Lying down on the massage table while someone rids your body of all the tensed, rigid muscles and the stubborn knots, while the room is filled with the perfect concoction of all the perfect fragrances is a great feeling. And it is an even comforting thought, recalling how we came here.
Coming to Jaipur
As a family of 3, where me and my wife both work, it is always a little tough for both of us to take time out for our son, who is now a boy of 11. And after a lot of demands from him, we decided to make the best use of the time that he was getting from his winter vacations to arrive at the decision that we must visit Jaipur, the city of royals. The air of heritage and culture that takes over your mind as soon as the name comes out of your mouth was enough for us to decide that Jaipur will be our host these winters. We thought that Jaipur would be a great experience.
Why and How Clarks?
And like any tech-savvy family, we took to the internet to find the best options for places to stay in Jaipur. Call it coincidence, but I and my wife both just arrived at the same name; Clarks Amer, Jaipur. I never really exaggerate facts when it comes to stating the facts, but the pictures of the hotel sure looked like they were straight out of some palace in Jaipur. The definitive proclamation of the fact that it felt like the kind of heritage that we were looking for in our search, wouldn’t be wrong. The gardens, the rooms, the lobbies, the halls, the pool and the spa, they were all just perfect for us.
When it came to making bookings, all we had to do was just visit the Clarks Amer website, enter our details and book the room that fit our requirements. We found that the Club Rooms that they offered would be our best choice as they had ample space, amazing facilities and furniture, Wifi access, a Mini Bar, a Lavish Wardrobe and what not. The pictures told us that much about the place, and we hadn’t even been there before. It only heightened our expectations and gave us the warm and fuzzy feeling that only hotel beds can give. Also, they had the offer of getting 15% off if we booked at least 21 days in advance. So in the blink of an eye, we had booked ourselves a Club Room in the amazing Clarks Amer.
When we landed in Jaipur, we expected it to be still warm. But turns out, as soon as we got out of our flight, it was brisk and cool. After booking, we got a call from the hotel front office, asking if we would need a pick-up from the Airport. We saw no harm in booking for one because we figured that it would be too much of a hassle to negotiate with the cabbies outside. The car that they sent was lavish, to say the least. We got in, the driver took care of the luggage after a polite bow of his head and a traditional ‘Welcome’ in the local language. That warm gesture and the welcoming treatment was enough for us to forget all the cold around us. A fresh cold towel smelling of fresh roses, Coconut water as a welcome drink and the smiling chauffeur, made me forget all my worries.
Love at First Sight
Turns out, that the hotel was pretty close to the Airport, only 2 km away from it. Turning into the courtyard of the hotel, and yes we mean the word ‘courtyard’, I can easily just announce to the world that it was love at first sight. The lavish feel of the place was made apparent from the facade of the hotel itself. Painted pearly white and standing tall in its place, surrounded by sprawling gardens and full of people caring and warm enough to make you forget about the rest of the world, Clarks Amer just happened to define love for me in that very moment.
The foyer inside was warm and gave you the homely feeling with a rich and finely textured touch to it. Our heads were on swivel mode the entire time. Every bit and corner of the place was tastefully decorated. You know what they say about ‘first impression’? This first impression was sure going to be a lasting one in our hearts. The reception was breathtakingly beautiful & majestic and the people heartwarmingly courteous. The man behind the front desk came out himself to escort me and my family to our room. I cannot really tell whether it was a personal touch of his own or something that the place has inculcated in him, but he was a great conversationalist, as well as a great listener.
The Big Hotel With a Bigger Heart
Clarks Amer, as we came to know from him, was the first ever 5-star hotel in the state of Rajasthan, let alone Jaipur. The hotel started when there were no luxury hotels in the city of Jaipur. Back in the day of the year 1972, the place came into existence, where they trained the locals into delivering world-class service because they were the only choices they had when it came to serving guests. Clarks even hired and taught Rickshaw pullers because they were not many management schools in the country back then. We realized that the city of Jaipur had evolved but the hotel had remained an institution till date, being a pillar of support to the city as it evolved its own charisma and character.
And within this timeframe, we reached the room and this young man left us to rest. Now standing here, the things that became more apparent, the features that we had missed in the pictures became visible. And they all just added their own flavor to the entire experience. The hardwood floor, the luxurious Kama Ayurveda toiletries and other amenities, the uber beautiful shower and bathroom, and much more than just that. We relaxed in our cozy space here, before deciding to explore the humongous premises of the hotel. In late hours of the afternoon when we broke out of our power naps and pulled off the lamps, I realized that the place was much greener than we had realized in the first go. The hotel looked more like a lavish nature resort, and we loved every bit of it.
Oh My God!
If the hotel was love at first sight, then the pool and gym of the hotel were on a whole new level. I remember walking into the gym in the evening and feeling a jaw-drop moment pass me by. The gym really had glass walls, that opened up to the pool. It was more of a transaction that happened between the gym and the pool, as you could admire the perfection and beauty of the other from one place.
