Exploring India has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and recently, more than ever, I'm feeling the most unbearable urge to cross that wish off my list. Suján Rajmahal Palace, which recently underwent the most splendid renovation, is one of umpteen reasons why Jaipur is an absolute must-visit for me.
The Pink City's oldest palace was built in 1729 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II as a garden retreat for his wife. Years later, it became the residence of the British Resident Political Officer of Rajputana and then eventually returned to Jaipur’s royal family after India gained independence. Jackie Kennedy, Lord Mountbatten and the Queen of England have all been hosted here, mixing duties of state with polo matches and tiger-hunting in Ranthambor. In recent years, the palace, which is still owned by the royal family, underwent a major makeover by Suján, a hospitality group known for their collection of luxury camps and palaces.
Years of restoration were required to return the palace to the palatial glory. 14 rooms, suites and apartments were each reimagined, with its original charm intact, by interior designer and friend of the former royal family, Adil Ahmad. No detail went overlooked. The wallpaper, for example, was custom created for each room and tells the many stories of Jaipur, its rulers, their legacies and the collective history of the Kingdom of Amer. And it's said that there are exactly 51 shades of pink, from hot fuschia to the palest pink, throughout the hotel and outdoor gardens. Now, if that doesn't just make you swoon out loud . . .
“You cannot re-create the past. It just feels like pastiche. But to re-create this style of living—that’s where the past comes in.”
- Adil Ahmad to Travel & Leisure
Have you been to India? I'm all ears if any of you have any tips or recommendations!