Set within the 700-year-old walls, Six Senses Fort Barwara is a resort of extraordinary. It is not only a place to spend the night but a meticulous conversion project that took nearly 11 years to complete.
After an arduous drive battling endless traffic and bumpy road, I breathed a sigh of relief when our car pulled up at a massive stone wall that guards a cobbled, narrow path. Google Maps (plus some help from the locals) brought us to this hilltop fort which looks as though it has stood there for centuries.
Indeed, many parts of Six Senses Fort Barwara dates back to 700 years ago. The rampart, for example, is held together with the original lime plaster and jaggery molasses. As I wandered the premise, passing by corridors, domed pavilions, and lush gardens, I felt like I’d stumbled out of a time machine: back to the golden age of Maharaja and Maharani.
Dominating a hilltop in rural Rajasthan, Six Senses Fort Bawara is a meticulous conversion project that has taken place for over a decade. The resort is built around a historic core that occupies about 30 percent of the total area. This part originates from the 14th century and is owned by a Rajasthani royal family. It features two temples and two palaces that once belonged to regal men and women. All have been sensitively preserved and restored using traditional building techniques. Like Jaipur forts and palaces, Mughal-Rajput architectural elements are evident here. A few European touches are also noticeable, reflecting on the buildings’ facades.
To accommodate hotel guests, a new wing was added in the late 2010s. The construction was helmed by Nimish Patel and his wife Parul Zaveri, both famous for designing contemporary architecture with the use of traditional crafts. Consequently, a Rajput-style palace that incorporates 48 luxury suites, two pools, and lush gardens, was erected. All of which have views of either the countryside or Barwara village. Yet the most stunning vista is at the Grand Terrace. Through the lofty arches, I peered at the lake below. And behind it, on a majestic rocky outcrop of the Aravalli ranges stands the sacred white temple of Chauth ka Barawara Mandir.
After receiving blessings at the reception (which is thoughtfully converted from the male palace), I was guided to my suite by Ankita, my Guest Experience Maker (GEM). A Rajput descent herself, she keenly explained to me about the fort’s rich history and the ambitious project that is taking place at Six Senses Fort Barwara. As we passed the light-filled corridors, I couldn’t keep myself taking a peek at the emerald-colored pools framed by frangipani and native trees.
Minutes later, we arrived at my accommodation, the Aravalli Suite which is positioned by the centuries-old wall. True to its name, this spacious suite offers a spectacular view of the Aravalli ranges. It has an enclosed garden complete with a daybed and line of leafy plants – for a sense of serenity. Inside, the room is designed in a contemporary style, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, neutral-toned furniture, and state-of-the-art amenities. Yet one can easily realize the past regal ambiance through the arch doorway, the beautiful frescoes, and the intricate lattice works.
Six Senses is knowns for its emphasis on wellness, so it’s no surprise that the spa and fitness wing gets the royal treatment. 2,800 square meters of the former Zenana Mahal (or Women’s Palace) was transformed into a sanctuary of well-being. It has a delightful courtyard, two historic temples, and several treatment rooms. Interestingly, the original features of the old palace are still intact, including the exquisite facade, the vestibule, and the Shekhawati-style frescoes.
There is a wide range of treatments from extensive ayurvedic therapies and meditation to yoga. After days of exploring Jaipur, I opted for a foot massage. Within one hour, Naomi and her team were able to relieve the soreness and tiredness in my feet. The treatment ended with the sound and vibration of the singing bowl, allowing my body to also experience the healing effect.
Apart from restoring the fort, a lot of effort is put into preserving the lake and rewilding the hills. Together with horticulturists and landscape designers, the resort aims to remove invasive species, enabling native floral and fauna to thrive again. By doing so harmony between humans and nature can be maintained.
Six Senses Fort Barwara also supports the local community by cooperating with artisans and farmers living nearby. From crafts and fresh milk to organic vegetables, there are platforms to showcase these products which have been passed on for generations.
This post is written based on my personal experience. It was neither sponsored nor solicited by Six Senses Fort Barwara or any third party. All texts and pictures reflect my own opinions and are provided solely for informational purposes. I will not be liable for any errors or damages by using this information.