Coming out from there, we came across this small shop inside the hotel at the lobby level, called the Jaipur Shop selling artifacts and souvenirs relating to the rich culture and heritage of Jaipur. The collection looked amazing from the outside and that is why we decided to go in. My wife bought a really pretty Kurti (a kind of top-wear for women and Jaipur has an expertise in them), my son bought a mug, and I got myself an amazing book to read.
The dining here was even more amazing of an experience. The place has 5 restaurants to choose from, each of them themed on a different concept. We took a vow, all three of us, that we would explore all 5 of them while here. And so, on the first night, we hit the rooftop dining space called SORA. The sprawling views of the city of Jaipur from that height were just simply breathtaking. We could see the flights taking off and landing on one side, and could see the rest of Jaipur, as far as the hilltop forts on the other. The food was more than delicious and much more than something to eat. It was more of an experience.
On the coming nights, and even late nights, we did fulfill our challenge of visiting them all, and easily, our favorite was Zolocrust, not because the food there was heart-melting, mouth-watering and awesomely amazing, but because they had this concept of having no back area.
The chefs themselves take your order, prepare the food, serve it, clean up and even wash the dishes. And all this happens right where the cafe is. They believe so highly in delivering quality that they even do the dishwashing out front. No Back Area At All! Fully run by the chefs and open 24×7, the place is just amazing and a must visit, even if you are from Jaipur. What is even more fascinating about Zolocrust is that most of the ingredients that went into our plates and then into our systems were grown at the property’s poly-house.
Another great place, one full of the heritage feel that Jaipur is best known for, was Ta Blu’. Decorated rather tastefully, the moment we stepped into the rooftop bar, we were amazed by the upkeep of the entire area, given that it was as old as 13 years. I remember me and my wife were enjoying the city from up there. We got chatty with one of the staff members, who told us that he had been there since the very first day. The “Ta Blu’ boys”, as they are known, were so good and efficient at their job that many of them had formed special bonds with the visitors, even knowing a lot of details of the people who were regulars. And after tasting the heritage and the love of compassion, we got to savor the taste of their scrumptious meal, and the one phrase that collectively came out of our mouths was “Oh My God!”.
Dhola Maru was another place we tried our hands on, and just like any other place to eat in Clarks, the place did not disappoint us. It rather redefined the way we thought of royal dining.
One thing I definitely was in awe of, and I am sure that my family will also agree, is the amazing service of the staff of Clarks. Irrespective of the demands, the time, or the intensity, they always helped us with a smile on their face, and with no malice in their hearts. They strive to deliver the best, and that is what they did.
Going The Extra Mile
And as it was a normal query, the staff did ask us about our plans in Jaipur. We told them that we would visit a few forts, go for a little bit of shopping and enjoy the food that they served (which we did, for sure). And as if going the extra mile is their forte, the staff not only suggested us the places we must go, they arranged the best kinds of services for the same, so we could have a flawless experience of the city. Planning everything down to the T, the hotel was really dedicated to providing the best for every one of their guests. We saw the most beautiful places like the Hawa Mahal and Jaigarh Fort that made us stare in the awe of their culture, shopped the most authentic and aesthetically pleasing handicraft like Bandhej, Lehariya etc. making us just love their craftsmanship, and had the best time that anyone could have in Jaipur, all thanks to Clarks who were adamant on delivering the best. We came back and washed off the day’s hard work and went straight for a spa experience, to relax our muscles and reflect on the colors of the pink city, and this white structure of grandeur.
And now that I am lying on this table for my massage, reflecting on the days that have gone by during our stay here, we have felt nothing short of beautifully royal in these days. We walked in their gardens, and looked at the hotel in awe, knowing that this place has passed the test of time and saw the rest of the city develop itself around this legendary hotel. In all this, a lot of factors stood out from the rest, like the immense amount of trees and green patches in and around the hotel. I can go out and boast that every day, it was the most refreshing sight that we woke up to.
We also enjoyed the morning songs of the many songbirds, spotting and getting close to the friendly parakeets, the emus running around in the gardens delighting us. The feeling of eating the tastiest of delicacies, prepared from the freshest of ingredients grown right here in the heart of Clarks Amer, and the dash of love poured in all cuisines will truly remain close to my heart.
We even saw a lavish wedding happening on the grounds of the hotel. The organized fashion in which everything happened made got us stuck to the ground on which we stood and just marvel at everything. And exploring further told us that Clarks had amazing facilities in organizing events that included amazing gardens, boardrooms, and banquets for the most royal wedding experiences, conferences, team meetings, and conventions.
The Next Time In Jaipur, Whenever.
All of this made our belief in the fact that this place, the Hotel Clarks Amer will be our go-to favorite in all of the years to come, whenever we decide to come to Jaipur. The wedding and the many events that passed by made us look at this hotel as the perfect place for a destination wedding. Or maybe just the perfect place to be at without waiting for an occasion to stop by. The hotel’s promotion of the art and culture of the city and a support to those who are budding, right from its inception made us trust these people to care for their guests like no-one else would.
Clarks Amer, Jaipur, defined ‘Royalty’ for us, and all of their guests. The staff and their hospitality sure pampered me and my family. Clarks Amer has a heritage and a tradition, it is that they believe in making relations, not clients. To be honest, that surely made us SMILE.