Hotel of the Month: Brij Lakshman Sagar, Raipur, India
At a glorious hilltop hideaway in the wilds of Rajasthan, Melanie O’Shea discovers the joy of missing out
This ancient hunting lodge, once the private reserve of the Thakur of Raipur and now a sensational boutique hotel, sits deep in the “badlands” of Rajasthan on the edge of the wild Aravalli Hills. It is small – only 12 cottages nestling around a man-made lake that forms the centrepiece of the 32 acres of land. Every cottage has been meticulously designed to echo the indigenous architecture with materials from the surrounding land – think baked moulded mud and stone walls on wooden frames under a conical thatched roof, decorated with stunning tribal artefacts and vibrant splashes of Rajasthani colour. Each has its own plunge pool dug into the rocky hillside, with magical views out over the surrounding treetops.
Staying here is a multisensory experience. Live Rajasthani folk music tinkles away in the background; the gentle smell of incense pervades the air; monkeys stroll past, parrots feed in the trees and peacocks call to one another across the lake.
The resort’s sublime food showcases the very best of regional specialities, from our favourite laal maans, a rich mutton curry, to tawa chicken, and skewers with salsa and chimichurri. The ingredients are mostly sustainably farmed on site, delivering the hotel’s farm-to-table, zero-kilometre promise.
And there’s loads to do. Stargaze from the property’s flat roof with an expert astronomer talking you through the constellations. Take a guided nature walk to see up close the local conservation work. Learn how to make clay Diwali lamps on a rustic pottery wheel alongside a turbaned local under the shade of a banyan tree. Or embrace the hotel’s JOMO (joy of missing out) message and do as little as you like, rising gently for a yoga session at sunrise and swimming in the fresh pools. You’ll come away feeling richer of soul and calmer of mind.