Jaipur's Raj Palace again bags best heritage hotel award

Jaipur's Raj Palace hotel has been voted as the 'World's Best Heritage Hotel' for the third consecutive time at the recently-concluded World Travel Awards in London.

Kumari Selja, minister for housing, urban poverty alleviation and tourism, told a gathering in Jaipur on Monday, ''I congratulate Raj Palace for doing India, Jaipur and the entire heritage hotel industry proud by achieving this distinction. All other heritage hotels in the country will take inspiration and strive further to meet world standards.''

Incidentally, it has taken 12 years of restoration work, under the discerning eye of 'princess' Jayendra Kumari to transform the palace into a fine luxury hotel. Kumari's forebears ruled the state from here; and while princely titles have long been officially abolished, they are harder to eradicate from a still largely feudal public consiousness.

Arun Puri, managing director of Raj Palace Hotel, said, ''The world today recognises that India is a leading heritage destination, with the Raj Palace making history by winning the award three years in a row. Ten years from now the world will have 'space tourism' but it is also a fact that business tourism is decreasing and shall continue to do so because of technology. Heritage tourism is the only sustainable model that will never be diluted.''

Kumari Selja and state tourism minister Bina Kak unveiled the World Travel Awards Trophy at the Raj Palace Hotel. Kumari did not fail to express concerns about garbage littered around all the tourist spots in the country. Selja called upon people and civic bodies to ensure cleanliness, which would maintain sustainability of the tourist spots.