How I Travel: Rolly and Rajeeta Gupta

The sister-founders of contemporary Indian design brand, Raro, on jet-setting in style.

Rolly and Rajeeta Gupta
Two years ago sisters Rajeeta and Rolly Gupta launched the London arm of their Delhi-based atelier, House of Raro, marking its first expansion overseas as Raro London. The Gupta sisters, both coming from a design background, wanted to create legacy furniture collections inspired by the likes of Carl Fabergé, Louis-François Cartier and Joel Arthur Rosenthal, with no compromises on quality and creativity. “And we wanted to put India on the map for limited-edition, collectable furniture,” they add.
To this end, they travel the globe looking for the finest materials available including farmed python and alligator skins from the Americas, bison horn and ebony from Africa, jade from the Panjshir mines of Afghanistan, rock crystal from Brazil, couture textiles from Paris and sustainable coral from Sardinia. Their creative palette also features materials for which India is rightly famous, including tropical hardwoods, silver, gold and both precious and semi-precious stones.
Here they talk favourite cities, top hotels, and jet lag recovery tactics.

Where did you last travel to and why?

We were lucky enough to spend Christmas at Trisara, in north west Phuket. It's such a special place for us, the villas are all beautifully designed, with superb attention to detail, overlooking the crystal blue Andaman sea. The spa is one of the best in the world - for much needed rest and de-stress, it is one of our favourite getaways.

How often do you travel?

Probably around 8-9 times per year - mostly long haul, with a few shorter trips around Europe. We are based in London now, having opened Raro London nearly two years ago, but we still have a huge client base (and our atelier) in Delhi, so we have to travel regularly from the UK back home. We try to go away a few times per year, work allowing. Our favourite places are Africa - which has and continues to be a huge inspiration to our work, both in terms of shapes as well as materials - as well as Asia for holidays and a chance to lie down for a few days!

Do you enjoy it?

We have got pretty good at travelling over the years. We don't drink too much on the plane or eat too heavily - we always sleep if we can. Getting away from it all several thousand feet up in the sky is a good opportunity to get some design work done - away from all the everyday emails and phone calls. Travelling is a great moment for us both to think and discuss new collections and do some drawings and play around with ideas which is always hard to do when you are at the end of your iPhone the whole time!

What class do you normally fly?

We like to travel First Class whenever possible. Our favourite airlines are Etihad and Emirates. The service is second to none and as we are usually heading straight off to see a client when we step off the plane, to know that you will arrive fresh and relaxed is a huge bonus.

What five essentials do you always take with you onboard?

We always take Melatonin to help sleep. Cellular eye cream & facial mist by SWISS PERFECTION. La Mer Hand-cream. Baume de Rose lip balm by Terry. Catherine & Jean lavender eye mask and our Lord Ganesha pendant.

How do you stay healthy on the flight?

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! We drink a lot of water but also use a spray facial mist to keep our skin moist. As we are Hindu we follow a vegetarian diet, so only lightly cooked vegetables but always with a glass of very nice red - it calms you down and gets you settled in for the journey ahead.

Do you sleep or have tactics for how to avoid jet lag?

We are both following Theta healing. It's a meditation technique as well as a spiritual philosophy that helps train your mind, body and spirit - it's all about creating positive energy and emotional wellbeing so we use these techniques to meditate our way around the world, we can almost bend time and slip into each new time zone as we travel at 500 miles per hour 35,000 feet up in the sky!

What do you wear on the flight?

We take off our makeup and slip into something very cosy and comfortable - our favourite at the moment is a silk-cashmere tracksuit by Olivia Von Halle.

Do you read or work, and if so what do you read or what are you working on atm?

If we aren't drawing and designing, travelling is the perfect time to catch up on a new book - we are currently reading Koh-I-Noor: The History of the World's Most Infamous Diamond by William Dalrymple (Rolly) and Shōgun by James Clavell (Rajeeta) - or watch one of the many movies that we have missed over the past few months - it's nice to see a few before the Oscars get handed out so you have an opinion on who should have won what! We always disconnect our phones and emails - its precious time when you travel and a rare chance for some me-time!

Do you go for meetings straight after or need to chill?

We try to schedule a few hours rest before we head out for a meeting - however that's not always possible.

What's the best airport and why?

GVK Mumbai International airport - it's got a wonderful museum standard display of Indian antiquities and contemporary art - it always amazes us that other airports don't make more of their national arts and culture as it's such a wonderful window for the world to see what you as a country can achieve. At Raro we strive to put Indian design on the international map and would love to do an exhibition at Mumbai. Our other favourite is Barajas Airport in Madrid. The use of natural materials like bamboo, integrated with the steel structure gives such a sense of soul to the feeling of a modern airport hub - it's much less intimidating than most airports can be.

Which is your favourite city to visit and why?

We just love Marrakech. It is so exotic and rich with art and culture - the gardens are so luscious and they also have the most amazing hotels and spas - we love Royal Mansour and La Mamonia. Their level of hospitality and service is second to none.

Which hotel do you usually stay in there and why?

Royal Mansour - it is very private with an air of decadence. The design is completely immersive with such incredible attention to detail. Also La Mamounia - the magic of Jacques Garcia's design - it has such old world charm yet with all the facilities of a truly modern luxury hotel.


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