Glimpse Into Six Senses Fort Barwara – A Luxury Spa Resort Housed In A 14th Century Rajasthani Fort

  • 20 Jan '22
  • 10:44 am by Nuriyah Johar

When Six Senses announced the launch of their first-ever luxury resort in India, our expectations were high from the outset. The hotel chain’s reputation precedes itself, and its newest outpost, Six Senses Fort Barwara has fast become one of the most sought-after properties in India. A historic 14th-century fort has been sensitively converted into a sanctuary of well-being comprising 48 suites, 3 restaurants, and a sprawling 30,000 sq ft spa amongst other amenities. Given that heritage hospitality is very much in its Golden Age, this foray into India couldn’t have been more well-timed; our visit to Six Senses Fort Barwara offered us a keen insight into what happens when the best of international hospitality taps into the rich goldmine of Indian heritage structures.

The fort offers sensational views of the Barwara lake. Image Credits – Six Senses Fort Barwara

The history of the fort dates back 700 years; it was built by the Chauhans in the 14th century, and conquered by the Rajawat Dynasty in 1734. Prithviraj Singh from the noble family of Barwara has restored the fort to its previous glory in tandem with Panika, under the leadership of late Nimish Patel and Parul Zaveri for architectural design, with a team of conservation experts including landscape designer Savita Punde and horticulturist Pradeep Kishen. The meticulous restoration process lasted for over a decade, taking into account every aspect from the preservation of the fort’s original architecture to the reforestation of the protected land beyond the structure. The result? A sensational spa resort that offers authentic, culturally immersive experiences while accounting for luxury of the highest order. Upon pulling into the resort, you are instantly blown away by the scale of the space; you are transported almost magically to another point in time, but are drawn back into the present ever-so-gently by more modern features that serve as a welcome foil to the historical narrative.

The vast courtyard, accentuated with local flora and regal water features. Image Credits – Six Senses Fort Barwara
Even the swimming pools have been designed to capture the royalty of the fort. Image Credits – Design Pataki

Giving one a sense of how grand the fort is, the 5.5-acre site is encircled by an imposing 5-foot thick rock wall that rises to 20 feet in some sections. Within the fort, three structures that originally accommodated the common, men’s, and women’s palaces, and two temples have been preserved and restored by Panika. The landscape is dotted with a rich mix of traditional gardens, striking water features, and local flora and fauna. For Savita Punde of Design Cell and horticulturist Pradeep Kishen, the aim was to resurrect the regality of traditional Rajasthani forts and palaces. Sustainability has been a key consideration throughout the conservation process. Compelling spiral structures across the resort are a nod to the age-old water harvesting techniques that have been modernized, serving as an interesting addition to the landscape. In addition, Shekhavati art curated by Natasha Jeyasingh of Carpe Art delineates the rich history of the fort in the landscape.

Rajasthani features and contemporary design come together seamlessly in the suites. Image Credits – Six Senses Fort Barwara
A subtle sense of luxury shines through the suites. Image Credits – Six Senses Fort Barwara

Six Senses’ aim with their Fort Barwara property was to offer a reinterpreted experience of royal, ancient India. Every suite at the resort has been designed in a contemporary Rajasthani style to tie into the overarching historic backdrop of the fort, complete with private rooftop terraces and state-of-the-art in-room technology. A Six Senses signature, the groundbreaking ‘Sleep With Six Senses’ standard finds its way to Barwara too, with handmade mattresses by Naturalmat, Hanse organic pillows and duvets, high-quality Beaumont & Brown organic cotton sheets, and Madison Collection toweling and bathrobes being incorporated into every room; all the fundamentals for a perfect night’s sleep. That these additions appear invisible to an observer at first glance is a testament to the design.

An outdoor shower clad with natural stone.

Wellness is inextricable to the overall Six Senses experience, right from the organic and clean culinary offerings at the restaurants, The Cortile and Rani Bagh, to the detailed sleep programs. However, it is perhaps best exemplified by the spa, the pièce de résistance of every Six Senses property. At Fort Barwara, the spa is housed within Zenana Mahal – what used to be the women’s palace. It offers extensive Ayurvedic ‘’whole body” treatments, along with personalized wellness programs based on the preventative principles of Eastern medicine and result-oriented Western influences. The Six Senses Spa takes guests on a journey of discovery, with the aim to enhance every aspect of each wellness experience.

Ultimately, Six Senses Fort Barwara delivers on its every promise. A paradigm of luxury heritage hospitality, it points to an optimistic future for boutique palace hotels, restored fort properties, and the like in India.

DP Loves :

-The well-curated junior spa menu.
-The Alchemy Bar workshop, where guests can learn how to make bespoke potions and cures using organic herbs, essential oils, and other natural ingredients.
-The detailed sleep program. Guests have the option to fill out an online questionnaire that enables an assigned Sleep Ambassador to fine-tune the room before arrival.
-The safari to Ranthambore National Park, an absolute must-do for those that visit the property.
-The Destination Dining experience, wherein guests are permitted to scour the property, pick any spot of their choosing and enjoy a one-of-a-kind meal.
-The Heritage and Rewilding walk; perfect for history buffs who’d want to immerse themselves in the culture and traditions of the area.

The palace domes signal to the rich architectural history of Fort Barwara. Image Credits – Six Senses Fort Barwara
The private roof-top terrace adjoining the suites. Image Credits – Six Senses Fort Barwara
One of the outdoor pools at Fort Barwara. Image Credits – Design Pataki