“An intimate and luxurious spa-resort, tucked amongst the peaceful Aravalli Hills near Jaipur: a perfect romantic retreat”
You don’t just get a room at Tree of Life, you get your own villa with a garden and spa area outside (2 massage beds and a foot bath, plus a plunge pool in some), and inside, a vast sitting/dining room, master bedroom, walk-in closet and jaw-dropping bathroom. While the exterior, built from salmon-pink sandstone and lime, looks a bit clunky, inside all is light and airy. Sitting room ceilings soar to 13 feet, and a cushioned bay window offers a perfect spot to while away the afternoon with a book. Best of all are the dramatic domed ceilings in the master bedroom and bathroom, which are painted rich, vibrant colours and inlaid with mirrors - the handiwork of a local artisan.
Villas are arranged in a horseshoe shape around the main pool and restaurant, and each is named after a tree native to the region (the trees are planted outside the villa's front doors), and colour-coded accordingly. We stayed in the Jacaranda Villa and every decorative detail echoed the tree’s brilliant purple flowers: silk throw pillows, cotton durries, marble floor inlays.
Top-quality Indian and Western amenities complete the deluxe experience: flatscreen TVs with surround sound, espresso makers, pillow-top mattresses, a pillow and towel menu, bathrobes and cotton kurtas, Grohe bathroom fixtures, rain showers and Kama Ayurveda toiletries. Who could ask for more?
There are 14 villas in total. The most reasonable are the Garden & Spa Villas - and though you may be sacrificing a private plunge pool, you'll still be cocooned in luxury, comfort and space, so they are by no means a dud option. If, however, you want that plunge pool, upgrade to a Pool & Spa Villa. For families and groups there are 2-Bedroom Villas, with 2 ensuite double bedrooms. Again, you choose between a Garden or a Pool version.
Tree of Life is about customised luxury, and the food is no exception. Each evening, the chef visits your villa to discuss what you'd like for your 4-course menu, and later dinner is served in your private living area or garden. He suggests wonderful Indian and Western choices for each course, and while we appreciated the freshness and sophistication of his Western dishes - Pommery-crusted sea bass with creamy polenta, charred vegetables and orange butter sauce was a particular favourite - we found his tandoor-cooked Rajasthani dishes to be the most mouthwatering. The homemade touches were a delight, too: a luscious banana jam, a pungent garlic pickle, and the creamiest maple and cinnamon ice cream - by far the best ice cream we’ve tasted in India.
If a 4-course dinner is too much, you can always order off the all-day à la carte menu or ask the chef to come up with something - pretty much anything! - to your liking. You can be sure that the ingredients, many of which are sourced from local farms and the hotel’s garden, will be fresh and the taste combinations tantalising.
In-room breakfasts won't disappoint either; we loved our fresh-pressed juices, creamy cappuccinos, fluffy omelettes and delicious Indian fare.
Tree of Life does have an on-site restaurant, Ashtam, which you can eat in if you prefer, but the sparse décor and spread-out tables left us feeling a little cold. We never saw any guests at the restaurant’s bar, either - really just a seating nook off the dining room. But who could blame them? It’s hard to leave your own private villa behind.
While children are treated warmly by staff, this is really a couples’ resort and you might feel uncomfortable with your noisy toddler disrupting the careful calm of the infinity pool. If you're happy to shut yourselves away though, families will be delighted with the vast and private 2-bedroom Villas. There are no rollaway beds, but staff can transform the daybeds in each villa into cosy sleeping nooks. The resort has baby cots and highchairs too. Babysitting is available. While there is no specific kids’ menu, the chef is happy to cook up chicken nuggets at a moment’s notice.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
The 2-bedroom Pool & Spa Villa is the only one in which children have a whole floor to themselves, complete with twin beds and a flat-screen TV. The 2-bedroom Garden & Spa villa has its second bedroom on the terraced rooftops, accessible via an exterior staircase. This might be a teenager's dream come true, but would make parents of younger children nervous.
Babysitting is available on request.
Highchairs available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking