GOLDEN MEM­OIRS

An es­cape to Jaisalmer

Business Traveller (India) - - CONTENTS -

Af­ter recently vis­it­ing Jaipur and Udaipur, Ra­jasthan hailed me back yet another time. This time to a des­ti­na­tion that had re­mained on my bucket list for too long — Jaisalmer. As the air­port here is not in op­er­a­tion, trav­ellers fly to Jodh­pur and drive on Na­tional High­way 11 to­wards Jaisalmer for 239km. From Mum­bai there is only one flight per day to Jodh­pur that is op­er­ated by Air In­dia. It ar­rived at around 11am where my ride to Jaisalmer was wait­ing for me. The car sent to me by Mar­riott Re­sort Jaisalmer

(mar­riott.com) was equipped with wifi, USB charg­ing points, an iPad loaded with mu­sic, neck pil­lows, eye masks and snacks. This rather long jour­ney of four and a half hours was breezy, thanks to th­ese ameni­ties.

As we ap­proached the out­skirts of Jaisalmer, the wind­ing high­way got re­placed by yel­low sand­stone build­ings that are syn­ony­mous with this city — at­tribut­ing to its ti­tle of “Golden City”. Soon we ar­rived at the gates of Mar­riott Re­sort Jaisalmer. A tra­di­tional ver­mil­ion dot was placed on my fore­head and a re­fresh­ing drink wel­comed me into the white marble lobby. I par­tic­u­larly liked the age-old haveli (man­sion) door that em­bel­lishes a stark wall, apart from an­tique cu­rios and elab­o­rate light in­stal­la­tions.

The lengthy jour­ney called for a re­lax­ing evening in my Jaisalmer Mar­riott suite, where a plate of tra­di­tional Ra­jasthani sweets ac­com­pa­nied an es­presso from the Nesspreso ma­chine in the liv­ing room. The suite’s master bed­room is at­tached to a large bath­room with a bath­tub that was dec­o­rated with rose pe­tals.

What I liked about my suite is that while it ex­udes Ra­jasthani el­e­gance through el­e­ments such as art­work and up­hol­stery, its decor isn’t too over the top. Colours are warm and clean lines add a min­i­mal touch to the space. The win­dows in the room and the liv­ing room over­look Oa­sis, the ho­tel’s cen­tral court­yard. The prop­erty’s lay­out re­sem­bles that of a typ­i­cal Ra­jasthani haveli with rooms sur­round­ing a cen­tral court­yard.

Af­ter my nap and a quick shower, I was in­vited to ex­pe­ri­ence a spa treat­ment at Quan Spa, the spa brand of Mar­riott Hotels and Re­sorts. My ther­a­pist rec­om­mended the 90-minute Thar Sig­na­ture Mas­sage that uses heated bags of white sand and warm oil to re­lieve ten­sion in the mus­cles.

The treat­ment took away the four-hour drive’s stress and built up an ap­petite. Since I re­quested for a meal in my suite, the ho­tel set up a lovely din­ner ta­ble for one in my liv­ing room. What ar­rived next was a lav­ish three-course meal. A sump­tu­ous mush­room soup, a Greek salad and grilled chicken sa­ti­ated me; but there is al­ways room for dessert. A crème brûlèe fin­ished this ex­trav­a­gant in-room din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as I called it a day.

Next morn­ing, I woke up re­freshed and ready to dive into the magic of this beau­ti­ful city. Since winter had not yet de­parted, the morn­ings had a nip in the air. For break­fast, I chose to sit in the al fresco din­ing area of Jaisalmer Kitchen that is lo­cated in the court­yard of the ho­tel. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing my hearty break­fast was the rhythm of tra­di­tional Ra­jasthani folk mu­sic per­formed by a lo­cal artiste.

Later, I par­took in a mas­ter­class or­gan­ised for me by Mar­riott Re­sort Jaisalmer. Ex­ec­u­tive chef Ashish Deva took me through the ba­sics of Ra­jasthani cook­ing. I learned how to pre­pare san­gri ki shikan­puri, a patty made of san­gri — a vegetable that is found only in arid regions, mainly in the

Pic­tured: Sam Sand Dunes

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