Alila Fort Bishangarh
Set within the striking architecture of a delicately restored 230-year-old Fort in India, the Alila Fort Bishangarh hotel was one of the most anticipated hospitality openings of 2017.
The 59-room luxury venue and is located near the village of Bishangarh, a short drive from the city of Jaipur and welcomed its first guests at the beginning of July. The unique property took seven years to transform and also boasts a restaurant, lounge and bar as well as an indulgent and rejuvenating spa.
Perched imposingly above the vast landscape atop a granite hill, the Alila Fort Bishangarh hotel is a perfect example of how to respect the past while looking to the future. Converting the Fort involved a huge amount of dedication and commitment. Giving an overview of the work, Principal Architect on the project Ritu Khandelwal said:
“We were asked to evaluate the feasibility of converting the fort into a hotel. We think we were brought onto work on this project as we have an understanding and appreciation of Indian architecture. The fort had courtyards, some beautifully painted rooms, 3m thick walls with very limited access points, no vertical circulation and no road to access the fort.
About nine years ago, my colleague Sandeep Khandelwal spent about 7 full days at this fort to figure out how to connect its various areas and create some rooms. After much thought, it was initially planned to become a small 18-room property housed only in the old core fort area. However, when Alila came on board, the number of rooms increased to 59. It was also decided to install three vertical lifts, a well-equipped kitchen, various F&B outlets, a unique arrival area into a tent, and an entertainment zone in the form of a haveli (traditional townhouse) down the hillock.
“There was no specific design brief. We extensively studied the various options. As a team, we have immense respect for the past and wanted to maintain the authenticity of the fort. We never wanted it to become a palace and therefore over the restorative years we have created a bold, minimalistic, and magnificent fort. All rooms in the property are different.”
Guest rooms in particular are spacious and include turrets as part of the layout while windows have been strategically positioned to embrace the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The architecture includes Tudor and cusped arches, Jharokha style windows, intricate lattice work in stone, vegetable dyed frescoes and ancient Indian woodwork techniques for the doors and windows.
Completing the project has involved overcoming a number of obstacles and a great deal of patience on the part of all those involved. The first two years of the work proved to be particularly difficult, transporting the construction material to the top of the hillock without a road. Ritu Khandelwal added:
“This project is like a child to us. It was a bare beautiful old fortress sitting in the middle of a small village of Bishangarh, untouched for years. We have nurtured it and carefully created every nook and corner of it with complete simplicity whilst being true to its style. We needed to create a bold, minimalistic fort and that is what we did.”
For more information on the hotel, please visit alilahotels.com/fortbishangarh.