PRICE: Worth maxing out for
Jaipur’s Rajmahal Palace has reignited the Indian boutique hotel scene. This is a dazzling masterpiece, both in its historical architectural form and its meticulously restored modern incarnation.
The palace, originally conceived as summer retreat, became the residence of the British Political Office for Rajaputana in 1821. In 1958, it was taken back by Maharaja Man Singh II to become his private residence. Over the years, it has hosted notables from Queen Elizabeth II to the Shah of Iran with a few others such as Jacqueline Kennedy and the late Princess Diana in between.
Today, it’s a glorious palette of colour, the brainchild of renowned interior designer Adil Ahmed. The faded grandeur so often seen in historic indian hotels is nowhere to be found. This is modern, vibrant and fresh. Bespoke wallpapers, with influences drawn from the Pink City, line the hallways, rooms and suites. The butlers, pristine in white, wear long flowing pink turbans whilst floating effortlessly around the palace. Sitting in the common areas, scents of fresh jasmine waft on the breeze, whilst looking out over the lush gardens you’ll almost fail to notice the custom china created especially for Rajmahal Palace.
The 14 rooms and suites are all unique. They are united by creative flair and a sense of warmth carried through individually designed fabrics and the strategic placement of family portraits of the Maharaja’s family. There is an overwhelming sense of being an honorary guest of the Maharaja himself (although the present Maharaja is still in his teens). The soft monogrammed linen and the glittering bathrooms go hand in hand to reinforce the sense of perfection.
Outside, the Art Deco swimming pool, small spa and seven acres of gardens await to be discovered. Indeed, the late Maharani’s 1960s Ford Thunderbird is parked in front of the entrance.
And when it coming to dining, you’ll be in great company. The food is amongst the very best in Jaipur and there are even a few traditional Rajasthani dishes that they claim to have brought back from the verge of extension. And what talk of dining at Rajmahal Palace could be complete without a mention of the 51 Shades Of Pink dining room? It’s beautiful in the mornings for breakfast as the sun filters through the windows and bounces off the the many mirrors.
Most of the suites have hosted VIPs. Anyone from the Maharaja to the Prince of Wales to the British Resident Political officer. We have a particular soft spot for the Yuvraj suite, once the private quarters of two successive Maharajas.
On your doorstep
The Rajmahal Palace is on the edge of Jaipur. It's a short car ride into the centre of town but don’t worry, your Yonder driver will be on permanent standby.