Jaipur's small wonder

Arya Niwas, a value-for-money hotel that is charming, welcoming and appealing despite its lack of aesthetic clarity
A room at Arya Niwas
A room at Arya Niwas

Sitting on the wide, well-tended lawns of Arya Niwas in central Jaipur and drinking our filter coffee, we fed a friendly hungry little cat milk in a saucer. After a hot tiring day, we had been greeted courteously at the reception and agreed to pay Rs 930 for a deluxe room with an extra bed. We had showered in the clean, spacious bathrooms and dried ourselves with clean, large towels. I had fed my daughter palatable, unspicy food in the inexpensive cafeteria, put her to bed in a cool, large room and was now having an epiphanic moment that few travellers asked for more.

Arya Niwas is that rare thing a value-for-money hotel. And it&rsquos charming. It doesn&rsquot bother selling itself as a heritage hotel of jaipur  &mdash  although it is, actually, having been built around a century-old haveli. Its lack of aesthetic clarity &mdash lots of white-and-grey marble, mismatched furniture but plenty of courtyards with plants and corridors with old tiles &mdash is oddly appealing. Its charm lies in a bunch of unassociated facts &mdash that, in touristy Rajasthan, it&rsquos as welcoming towards Indians as foreigners. That some guests stay for months on end. That its &lsquogift shop&rsquo actually has things worth buying. That the hotel likes cats, dogs and children. That it&rsquos so well run. Managers of bigger, plusher hotels, please visit Arya Niwas they have things to teach you. Middle-class holidayers, stay at Arya Niwas you&rsquoll get your money&rsquos worth.

The information

Where Sansar Chandra Road, Jaipur
Accommodation 60 doubles, 30 singles
Tariff Rs 1000-2000
Contact 91 9829040549, www.aryaniwas.com

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