Jaipur is set to witness luxury of another kind as one of its oldest heritage hotels, the Rajmahal Palace, built in 1729, opens in November. Under renovation for about a year, the 20-room ultra-luxury boutique property will come at a surprise rental price tag of up to $15,000 (roughly Rs 9 lakh) a night. The final tariff is yet to be fixed by hospitality chain Sujan group which will manage the property.
“This property will provide experiential hoteliering which we specialise in. There are elements of Rajputana as well as Mughal art in the hotel,” said Jaisal Singh, chief operating officer, Sujan. With its grand marble staircase, mirrored ceilings, eclectic wall designs, cut-glass chandeliers and period furniture, the Rajmahal Palace has tried to retain some of its old charm while adding modern elements.
The property was managed by Taj Group after it was converted into a hotel in 1979 for several years, after which the royal family of Princess Diya Kumari took over the reins of running the hotel. Built by Maharaja Sawai Jaisingh II for his wife Maharani Chandra Kumar Ranawatiji, daughter of the Maharana of Udaipur, the palace was used from 1821 onwards as a British residency. The palace in fact has been through many avatars — from being a pleasure garden to the British residency to the Maharaja's private home to a luxury hotel.
Of the 20 rooms, the Rajmahal Palace would have two main suites, Maharaja and Maharani, with two bedrooms, kitchen, garden, living area, a personal chef and a butler. These are estimated to cost around $10,000-15,000 each per night, targeting the crème-de-la-crème traveller. But the hotel would have other rooms at an average tariff of $200-300. It would also have a four-room luxury spa and two restaurants.
Having hosted guests such as the Queen of England and the Duke of Edinburgh along with several other members of the British royal family and personalities such as Jackie Kennedy, Lord and Lady Mountbatten over the years, the hotel is now targeting high-end travellers both from home and abroad. “More and more people are realising the attraction of heritage homes and hotels. But the quality standards required are not met by everyone, which is why we know of just a few iconic properties while the others don’t get much attention,” a senior hospitality industry executive said.
For Rajmahal Palace, competition will come from the Taj group-operated Rambagh palace and Hari Mahal under management of Vivanta by Taj in Jaipur. “We are much smaller unlike the bigger chains. This gives us much larger scope to provide personalised service,” Singh said.
“I am confident that Sujan will ensure that this precious piece of Jaipur’s history will be valued and shared with guests from across the globe,” Princess Diya Kumari said.
The Sujan group is a family-owned hospitality business with five properties including Sher Bagh, Ranthambore, The Serai, Jaisalmer, Jawai Leopard Camp, Rajasthan, Singinawa Jungle Lodge, Kanha, and Elephant Pepper Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya.