Jodhpur, India

Raas

Rates from (inc tax)$176.84

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21INR), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Achingly hip haveli

Setting

Shadow of Mehrangarh

Set in the shadow of the majestic Mehrangarh Fort in Jodphur’s ancient walled city, hotel Raas is a modern-day Maharaja’s mansion.The elegant al-fresco dining and an at-your-service butler-attended pool might have you believe you're out on the Adriatic, but the call to prayer from a mosque nearby is a soul-stirring reminder that this renovated 18th-century haveli is in the heart of Rajasthan.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A fruit basket. Guests staying two nights or more also get a heritage tour; for three-night stays, you'll also get a cooking class and dinner set-up (food and drinks extra). For four nights or more, return transfers and a bottle of wine are thrown in.

Facilities

Photos Raas – Jodhpur – India

Need to know

Rooms

39, including seven suites.

Check–Out

Midday; check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible subject to availability for an additional fee.

Rates

Double rooms from $176.84 (INR11,743), excluding tax at 9 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (INR12,800.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include continental breakfast and all taxes.

Also

Slip into Ila Spa for some holistic, spiritual treatments.

At the hotel

Gardens, cushioned alcoves, spa treatment rooms, DVD/CD library, free WiFi throughout. In room: flatscreen TV, DVD/CD player, minibar, Kama Ayurveda toiletries. Suites in the Heritage Wing offer iPods.

Our favourite rooms

Set within the original Rajput residence, the three Old Wing Suites are the last word in romance. Rose-hued sandstone, carved jaali screens and splashes of Brahmin blue set the tone for these luxury abodes. Outdoor terraces lead into dimly lit living areas with cool tile floors and stone walls. Low-slung king-size beds and sumptuous freestanding bath tubs are fit for a Maharani.

Poolside

The 18-metre heated infinity pool brings a splash of Ibiza to the Indian desert, with white-canopied sunloungers, chilled tunes and switched-on bar service to boot. Book ahead for poolside yoga.

Packing tips

Sari-fabulous wraps, feather-light cottons and broad-brimmed hats for Mrs Smith. Mr Smith, look to owner Nikhilendra's designer desert kit of crisp linen shirts, khaki cotton pants and aviator shades. If you don't want to wake with the pre-dawn <i>azan</i> from Laiquan mosque, use the earplugs provided in each room, but we reckon you're missing out on this melodic start to the day.

Also

Pet dogs and cats are welcome, and smoking is allowed in outside sitting areas.

Children

Junior Smiths are welcome at Raas. Baby cots are free, and extra beds for under 12s cost INR2,300 a night. Babysitting can be arrange for INR300 an hour.

Overview

Raas welcomes kids of all ages, with child-friendly activities, menus and bedding on offer.

Best for

Older kids, who'll appreciate the hustle and bustle of Jodhpur.

Recommended rooms

The ground-floor Garden Rooms open onto private grassy courtyards, making them pick of the bunch for Smiths travelling en masse. Baby cots can be added for free, and extra beds for under 12s cost INR2,300.

Activities

Hotel staff are only too happy to arrange treasure hunts, cooking classes, flower decoration sessions and music lessons. Beyond the hotel, the markets will dazzle and Mehrangarh Fort's Flying Fox lets juniors channel their inner Batman.

Swimming pool

There's no dedicated kids pool, but the shallow ledge provides for safe splashing. Inflatables and arm-bands are on offer, and from 7am to 10pm a lifeguard will keep an eye on tiny tots.

Rates

More details

Rates include continental breakfast and all taxes.

Meals

Children can pull up a pew at both restaurants, where special menus and highchairs are provided. Pizzas, salads and noodles are sure to please young appetites. You can also ask the kitchen to prepare packed lunches, or heat up baby food and milk. 

Babysitting

With 24 hours' notice, babysitting can be arranged for INR300 an hour.

No need to pack

Highchairs, baby cots and pool toys are all on tap.

Eco‐friendly

Organic vegetables and herbs are grown in the grounds and at the owner's kitchen garden nearby, and swaying stands of aromatic lemongrass act as a natural insect repellent. Local materials have been used in construction, plus solar power and recycling programmes are in effect.

Food and Drink

Photos Raas – Jodhpur – India

At the hotel

Raas has two: white-hot Bandari Restaurant, which offers elegant indoor dining and sun-drenched poolside posing; and elevated Dari Khana, a relaxed space of cushioned banquettes, candle-lit tables and scene-stealing fort views. Chef Vishal Gautam has crafted a crowd-pleasing menu of Indian classics, Thai treats and Mediterranean favourites, with authentic Rajasthani fare a highlight of Dari Khana. In keeping with the observances of the Old City, the kitchens are pork- and beef-free zones.

