Samode Palace is located in the rugged Aravalli Hills, a 1-hour drive north of Jaipur, in the small and extremely enchanting village of Samode. One of the best heritage palace properties in Rajasthan, it offers quintessential Indian royalty luxury and it is the ideal hotel to stage a fairy-tale wedding or a romantic honeymoon. It feels like a completely authentic Indian experience without a hint of European influence, perfect for those with a true appreciation of historical architecture.
This superb 18th century palace was converted from a 16th-century fort by the Rawal of Samode, Rawal Berisal, who completely transformed it. It is a wonderful example of Rajput-Mughal architecture boasting some of the finest frescoes and mirror-work in the state, notably in the magnificent Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors). The Durbar Hall and blue open sitting room are two of the most stunning rooms you’ll ever see; brilliantly preserved, they are true museum showcases, but without any of the stuffiness.
Over the years the hotel has been lovingly renovated by the Rawal’s descendants and it is still owned and managed by the same royal family. They are still very much involved with the running of the property and it is their exquisite taste which has produced some of the most stunning rooms and suites to be found in any heritage hotel.
All the rooms are different and beautifully decorated. The Royal Suites are the most ‘modern’ available and are incredibly large with several flat screen televisions and Nespresso coffee machines – good for guests looking to enjoy a cultural heritage property with more of the modern luxuries. It is worth noting that despite the recent addition of a lift, the age and architecture of the building may not suit those less firm on their feet.
The hotel has two swimming pools, both of which are lovely. The rooftop pool, exclusively for tailormade guests, is our favourite – perfect for enjoying a champagne aperitif on the candlelit terrace. Meals are served in the intimate courtyards or on the roof terrace under the stars. The surroundings are spectacular. The palace towers high like a desert mirage, looking down across striking mountain scenery and the atmospheric village of Samode, whose cobbled lanes are lovely to stroll around.
The village is a centre for traditional crafts like block printing and bangle making. Guests can step out of the gates of the palace and explore a variety of shops and artisan’s workshop, such as cloth merchants, gemstone experts and miniature painting studios. On village walks you can also admire Samode’s havelis, chattries and ancient water wells.
Nature lovers can go on birdwatching walks or for the more adventurous, special horse and camel safaris through the desert sand dunes can be arranged, as well as hot-air balloon rides. Jaipur’s famous monkey temple, Hanuman Temple, is an hour and half drive away.
Features in the following itineraries
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Leslie Siben, India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India