Megha Gujar


Hotelier

I still recall receiving a message from my friends, Yashu and Prem, who are fashion designers living between Goa and Sardinia, excitedly telling me of a new guesthouse that had literally just opened and absolutely must feature in Love Jaipur. They assured me that I would love it. They were right! 47 Jobner Bagh delivers exactly what ‘Luxury Vagabonds’ are after; authenticity in style and comfort. Since opening in 2014 has set a new standard for accommodation in India. Many of my clients tell me that their hotel preference is a Jobner for every destination!

Sensitively designed by an Italian architect, the 12-room property delivers that elusive something that makes you feel at home as soon as you arrive. The owner, Mr. Shiva Gujar, who has worked in jewellery and hospitality for close to three decades, describes it as “a luxury, family-run guesthouse” with the emphasis being on family. His wife Anita is the queen of the kitchen overseeing the home-style Indian cooking, at the front desk is their friendly daughter Megha, who runs the hotel and boutique. I think of Shiva as the creative director, ensuring the graceful aesthetic of the property is maintained, all done with a big warm smile and a light touch.

Our conversation took place leading up to Diwali, in late October during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

What were you just thinking of?
I have just come back from my run in Central Park where I was thinking about a very close friend of mine, who is about to move to Kolkata to marry. I am excited about going to the wedding but nervous about the travel at the same time.

What are you doing for the rest of today?
The same as I have been doing since March, mainly staying at home. Luckily, we have a good size home, as the whole family has been together this last six months since the pandemic was declared. My run and yoga are complete, and today I may go to the hotel office for a bit and then meet a friend for a coffee. In Jaipur, pretty much most places are open, but you need to decide how safe you feel in venturing out. I make sure to be home by late afternoon to make tea for the family where we sit on the porch looking over the garden and enjoy the evening together, late in the evening I go for another walk. My fitness has certainly improved this year and I find the walk helps my mind and lifts my spirits also.

How "real" does the threat of the virus feel? Do you know any one personally who has contracted the virus?
The same as I have been doing since March, mainly staying at home. Luckily, we have a good size home, as the whole family has been together this last six months since the pandemic was declared. My run and yoga are complete, and today I may go to the hotel office for a bit and then meet a friend for a coffee. In Jaipur, pretty much most places are open, but you need to decide how safe you feel in venturing out. I make sure to be home by late afternoon to make tea for the family where we sit on the porch looking over the garden and enjoy the evening together, late in the evening I go for another walk. My fitness has certainly improved this year and I find the walk helps my mind and lifts my spirits also.

If your own health and that of your family/friends is ok; then what is the greatest impact on your life (and on your work) of the pandemic?
At first, we didn’t think this virus would have such a big impact. We first heard about it from our Italian friends and we didn’t know that the whole world would be turned upside down.

I was in Bombay when the pandemic was declared, as I had taken a summer job with an event company. I was looking forward to a new challenge over the summer and to spending time in a new city. However, my dad had heard how things were escalating in Italy and he made the decision to close the hotel immediately and also, drove to Bombay to collect me and bring me safely back to Jaipur. We were very busy at first managing the administration of the cancelled bookings and also making sure we could look after our staff at the hotel and their extended families. It has been very challenging.

What are you looking forward to post pandemic?
So many things! I am looking forward to a fresh start in many ways. It has been good to spend time with my family and I look forward to seeing my sister again, who has been studying and working in Switzerland. We also plan to open to the hotel on December 25th with a limited Covid safe capacity.

Has there been anything positive from the pandemic?
I think it has provided time to clear one’s mind and given us all a chance to think about what you really want, both personally and professionally. We are going into the seventh year of Jobner Bagh and this break has enabled us to think about how it can be better, what more can we do. As a family we have been brought together more closely. On the design front, I am exploring working more with khadi for our boutique collections and thinking about what else I can add to the store.

Is there an innovation (service, product, science, media) that you have been impressed with?  Have you made any changes or thought of any that you will implement going forward?
I have become more creative. I have started painting again, spending two afternoons a week painting and I also have loved listening to music more and discovering new artists.

What does your personal future of travel look like? When and where will you go first? What are you dreaming of?
Attending the wedding in Kolkata will be the first travel outside of Jaipur and when safer, I am keen to return to Bombay. I loved walking on Juhu beach and getting to know that city.

What are you finding inspiring now?
Music, in particular some inspiring Rajasthani dance music from MTV Unplugged.

What has made you laugh out loud most recently?
My parents. At the hotel my dad is very much in charge, and here at home mum is now in charge and, as well as looking after him, she also teases him. Shiva has also become a little plumpy, and Mum is super slim, so she teases about that too. It is very funny!

Given we are about to celebrate the festival of lights, what has brought light into your life in the last 12 months?
Being with people I love, family and friends. I really value them more and appreciate what they do for me and I let them know how I feel.
I am also grateful to have sufficient. We have our health, our home and have been able to manage. So many other people have been impacted far more; loosing loved ones and being unable to provide food for their families.

Contact
Website: jobnerbagh.com
Instagram: instagram.com/jobnerbagh/
Facebook: facebook.com/47jobnerbagh/

Jobner Bagh is taking bookings now and will welcome guests from December 25th. However, will only be offering half their normal inventory to enable better Covid-19 safety protocols. Bookings can be done directly via their website or I am happy to help you choose your room for your Jaipur stay and plan this as part of your overall India itinerary through my Love Travel Journey Service.

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