[the best hotel in india]

When we were in India in 2002-2003, our favorite hotel was one we didn’t even stay at: Killa Bhawan. Located in the honey-hued fort walls of the historic Thar Desert city of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, the hotel was run by an affable Brahmin who was wise enough to see the value of inviting non-guests up to his extraordinary terrace for chai and conversation. We were given a look at the gorgeous interiors, put together in conjunction with a French designer, then ushered up to comfortable wicker chairs on the crenellated curve of the fort wall, where we drank in the views along with the sweet spiced tea.

India was an enervating and difficult place to travel, but Jenny and I could see heading back to Jaisalmer simply to while away our days at the Killa Bhawan. More even than its stunning location, what so impressed us about the Killa Bhawan was its immaculate, lush sense of style. Its color schemes — Rajasthani oranges, pinks, greens and reds against tan sandstone and dark wood — became a kind of shorthand for all that we found most compelling about Rajasthani style. Alas, the tight spaces of New York apartments are more suited to the clean lines and simple elegance of East Asia, while its more northerly light works better against the muted shades of those temperate countries than with the bright juxtapositions of the Indian desert. But one day I do hope to decorate a home, or part of a home, in the style of Killa Bhawan. And in the meantime, you’ll notice that the look of this blog owes a bit to the color and feel of that remarkable hotel.