Jaisal Singh’s Sher Bagh brought luxury camping and the palace-turned-hotel to India. With the opening of his latest property, Suján Rajmahal Palace in Jaipur, he breaks down what sets his retreats apart.
Tell us about your latest project.
JS: “Suján Rajmahal Palace is a perfect example of what we do. This palace in Jaipur has a living connection to the destination because it’s the only hotel in the Pink City that still belongs to the Maharaja. In the restaurant, we serve the family’s original household recipes.”
How do you help connect guests to a destination?
JS: “Having relationships with local communities enables us to share another side of India. Jawai Leopard Camp in Rajasthan is known for its remarkable wildlife sightings, but we have also created cultural encounters in the area’s exceptional temples. We work with priests so that guests can observe practices that don’t exist anymore in urban India.”
How do you build those relationships?
JS: “At Suján properties our staff is made up of at least 75 percent local people. We also look for ways to give back. For example, a percentage of what we charge for a stay at Jawai goes into a fund to help with community projects, such as a water well or sheds for cattle.”
How does your philosophy influence your design?
JS: “Each of our camps was designed to both reflect and complement its surroundings. At the Serai in Rajasthan, we used the area’s golden Jaisalmer stone to build the plunge pools, and we use colorful handmade carpets, throws, and cushions that contrast beautifully with the stark terrain of the Thar Desert.”
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Jennifer Flowers Jennifer Flowers is an award-winning journalist and the senior deputy editor of AFAR.