The Oberoi Rajvilas has consistently been ranked amongst the best hotels in the world by various magazines and trade bodies. Does it deserve the accolades? I would think so.
Jaipur is a very popular tourist destination in India, and leading hotel brands have set up shop here. No doubt they all jostle for business – but Rajvilas may well have decided it need not compete with the crowd and has established its own positioning. Literally as well: it is located at one end of the city off the Agra highway where you would not see any of the other quality brands.
A 32-acre property, the Oberoi Rajvilas has been designed in a way that feels soothing to the body, mind and soul. The landscaping with its extensive lawns, trees, plants and walkways are a delight to stroll in – with the noise of the city not permeating through. You only hear peacocks and other birds who feel completely at home with guests and staff.
The Rooms: They have different categories of rooms – Premier Rooms, Luxury Tents, Royal Tent, Luxury Villa with private pool and Kohinoor Villa with private pool. I stayed in the Premier room, and found it mostly to my taste. The beds were luxurious, and pretty alcoves with seating overlook the gardens. There is a spacious closet to keep all your belongings. The bathroom had a twin ‘his and her’ washbasin – but the taps in one were not working, making it only one effectively. It also had a luxurious tub made of marble, and a separate shower cabin – all looking into a small green garden through a glass wall. I think the hotel could do with a change of taps and other fittings – not all were working smoothly. The Premier rooms are the entry level rooms – but still pricier than most other rooms in the city. What I would have liked is a small sit-out opening from the room itself. Being in a big property like the Rajvilas, one did feel a little cooped up in these rooms which were not very big anyway.
In Room Entertainment: A television set and a DVD player is standard in all rooms. You can pick from a big collection of movies from the concierge. While the selection was good, the quality of the discs was not. They were all VCDs which were either worn out or not originals. The hotel could have invested in original DVDs instead.
Housekeeping: Oberoi rarely gets this wrong across all their properties. And they do a fine job here too. The maintenance of the rooms and the rest of the property is flawless to the naked eye – you will always get a sense of cleanliness here.
Food: I would give the meals 7 or 8 out of 10. But then, that is the case with Oberoi properties across the board. Personally, I often find something lacking in their food even though it seems very well prepared and presented. Maybe they have a style of cooking that does not appeal to my tastes. Or the chefs try to cater to non-Indians who form a significant portion of business for the Oberoi group. It could well be that I was in Jaipur – a delightful place for those who love Rajasthani cuisine. No chef can please a customer whose benchmark are the local fare.
Staff: You cannot fault Oberoi when it comes to their staff. They are all well turned out, courteous, cheerful and prompt to cater to your needs and whims.
Fitness and Health: They also have a good sized pool, a spa and gym. I used the gym and felt good – the ambience is conducive to a work out, and the machines are top rated. There were no trainers around to guide you though. The hotel has a mini golf, and two floodlit synthetic tennis courts – all in good shape.
Stuff: The hotel has a nice gift shop and not very expensive – you may want to shop a bit here.
Verdict: The Oberoi Rajvilas may be pricey, but this is where you want to check into when in Jaipur. Actually, a great time to go is during the monsoons. You can get special off-season deals, and the place is beautiful in the rains. Next time you want to spoil yourself, you know where to be.