Celebrated Architect Ed Tuttle Reimagines Amanbagh As His Contemporary Architectural Homage To Mughal India

A luxury ‘ayurshala’ retreat envisioned as a ‘shikar haveli’ of the erstwhile Indian Maharajas that tread towards spiritual wellness in Aravalli’s lush wilderness.

  • 30 May '24
  • 1:19 pm by Satarupa Datta

A long driveway cuts through the dense flora and a looming mix of eucalyptus, the flame of the forest and other vegetation hides the scorching sun above. The brilliant greens of the jungle come alive as the sun peeps through the canopy and upon looking closely, the grand cupolas and the ‘chhatris’ of a pale pink-hued haveli come into view. This is Amanbagh, the second Aman home in India which marries architecture that mirrors the cultural context with its commitment to space, refined seasonal dining, transformative offerings in wellness and above all, a sense of rarefied seclusion-–all that’s best about the most admired hospitality chain.

Designed by the late Aman Architect, Edward Burnham Tuttle Jr, this project was an impressive feat of engineering that brings together cultural influences, art, heritage, and vignettes of royalty that have shaped a sprawling garden estate.  Two hours outside Jaipur in the Alwar district, Amanbagh rests within a walled compound of a garden oasis, which used to be the Maharaja of Alwar’s staging ground for royal tiger hunts. Renouncing short-lived hospitality trends, the hotel prioritizes tailor-made, culture-immersive experiences ensuring travellers experience them as authentically as possible. 

A fine balance of architecture and natural landscaping in one space, the entrance is a visual prelude to what unfolds within the marble-clad walls. (Image Credit: Amanbagh)

Getting There

Amanbagh is 2 hrs from the main Jaipur city in the Alwar district, making Jaipur International Airport the closest airport, with direct domestic flights connecting to it. For international travellers flights from Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Bangkok are available to Jaipur. However, most international travellers fly into New Delhi Airport, followed by a 3.5-hour drive to reach Amanbagh. It’s worth noting that the resort explicitly permits private helicopter landings at its exclusive helipad. 

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The shaded courtyard overlooking the green marble-clad swimming pool is an ideal venue for sit-down dinners or a lazy lunch during winter’s cool. (Image Credit: Amanbagh)

The Architecture Encapsulates Aman’s Design Philosophy Of Serene Sophistication 

 Conceptualised by the esteemed Architect, Ed Tuttle, one of the visionary behind Aman‘s design blueprint. His approach encapsulates the cultural narrative of each destination, embracing serene minimalism through his architectural design. He envisioned Amanbagh as a tranquil ‘shikar haveli’ or hunting palace inspired by the erstwhile royal living of the Mughal era. One can witness a fresh palette of Jaipur’s famous pink sandstone that beautifully complements the yellow marble and wood, creating a harmonious composition of minimalist design – a true trademark of Aman’s design excellence. The sprawling garden courtyard facing the 33-metre green marble pool enclosed by the expansive garden is the beating heart of the estate. 

Architectural styles ordained to emulate the majesty of Mughal and Rajasthani design with the plush sophistication of art déco blend within their environments allowing the landscape to take centre stage. The collonaded walkways and the tranquil courtyards walled by lush greenery hum peace that resonates with the brand’s design philosophy. Take the sweeping staircase to reach the terrace courtyard and continue to the open-to-sky chhatri lounge, offering an enviable vantage of the 47-acre garden estate nestled amidst the Aravallis. 

A mihrab-arched alcove behind the bed doubles as a mirrored back wall and alongside the ‘jali’ engraved pillars evokes a deep sense of palatial living. (Image Credit: Amanbagh)

The Suite Rooms Are Private Oasis Where Colonial Design-Meets-Art Déco Glam

In all four categories of its luxury suites, one finds a common mix of pink sandstone, yellow marble, wooden Jali work, ‘mehrab’ patterned archways, and art déco influences, and in between the neutral hues, the exquisite green marble of Udaipur offers a visual pop. Amanbagh’s thirty-seven only suites spread over 47 acres of the garden estate akin to the architectural layout of the royal palaces. ‘The Terrace Haveli’ has the largest room size and offers a beautiful terrace lounge that beckons for outdoor dining with views of the mountains and the pool. The ‘Garden Haveli’ opens into a private terrace overlooking the resort’s pristine gardens and the courtyard beyond. While the ‘Courtyard Haveli’ sits at the ground level fenced by a private courtyard sit-out, ideal for couples and families wanting utmost privacy. 

