Luxe

The road show

Payel Majumdar Upreti | Updated on July 03, 2018

Delhi-Jaipur-Pushkar, and a fleet of BMWs, what’s not to like?

The tee-off from the JW Marriott, Aerocity, Delhi, on a Friday morning, and we were off on our road trip ex Delhi-Jaipur-Pushkar. It is not everyday a fleet of BMWs — SUVs, sedans and hatchbacks is flagged off on a weekend morning and exit the city going about its drudgery. Our ride for the day was the X5, petrol variant, and our destination the palace city of Jaipur.

The road from Delhi to Jaipur is pretty tame, and riding the X5 was a breeze. My driving partner switched cars from the BMW 7 series to the SUV, just to get some more action on the peaceful highway. Our midway stop was unlike any you could expect on this road. Thanks to JW Marriott Aerocity’s catering expertise, we were treated to canapes, mini-desserts and refreshing coolers. Some chocolate bark for the way, and I was ready for the adventure coming up ahead. On road, there was some activity planned, an off-roading experience near Bikaner. A sandy track of about a few km were marked on a dry river bed, to test how much dust the cars kick up. The X5 has a good ground clearance that could tackle the dry growth and stone-strewn roads. However, would an adventure be one if it went as planned? The off-roading put the monsters (and their drivers) to test; while the abler drivers could escape unscathed over the dusty tracks, it was the less unfortunate ones who had to struggle and sweat.

The third generation X5 has moved further from its predecessors on its offroad abilities, but excels as one of the first road-focussed midsized luxury 4x4 from the BMW stable. The latest X5 focusses on being an upscale family hauler rather than a performance off-roader. The enthusiasts may not be sold on the complete package that the SUV delivers, considering its price tag but will appreciate its well-tailored cabin, velvety petrol engines, intuitive iDrive infotainment, and acceptable fuel economy.

It’s also one of the best-handling cars of its kind, and is available with six engines: a four-cylinder diesel, three six-cylinder diesels and two V8 petrols.

Once at the hotel, we parked the cars, and there was ample supply of beer and cocktails to tide over the weariness. JW Marriott Resort and Spa is built like a plentiful modern palace, with the aesthetics of a royal heritage, and the comfort of a modern hotel. Located on the outskirts of Jaipur, it is a great place for a staycation. The resort is built as a cluster of individual structures, each of those taking inspiration from the mahal structures of the Mughal-Rajput period, with luxurious jharokhas, chhatris, meenakari, aangans and ample landscaping. Interiors are opulent and take inspiration from the artisanal tradition of Jaipur. Lotus ponds and fountains at every pool villa create a mise en scene right out of miniature paintings. Santoor and sitar players sitting inside marble chhatris, create an idyllic atmosphere as you walk past down the multiple gardens and courtyards.

 

Day two of our trip found us on the road by 9 am, on our way to the temple city of Pushkar. Pushkar has the only Brahma temple in this country, and is a pilgrimage for religious folks and hippies alike. The picturesque road circles down the ghats with the Pushkar lake glimmering into the distance, a drive particularly enjoyable during early morning and twilight.

The Westin Pushkar Resort and Spa

 

 

The Westin Pushkar Resort and Spa, our resort stop for the day, filled us with local delicacies. Best bit about this relaxed place? Each room has its individual splash pool, if you’re too reticent to join the folks outside in the hotel’s community pool, but want to be in water. An afternoon was well spent inside the pool floating about in peace as trees shaded us from the harsh sun.

While the Jaipur bypass was an easy drive, the way back to town through the city was where my partner’s mettle was tested for a second time. A huge SUV isn’t what you bring into the old city, with its hawkers, bicycles, street-side vendors, carts, and animals spilling onto the streets with abandon. Driving on intermittent half-clutch for a good half hour, we were pretty proud to have escaped unscathed.

 

A tired evening was given the much-needed refuelling by bartender Vita Vladimirski’s expert gin cocktails, and appetisers. Dinner was hit-and-miss, though Akira Back’s signature Japanese pizza, a staple from his restaurant in Marriott Aerocity shone a light on an otherwise whimsical meal. (We still aren’t digging meals that are about deconstructing crowd favourites). This wasn’t a road trip that ended in camps, or cooking a humble meal out in the open. While this wasn’t our first time in Jaipur, as we stared up at a clear sky reflected onto the beautiful pool, shiny with reflections of the Mughal style tomes, it sure felt like a trip whose memory would stay with us.

(The writer went on the invitation from BMW and JW Marriott Aerocity)

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Published on June 30, 2018
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