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What a view!

What a view!.jpg

There wasn’t much left of the road after the 40-minute drive from the airport and soon our vehicle started trundling along a rough, dusty path somewhere in the suburbs of Udaipur. The Lanes got narrower, the houses older and the terrain wilder. The drive to jüSTa Sajjangarh Resort & Spa wasn’t really an ideal romantic one. But as we pulled into the sprawling driveway, we knew exactly why, unlike most other luxury properties in the city, the brand chose the secluded countryside for its fourth property in the state. Perched atop a distant hill, like a fairy-tale castle, was the Monsoon Palace—right in the view of the hotel. Amidst the many heritage properties in the city whose palatial facades are reminiscent of the way royals lived, jüSTa Sajjangarh Resort & Spa is a breath of fresh air. True, you would have to give the old-world feel of the palaces and the view of shimmering Lake Pichola a miss, but the art illustrations, the scenic view ringed by the Aravali range and the laudable hospitality more or less make up for it. Our plush suite came with walls tinted in royal mustard and adorned with hand-painted works of art, separate living and dining areas, a queen-size bed with bright silken duvets, a cosy alcovesitting area and private Jacuzziwith a glass wall that offered a view of the melancholic ruins of the palace. Grouped into Deluxe, Premium, Superior and Suites, all the 63 well-appointed rooms had a similar ‘modern folk’ design. Once we were done gazing at the lush rustic environs from our wall-sized glass windows, it was already time for lunch at the restaurant-and-bar, Sabor. The al fresco dining space offered a panoramic view of the Sajjangarh Biological Park, with the palace in the backdrop. One thing, apart from the vista, that deserves a mention is the food. Claimed to be a first in Udaipur, the interactive live kitchen and bakery here served us perfectly plated dishes that looked no less than pieces of art. From chicken noorani kebabs and lamb fillets to activated charcoal pancakes and fresh macaroons for dessert—almost everything on the menu tasted divine. The hotel also has a pool, a banquet hall, a meeting hall and lush lawns. The state-ofthe- art fitness centre and the terrace lounge were still under development during our stay, though. And if you are in a mood for a pampering massage therapy (just like we were), we would suggest you wait some time. The luxury spa is yet to be functional as well. Or you could just head here for a quick staycation—the Jacuzzi and the views will save you from any disappointments. The soon-tostart spa and the quirky up-beat lounge will be reasons enough to come back soon. —Sushmita Srivastav