Set in the heart of the walled city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, RAAS is a 1.5-acre property uniquely located at the base of the Mehrangarh Fort. The brief was to create a luxury boutique hotel with 39 rooms in the context of the Old city quarter of Jodhpur.
The property was inherited with three beautiful period structures (17th-18th century) set in a large courtyard. The central idea was to make the old buildings and the expanse of the courtyard as anchors for the RAAS experience. The new buildings are placed into the site to serve as framing elements and as contemporary counterpoints to the site and the fort. Luxury is infused into the project through authenticity both in terms of materials and workmanship.
The old structures have been painstakingly restored with traditional craftsmen in the original materials like lime mortar and Jodhpur sandstone. Since the footprint of these buildings was very small, it was decided that these would be best used as shared spaces such as the pool, dining areas, a spa and open lounge areas, which could be enjoyed by all the guests. Besides these, three heritage suites have also been housed in the period buildings.
The remaining 36 rooms are spread over contemporary buildings that become framing elements to the site and strongly respond to the context. Age-old materials and skills are manifested as a modern and understated graphic form derived from multiple functional and programmatic parameters. These new buildings are inserted into the site in a manner that they accentuate the spatial and formal relationship among the old buildings and the Fort, creating a dialogue between the old and the new.
Inspired by the age-old double skinned structures of the region, (the traditional stone latticed jharokha form of Rajasthani architecture – which perform multiple functions of passive cooling and offering privacy to the user), these buildings act as lanterns framing the site. The drama of the stone jaali (lattice) is heightened by the fact that these panels can be folded away by each guest to reveal uninterrupted views of the fort, or can be closed for privacy and to keep the harsh Jodhpur sun out.
Crafted by over a hundred regional artisans and master-craftsmen, the development of the building and its interiors has been conceived and executed using the fundamentals of sustainable architecture. 70% of the materials and people used on site have been sourced locally, most within a 30 km radius.
Materials include hand cut stone, poured in situ pigmented cement terrazzo on floors, walls and as furniture. Locally-crafted furniture and cabinets have been created in sheesham (a local Indian hardwood). These simple materials were then worked on by a team of craftsmen to hone and transform into something extraordinary. This transformation is what imbibes a sense of luxury to the hotel.