Having visited Jaipur numerous times and being aware of every nook and corner of the Pink City, I wished to know what else this magical city had to offer apart from its heritage hotels, historic monuments and colourful bazaars. I chanced upon the Tree of Life Resort & Spa and decided this was a good way to take a break from the when-in-Rome routine. Take a detour on NH-8 after Le Meridien hotel and follow a rather dilapidated road which seems to go on forever. Just as I had lost hope of finding the resort let alone reaching a good one, I saw a pink and red structure… like an oasis in the desert, it stood – self-sure and peaceful in its beauty. My apprehensions had obviously vanished at the sight of it, and I wondered at the logic of an august resort as that in a village! A part of Kukas village has been recreated into this beautiful resort and spa where the locals find plenty of employment opportunities as housekeepers, guards etc. Even the vegetables in the kitchen are grown in the village organic garden.
On arrival I was greeted with a refreshing drink and a copper bracelet for good luck. There are 14 exclusive villas in the resort with a choice of pool view or garden view built on an area of 2800 sq ft. I opted for a luxury pool and spa villa. Reminiscent of home settings – a luxury one, mind you – was a tulsi plant at the entrance with Lord Ganesha’s idol (the resort has more than 100 Ganesh idols). The dining area adjoining the living area with its bay window overlooking the pool seemed to work up the appetite. The domed bedroom with traditional wooden beds and antique mirrors take you to another era. The bathroom – as big as the other rooms – has a walk-in closet. The shower area overlooks the garden which had me, I must confess, slightly queasy at the prospect of a housekeeper passing by while I bathed in glory. But the manager assured me that no one would enter the villa premises including the garden area unless I wanted them to. Then again, there were shower curtains!
Each villa is named and designed according to the tree that adorns its gardens. I was in Cassia and in sync with its orange flowers, my villa had orange interiors in a subtle yet stunning way. From the lamps and the cushions and curtains to the dome above the bed and the bangles in the washroom, it was all awash with orange. Everything in the villa looked handpicked and dealt with a personal touch… a fine fusion of the traditional and the modern.
The backyard of my villa had a private couple spa, an open shower and a private Jacuzzi which can be filled up on request. I was basking in the sunshine on the pool bench when I heard the bell go – my private masseuse were there to hand out the welcome massage! I was delighted for what more could one ask for after a long drive. A rejuvenating 15-minute massage later, I was up and about looking to explore more of the place. The resort has a common spa and gym and even a common swimming pool. Set against the ridge, the pool lends a panoramic view of the resort. I spent the evening in the pool, enjoying the orange (!) sun setting in the hills.
The food here is tailormade for your tastebuds albeit the menu offers traditional Rajasthani, Mughlai and Italian cuisines. The chef would prepare a meal of your choice; one needn’t necessarily order out of the menu. I thought of ordering paneer and chappatis but was pleasantly surprised when my butler told me that I have to order one main dish and the rest – dal, rice, bread, salad and raita – would come as accompaniments!
The resort offers a plethora of activities to do during one’s stay like visiting neighbourhood villagers and teaching the children in the school adopted by the resort. One could also drive in an open 1965 Willys Jeep or sit atop a beautifully decorated elephant that will take you to the foothills of the Aravallis. If you want to renew your wedding vows, the resort can arrange for a pundit who would chant shlokas. This will be followed by a private spa treatment and a candlelight dinner.
I couldn’t help but notice how close the stars are to the earth in this part of the world. Was it the stars and the cool breeze or the location of the resort itself that made me believe more in love, I wouldn’t know. However I do reckon this resort to be a perfect getaway for all the honeymooners and couples looking to, well, get away!