Tree of Life Resort & Spa

Jaipur, India Book from IRs11,900

Reviewed by Kate Darnton
An intimate and luxurious spa-resort, tucked amongst the peaceful Aravalli Hills near Jaipur: a perfect romantic retreat
A 40-minute drive north of Jaipur - and only 20 minutes from its most famous attraction, the magnificent Amber Fort - this grand mini-resort features 14 stylish villas set on 7 acres of undulating land, with a sparkling infinity pool at its centre. Newly built in 2010, it is the vision of founder Himmat Anand - himself a perpetual, gracious presence at the property - who sought to create a haven of bliss away from the bustle of city life.

A honeymooner's paradise, Tree of Life is all about romance and offers the ultimate in privacy and service. Each villa has its own 'outdoor spa' with foot baths and treatment beds for couples' massages; 5 have a plunge pool, too, and the others have private gardens. Inside, the living spaces are extravagantly large and airy. While their design borrows from traditional Rajasthani architecture, their feel is utterly modern: soaring domed ceilings are painted vivid shades of pink, purple, yellow or orange and inlaid with shimmering mirror work; furnishings are bright and contemporary. Back in the resort, there's a restaurant for dinner, but most guests just wrap themselves in robes and dine in their villa, from a personalised 4-course menu that you design daily with the head chef's help.

Highs

  • The sheer romance of it all: your spacious villa, private spa area and plunge pool. Say goodbye to the outside world
  • The serene location and utter peacefulness: all you hear is the chirp of birds and hum of crickets
  • The proximity to the glorious Amber Fort - swing over for a few hours of tourism in the morning, then unwind with a swim and treatment in the main spa
  • Or pop into Jaipur for a day, to admire the Pink City's buildings and snap up bargains in the bazaars
  • Delicious, sophisticated food - both Indian and Western, much of it sourced locally

Lows

  • Such indulgence and pampering doesn't come cheap
  • The common spaces such as the bar left us a little cold, and we didn't fancy hanging out in them. The restaurant lacks atmosphere, too
  • Staff are largely local and the service, while extremely attentive, can be a bit nervous and slow
  • Patchy WiFi in the rooms

Best time to go

The resort is open all year round. October to April is peak season, featuring bright days and often chilly nights. July to September is the monsoon: typically rainy and lush, though quite hot. The scorching mid-summer months of April, May and June are best avoided.

Our top tips

If it’s shopping you’re after, be sure to pick up a copy of Fiona Caufield's fabulous guide book ‘Love Jaipur, Rajasthan.’ Following her advice, I scooped up a handful of wooden camel nose pins (they make perfect ring stands!) in a tiny shop in Tripolia Bazaar. Caulfield will point you to the very best designers, crafters, and sellers in all of Jaipur - and recommend a spot for a tea break, too!

Great for...

Eco
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Resort
  • 14
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

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.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Private garden
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Spa area
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

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.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cooking classes
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Indulge in one of the many spa offerings, from a couples' massage in your villa spa area, to a full treatment session (body polish, wrap, massage, steam, sauna, Jacuzzi - even champagne!) at Ekam, the resort’s gorgeous couples’ spa

  • Take a morning elephant ride up to Jaipur’s premiere attraction, the awesome Amber Fort, and explore its opulent palace complex. Duck into Hot Pink, too, a fabulous textiles shop tucked behind the fort’s coffee shop

  • Spend a day sightseeing and shopping in the 'Pink City' of Jaipur: there are multiple monuments, palaces, museums and bustling bazaars - and don't forget to stop for a melt-in-your-mouth kulfi ice cream

  • Sign up for one of the resort’s outdoor ‘experiences’: an elephant, tractor or mountain bike ride through the countryside; a gentle trek in the Aravalli Hills; an Indian cookery lesson and visit to the market; a session of teaching at the neighbouring school; or a visit to the local temple and village

  • Or borrow a mountain bike and cycle into the village. The locals are incredibly friendly and the little farm fields are beautiful

  • Back at the resort, visit the Ganesh statue gallery, request a yoga lesson or claim a lounger by the peaceful infinity pool

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Elephant rides
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Yoga and meditation

Kids

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.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

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:

Babysitting is available on request.

Baby equipment:

Highchairs available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
7/
Food
8/
Service
7/
Value
8/
Overall

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