India has no shortage of design focused hotels but most are boutique or heritage properties, often at the luxury level but I've always lamented the lack of two distinct types of decent design properties in India: the hostel and the mid-range hotel.  

In the age of startups and staying lean, and from talking to a whole bunch of independent creatives and entrepreneurs, I’ve learnt this much. Very few of us want to shell out more than Rs. 5000 a night.

Enter Zone by The Park.

I’d heard of Park Hotel’s new chain for tier two and three cities (and not necessarily tourist oriented cities) when they opened their first hotel in Coimbatore late last year. I really like The Park Hotels properties (I’d recommended their Hyderabad hotel previously) so I jumped at the opportunity to check out their second outpost of Zone in Jaipur this past weekend.

I have to say I was rather impressed.

My room was spacious and spotless and though it lacked frills like designer toiletries, a TV and a bathtub, it had more important things like free wifi and tea making facilities, and a big comfortable bed. Staff were super hospitable and knowledgeable, not too surprising as the brand’s focus is on localisation and social design.

I really appreciated that they made an effort with the details. They have a cute handcart that makes chaat favourites on the patio, a foosball table in the lobby and a kitsch autorickshaw featuring local elements that doubles up as a souvenir shop. Bazaar, the coffee shop is sunny and brightly decorated with ingredients from well, an Indian bazaar. I ate two meals there and both the laal maas, a Rajasthani mutton specialty and the Asian-inspired steamed fish I ate were memorable and cooked to perfection.

A totally unexpected bonus: that sublime pool on the terrace.

They have a super introductory offer so both single and double occupancy rooms begin at just Rs. 2600 plus taxes. The rack rate is Rs 3500 + taxes for a single and Rs 4000 + taxes for a double and includes breakfast, complimentary wifi and one way airport or railway transfer.

Thank you very much to Zone by The Park for hosting me.