Umaid Bhawan Palace
A magnificent Art Deco palace hotel and still the home of the erstwhile Royal Family, Umaid Bhawan Palace is the last of India’s great palaces.
Perched on the summit of Chittar Hill, the highest point in Jodhpur, Umaid Bhawan Palace has commanding views over the fabled Blue City of Jodhpur, vast sand dunes and the imperious Mehrangarh Fort, and set within 26 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens it is one of the largest residences in the world. Built between 1929 and 1942, this golden monument, carved out of desert sandstone, designed by the famed Edwardian architect Henry Lanchester and commissioned by H. H. Maharaja Umaid Singh, the grandfather of the present Maharaja of Jodhpur, is a celebration of the Art Deco style on the grandest scale. It is currently the sixth largest private residence in the world, but is now divided into the Maharaja's private residence, a beautiful museum and a luxury palace hotel, offering its guests a taste of fine living.
Taj Hotels took over the property 2005 and the royal home was lovingly refurbished to blend India’s age-old royal traditions, with influences from local culture. The grandeur of the style and ambiance are evident from the moment you arrive in the reception area, with the cupola a staggering 105 feet above you. The palace hotel has 22 rooms and 42 suites most with garden views as follows: 22 Palace Rooms, 24 Historical Suites, 10 Royal Suites, 6 Grand Royal Suites, 1 Maharaja Suite and 1 Maharani Suite. There are non-smoking and smoking-room options.
There are a number of dining options to choose from; Risala offers authentic Rajasthani and Indian cuisine, an array of European and Mediterranean delicacies can be found at Pillars, the Trophy Bar, with its unique hunting-themed décor, has a wide selection of beverages and cigars, or dine in the candlelit palace grounds in a variety of locations.
Guests can also indulge in a series of signature Taj rituals, stroll through the private museum, take tea on the lawns or put their skills to the test on the marbled squash courts. There is a health club, tennis and squash courts, billiards room, the Jiva Grande spa and a heated indoor and outdoor swimming pool. For a taste of the local flavours, visitors have the option to explore the city in a vintage car drive accompanied by their royal butler or go further afield to dine under the starry night sky in the Thar Desert.
Umaid Bhawan Palace was named the number one best hotel in India, number two in Asia and number three in the World, according to TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for Hotels 2018.
- Susan Ford, India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka