I’ve been away in India visiting middleson, as anyone who follows us on Insta will know as I’ve rather clogged the feed up with pictures. This is my third trip to India, and I’m getting the hang of it. I followed our recent Jaipur shopping guide by Elena, which was excellent and also took a look around some modern Indian retail and found some fab stuff. If you ever plan to go, bookmark this page for reference.
We all (middleson and his girlfriend and youngestson) completely feel in love with Palladio, which has the feel of a Wes Anderson movie set about the perfectly curated colour scheme and beautifully designed decorations. Even the visitors were fantastically dressed (the guy on the right above is Simon, the pastry chef, but don’t you love that blue outfit?). Imagine my delight when I discovered that it is owned by a woman Barbara Miolini and was designed by another, Marie-Anne Oudejans.
There is a fabulous bar for cocktails and a separate cafe location where there is also a tiny but charming store. I bought beautiful water glasses and the special tea blend and could have been persuaded to buy the napkins and cushions. The food at the cafe was among the best we had in India; fresh, contemporary Indian food with bright and vivid tastes. A highlight was the spiced iced expresso, a shot of chilled expresso wizzed with peach syrup and cardamom. Do not miss this place if you go. I would happily have moved in.
The garden seating pods should also be for sale as they were divine, but probably a good thing that they weren’t as it wouldn’t have fitted into my suitcase, although I’d have given it a good go.
Samode Haveli at Jaipur
We stayed in the most beautiful hotel, Samode Haveli while in Jaipur, which was peaceful and cool to retreat to after a day spent out in the heart of bustling Jaipur. It’s been given a lux make over, which has been done very sensitively, keeping the heritage decoration such as the original hand painted lounges intact. The fabulous pool, surrounded by flowering plants and trees, is a treat to return to as it is hot in Rajasthan during April and May (it regularly reached 40 degrees). During the cooler months, particularly February, when it’s the Literary and Wonderful Workshops festival, it is very popular and fills up fast, so book early.
Panna Meena Ka Kund at Jaipur
Obvs we did a lot of culture, but we did find ourselves increasingly picking places with good ‘gram-abilty. This is how it is if you travel with millennials, they’ll always check out the instagram feed before they visit, and if the ‘gram profile is a bit ‘meh’, then it’s off the list. Luckily, the water well of the Panna Meena Ka Kund was perfect and down the road from the Anokhi Museum.
Neemrana Hotel, Rajhastan
If you drive from Delhi to Jaipur, you’ll pass the 15th century Neemrana Fort Palace, now a truly spectacular hotel, with the atmosphere of a Merchant Ivory film set. We had just one night there but it was magical and one of our highlights.
My bedroom was tented, with traditional Rajasthani block printed cotton in the deepest of reds. There are more images of this on our Insta-feed if you’re interested. One of the best buys in Jaipur is the by-the-metre block printed cotton fabric (Ridhi Sidhi is my favourite for this), which is a gorgeously fine quality and around £2.00 a metre. I’m trying to figure out how to do this at home now, because who doesn’t want a tented bedroom? Also, I bought a lot of fabric so I need a big project to use it all up…
Shopping in Delhi
Back in Delhi, I really liked Good Earth, which is like a very up market Anthropologie, which sells my favourite Indian perfume brand The Perfume Library. The Khan Market store is my favourite and just along from the excellent and very well priced Anokhi store.
My friend Rebecca had tipped me off about which contemporary fashion designers to look out for, as she regularly buys in Delhi and her list included Injiri, Eka (from whom I bought a beautiful light weight indigo linen dress) and Pero. Ogaan in Haus Khas is a great store with an extensive collection of good designers, a bit like a more-realistically priced version of EGG. Sadly I didn’t take images of the store as I was too busy trying things on. Here’s a picture of some lovely colourful scarves instead.
Finally, Nicobar a terrific modern Indian mid market lifestyle brand, like a cross between COS and Anthropologie (everything’s a bit Anthro in India) where I bought a pair of black linen wrap front trousers I lived in the for the whole holiday. The weight of the cotton here was perfect to wear in the heat.
I really liked the whole range, it was ageless in style and so well priced. You could buy your whole wardrobe for Indian holiday here and I nearly did. The cafe, Nico Caara, is also fantastic and we had a delicious brunch there after trying on nearly everything in the store.