PRICE: Worth maxing out for
Amanbagh, in rural Ajabgarh, India, is one of those places that only the cognoscenti will ever visit. The price keeps the masses at bay while the remote rural location means that all but the most determined will shy away. But, boy, do those who visit get rewarded.
The drive to Amanbagh takes you through the heart of rural Rajasthan to the foot of the Aravalli Hills. The hotel is situated in the grounds of a Maharajas’ hunting lodge and part of the exterior wall still forms the perimeter. This is a land where wild leopards still roam free and villagers go about their daily life as they have for generations.
If you know the Aman concept, you’ll have a fairly good idea of what to expect. For Aman virgins, here is an enticing little preview: the service will be amongst the best you have ever experienced, the rooms will be elegant and stripped back in style but with their own distinctive character, the facilities will be second to none and the food will be utterly delicious. Tempted? You should be!
The hotel’s Mughal inspired buildings, complete with domes and arches, are largely constructed of pink sandstone, giving a beautiful texture to the surroundings as you walk through the magnificent grounds. Lofty ceilings, fine wooden fretwork screens and sweeping staircases come as standard. The lobby area and rooms are lavishly strewn with pink marble, giving a tremendous sense of luxurious warmth. Talking of marble, albeit Udaipur green this time, the huge bath in the room is crafted from a single slab.
The Aman experience extends far beyond the obvious. It is worth mentioning the sprawling 203sq metre Pool Pavilions, which have their own private plunge pools (heated in the winter, obviously). They are stunningly beautiful and allow you to cocoon yourself in perfect luxury whether on the day bed in your living area or outside on the sunloungers by your private pool.
Needless to say, the gym is brilliant and the spa experience is amongst the most heavenly we have known. As for the dining, you are in for an experience that would impress the most discerning of foodies. Indian dishes fit for royalty and Western creations are a masterpiece that are worthy of any top-tier restaurant in Paris or London.
Our favourite rooms are the first-floor Garden Haveli suites with elevated views over the pool area. They come with their own outside courtyard with sunloungers and day bed.
On your doorstep
Rural Rajasthan is within touching distance. Take a sunset Cow Dust excursion on which you’ll discover, from the comfortable confines of an open-topped jeep, real life for the local villagers. If you’d prefer to use your legs, your butler will take you for a stroll through the nearby fields and settlements.