Salman, the hotel representative, was waiting for us at the arrival area. Smartly dressed in his suit, he patiently holds up the placard high for all to see. He wanted to make sure his guests don’t miss him. After brief introductions he took charge of our luggage and called the vehicle to ferry us to the hotel.
Crowne Plaza is striving to be the crowning glory in Jaipur, in its own category. Some 30 minutes and 20KM later we are at the triangular hotel, short in height but sprawling and quite modern looking. This was in the industrial district and quite close to a large convention centre.
ROOMS: Soon we were guided to our rooms at the fourth floor, the top most. When the door opened to let us in we were absolutely thrilled to see our suite. There are 218 rooms divided majorly into three types of rooms in Crowne Plaza, based on the size and amenities in the room. It starts with the basic type, the Superior Room of about 40SqM with option of twin bed or a double bed. Then the King Deluxe with several options and finally the highest, the Business Suite, where we were.
Imagine, we were welcomed by a shoe?? Fortunately it was not the kind that’s thrown at politicians but a chocolate shaped shoe filled with more chocolates accompanied with a lot of fruits on the table.
There were enough power outlets in the rooms to take care of all our devices. The walls were adorned with beautiful modern paintings giving it a feel of an office. The large windows overlooked the pool.
There was a TV in each room, which meant no more fights for the remote control. 🙂
The bedroom was well appointed and floor was covered with wall to wall colourful and contemporary looking carpet. The single painting I felt was probably a bit too small for the room but it seemed to go with the rest of the décor.
The spacious bathroom was split into three parts which gave reasonable privacy to us. Among the other things that I liked most was the anti-skid mats in the shower are and near the bath door.
DINING: We were spoilt for choices when it came to food. In the ground level the multi-cuisine restaurant called Sirocco which dished out amazing fare, each tastier than the one before. There were a lot of fusion food as well. Since we had planned to go out after lunch we just had a small four course meal! The portions were just right that would not make us feel heavy. Apart from the pleasures of the tasty nourishments, what bowled us over was the fact that we were served on gold plated FÜRSTENBERG’s Moon Collection Dinnerware, hand crafted to perfection.
Sirocco also doubled up as the breakfast buffet in the mornings.
The authentic Chinese restaurant, the House of Han, was not left behind in the gastronomic experience. The skilled sous-chef manning the Mongolian Griddle quickly created magic on his grill while we salivated shamelessly during dinner! True to the Chinese traditions there was the bottomless green tea in a teapot with a long spout. There were Soups, fired rice, Sautéed Vegetables, Calamari, Salmon and the list goes on! And of course, warm mulled wine to keep up with the season.
It was also the Christmas Eve that day and at the stroke of midnight a birthday cake floated out to us to celebrate Vasu’s birthday! What a pleasant surprise we had!
Next day the Christmas dinner was outdoors at the aptly called Aire. There were heaters and woollen shawls to keep us warm in an exceptionally cold evening. This time the menu was a mix of Arabic, South East Asian and Continental and of course free flow of Mulled wine.
During breakfast, the following day, Chef Vikash Prasad, explained how his experience of seeing his mom cook at home in a small town and then travelling around India and the world helped him to shape his style which was now a rave in the hotel. I remember how he described that a tomato soup was the turning point of his career! He spoke at length about his journey around variety of dishes. It deserves a separate post.
WELLNESS: The big infinity pool and the large gym is great for those inclined to using them. In fact if you have dined well, which in Rajasthan means double the normal, then you might as well use these facilities.
The adequate Spa franchised by Sohum, was quite relaxing at the end of a hot day in the pink city. It offered steam, massage, Sauna and hydro therapy too. There were several treatment options (three page full) and also many massage rooms, we selected Aroma Therapy for Nisha and Swedish oil for Vasu and enjoyed the most relaxing massage. At the end of it we just wanted to hit the bed.
SERVICE: The plume on the Crowne (pun intended), was the personalized services. Within a few minutes they knew exactly what we wanted and mystical forces (well trained staff) made sure everything we need was available within minutes. The breakfast menu was way too elaborate, still I saw a few guests demanding like chocolate shake, iced tea with this, without that and so on. And lo! Their orders were fulfilled with a great smile. I am sure if you could discuss in advance, personalized menus could be created too.
GENERAL: Ashwani Goela, the genial General Manager explained the importance of training for his staff and stressed on utmost perfection of services. He mentioned that this was a Green Hotel and how some of the water was recycled, reducing the need for water from external sources. It also had solar panels taking advantage of Jaipur’s bright sun and the design was such that the passageway presented its front while the windows were inward facing for most rooms. The idea was to keep the room cool by not having direct sunlight on the windows for most of the day. He also mentioned that this hotel had been designed keeping in view guest needing special access like ramps etc, including the parking. There are also two specially designed rooms near the elevator to cater to their needs.
There are several meeting rooms and banquet halls. The largest can hold over 1000 people. We liked the Small Square outside which could also be used for small parties. The design of these areas were such that there were little disruptions to the Hotel’s guest areas during events.
Crowne Plaza, as a brand is a high end business hotel and likewise located in the industrial area and near the large Jaipur Exhibition and Convention Centre. What we noticed was that there was a lot of families around and the children could find their own space in the hotel. There was also a wedding going on. It was the hotel’s way of making sure all were welcome.
I tried hard to find fault. 🙂 Only thing which I could find was the distance from the city but I am sure that too will soon go away, the way city is growing in all directions.
PS: We were invited by Crowne Plaza, Jaipur. However, opinions are ours as always and are based on our own personal experience.
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