While reams have been and continue to be written about the investment rush to India, little has been done at this end of the globe about promoting India as a tourist destination for Americans. With a decidedly US friendly climate (though not always true for weather) at almost all levels, the country presents a breathtaking array of cultural and natural sights as well as incredibly sybaritic vacations in hotels that are truly peerless. One such hotel is the Taj Rambagh Palace hotel in Jaipur, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. A noticeable aspect of a brief working stay at the hotel last week was the remarkable lack of Americans among the many foreign tourists, a majority of whom were Western Europeans. What was more striking was the level of service offered by the hotel in terms of attention to detail from the check-in process (done in the room with a service “ambassador” to the wait staff at the restaurants. Other areas excelled equally – a colleague had a problem with his electronic key card not working and, in a blink of an eye, a technician appeared to correct the problem. Sitting out on in the lush greeen gardens later, the slightest display of discomfort due to bugs resulted in a “lamp” to keep them away being brought out immediately. As for the amenities and in-room comforts, it seems that virtually every thing had been thought of except for that enduring American hotel fixture – the illuminated clock. It seems almost no hotel outside the US, believes in electronic clocks leaving guests groping in the dark (in a jet-lagged state) for their watches. Not be left out, was the remarkable quantity and quality of food both Indian and non-Indian.
Rajasthan boasts of a number of other world class hotels including the Devigarh Palace in Udaipur that is to be the host hotel for the star studded wedding of Elizabeth Hurley to UK based Indian businessman, Arun Nayyar later next month, an event that that is likely to put “Udaipur on the map and bring millions to the local economy”. . It won’t be long, particularly with the advent of non-stop flights to Bombay and Delhi, before tour operators in both countries wake up to the enormous untapped potential in tourist traffic to that part of the globe.