The vision of the Poddar family, designer Rajiv Saini and landscape architect Aniket Bhagwat has resurrected the Devi Garh Palace, changing it from a once-forgotten monument into a breath-taking palace hotel.
Encircled by the Aravali hills, the Devi Garh Hotel is a 200-year-old palace fort located on the periphery of the famous lake city of Udaipur. A rectangular forecourt flanked by a file of scented Frangipani trees escorts you to the entrance of this 17th century paradise. Conceptualised as a palace hotel where the past meets the future, Devi Garh is a destination with a difference.
Each of the 39 private residences has been meticulously re-instated with an indelible style statement. The designer suites have a more contemporary flavour now, thanks to designer Rajiv Saini. There has been a determined endeavour to celebrate the abilities of local artisans as well as experiment with locally available marble (combined with semi-precious stones, such as malachite, mother of pearl, jasper and lapis lazuli).
The suites on offer are a selection of palace suites perched in the upper echelons of the fort that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding hill-scape. The décor combines pristine white marble with semi-precious stones, and a white terrazzo floor embellished with motifs. The balconies of these heady dwellings also play host to a flock of parrots.
The impressive Devi Garh suite and the Aravali suite, (that together form the Devi Garh Complex) share a design philosophy of ‘Shiv’ and ‘Shakti’- the male and female energies, embodied in Shiva, the Hindu God of destruction in conjunction with Shakti, his consort, who personifies the divine power of femininity.
The Silver Suite is bedecked with silver furniture, vases and trays, with even a large headboard that has a motif hammered out of silver.
The recent addition to the Devi Garh complex has been a vibrant bar that is in stark contrast to the all-white diner that it complements. The garden suites at Devi Garh each have their own private lobby and tented terrace that overlook a green court.
One of the most outstanding features of the palace is its courtyards which are arranged at various levels. The 5 courts at Devi Garh cannot be termed as transitory spaces but are destinations in themselves. The suites and public spaces are arranged around these courtyards.
The Zenana court has a square fountain with a central column that has water gushing into its main basin; the landscape architect has also resurrected an ancient swing, restoring its original 20 ft. tall wooden uprights. The Kamal court has an abstract interpretation of the traditional lotus motif as a black marble water rill.