As the two of us walked away from WelcomHotel Jodhpur, I tried to think of one word to sum up the past 5 days. I came up with many adjectives but promptly rejected them one after the other. After all, how is one to describe an experience that feels like a warm hug on a cold winter’s day? 🙂
Vid and I hadn’t spent the past few days in any plain ol’ luxury hotel – we had sampled impeccable Indian hospitality in an idyllic setting at the edge of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. But luxurious rooms weren’t the only highlight of this vacation. Our experience involved decadent food, cultural experiences, offbeat day trips, and exceptional service. This melange of experiences made it very hard to leave WelcomHotel Jodhpur.
We reached Jodhpur airport on a chilly day in December. Our personal concierge, Narpat, was there to greet us with a welcoming smile. Before we knew it, we were whisked away to our very own villa at WelcomHotel Jodhpur. As we tiptoed into the villa we were greeted with cocktails and platters laden with fresh fruits, cupcakes, mithai (Indian sweetmeats), and a variety of decadent nibbles.
The vast dining area gave way to a spacious bedroom and lavish bathroom kitted out with the latest technology. Vid loved the oversized shower cubicles and silk furnishings but my favourite part would have to be the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the manicured garden, the large private pool, and the outdoor shower 🙂
This haven of privacy was going to be our very own desert oasis. How would we ever leave?
Our stay at WelcomHotel Jodhpur was nothing short of an epicurean fantasy. We would find moorish nibbles awaiting our return every evening – local dates from the Thar desert, artisan chocolates, Rajasthani sweetmeats – we were definitely spoilt for choice!
The hotel offers a number of casual and formal dining venues and can even arrange a private dinner in an intimate courtyard surrounded by dozens of candles (the stuff of dreams!). But it was Chef Akshraj’s food that provided the proverbial cherry on the cake. His food is a truly sensational marriage of tradition and modernity.
On most nights, he served up scrumptious dishes that boasted of continental influences but remained resolutely Indian. Some of my favourites included succulent Indian lamb kebabs served with a pesto chutney instead of a traditional Indian mint chutney. The strong flavour of basil worked so well with Indian spices that both of us went back for seconds. Then there was Greek Salad served in golgappas, traditional Indian fried pastry shells. What surprised me was the consistency of the feta – it was every bit as crumbly, salty, and fresh as the feta served in Greek taverns. Nom! 🙂
We also got to preview Chef Akshraj’s pièce de résistance, the six-course Rajasthani feast that will be served in Sholla, WelcomHotel Jodhpur’s new restaurant inspired by royal Rajasthani hunting camps. We sampled Rajasthani delicacies including chakki (flour cubes) with garlic chutney pearls, mutton kebabs served in a kitschy indian pressure cooker, safed maas (meat in a creamy coconut and yogurt gravy), laal maas (spicy meat curry), and ker sangri (local berries and dry beans cooked with Indian spices). We wrapped up the meal with the most scrumptious rose pudding and washed everything down with some mint liqueur, served with a dissolvable chocolate medallion coated in silver leaf. Phew !
The menu is heavily inspired by techniques of molecular gastronomy, especially spherification, but it doesn’t ever get intimidating. This six-course meal isn’t just a meal but an experience, one that screams luxury! It’s perfect for gourmands err gluttons like us 😉
I wasn’t exaggerating when I called WelcomHotel Jodhpur an oasis. This 11 acre property had everything we could possibly need for an amazing holiday. But the copious amounts of food we were consuming also needed to be worked off. Besides as most of you probably know, we suffer from an extreme case of the Travel Itch 🙂 Once we had explored the city of Jodhpur to our heart’s content, we looked around for interesting day trips. We chose an off-roading trip organised by the hotel, which offered an introduction to rural Rajasthan.
We went off-roading with Overlander and spotted a variety of wildlife including the Black Buck, desert fox, and colourful local birds. But the highlight of the trip, for us, was visiting villages and primary schools in the area. We loved the fact that Overlander promotes responsible tourism, so tourists aren’t allowed to give money or gifts to the villagers. We spent the day with the cutest kids who showed us their houses, their class rooms, and their playgrounds. I loved it so much that I’m already plotting to go back to the villages we visited to spend some time volunteering at the schools in the area.
Everytime we visit a hotel, we talk about the smiles (or the lack thereof!). It’s the smiles that make or break a holiday isn’t it? At WelcomHotel Jodhpur it was the attention lavished on us by our valet (Hitender); the guest relations manager (Aditi); and concierge (Narpat) that turned a luxurious holiday into a truly enjoyable one. Even the hotel’s manager Sumeet made it a point to talk to all guests at the hotel, a trend I would love to see in hotels across the world. There were so many smiles, conversations, and laughs with the team that when the time came, we just didn’t want to leave. Each and every one of them made our stay special in their own way.
If you’ve ever been to India, you would forgive me for resorting to the hug analogy at the beginning of the article. Indian hospitality is special in so many ways that it is hard to articulate what makes it so distinctive. Where else in the world would 4 staff members accompany 2 guests to the airport just for a few last-minute hugs? Nowhere that I know of 🙂
WelcomHotel Jodhpur we will definitely be back – this time no fort or market will be able to entice us to leave our villa 😉
- WelcomHotel is located 10 kms from the city centre and provides a perfect respite from the hustle-bustle of Jodhpur.
- The hotel provides the perfect melange of experiences – food, day trips, luxurious rooms – that is bound to make any holiday special. Make sure you sample the Overlander day tour which provides an inclusive introduction to rural Rajasthan.
- We LOVE Chef Akshraj’s food at Sholla and would wholeheartedly recommend it. Drop by Sholla for a six-course Rajasthani feast even if you aren’t staying at the hotel.
- Rooms at WelcomHotel Jodhpur start at £150/night. Try opting for desert-facing rooms that offer panoramic views of the Thar Desert.
- The hotel has 2 private villas, which come with a private pool, garden, pantry service, and a personal valet. They offer the ultimate in privacy and luxury. The villas are the perfect choice for honeymooners, large families, or anybody seeking their own private desert enclave. Prices start at £550/night. More information on their website www.itchotels.in
- You can find the best price for ITC WelcomHotel Jodhpur by comparing different websites in a single place on this comparison portal.
Have you been lucky enough to experience exceptional Indian hospitality? Where was your best experience ? Tell us in the comments below 🙂
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We were guests of ITC hotels in Jodhpur, India. We are two extremely opinionated ninjas – so all views (good and bad) are entirely our own. Click on to read our full Disclosure Policy