At the bar

With a bird's-eye view of both the pool and Mehrangarh, the Roofttop Bar offers a pinch-me-quick set of sights. Sip on a mojito as you watch the sun set and the lights of the fort begin to twinkle.

Last orders

The restaurants and bar stay open until 10.30pm, though may close earlier during the low season.

Room service

You can dial up a margherita pizza, pad Thai or club sandwich around the clock.

Location

Photos Raas – Jodhpur – India
Address
Raas
Tunvar ji ka Jhalra, Makrana Mohalla
342001
Jodhpur
India

Planes

Touch down at Jodhpur Airport (www.aai.aero/allAirports/jodhpur) – Jet Airways (www.jetairways.com) and Air India (book.airindia.in) fly in daily from Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Udaipur. The hotel is a 20-minute drive away.

Trains

The Jodhpur Railway Station has good rail links with the rest of the country. Visit: www.indianrail.gov.in for timetables and fares.

Automobiles

Tuk tuks are the best way to travel around town – book the hotel's own Brahmin-blue number for market jaunts or trips up to Mehrangarh Fort. The narrow lanes of the Old Town are tight, so leave the driving to the locals.

Worth getting out of bed for

Raas lets guests tap into the surrounding region with a choice of culture-laden experiences. Guided walks offer a gentle introduction to this intimate, yet frenetic city, or if you'd rather zip around the streets, book the services of the hotel's bespoke tuk tuk. A Bishnoi Village Safari introduces you to the no-frills lives of this animal- and plant-loving Hindu sect. Transfers to the villages are of the choose-your-own-adventure type. Opt for a camel trek, open-topped Jeep or a chaffeur-driven air-conditioned car (but then you're missing out on half the fun). A temple-hopping tour of the Ossian desert is also on offer.

It's impossible to ignore the mighty Mehrangarh Fort (www.mehrangarh.org), which looms large over the hotel. Take a guided audio tour to learn all about this fabled fortress. Once you've explored it from the ground, see it from above with Flying Fox zip lines (www.flyingfox.asia), which zig and zag over the walls and around the mountain. 

Brave the bustle of the Clock Tower market, where trolleys topped with glass bangles, incense and fruit give way to stores filled with antique fabrics, terracotta pottery, clothing and jewellery.

Local restaurants

For Indian classics and barbecued meats, nab a table in the leafy courtyard of family-friendly On the Rocks, near the Raika Bagh train station (+91 (0)291 510 2701). If polo's more your schtick, hightail it to Hanwant Mahal (+91 (0)982 974 4417; www.mshospitality.in) on Umaid Bhawan Hill, just beneath the Palace. There's a vista-flaunting rooftop terrace, private-dining nooks and a Champagne Lounge adorned with vintage polo photos. Regional Rajasthani dishes shine at the Raj-tastic dining room in Ajit Bhawan Hotel (Circuit House Road, Jodhpur; +91 (0)291 251 3333; www.ajitbhawan.com).

Local cafés

At the entrance to Mehrangarh Fort, Café Mehran (+91 (0)291 261 2519) makes the perfect pitstop after you've scrambled up, down and around the palace. Tuck into a Rajasthani thali plate, a light snack or a refreshing iced tea.

Reviews

Photos Raas – Jodhpur – India

Anonymous review

Sorry, Brad. Apologies, Angelina. The real Mr and Mrs Smith have just stolen your thunder.

By the time Hollywood’s golden couple arrive in Jodphur, smack bang in the heart of Rajasthan, for a film producer pal’s mega-wedding, the missus and I have already done the town, drunk it dry, hit every hot spot and left wearing the T-shirt.

Jodphur, the ‘Blue City’ of Mughal legend, makes Hollywood look like Hicksville anyway. For starters, instead of a rusting rabble of letters on a hill as a totem, this madcap metropolis looks heavenward to Mehrangarh, ‘Citadel of the Sun’ – built in 1459AD as the world’s mightiest fort (it’s now the castle in the clouds hosting Brangelina).

As views from a hotel go, Rao Jodha’s palace battlement is tough to top. But if Mehrangarh embodies the eyes and mind of the Walled City, Raas – nestled at the foot of that mountain – is the kiss Brahman, god of gods, planted at its feet.

Four heritage buildings of rose-red sandstone make up this most beautiful of hotels. For 300 years it was a family residence, replete with pavilions, stables, guard houses, temples and a guesthouse named Dari Khana – ‘Chamber of Carpets’.