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The tranquil pool of the pavilion suite uses the exquisite green marble of Udaipur and fosters a sense of private space to relax. (Image Credit: Amanbagh)

The ‘Pool Pavilion Suite’ is a luxurious sanctuary that exemplifies the quintessential charm of palace living. It features a separate bedchamber with a living area and an elongated study tablescape. A connecting foyer takes one to the powder room that shines with opulence in every detail. An arched wooden door opens to the private courtyard garden with a pool, making it an ideal spot to enjoy your morning tea or sundowner in the company of the resident birds. 

The private dining inside the ‘chattri’ of the roof terrace fringed by diyas around and a live performance going feels like a celebration of a kind. (Image credit: Amanbagh)

The Culinary Selections Follow A Farm-to-Table Approach 

At Amanbagh, Chef Ram Swaroop and his team are committed to keeping the glorious culinary traditions of India alive by sourcing ingredients from the resort’s organic garden. In its purest, most honest form, the team embraces dining wherein the Chef’s tour of the kitchen garden and an exploration of the produce grown completes the experience. The menu spans Western dishes, North Indian delicacies, and dishes from the royal kitchen like the game meat and the slow-cooked lamb roast, adding to the culinary authenticity of the region. 

Starting a meal with an amuse-bouche, a delightful nod to the French dining concept, is a cherished tradition at this Aman establishment. Lovers of Mediterranean cuisine can try the mains – ‘thyme roast chicken’, sauteed courgettes from the garden as a side along with a refreshing salad, ‘Amanbagh garden salad’. For meat lovers, the soft juicy ‘galouti kebab’, ‘laalmaas’ and ‘chicken khara masala’ are huge hits, prepared with the delicate layering of spices. We recommend the ‘kheer churma’ and if unable to curb your dessert craving, the unique ‘rose berry mousse’ paired with raspberry sorbet is a perfect choice. 

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There are six treatment rooms for the extensive spa rituals including facials, body treatments and wraps drawn from the healing foundations of Ayurveda. (Image Credit: Amanbagh)

Aman’s Wellness Is A Slow Journey That Demystifies The True Meaning Of Ayurveda

Aman pioneered wellness hospitality by merging each region’s ancient healing practices with the best of modern science. Aman designs a unique pathway to improved health by focusing on the four pillars of well-being –  nutrition, movement, psychological health and bodywork. At Amanbagh kick-start with a refreshing morning yoga session, followed by a personalized consultation with an ayurvedic doctor taking you through the wide range of spa therapies and ayurvedic offerings. 

Go for a signature body treatment to experience the fine strokes of the therapist’s soothing touch anointed with warm oils infused with aromatic herbs and plants. They also offer personalised ayurvedic immersions that range from a minimum of four to seven nights, sometimes longer depending on the guest. From ‘Abhyanga’ and ‘Shirodhara’ to ‘Shiro Vasthi’, yoga, and guided meditation, these experiences are designed to retune the nervous system and de-stress the mind and body.

The tranquil pool of the pavilion suite uses the exquisite green marble of Udaipur and fosters a sense of private space to relax. (Image Credit: Amanbagh)

Final Thoughts: 

On the edge of the Sariska National Park, Amanbagh beckons luxury travellers who desire an escape from the hustle of time-bound itineraries. Aman group has set a new path in exploring a destination with a mix of serenity and quiet luxury-known as the Aman way of life. With a dedicated concierge team working its magic planning experiential private dinners at the roof terrace to planning day excursions that are well embedded into the region’s history — make their hospitality stand out and elevate the experience.

DP Loves 

  • Ed Tuttle’s rendition of a Mughal-era shikar haveli starring intricate ‘jali’ work, pink-hued cupolas, sprawling courtyards to luxury suites. 
  •  The ‘Pool Pavilion Suites’ bedchamber is a comforting cocoon featuring a day bed lounge area, a study, a coffee corner and a bed that channels palatial living.      
  •  A sunken seating of the ‘Pool Pavilion’ around the private garden courtyard designed as  one’s private green corner for unwinding.
  • The private pool in the luxe enclosure of one’s pavilion.
  • The statement bathtub in every room carved from a single slab of Udaipur’s exquisite green marble. 
  • The private dinner at the courtyard terrace amid a sea of diyas with a concierge attending to your needs.
  • The 60-minute ‘Amanbagh Spa journey,’ featuring a combination of Swedish and deep-tissue massage.
  • A dedicated spa pool with a unique filtration that works best for your body post the spa treatment