Aman-I-Khas Resort, Ranthambore
Aman-I-Khas ResortThe peace that passeth understanding. Set amidst the rugged Aravallis outside Ranthambhore National Park, Aman-i-Khas is in its brisk, second season now. You will arrive at sundown, and the retreat emerges gently from the shadows. At the camp’s center, the evening plays itself out over drinks around a humongous uruli, in which a cheery log fire burns. You will be led to your tent.
The first impression is of sheer space. As tents go, this is huge, set on a raised concrete plinth measuring 12m x 12m. The covered area totals 108 square meters- the size of a small apartment. The layout of Tent’s is simplicity itself, though it has taken the genius of jean-Michel Gathy to conceive it. The entry is through a screened area that contains a dining table with chairs and an armchair. Beyond lies an oversized daybed at the tent’s center, the canopy soaring to a whopping six meters. A soothing coffee and cream scheme runs through the accommodation.
Three sections, for sleeping, bathing and dressing, lead off from the center, separated by cotton drapes. The tent is well outfitted yet uncluttered. The furniture, all cowhide and teak, is minimal and minimalist, purportedly mimicking traveling camps of an earlier time. Indeed it claims to emulate a rich ‘MUGHAL’ style, though it’s doubtful the sultans ever had it so good. The biting cold, for one, has left behind. Central heating takes care of that (the tents are cooled in summer).
The sprawling camp reveals itself. There are 13 tents, 10 for guests, and a tent each for lounging, spa treatments and dining. The accent is clearly on an enhanced experience, rather than volumes. Aman-i-Khas does not scream style, and the tents blend seamlessly with the grassland setting. All this makes it incredibly stylish, of course. A path through the brush leads to a man-made reservoir where birds and deer may be viewed. The tents are the genuine articles, made with thick, water-proof canvas. Only the base and steel frame are permanent. In the blistering summers, the rest is packed away. So you can pretend you’re camping, without compromising on comfort.
The service is discreet, warm and (surprisingly) informal. Indian fare and variety of Continental dishes are on offer. The food, when it arrives, looks deceptively simple. It’s delicious. Much of the vegetable produce is sourced from an organic garden on the property itself, especially exotic herbs and salad leaves.
Aman-i-Khas is Aman Resorts’ first venture in the subcontinent. With properties in exotic locations the world over, Aman Resorts, the baby of legendary hotelier Adrian Zecha, caters to the high-high end segment of travelers.
“There are people with a shared lifestyle the world over….they have one thing in common, something that brings them to Aman Resorts. That ‘lifestyle’ is about shared values, a lust for faraway cultures, for the world around that excites, shapes and nourishes. It is an appetite for pampering and a deep appreciation of the creative and elegant.”
Health and Leisure Activities:
The Aman-i-Khas experience at Ranthambore is set around viewing wildlife. Twice a day, safaris take guests into the park, its open scrub vegetation especially conducive to tiger sightings. Alternatively, one may stay put and soak in the tranquil environs. By day the tent takes on life all its own. ‘Windows’ are opened and closed, screens turned up, then down. There is candlelight by evening, and at night a hot-water bottle and electric blanket are thoughtfully tucked under the bed.
Walk to the nearby village and the disparity is glaring. No need to feel guilty though. Aman-i-Khas does its bit for the community. Support to the local hospital apart, local talent has been roped in at all rungs of management, and many have been taught English and trained from scratch. And they’re doing a great job.
Aman-i-Khas is a lifestyle statement, and guests are happy to partake of the privilege. The arrangement of materials lends a sense of drama to the experience. There is an aura about the place. This will sound cheesy, but maybe it’s also about simple, priceless luxuries – space, repose, the soothing embrace of the wild. Peace.
How to Reach Aman-i-Khas:
The closest airport is Jaipur (3hrs). From Delhi, it’s best to take the train, as state roads are nothing to write home about. Sawai Madhopur is the closest railhead. Your fastest option is the August Kranti Rajdhani. The camp is 20 minutes drive from the station.
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