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July 23, 2024

Mr. Raghvendra Singh, Director and Co-owner, Samode Hotels
Samode Haveli was built over 200 years ago in the city of Jaipur by Rawal Sheo Singhji as a mansion of the royal family. All the nobles in the court of the Maharaja of Jaipur were allocated residential space when the capital moved to Jaipur, from Amber. The nobles were expected to appear in court very so often and based on how important a noble was; the size, space and location for their residence was allocated. Since the Samode Family had always played an integral and significant role in the court of Jaipur including serving as the Prime Minister to the court of Jaipur the were awarded a prime location for their residence in Jaipur.
The Haveli reflects the style and elegance of the family and the art and vernacular haveli architecture of the time, which has since been restored. Unexpectedly charming, Samode Haveli is a heritage hotel, intimate, hidden in the folds of the busy streets of the old Jaipur. A noble mansion restored to perfection, the Samode Haveli emerges, as if from nowhere at the end of a narrow alley – an oasis of serenity in the depths of the bustling city.  A royal residence steeped in history and tradition, while providing its guests with impeccable hospitality and courtesy are the style of the group signature Samode Hotels.
  • A feature of the Haveli-elephant ramp at the entrance was built in the 1950s for a wedding in the family by the late Maharawal Sahib. The majestic ramp welcomes you as it did for the married noble who entered on elephant back. The novel of this Haveli continues through a passage decorated with traditional souvenirs and leads you to a charming central courtyard, dominated by balconies where women once would have watched the wedding procession and official proceedings.
  • Samode Haveli is a splendid fusion of Mughal architecture and traditional Rajasthani art, the Haveli is a Indo-saracenic marvel of arched doorways, stunning hand painted murals, meandering corridors and courtyards dotted with the colour pops of bougainvillea and greens, terraces and alcoves. Intimate and private, 50 classic rooms and suites are spread across the property, with regal luxuries juxtaposed with uber-contemporary facilities. The Haveli also features a swimming pool, a rejuvenating spa with holistic treatments, sauna and yoga sessions as well as a well-equipped gymnasium. Indulgent dining experiences are defined by an impressive fare of local delicacies as well as other Indian and global cuisines. Take a leisurely walk around the old Jaipur city, glimpse into the textile, art and craft heritage of the region and revel in the local market stories, all within walking distances of the Haveli. Owned and managed by the direct descendants of the nobles of Samode , Samode Haveli is a true reflection of Rajputana sophistication, the deep-rooted warmth and courtesy of Rajasthani hospitality as well as the region’s glorious culinary heritage.
  1. Tell us about the conceptualisation of the Samode safari LODGE
  • A safari is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that every traveller should have. When the family decided to create their own safari lodge (having restored and successfully established Samode Hotels in Rajasthan), they decided to pick one of their personal favourite national parks- Bandhavgarh. Which is absolutely captivating. Spread over the Vindhya hills in Madhya Pradesh the topography of the forest is unique with a plethora of magnificent flora and fauna. The topography of the whole area varies between steep ridges, undulating deciduous forest and open meadows
  • Besides being one of the visited as well as protected wildlife reserve in the country the forest here has the highest denstity of The Royal Bengal Tigers making it the ‘Tiger country’.
  • Samode Safari Lodge, is a shining example of a regal atmosphere emphasised by vernacular architecture. This bespoke ‘Samode’ gem takes inspiration and ideas from our travels to the continent of Africa over the years. Samode Safari Lodge invites guests to experience one of India’s premier safari destinations-Bandhavgarh National Park, unadulterated and in the lap of luxury. With outstanding service and fine dining of the highest standard. You’ll forget that you’re in the untamed wilderness and not an upscale hotel.
  • Tucked adjoining the thickets of the Bandhavgarh buffer zone, a stone’s throw from the core forest, the lodge is located away from the core tourist hospitality zone. Committed to rewilding its 30 acres and designed with a deep respect for the region’s culture and environmental conservation, twelve lavishly designed mustard and mud colored villas, a main lodge and its offerings occupies 25 acres of wilderness expanse.
While the villa architecture and decor are inspired by the neighbouring Mardari village to seamlessly blend into the region’s landscape, the understated luxury and elegance is unmissable with its thought-out layout, handcrafted furniture, fine linen, stunning Gond (local) wall art and in-room amenities. A plush living room and powder unit leads to a sunlit bedroom giving you access to a sprawling bathroom with a dresser, a fireside Victorian bathtub as well as an indoor and open-to-air shower on one side and a private deck on the other. Quiet and secluded, the villas offer a sanctuary of peaceful relaxation after the adrenal rush of an exciting safari drive. The shared areas include a large pool, a spa with a curated therapy menu, an atmospheric lounge, a library, an interpretation centre, and a well-stocked bar, all held together with a Hemingway-style décor, replete with touches of local art and colors, wildlife photography and books.
The Lodge’s ambience, vibe and hospitality is unmistakably and uniquely Samode. But it is the wildlife experience that is highly rated and wins here! With a philosophy that is inclined towards a holistic approach to wilderness holidays, the lodge has a carefully selected Naturalist team. A large set of locals form the team’s skeleton structure while some of the most passionate and professional (and might we add fun!) Naturalists and trackers are individually assigned to guests to accompany them on jeep drives, walks, birding excursions, village visits and night drives, regaling them in conversations of turnaround stories and fascinating anecdotes that make up the Bandhavgarh forest kingdom, folklore and forest insights.
  • Known for setting high standards in cuisine stories, the lodge takes its cue from other Samode hotels to offer exquisitely planned meals that fit the lodge setting – Continental /European menu in the day & Indian for the evenings. Meals are served either in the open-plan fireplace restaurant, spacious wooden deck with wrap-around views of the forest or multiple pop up locations.
  1. Tell us about the restoration process of all of Samode’s properties. Were they done by the same team?
The restoration of Samode Palace, Haveli and The Bagh have been an ongoing process. All three heritage structures have been part of a living residence and hence probably one of the best- preserved structures in Rajasthan. The restoration process was initiated in the late 1980s year by the brothers’ – Rawal Raghvendra Singh & Yadavendra Singh taking a lead in understanding the multiple intercultural elements that were incorporated into the original architecture and design of the Palace, Haveli and Samode Bagh and also understanding the exception values of the natural landscape. This humble restoration began with preserving and showcasing the glory of these original heritage buildings and gardens in all its authenticity and with greatest care while introducing subtle modernity that is tasteful in its design. Parts of the wall paintings, jewel studded murals, flooring, wall paneling, masonry and structure plastering have been restored, touched upon or identically recreated using original age-old technique by craftsmen who now scarcely found.
  1. Tell us about your favourite part of the charm of Samode Palace, and its experience.
  • One of our favourite part of the palace is the stunning Sheesh Mahal (hall of Mirrors) and the Durbar Hall, located in the western side of Samode Palace are probably one of the best restored and preserved rooms with intricately ornamented pillars, mosaic walls that still carry inlaid semi-precious stones, carpets,  gleaming glass and vivid floral wall paintings.
  • Samode Bagh is another one of our favourites that is often overlooked by visitors as a simple garden without realising how the Bagh continues to emulate that CharBagh concept of the Mughal style sunken gardens with flowering and fruiting trees and long water channels and rows of fountains that are fed by wells and captured rain water

Payel Majumdar Upreti

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