The Johri at Lal Haveli in Jaipur

WORDS Robyn Alexander PHOTOS Courtesy of The Johri

Unable to decide whether The Grand Budapest Hotel or The Darjeeling Limited is your favourite Wes Anderson film? You’ll find your spiritual home at this fabulous new boutique hotel, The Johri at Lal Haveli, in the storied city of Jaipur, India.

Named a World Heritage Site in 2019, Jaipur’s legendary walled “Pink City” is on many a must-visit list. Built in the early 1700s as the first planned city in India, it is packed with historical landmarks and architectural marvels, and is the ideal base from which to explore the many natural and cultural delights of the northern state of Rajasthan.

In recent years, it’s hosted one of the world’s top annual literary festivals, the Jaipur Literature Festival, during which world-renowned writers – in 2022, the list includes South African Booker Prize winner Damon Galgut and the 2021 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Tanzanian- born Abdulrazak Gurnah – talk about their work to large audiences, who get to attend the events free of charge.

johri at lal haveli
An opulently decorated domed entrance hall, leading into a passage that features a series of pointed archways, beckons guests into the hotel.

This style-conscious and architecturally remarkable city also has some fabulous hotels – and among the latest and most charming of these is The Johri at Lal Haveli. Situated in the heart of the Pink City, in the iconic jewellers’ market (the “johri bazaar”), Lal Haveli was originally built as a large dwelling for an extended family. Following its acquisition as a single unified property by current owner Sudhanshu Kasliwal, the building and its extensive courtyards were painstakingly renovated using local crafts and traditional materials, and redeveloped into a delightful small hotel.

A boutique hotel genuinely worthy of the name, The Johri has just five suites, each of which is unique and overlooks an inner courtyard; like all the interiors, each courtyard showcases a careful blend of heritage, craftsmanship and comfort. Throughout the hotel, antique and custom furniture, textiles and art from Rajasthan come together to create spaces that are all about relaxed splendour. It’s not easy to choose a favourite, but we think the perfectly pink Manek Suite might just be our top pick for acting out our very own Wes Anderson-inspired holiday story.

johri at lal haveli
The building that houses The Johri, designed on traditional lines, includes a number of internal courtyard spaces. All the detailing of the structure was meticulously renovated and restored by skilled local artisans.

The Johri’s interiors are by Naina Shah, who also runs Aditiany, her family’s couture embroidery atelier in Mumbai and New York. She brings an innovative use of pattern, texture and art to every space. “The revival of this legacy property captures the spirit and romanticism of an old- world Jaipur while also bringing to light the contemporary pulse of the city with bold colours, interesting patterns, and thoughtful amenities,” she says.

“We want travellers, local and international, to experience and love Jaipur the way we do,” says partner Siddharth Kasliwal – and bearing The Johri’s location and beautifully conceived interior design in mind, this outcome seems assured. Plus, with the hotel’s restaurant serving up organic vegetarian Indian dishes focused on seasonal produce and inventive flavours, its cocktail bar offering creative drinks alongside long-standing favourites, the excellent Ayurvedic massages, a daily “high-chai” afternoon tea service, and complimentary yoga and meditation sessions, every guest at this whimsical yet rejuvenating place is likely to depart The Johri feeling refreshed and inspired.

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