RAAS Devigarh, near Udaipur, Rajasthan

One of India’s most sublime ‘boutique’ hotels, this glorious 18th century, hilltop fort/palace is a little gem, hidden away in the Aravalli Hills, just north of Udaipur. Having been painstakingly restored from ruin, it is a luxurious, all suite ‘palace’ hotel – but one with a difference! Recently taken over and brilliantly updated and upgraded by inimitable RAAS Hotels, RAAS Devigarh is now back to what it was in its heyday and is a joy to behold. The fort’s entirely traditional, majestic façade, with its wings, balconies and turrets, belies the interior.

This boasts clean lines and an almost minimalist yet warm and comfortable décor which gives it a fresh, exciting and contemporary look. The views from the rambling fort are magnificent - out over the village and distant, hazy hills. The suites in the verdant garden have lovely verandahs and those in the main palace are all different in shape and size but all are large, light-filled and want for nothing, with either sitting rooms or balconies. The bathrooms are exceptional - the sort you have hitherto only dreamt about - and many have views that tempt you never to get out of the bath! The emphasis throughout is on stylish simplicity with plenty of white marble interspersed with colourful, subtle spots of colour from the stonework and fabrics.

This place is all about comfort, style, personal space and sophistication. The chic romantic dining room and wonderful airy, vibrant, candlelit bar offer superb cuisine based on mouth watering Indian dishes and recipes from all over the world. Much of the veg is sourced from its own, immaculate vegetable garden. The opportunities for intimate, dinners on your own terrace or jerokha are endless and something never to be forgotten. The tranquil and soothing Ila Spa offers excellent pampering massages whilst the glistening infinity pool looks out over the hills and village. With various carefully tailored, wellness programmes, the spa here allows one to get healthy and rested, eating superbly nutritious food, whilst immersed in comfort and history.

Exploring the enchanting surrounding village on foot or by bicycle, taking long walks or horse rides in the hills with a sumptuous picnic, practicing rooftop yoga at sunrise, trying your hand at camel riding, or venturing out to nearby temples, will keep the active busy for days. Impeccable style and taste are the bywords here - you’ll be tempted to stay on for weeks. RAAS Devigarh truly is a magical, place - the ultimate, impossibly romantic retreat and the perfect base for visiting Udaipur, or simply winding down for a while and indulging in a moment of personal health and wellbeing.

Eco / environmental / responsible tourism policy

RAAS Devigarh has been active in its efforts to contribute to the quality of life of the community around it and to be responsible in its own day to day activities. Some of the areas we have addressed cover:

Environmental Awareness

Recycling and conserving resources: Use of paper bags and support of women's employment by using paper bags made by them from recycled paper.

Recycling of kitchen waste and reduction of office paper usage etc.

Community service:

Addressing the issues of poverty and education among the peri-urban surrounding areas, via support to local NGO group and by directly training the youth in vocational courses.

Check-dams were funded to store water for the village and in times of drought, water was provided to the villagers. We have repaired and repainted the local clinic and facilitated a cleanliness drive in the village by putting in place a garbage collection and disposal system.

Conservation:

They take pride in their heritage was instilled by example in the renovation of RAAS Devigarh. Delwara is town with a glorious past. Each street has temples or some archeological building of exquisite beauty, all of which was falling to ruin.

Since the inception of the project, the problems of poverty and the need to create democratic values in society were concerns in the minds of the owners of RAAS Devigarh. One direction to ensure a sustained development of Delwara was brought about by the introduction of "Seva Mandir" based in Udaipur . Today Seva Mandir is working in around 600 villages, situated in the vicinity of RAAS Devigarh. Its work is focused on improving the education livelihood, health and status of women in deprived communities. It is also engaged in enabling people to cooperate with each other to solve the problems that affect them.

RAAS Devigarh supports Seva Mandir in kind and spirit. Some of the major objectives of this initiative have been to enhance people's participation in improving access to water and sanitation. Promoting cleanliness. Promoting youth participation in developing citizenship . Cultivating pride and ownership for existing heritage. Enhancing livelihood security. Delwara symbolizes the problems of the modern day unplanned settlements.

Pressures of a growing population and the lack of basic amenities are leading to a rapid deterioration in the living standards of the inhabitants. Infrastructure such as regular water supply, adequate sanitation and waste disposal systems are non existent - as are the means to proper health, livelihood and education.

