What do you say when a luxury hotel invites you to the Pink City and gives you the opportunity of meeting one of your favourite authors? Yes, of course!
That’s exactly what happened a month ago. I was invited to attend one of the top literature festivals in the sub-continent, the 10th edition of the wildly popular Jaipur Literature Fest (JLF). Amongst the many speakers and panelists at JLF was the Indian-American author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, who has written bestsellers such as The Palace of Illusions, Oleander Girl, and Mistress of Spices, to name a few.
I got a chance to interview her at an intimate soiree organised by Le Meridien Jaipur on the penultimate night of JLF. We talked about many things but mainly about her upcoming book, Under The Sorrow Tree, which will be a retelling of the Ramayana from Sita’s perspective. The interview was published this weekend in The Hindu Sunday Magazine’s new Literary Review feature. You can read it online here. And now, a bit about Le Meridien Jaipur who kindly hosted my stay.
Le Meridien Jaipur is located outside the bustle of the city, about 23km from Jaipur Railway Station and 27km from the airport. It’s on the Jaipur-Amer Road, further down the road from Amer (Amber) Fort. It can take anywhere from 45-60 minutes to get to the city centre from the hotel.
The hotel is located on a sprawling property and is built like a Rajasthani palace – a beautiful sandstone building (with terracotta balconies and carved archways), topped with domes and chhatris (canopied pavilions). There’s a lovely garden (where I saw a peacocks strutting about) and a large swimming pool. Adjacent to the property are the Amer Lawns, an open-air banquet space where the hotel hosted the Writers’ Ball that marked the end of JLF 2017. More about this under the Dining section.
I had a spacious Superior Room on the 2nd floor of the hotel. At 35 sq.mt. it was one of the larger hotel rooms I have stayed at. The king size bed was super comfy and there was a selection of pillows for added comfort. The bathroom was huge with a separate bathtub. There was a large armchair in a muted gold colour to sink into, where I spent my evenings reading. The hotel had placed a welcome treat in the room, which had more fruit than chocolate, thankfully! The best feature of my room was the balcony that overlooked the garden and the pool. There was a work desk as well as a flat screen TV.
|Signature Poached Eggs|
One of the things I love about Le Meridien is their Signature Breakfast. There is an international buffet breakfast, of course, but each property also has a few signature dishes that are inspired by local flavours but are presented with the finesse and beautiful plating you’d expect at Le Meridien. I tried the Signature Poached Eggs, which were served on poppadam and a bed of spinach (instead of a muffin), accompanied by yoghurt beets. The Signature Omelette was presented as a small parcel with curried potatoes and gravy. The Signature Crepes also looked interesting (though I didn’t try them) – small Rajasthani rabri crepe rolls stuffed with condensed milk and served with fruit.
Since I was here for an event, my dinners were especially wonderful, particularly at the Writers’ Ball on my last night at Le Meridien Jaipur. The hotel had gone all out and laid a feast for all the writers, celebrities, and media that were present at JLF. There was a huge Rajasthani feast featuring not just the laal maas and gatte ki sabzi that are well-known, but lesser known dishes such as gulab jamun ki sabzi, haldi ki sabzi, baajre ki raab, and more. Local women were doling out freshly made rotis prepared on chullahs, and there was a great dessert selection as well, including the famous ghevar.
So, if you’re looking for a relaxing stay in Jaipur, check out Le Meridien Jaipur. I absolutely loved its understated luxury and warm hospitality.