|Project Name||Villa Palladio Jaipur||Posted in||Hotels, Design, Interior Design||Location||
Abhay Niwas Palace Sumel, Jamdoli Chouraha
|Telephone||+91 141 2969762||[email protected]|
What do discerning travellers look for nowadays when choosing their next destination? In our view, it’s all about an alchemic combination of exclusivity, intimacy and story-telling with a dash of wonderment. This is the case with Villa Palladio Jaipur, a dreamlike, candy-coloured boutique hotel in India that reimagines a Maharaja’s palace through a lens of Rococo exuberance and Italian flair, courtesy of Italian-Swiss entrepreneur Barbara Miolini and Dutch designer Marie-Anne Oudejans, the duo behind the peacock-blue-coloured Bar Palladio, one of the most photographed buildings in Jaipur. Set amidst lush landscaped gardens, the nine-room villa was modelled on the 19th century concept of the “Grand Hotel”, a home away from home where guests can stay, eat and socialize, albeit one run by a fairy godmother or an eccentric aunt. “I wanted that there was a feeling of excitement, surprise and secrecy”, Miolini says, and there is thanks to a phantasmagoria of red shades, floral motifs and geometric patterns providing a feast for the senses along with the fragrance of roses, jasmine and champa flowers and the melodic chorus of babbling fountains and birdsong.
Nestled at the foot of two hills next to Lake Kanota, a 20-minute drive from Jaipur, Villa Palladio’s three-acre estate is an idyllic, tranquil environment which initially attracted Miolini to the property which she came across as she was looking to escape Jaipur’s chaotic urban sprawl, where she had lived for the previous 15 years. Having always wanted to open a hotel of her own, the hunt for a countryside home turned into a much more ambitious, and yet personal, project – “I wanted to share my personal vision of hospitality with the world”, she explains. Part of the property’s charm was also the existing building, a typical Rajasthani haveli built in the 1980s, a typology of richly decorated mansions harking back to the Mughal Empire. Fast forward 2.5 years later and two Covid lockdowns, and the hotel opened its doors to the public in September 2022.
Thanks to the building’s remarkable condition and structural integrity, Miolini and Oudejans’ intervention was limited to revamping the existing mansion, adding a grand veranda onto the back and constructing a new pool house, along with working with a landscaper to transform the grounds into a Mughal garden characterized by strict geometries and central water fountains. That’s not to say that their renovation was understated or subdued; on the contrary, by using a sensuous palette of red hues throughout the premises, from deep crimson and cherry red to watermelon and rose, in combination with a cornucopia of flora, fauna and geometric motifs, they have imbued the hotel with an Alice-in-wonderland sensibility that evokes a sense of childlike fantasy.
Echoing the dominant hues of Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, the choice of red as the Villa’s signature colour was in fact inspired by the robes of Cardinals in Rome. Used to accentuate the stark white exterior, red takes centre stage in the hotel’s interiors, from wall murals and marble checkerboard floors, to the furniture, upholstery and carpets. Add in the hand-painted motifs and striped patterns that mix Mughal, Moorish and Italian references on the walls, pillars and niches, the ubiquitous multifoil arches that pay homage to Rajasthani architecture as well as recall the design of Bar Palladio, and the Rococo-style furnishings, all of which have been hand-crafted by local craftspeople, and a distinctive and imaginative aesthetic emerges; one that enchants, excites and surprises, crucially without overwhelming.
Canopied beds, embroidered bedsheets, inlaid marble floors and hand-carved marble latticed screens in the nine uniquely decorated rooms and suites, further enhance the sense of exquisite craftsmanship and fairy tale wonder. This further extends to the bespoke amenities such as the block-printed bathrobes and bath amenities from Kama Ayurveda with their red labels that match the décor. Featuring octagonal bedrooms, soaring ceilings and private terraces opening onto the Villa’s rose garden, the Torre Belvedere rooms, which occupy what appear to be former watchtowers, underpin the property’s celebration of grand simplicity.
Hidden behind hibiscus hedges, the palm shaded swimming pool features candy-striped daybeds under bright red umbrellas, a pool house built in the Mughal style of the main building, and a charming pavilion bar serving Campari-based cocktails that play on the property’s red theme. Amenities also include a Spa offering purifying, nourishing and grounding rituals and a peaceful meditation and yoga room with views of the gardens, while the hotel’s culinary team combines a farm-to-table philosophy fuelled by the hotel’s own organic vegetable and herb garden with time-honoured techniques.
From the extravagant breakfast that Miolini spent months perfecting, which guests enjoy on the first-floor balcony along with views of the surrounding hills, to the Italian and Rajasthani-inspired lunch and dinner menus served on the covered veranda overlooking the landscaped gardens, food at the Villa Palladio is meant to be savoured languorously embraced by nature – just another way that the hotel encourages guests to step into “an imaginative fantasy of each person’s own making”.