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Where Vicky-Katrina got married: Here's why this luxury hotel should be on your travel radar

Where Vicky-Katrina got married: Here's why this luxury hotel should be on your travel radar

Known for hosting the famous Vicky Kaushal-Katrina Kaif marriage ceremony, this 48-suite luxury hotel is also known for its dedication towards sustainability. Read more to find out.

Where Vicky-Katrina got married: Here's why this luxury hotel should be on your travel radar Where Vicky-Katrina got married: Here's why this luxury hotel should be on your travel radar

Arre you are going to the same hotel where Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal got married,” said my aunt excitedly when I told her I will be visiting the Six Senses Fort Barwara. Nothing puts a property on the global map, faster than an A-list Bollywood wedding. And so it was with the Six Senses Fort Barwara, a luxury heritage wellness retreat near Ranthambore, Rajasthan where the wedding took place in December. 

As I drive up to the 700-year-old fort that has been painstakingly restored by architects over a decade into a 48-suite luxury hotel, I can well understand what attracted #VicKat to the gorgeous property. Everyone dreams of being a princess on their wedding day and Fort Barwara, a living example of a bygone era of Indian royalty provides the ultimate setting. 

Six Senses Fort Barwara incorporates two original palaces and two temples within the walled fort. I climb a series of steps to enter the grand lobby which leads to the Mardana Mahal, one of the two original palaces, the other being the Zenana Mahal, which houses the spa. I am greeted by the incantation of a mantra that ends with Om shanti shanti shantihi, a traditional greeting yet so different from the garland and teeka welcome that we are used to at most hotels. And therein lies the beauty of the Six Senses Fort Barwara – it’s traditional yet manages to be different from the several other heritage/fort properties that dot Rajasthan.      

Opened in October last year, the first property of the globally renowned international chain in India, is a beautiful mix of the past and the present.  

Stepping into my suite, I am at once enthralled with the interiors. A gorgeous bed with nets hanging around it so romantically that you forget they serve a purpose as mundane as keeping mosquitoes at bay. Thankfully, there are no mosquitoes and I leave the nets alone. Elaborate archways, intricate latticework, beautiful lamps and settees add to the charm of my over 750 sq ft suite. The balcony of my suite overlooks the Barwara village, giving me a glimpse of village life unfolding.  

The bathroom has a stone bathtub that gives you the feeling of a hammam but lest you get lost in a bygone era, the toilet is completely hi-tech with auto-flush, heated seats and water and air jets.  

“Sustainability is part of the ethos of Six Senses globally and the only plastic you will find is one we have not been able to find a replacement for,” says Frans Westraadt, the general manager of the Six Senses Fort Barwara when I interact with him. I take him up on the challenge and look all around my room for the culprit plastic. Water in reusable glass bottles is fast becoming the norm at most five-star hotels as they invest in a reverse osmosis plant to avoid purchasing water in plastic bottles. So that doesn’t surprise me.  

I then go through the box of toiletries and amenities and that’s where the eye to detail comes through. No plastic toothbrushes or razors here, only those made of bamboo. Six Senses doesn’t even offer guests toothpaste tubes as they are plastic. Instead, it offers toothpaste tablets that come in a glass bottle! 

I did finally find plastic in my room – the shower cap. But as Westraadt says they haven’t been able to find a replacement for it -- yet. 

 

At the Six Senses Earth Lab, I learn to make soaps and lip balms using beeswax from abandoned hives, an attempt at being more sustainable in my daily life.  

The Cortille is the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant that offers a mix of Indian, Asian and Mediterranean. There is a lot of emphasis on farm-to-table and everything from seasonal vegetables to fruits and herbs is grown in-house. Besides local and seasonal, ‘Eat with Six Senses’ as a philosophy also believes in minimalism so don’t expect a 20-page menu. However, there are enough dishes to keep you excited over a 2-3 day visit. Rani Bagh, next to the swimming pool is a stunning location for dinner and has an Italian menu. There are other nooks and corners across the property where a special setting can be organised for a memorable meal.   

 The highlight of the property is of course the spa that blends Ayurveda with Six Senses’ unique touch. Housed in the Zenana Mahal, the 30,000 sq feet spa has small water bodies to help the guests relax. There is an Alchemy Bar at the entrance where indigenous oils, muds, clays, gels are blended together to create a signature range of scrubs. Having grown up in a household where my grandmother would happily apply multani mitti or a turmeric paste for glowing skin, it was nice to see that this was being done at a world-renowned spa. The concept behind the Alchemy Bar is to convert ordinary ingredients into something extraordinary, just as my grandmother did.  

I was charmed to meet a couple of local women who cook bajra and jowar rotis during lunch and brew hot masala chai in the evenings. “I made 11 rotis for Katrina,” one of them tells me and then adds laughingly, “She probably just ate one.” Her son also works in the hotel and she is pleased that he now lives at home and works right there in Barwara instead of Jaipur, 130km away. “Over 60 per cent of our staff is local,” says Westraadt.  

The original Barwara Fort was constructed in the 14th century by the rulers of the Chauhan dynasty. Raja Man Singh of Barwara fought alongside the British during World War II, and was conferred the title of Rao Bahadur. It is his grandson Prithviraj Singh, who oversaw the restoration of the fort that began a decade ago, helmed by sustainable and conservation design firm Panika. 

One of my lasting memories of the Six Senses Fort Barwara is swimming in the pool at night when all around me the fort was lit up with candles. A magical setting that transported me to a golden era -- in that moment, I felt like a princess.  

Facts: 

Where: Six Senses Fort Barwara, near Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan 

Nearest airport: Jaipur, 130km away 

Attractions: Spa, heritage walk, Ranthambore jungle safari, 35km away. 

Room rent: Rs 44,000 

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