Brothers Nikhilendra and Dhananajaya Singh have refashioned that family manor into 32 rooms and seven suites skirting sprawling terraced gardens, infinity pools, restaurants, spas and boutiques – a place of subtle odysseys for blue-chip travellers not easily awed. From the get-go, the panoramic vista of Mehrangarh – hues shifting with the sun’s movements – guarantees that awe. But thereafter we make Raas an epic of immersion. Outside the hotel it’s a riot of chaotic colour. Inside, birds trill, water tinkles and passion simmers. Best to just go with the flow…

Easy when there’s an ice bucket waiting, and French champagne to drink on the balcony of our Luxury Room. Slick yet rustic, this upstairs suite is freckled by the sun spots refracted through honeycombed jhali (window screens) and set to the music of birds, frogs and squirrels chattering in a hubbub from the frangipanis that frame that view.

The only way to counter the utter bedlam of Jodphur is to hit it hard, fast and often. So our forays outside Raas are conducted like raids. We zip between bazaars and market squares via the labyrinth of dusty veins that circulate the city’s lifeblood, encountering textiles, ornaments, spices, omnipresent sacred cows and humble, happy locals. It’s a whirlpool of energy and adventure but we keep our wits and bearings by the six huge gates – the ancient borders of the city that human tides have long since burst.

Waiting for us, as for generations, is Raas: eye of the hurricane, end of the rainbow. In the morning, woken by wailed prayers from the neighbouring mosque, we’re revitalised. Our days start poolside with the house-special saffron lassi, breakfast drink of deities (a far cry from the oft-touted ‘bhang’ lassi where a liquidised cannabis is added in measures one café described thus: ‘strong/ super-duper sex strong/ full-power 24-hour’).

At night, gloriously spent, we return to one of Raas’s two restaurants, Dari Khana. A haven for romantic dinners, it sits centrally, bathed in floodlights from the Fort up above and swimming in the scent of the hand-ground spices chef Vishal Gautam lets us source with him from a 200-year-old spice arcade on the arid outskirts of town.

With limbs zinging from exotic scrubs at the spa, we kick back as karma kicks in. A red sun is setting over the Blue City. Frogs hop from their ponds to the pool and serenely breaststroke up and down. Bollywood operettas are wafting from speakers hidden in the shrubbery and candles sit spluttering light from arched nooks in the haveli (Maharaja’s mansion).

I suspect Brad and Angelina might refer to this twilight zone as ‘Hollywood Hour’. Whatever. Right now the real Mr and Mrs Smith are, like Mehrangarh, sitting pretty.

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 Raas’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The hotel was beautifully designed with an elegant mix of historic facade and modern yet warm interiors.

Don’t expect

Total silence: the hotel is right next to a mosque, so there are multiple calls to prayer through out the day. The loudest was around 7pm and lasted for 45 min. It didn't bother me, and the hotel passes out ear plugs as a precautionary measure.

Rating

Stayed on 23 Aug 2016

We loved

The setting, the architecture and the service. Can't rate it highly enough! 

Rating

Stayed on 16 Jul 2016

We loved

The location and view!

Don’t expect

Peace and quiet – you are in the middle of a vibrant city.

Rating

Stayed on 24 Dec 2015

We loved

Our room in the heritage wing was incredible; the mix of modern and old works so well. Breakfast was a feast of Indian treats.

Don’t expect

Nothing negative at all to say about the Raas, we just wished we could have stayed longer!

Rating

Stayed on 24 Nov 2015

We loved

The view of the fort, the cocktail roof bar and the staff, the food (which was amazing!) and the staff (who were so so warm and sweet!).

Don’t expect

Cheap meals - food and drinks are expensive, in my opinion, but very delicious.

Rating

Stayed on 9 Nov 2015

We loved

Design of the hotel and friendly service. Nearby, the fort is amazing, also we found best shopping in India in Jodhpur.

Don’t expect

Good international food, better stick to Indian cuisine.

Rating

Stayed on 29 Oct 2015

We loved

The staff was extremely nice, attentive and accommodating, making everything possible to ensure that our stay was as comfortable as possible and our special requests fulfilled. The location was spectacular, as the room had wonderful views of the fort from all windows. The room itself was very clean, comfortable and very well laid-out on two floors. Room service was extremely fast and the food was simply delicious. The cooking lesson was a lot of fun, as the chef and kitchen staff were wonderfully attentive. Everything, from the beginning of our stay to the end was simply perfect, particularly the special dinner set-up. Simply put, this was one of the most hospitable hotels I have stayed in - would return in a heartbeat!

Don’t expect

This is definitely not a party place; it is a very elegant retreat.

Rating

Stayed on 30 Jul 2015

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