners (December–January) as temperatures can drop dramatically.

Top table

Dine at one of the tables for two by the window, or ask to have a spot set up on the lawn for a romantic dinner as the sun sets.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Tree of Life makes the most of its mid-village position with a host of culture-rich activities, both in and around the hotel. Three-hour culinary tour The Chef in You kicks off with a trip to the local market to buy ingredients, before returning to Ashtam restaurant to cook up a storm. Teach a While offers the chance to head up a class for an hour at nearby Kukas School. A Meal with Your Elephant sees you coming over all mahout as you ride an elephant through the hills, then sit down to breakfast, lunch or dinner. Other options include trekking the Aravali Hills, mountain biking, and afternoon tea with the hotel's neighbours. In Jaipur, must-see sights include the City Palace, Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) and astrological wonderland Jantar Mantar. If you'd like to see the Pink City from above, Sky Waltz (+91 98104 14012) runs hot-air balloon tours from September to March, cruising over villages, temples and countryside.

Local restaurants

Beyond the hotel, your best bet for restaurant dining is to head into Jaipur, a 30-minute drive away. Sahib Sindh Sultan in the Crystal Palm Mall (22 Godown Circle, Jaipur; +91 (0)141 406 4444) is a tribute to a bygone era. From the authentic cuisine to the interiors, which are modelled on an old train, this restaurant echoes the heyday of Indian royalty and the British Raj. At Samode Haveli Hotel (Gangapole, Jaipur; +91 (0)141 263 2407), dine on tender chargrilled lamb and generous thali plates in the atmospheric courtyard.

Local cafés

Located within the popular Anokhi lifestyle store, Anokhi Café (Second floor, KK Square, C11 Prithviraj Road, C Scheme, Jaipur; +91 (0)141 400 7245) offers healthy, fresh food with an international flavour. As far as possible, the café serves organic produce grown locally at the Anokhi farm.
 

+ Enlarge
Rugged Aravali Range

Tree of Life Resort & Spa

Kacherawala | Jaipur, Kookas 302028, India, Jaipur, Rajasthan

Planes

The nearest airport for major international flights is Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (www.newdelhiairport.in), a five-hour drive away. Jaipur Sanganer International Airport services domestic routes with Air India (www.airindia.in), Kingfisher Airlines (www.flykingfisher.com) and Jet Airways (www.jetairways.com), as well as international flights from Dubai, Bangkok and Singapore on Air India (www.airindia.in).

Automobiles

Self-driving from Delhi is nothing short of crazy. If you want to travel by road, seek out the services of TWX (+91 11 4379 9700; www.travelworldexperiences.com), who can sort out flights and drivers for jaunts throughout India.

Other

For the full rock-star treatment, organise a helicopter charter from Delhi so you can swoop into Jaipur in style.

Reviews

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Tree of Life Resort & Spa - Jaipur - India

Anonymous review

by Michael Cooper , Creative director

‘India is not for the reluctant traveller,’ my friend warns, inquiring who will accompany me to her son’s wedding in Goa. India is nowhere near the top of my partner’s must-see list, so I set about curating a quick five-day post-wedding tour of Rajasthan that will include staying in the best destination hotels I can find. Itinerary complete, all that full-on luxury seems o…
Read more

Tree of Life Resort & Spa

Anonymous review by Michael Cooper, Creative director

‘India is not for the reluctant traveller,’ my friend warns, inquiring who will accompany me to her son’s wedding in Goa.

India is nowhere near the top of my partner’s must-see list, so I set about curating a quick five-day post-wedding tour of Rajasthan that will include staying in the best destination hotels I can find. Itinerary complete, all that full-on luxury seems over the top: being showered with rose petals on arrival once goes a long way.

Not a historic palace but built just five years ago, the Tree of Life Resort & Spa is the lifelong dream of a seasoned Indian travel guru who wanted to open an intimate, 21st-century ode to modern luxury, created by local craftsmen using ancient techniques. That the resort reinvests in the surrounding community, employing locally and supporting a nearby school for girls, is intriguing, too.

Arriving in the dark after an eight-hour drive from Udaipur, we watch anxiously to see if it really is just 25 minutes from town: it’s more like 20. The dirt road we’d read about online lasts for all of 90 seconds and, rather than a bother, is a terrific counterpoint to what is about to unfold. Any anxiety that had reared its head in the last part of the journey vanishes as the resort reveals itself, glittering softly against a mountainous silhouette. The car engine is silenced and the cool night air, replete with gurgling frogs, casts its spell.

