Taj Lake Palace
PRICE: Worth maxing out for
The Lake Palace in Udaipur – surely the most iconic hotel in India. And definitely the most romantic. You’ll be overawed by the sheer beauty of what awaits.
Located on Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace has a rich pedigree. Construction of the palace was completed in 1746, with a surface area of four acres. Over the centuries it has enjoyed grace and splendour as well as rack and ruin. Today, it is magnificent, so no wonder that acclaimed visitors from Jacqueline Kennedy to James Bond have walked upon the rooftop at sunset overlooking the lake and the City Palace beyond.
Getting in the door is a memorable feat in itself. Not just because demand massively outstrips supply but because you’ll be whisked across the lake in superlative style from a private jetty to the royal welcome that awaits you. And as you are shown to your digs, you’ll quickly realise that you are in an enchanting place.
As the day turns into night, the rooftop becomes a spectacular viewing gallery for the magnificent illuminated sites around the lake. Candles are lit around the courtyards and quads, with melodic music played or performances staged by local entertainers wearing colourful traditional dress.
The Lake Place has everything, although it has to be said that some facilities, including the rooms, might have been current when Octopussy was being filmed. The faded elegance is part of its unique charm. The pool is gloriously positioned with views of the lake, the gym overlooks the pool and the spa is close at hand.
If you want push the boat out a little (if you’ll forgive the rather obvious pun!), then opt for a Palace Room or above as they have a stunning view of the lake (the base category Luxury rooms come with either lake or garden view).
Irrespective of the view out of the window, you’ll have your Royal Butler at hand and will be greeted in the room by tasteful art and fine bed throws. When your head hits the pillow you’ll feel the perfectly pressed soft cotton on your skin and when you stagger into the bathroom for your morning beauty treatments, you’ll be soothed by the cool marble surrounds.
Dining at the Lake Palace is everything you could hope for and more. From Indian fine dining sitting on sumptuous cushions overlooking the lily ponds, to European cuisine in one of the overhanging balconies that form part the lakeside restaurant.
There is a walking history tour that departs the lobby every evening at 6pm. It's a fantastic insight into the hotel and and its magnificent history and you’ll finish up in the beautiful bar with a complimentary glass of bubbles.
On your doorstep
To escape the Lake Palace you’ll have to catch a lift across the water. Shuttle boats go on demand so you’ll never feel stuck. Once on the land, the old city is just a short walk and with your Lake Palace pass card, you’ll be able to short cut through the City Palace for free