If you have been following me on Twitter or Instagram, you are already aware that I was recently in Jaipur covering the first launch event for the launch of the luxurious St. Regis brand in India. The hotel is Starwood Group of Hotels’ main luxury property and India will be getting its first St. Regis soon. Location and dates are yet to be disclosed. The kick-off was fabulous and guests and media were welcomed to the splendour by way of a private dinner called the “Midnight Supper” at the Maharaja of Jaipur’s residence at The City Palace. The Midnight Supper is a #StRegisRitual that was begun by Caroline Astor who was the mother of the St. Regis founder. This used to begin at midnight but now concludes at that hour.
Due to rain showers, dinner was moved to the area below. Jaipur was cold but not as cold as Delhi.
At a section upstairs is where guests arrived for the evening’s cocktails. Photographed below.
Guests were welcomed by elephants, horses, trumpets and thousands of rose petals raining down. Rajasthan has beautiful colours and traditions, which match up well with the St. Regis brand’s legacy of royalty and aristocracy.
The most popular cocktail was of course the Bloody Mary. The drink originated at the St. Regis New York and was originally called the Red Snapper. In the cold weather, it was a welcome zing as I bit into whole black pepper seeds.
Below, Paul James at left. He is the Global Brand Leader for Starwood Group of Hotels’ The Luxury Collection chain of hotels including St. Regis. At right below, Dalip Tahil.
The most anticipated guest for the evening was Nacho Figueras. He is an Argentine Polo Player, who has been the face of Ralph Lauren’s Polo line of fragrances and is also the first St. Regis Connoisseur. This was his first visit to India and he was traveling with his wife Delfina, son Hilario and daughter Aurora. The day after this dinner, he would be playing an exhibition Polo game at the Jaipur Polo Club, in a team opposing that of the Maharaja of Jaipur.
Below at left, Divia Daswani, Conde Nast Traveller India Editor.
Below at left, Princess Diya Kumari. At right, Maharaj Narendra Singh.
Below left Paul James and right Arnaud Champenois of Starwood.
After the cocktails, guests moved to the ground floor where stage was set for a sound and light show on the walls of the City Palace.
Meanwhile, dinner was laid out.
Paul James and Nacho Figueras said a few words, which was followed by the #StRegisRitual of sabering champagne bottles. The ritual signifies the growth of the brand in all four corners of the world as it expands today to become a more global brand while retaining its legacy. Four bottles of champagne were sabered in four corners of the room. The ritual dates back to the Astors of New York.
Below left Princess Diya Kumari and at right Faye.
The hot soup was helpful in the cold Jaipur night!
Live, soulful music accompanied dinner and added that special something to the ambience.
Dinner was a traditional Rajasthani Thali with an assortment of vegetables or meat depending on guest preferences.
It was a beautiful evening and luckily no more rain. It set the bar quite high for the following two days. The Polo game and another dinner at the Jaigarh Fort were to follow and guests were keenly looking forward to the extravagance. This was quite a photography assignment for me to start 2015 with and I am delighted with the beauty and luxury that I got to soak up over the five days I was in Jaipur. The Starwood Group of Hotels is an exceptional client and showcasing the St. Regis brand as part of my portfolio is an honour. Looking forward to more!