Majestic and serene, the reception pavilion is a beautifully lit series of rooms radiating from a perfectly scaled, domed rotunda with quiet fountain and pool below. The Taj Lake Palace at Udaipur, our previous stay, had been spectacular in its way, but this place is magic. Naman, the evening manager, is on the steps with his team and after a warm, unscripted greeting we are given engraved, polished brass welcome bracelets and led up a winding stone walkway, past sculptures of Hindu gods to our quarters, perched hilltop under a full moon.

And what quarters they are! With just 14 villas, the Tree of Life is all about privacy. We have booked a Luxury Garden & Spa Villa, and upon entry we realise that we will have to rethink our whole Jaipur itinerary. The interior layout, garden plan and window vistas are all worked out to respect seclusion. Buildings are angled and staggered topographically so that other guests can’t see in, yet you somehow have expansive views of Rajasthan desert. Already, we don’t want to leave.

Three grand spaces unfold: living room, then bedroom, then bath with dressing room, all constructed of stone with thick interior and exterior walls, soaring ceilings – at 6 foot 3 this makes a difference – deep-set windowsills and tall, elegant, recessed doorways. Marble floors in the living and bathing areas are broken by soft sandstone underfoot in the bedroom. Teak French doors lead to the garden from all rooms: the only metal used is as finishing touches, often whimsical birds and flowers. Desert-coloured fabrics punctuated with decorative accent pieces in fuschia and gold-leaf delight. This may not sound terribly romantic, but I sleep through the night for the first time in six months.

Design cues are taken from the Mughal architecture of the nearby Amber Fort, which we visit the next morning, including elephant corbels and marble inlay. Request a villa with domed ceilings in bedroom and bathroom: the mirror inlay against cadmium yellow above our bed is entrancing as it shifts with the early light. In lieu of a bath inside, there is a sunken stone tub outside, which the staff will fill with 30 minutes’ notice – perhaps not super-convenient but it sets the stage for a synergy with nature that the resort (and India) is all about. And speaking of connectivity, WiFi is strong throughout the property. I needn’t have wrapped up any work prior to arrival, but am glad I did.

A big plus for us – in addition to guests from Sweden and New York, many in residence are similar to those we have just left in Goa: attractive, well-heeled Indian families and couples enjoying their country. The Tree of Life has many ideas for unusual activities, from culinary tours to elephant rides, but as we only have one day in Jaipur, we opt to bookend sightseeing and shopping on MI Road and Johri Bazaar with a dawn private yoga session and a couples massage in the evening. Both are first-rate. We also have a sumptuous, multi-course breakfast served on the stone patio off our bedroom, but take both dinners in the restaurant down the hill.

Hospitality is like jazz music: you can perfect the spirit right out of it and in an age when everyone’s neighbour wants to be a global brand, genuinely personal service is coveted. There are things that could be improved at Tree of Life (we would like to choose between masseuse and masseur), but we just love what owner Himmat Anand has created. The sensory memories we take away – padding barefoot across the dewy grass to our private outdoor waterfall shower in our walled garden, late-night tea on a carved stone bench under the full moon, the sounds of the countryside co-mingling with Holi Day festivities drifting faintly in from Jaipur – are things that can’t be provided by a well-meaning butler lurking in a carpeted hallway outside your door, or by technology-driven methods that ensure everyone at the hotel knows your name and room number.

As we lounge on a soft mattress poolside at dusk and watch the sun set over the Aravali mountains, exchanging yet another ‘can't-believe-our-good-fortune’ glance, I’m reminded of the words of our yoga instructor: ‘You’ll want to stay in this place for some time.’
 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Tree of Life Resort & Spa's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the excellent rooms: villas that were exceptional, very private, and very big!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Our entire stay was perfect: the hotel grounds are beautifully maintained and are so peaceful. We enjoyed relaxing by the pool and having a yoga lesson between sightseeing outings around Jaipur. The villa was spacious and looked on to a colourful garden. The food at the hotel was absolutely outstanding – each dish was delicately created with the most delicious and fresh ingredients. We sampled both the Indian and international dishes and there was not a single one that disappointed us. We definitely plan to return.

Don’t expect

A little relaxing music would have made the pool area perfect.

Rating: 10/10 stars