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
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
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
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
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
The camp runs from October to April. Stays are offered In blocks
of three nights, and guests must arrive either on Monday or
Aman I Khas
Vanya Vilas Palace
Sawai Madhopur Lodge
Ranthambhore Regency Lodge