“Paolo, do you speak Italian?” asked Mr. Siva, the 52-year old owner of the 12-key boutique hotel, 47 Jobner Bagh in Jaipur, India where I stayed for two nights.
“My name, Paolo Antonio, sounds very Italian, but I but I don’t speak the language at all,” I replied defensively. I felt the need to tell him about the origin of my Mediterranean-sounding name, but there wasn’t really a point I suppose. “Your hotel is really nice,” I said while he instructed one of his staff to serve me some afternoon snacks — a cheese sandwich and a glass of hot chai tea — as his personal way of welcoming me.
Mr. Siva is a jeweller and has been trading golds and gems between India and Italy in the last three decades. These are all crafted from his little town in Jaipur and are sold in cities such as Milan. His hotel estate, which was formerly owned by the maharajas of Jobner Bagh, was awarded to him back in the day as part of the government ruling to pass some of the lands to its townsmen. Instead of typically building a house or a commercial center just like what his other friends did after winning their own pieces of land, he envisioned that his property will turn into a beautiful luxury homestay someday. “I prefer to live a good life instead and build something I will enjoy running,” he quips. His house has now turned into a luxury boutique hotel for short staying guests, and is now managed by his eldest daughter.
Italian-inspired (with a little mix of Greek and Scandinavian) architecture and interiors were very much apparent at 47 Jobner Bagh. With a lush garden, freshly white-painted pillars & walls, simple yet sophisticated use of wood, Mr. Siva’s 47 Jobner Bagh stood in its glory amidst the chaos of city-living in zesty Jaipur.
My room was spacious and cozy, despite getting initially creeped out by an old photo frame hanging at the opposite end of my bed that displayed a sepia image of an Indian lady in traditional saree. I figured the simplest solution I had then was to cover the frame with a blanket while I sleep.
The next morning, I climbed the hotel’s rooftop and was embraced by a perfect sunrise: appeasing and uplifting. The rooftop was an excellent area to find solace and peace, with the perfect view of a nearby mountain. I was in a happy place.
I tried looking for Mr. Siva upon checking out, only to learn that he had to fly out to Italy for some urgent business appointments the night before. I wanted to shake his hands and thank him for a wonderful stay at his house.
The man was a true testament to what India is now in the face of modernity: forward-thinking, but still considers his past indispensable, and his family as home.
Where to stay in Jaipur: 47 Jobner Bagh (www.jobnerbagh.com)
Address: Near Chandpol Metro Station T3, Chandpol Police Line, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302001, India.
Phone: +91 141 402 2187