Seva Mandir, NFI and its other partner organizations such as RAAS Devigarh, and the Sri Dorabji Tata Fund, felt that quality of life of the people of Delwara could be improved by motivating its citizens. Thus was born a citizens forum known as the Nagrik Vikas Manch of which citizens of Delwara from diverse background. The forum in collaboration with the village council is playing a leading role in establishing proper sanitation and garbage disposal systems for the community and in improving the livelihood prospects for its youth.

Guests at RAAS Devigarh are invited to witness and participate or contribute towards this ideal. 20 years ago Seva Mandir also initiated a patchwork programme in Delwara as an income generation activity. This has changed the lives of many families.

Women connected to the program are changing many gender norms typical of Indian societies - gaining respect in their households and taking decisions on behalf of their families. Women who had hardly stepped out of their homes let alone their village are now travelling both across the country and abroad to sell their products. Today Sadhna has 400 members and after 17 years of its inception has registered itself as an independent trust.

Specific accomplishments of RAAS Devigarh towards in commitment to the society and environment:

  • Project - Adopted 45 girl students of 9th class from Ambalal Siroya Girls School, Delwara. The expenses for the girls will be borne till they reach 11th Standard.
  • Hotel guest Mr. Juma donated Rs. 3 lacs for construction of a hall at Amba Lal Siroya Girls Senior Secondary School, Delwara.
  • Donated Rs. 5000/- to Nagrik Vikas Manch in June '08 for a Kavi Sammelan and Rs 5000/ - towards Kishan Mela in October 2008.
  • On Independence Day (15th Aug.) and Republic Day (26th Jan) each year sweets are distributed to all the school students in each school of Delwara and nearby villages and among the staff members.
  • Distributed uniforms to poor school children on the occasion of Republic Day (26/01/08), through Nagrik Vikas Manch.
  • Donated tree guards as required by N.V.M. for girls school with 14 trees.
  • Sponsored prize distribution in winter camp held in month of Dec 2005.
  • 21 dust bins donated to N.V.M. Delwara for each street.
  • 25 tree guards given to N.V.M. as required by Yadav Mohalla to plant the trees around Mansarovar talab with 25 trees.
  • During off season conducted training programmes in different fields like Accounts, Housekeeping, Production, Horticulture and Security.
  • RAAS Devigarh has a Sewage Treatment Plant which recycles used and waste water from Laundry, Kitchen and sewage. This is further been used for irrigation and similar purposes.
  • Another step towards sustainable development would be their in house cultivations. They grow a large part of their daily requirement for herbs and groceries as organic farming.
  • Hotel staff donates labor hours for social welfare like cleaning of public areas such as hospitals. They use paper bags and handmade paper for any sort of guest gift wrapping to avoid plastic. They are also tying up with a company which will educate their village farmers for organic farming. Also they are planning to dispose of their garbage in an eco friendly manner where compost can be created.
  • Miniscule but not insignificant here are the practices that they daily adopt to save energy and conserve environment. The staff shares the mode of transport to and from the city which helps them control carbon emissions. In case the number of commuting staff is low they are encouraged to use public transport saving RAAS Devigarh the carbon credits for running a whole bus for comparatively few staff. They believe in running full loads in their washing machines; in reducing the daily shopping to once a week during low season; in using their own internal mail server which helps to cut down unnecessary paper printing; in switching off all mobiles, laptops, ACs when not in use etc. They have switched over from lights and bulbs to CFL's which save energy. They constantly run awareness campaigns within the staff to remind them again and again through posters and pictures to save conventional and non-conventional sources of energy.

Party Moments

A sumptuous grand palace in the hills with stunning contemporary interiors. Plenty of glorious terraces and a large pool area which come alive when decorated and turned into a ‘party place’. They are hugely experienced in hosting large events and this makes the perfect place to celebrate a wedding or major event in the height of style. Varied entertainment possible.

reservations

For reservations please contact your tour operator, your local travel agent,
or the hotel.

must do

Enjoy an impossibly romantic, private dinner in one of the turrets, and take an early morning walk around the village.

Access

By air Udaipur from Bombay, Jodhpur, Jaipur and Delhi, followed by a 45 minute road journey.

By car from Deogarh, Udaipur, Narlai, Dungarpur, Roopangarh, Ajmer and Nimaj, or by a longer road journey from Jaipur and Jodhpur.

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