Now I am certainly not one to grumble about my job. Sure, I have to get up at the crack of dawn, drive miles from one location to the next, then rush around in the midday sun – photographing, videoing, inspecting – when even the pi-dogs and crows are cowering in the shade. Once done I then have to rush back to my room, post said videos and photos on Instagram and Twitter, write a blog and deal with issues from the office. But would I have it any other way? Absolutely not. Running around like a mad thing, creating content about the thing I love, is simply how I love to travel. I am not very good at relaxing – just ask my wife!
So it was therefore with a degree of alarm when arriving this afternoon at the amazing new Six Senses’ property, Fort Barwara, I was informed that a session at the Ayurveda treatment centre had been arranged for me. The Six Senses chain specialise in wellness and healthy lifestyle properties with yoga, personalised treatments and detox programmes. I was even more startled when told my treatment time was 5.30 in the afternoon, just as the early evening light would be at its best for photography. Still, as Six Senses had invited me personally to be here just so I could check out all aspects of the hotel, what could I do but agree?
Having been checked in with a mini puja, where prayers to the gods were made on my behalf, the charming Shagufta showed me to my room. I say room. In fact, they don’t have rooms at Fort Barwara, only suites. Mine, although the smallest of the eight categories they have on offer, was larger than most London one-bed flats, with a living room, bedroom, dressing room, a bathroom with tub and outside ‘rain’ shower, and a large private balcony. Having got lost on the way back to reception, I had a lunch of artichoke salad (see, I’m already committed to this wellness malarkey) and was then shown around the place.
Originally built in the 13th century, the main fort that exists today was constructed in the 16th century by relations of the Rajput rulers of Jaipur. Standing on a small hill above the town, the crenellated fortress walls encircle royal gardens, living quarters and public exhibition halls. What Six Senses has done (at considerable expense) is renovate what was already there and built a hotel wing of 48 suites, a spa area, two restaurants and a swimming pool within the walls and in the same style as the Rajput fort. The result is magnificent.
But with only two hours before my enforced relaxation experience, I rushed around at breakneck speed, taking photos, videos and, out in the village, capturing the place on my drone. When I got to the spa I was anything but relaxed, and, embarrassingly, rather sweaty.
Here I was taken to a massage room. I was down for an hour all body massage. I complained and asked for only 30 minutes. ‘As you wish,’ said Lalit, the masseuse calmly. I lay down, poked my face through the hole to look at a bowl of rose petals and while soft music played, I drifted off as though being administered an anaesthetic. After half an hour, when Lalit finished, I was so relaxed, I could hardly stand up.
As I say I’m not normally one for massages and spa treatments. But I could certainly get used to this.