A quick glance at this boutique hotel, 20 minutes out of Jaipur on the Jaipur-Ajmer expressway, and I find myself drawn to a unique sitting area. Resting against a stone pillar, just by the swimming pool, is a two-seater in electric blue. No, it’s not an award-winning designer chair, far from it. It’s, in fact, the seat of an unassuming cycle rickshaw, a humble product associated with a popular mode of transport in the country that we take for granted and hardly ever pay attention to.
Just when I shake my head in utter disbelief, amazed at how one can — and should — utilise everyday goods to create an art form, I find myself picking up some cushions. “The most reasonable cushion covers,” laughs Surya Singh, one of the founding partners of The Farm. I agree, grinning at how gunny bags have been cut and sewn perfectly to transform into stylish covers, the sort I wouldn’t mind having in my own home.
After touring the boutique hotel that started barely a year ago, I make mental notes of what I need to do back home. I won’t throw away gunny sacks again and any iron and metal scraps, or even rusted iron rods for that matter. I discover how all these can be so interesting and emerge as unique interiors concepts. Even empty wine, beer and whisky bottles can be painted in bright colours for living room arrangements. Thus, next on my agenda is a trip to the neighbourhood kabadi wallah (scrap seller) to sift — and bring home — most of the stuff that people throw away.
But the hotel has more ideas to offer. And I also plan a trip to the construction site near my house so that I can persuade labourers working there to give me all the waste — broken, useless stone slabs and the like. “We’ve used these to make pathways and entrances,” Singh says, pointing at a pathway that leads to an incredible suite. And yes, an early morning alarm bell has to be sounded too so that I can be up in time to greet the milkman and do some more sourcing — an empty pail, after all, doubles up as a humungous flower vase at this hotel.
While I struggle to keep pace with the manner in which products have been reused to create The Farm, the boutique hotel itself is like a maze with spacious suites swathed in white that emerge once you’ve crossed the entrance to proceed towards the lush green expanse. “We didn’t want to offer 60 rooms despite the fact that there’s ample space,” explains Singh, adding that the most important aspect of the hotel is to offer exclusive services to discerning clients. So there are eight spacious rooms done in different colours and six luxury suites. The look of each and every one of these is unique. The suites have been designed using different themes, we are told, even as we step into what’s called an “automobile suite”.
The room, once again, bears the signature style of reusing old products. So an old steering wheel transforms into a clothes hanger. The front headlights of an old vehicle have been installed on the wall to double up as lighting for the evenings! But what takes my breath away in this suite is the shower room. There are no walls here as the emphasis is on creating open plans. There’s not even a sink, and water from the tap flows straight to the pebbles and green plants that line the spectacular area. The look is pristine, with sun rays drizzling through the foliage into the bath area and a range of Kama products just waiting to be picked up. A glass of wine, enchanting music and a sublime dip in the bath area is not hard to imagine. It’s simple yet effective and luxurious at the same time.
If recycling products is a unique aspect of this boutique hotel, the art work that dots its nooks and corners is another feature. A total of 18 artists have their works displayed in different areas of the hotel. “It’s a critical component for us and we’ve ensured that they find perfect display space here,” adds Singh, who insists that it’s all thanks to his parents encouraged him, and his wife, that he dared think of a hotel which would be different from the rest.
Among the artworks, there’s Sushil Kumar, who has doodled perfectly on pebbles, rocks and stones in the hotel and on the walls too. “We’re getting him to paint the entire waterfall area too,” says Singh. There’s Bharti Pitre, an illustrator who does caricatures on different mediums including paper, bottles, stones and even wood. “We found an excellent painter in Jodhpur. He paints hoardings and we got him to do a Ramayana mural in the reception area,” Singh tells me. Another local carpenter created a miniature, truck-shaped table topped with glass. Why, even the colourful charpoys have been woven by making use of reusable cotton rags.
I’m waiting to soak in some more pleasures but it’s time to go home. Taking a last look before we proceed back to the city, I close my eyes to hear the birds chirp and feel the breeze whisper softly. I’ll return.