WYLDE WORLD: THE SERAI, JAISALMER
WORDS BY KATE SINCLAIR
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JACK GRANGE
Hidden deep within the shrubbery of the Thar Desert, the Serai offers an intimate and luxurious experience of life in the indigenous scrub of rural Rajasthan.
Only a stone’s throw away from Rajasthan's golden city of Jaisalmer, the Serai resort is the ultimate location for peace and relaxation. Set within a 100-acre private estate, the resort hosts 21 luxury tented suites, each elegant, immaculate and spacious, whilst simultaneously cosy and inviting.
Upon arrival, guests receive a warm welcome from the Serai's ever-attentive team. Complimentary sparkling wine, lemon water and a cool hand towel help you freshen up and unwind from the bumpy car ride there, instantly transporting guests back to another era.
We were given a brief tour of the main courtyard and pool area - an impressive raised infinity pool that overlooks the entire estate - before being shown to our suite by the manager. Don't be fooled, though; this isn’t a typical two-man camping tent - far from it in fact. Based on the caravan sites of Rajputana, they are the best way to experience the natural beauty of the desert. Built upon Jaisalmer sandstone bases, the tent is divided into four sections; the first, an outdoor veranda area where guests can enjoy a spot of bird-watching during the day and star gazing at night. The second, a spacious living area with wicker rocking chairs and a charming teakwood writing desk. The third section is the bedroom itself, with a vast king size bed taking centre stage, and an en-suite bathroom, equally if not more impressive than the bedroom; its sandstone bathing area is pure luxury. A selection of Ayurvedic products from the spa, stocked in crystal glass bottles add a euphoric touch to your showering experience.
If you opt for a luxury suite, you will be further treated to a private walled garden with a lavish sunken pool. Meanwhile, the Royal Suite boasts not only its own private pool and grounds, but also a private spa and outdoor entertaining and dining area - what more could you ask for!
The friendly team at the Serai are there to make your stay as easy going as possible. Butlers dressed in crisp white uniform and ruby red turbans bob in and out of view, weaving through the gardens as they run errands. They are at your beck and call within a moment’s notice, all at the ring of a discreet bell at your bedside.
Guests are really spoilt for choice, with a vast number of options as to how to spend your day. For the energetic few, you can rise early and head poolside for a sunrise stretch. Although we had good intentions to take part in this complimentary class, we simply could not tear ourselves away from our extremely comfy bed! However, it is possible to arrange a private yoga session at a somewhat more achievable hour.
Breakfast is enjoyed inside the main dining tent with a delicious spread of fresh fruits, baked goods, cereals and juices. You can order traditional Indian breakfast options such as aloo paratha or go for classic eggs, cooked however you desire, accompanied by tea, coffee or an energising freshly-made juice.
There are then copious options as to how your day can be spent; you can do as little or as much as you please. The resort offers a number of tailored excursions, including camel and jeep safaris, visits to temples, local villages and the nearby city of Jaisalmer and its golden fort, all escorted by a personal guide with vast knowledge of the local area. Alternatively, you can spend the day relaxing by the infinity pool, head over to the highly-acclaimed spa for an Ayurvedic treatment or be taken on a tour of the estate, including the organic vegetable gardens and farm stables. Possibly one of the Serai's star excursions is a sundowner; the team will arrange a stunning set-up on the dunes for you to enjoy an evening drink whilst enjoying the picturesque sunset.
Your evenings can be spent dining under the stars in a courtyard illuminated with candle lamps - a truly magical experience. Alternatively, you can opt for a more rural dining experience in 'the bush' and have a special, intimate dinner table set up anywhere within the estate. The fine dining experience consists of an à la carte menu, a traditional Indian Thali with a selection of curried dishes, rice and chapatis which change nightly. Meanwhile, the main menu offers a range of traditional local delicacies and familiar Western favourites - all created where possible using fresh ingredients from their own on-site vegetable gardens.
Once suitably full from dinner, you can enjoy coffee or tea within the cosy library and bar area and browse the resort’s impressive collection of books; a mix of classic reads and coffee table photography tomes. Or you can challenge your partner to a traditional board game of chess or chequers.
In a dream-like state, you wander back to your room along candle-lit pathways, to discover a welcoming turned-down bed for you to climb into and drift off to sleep to the peaceful sounds of nature outside.
A serene and memorable experience that allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of busy city life whilst immersing yourself in the culture and history of the local area. Perfect for adventurers, romantic getaways or those looking for a little peace and quiet - whatever you have in mind, this is an unforgettable experience.
For reservations, visit Sujan Luxury or contact via email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: +91 - 11 4617 2700