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Taj Lake Palace - Royalty at its Finest

Written by: Payal

If you were to splurge on staying at a luxury hotel, Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, India should be on your list!

Staying at the Taj Lake Palace is like waking up in a serene dream. The whole palace emerges from the middle of the lake with surreal panoramic views of Udaipur.

The palace, formally named Jag Niwas, was built by Maharana Jagat Singh II back in 1743 as a retreat for the royal family during the hot summer season. It was carefully built to let in the cool breezes, which you can still enjoy today! It is truly amazing how Taj Hotel has restored the palace into a luxury hotel but maintained every part of the royal heritage. It does cost a pretty penny to stay at Taj Lake Palace but you are guaranteed to be treated like royalty!

The Taj Lake Palace, is unlike any other place. You are not allowed to come on the property without an overnight reservation, not even to enjoy their restaurants, tea room, or any of their other wonderful amenities.

To get to the Taj Lake Palace, you arrive at the hotel’s exclusive pier. The pier itself is special with a live flautist as you are greeted by the host who scans your luggage and puts it on the boat for you. You can just feel that you are in for luxury treat from the pier! A five minute boat ride will bring you to the Palace along with a royal welcome fit for a King or Queen!

You are showered by rose petals, and completely taken in by the wonderful fragrance leaving you feel relaxed and uplifted! You get a whiff of the scent throughout the estate and we loved it so much, we had to ask what they use! They were kind enough to tell us it was a special blend of lavender and jasmine diffuser oils from Forest Essential (of course we bought individual blends to recreate the scent at home)!

When you enter the palace, a host will invite you with a guava mocktail to compliment your journey to the hotel. Once you have enjoyed their signature mocktail and when you are ready, they will give you a tour of the palace and walk you to your room. From the welcome lounge to every corner of this hotel is lovely, with outstanding décor! Everything about the palace is ELEGANT and LUXURIOUS but so subtle, that it feels like home. The palace is stunning from every corner that you just want to keep taking pictures, but they don't do the palace justice, you must experience it for yourself!

My husband had mentioned during reservations that it was a special stay to celebrate two birthdays (his mom’s birthday as well as mine)! We were treated to the Grand Royal Suites with floral rangolis in each room wishing us Happy Birthday! The host told us that the rooms we were staying in, are specially reserved for the King and Queen when they visited the Jag Niwas! Our jaws dropped as we admired the suites and the details! It definitely felt like we were in a dream, even our imagination could not have dreamt of how gorgeous the palace and the suites were.

hand painting in this room is unreal

We enjoyed dinner on Versace plates (I know it’s a bit boujee but just goes to show how luxurious this place is) at Neel Kamal! The food, ambiance, and service were outstanding. Every dish we ordered was delicious but our favorite was hara dana methi bail gata curry, a Rajasthan specialty!

Usually, I am not a morning person but I found myself up at 6 AM as I could not waste time sleeping at this beautiful palace. I just wanted to get up and walk around to admire every part! My husband and I enjoyed the soft Indian sunrise from our private terrace (not a bad way to start my 30th BIRTHDAY)!

sunrise view of City Palace from Taj Lake Palace

We went to yoga class and had breakfast in the garden while a flautist elegantly played nestled on top of the restaurant and a priest did morning Puja (traditional holy ritual). Breakfast options were a la carte or buffet style, both offered Indian and continental dishes. We opted to go a la carte and we were lucky to have the same server from our prior night dinner! He was superb, went out of the way to make a mango mimosa for my birthday.

Signature experiences offered within the palace:

- Jiva Spa (massage and spa treatment offered on a heritage boat)

- Private dining (there are private areas reserved for intimate dining experience)

- Pool and spa (spa treatment offered on the estate)

- Heritage walk (walk around the palace and learn more about the palace with tour guide)

- Astrologist (book an hour with an expert astrologist)

- Boat to Jagdish Temple

- Yoga

- Evening Folk dance performance

- Shadow dancing

Every minute at Taj Lake Palace will be treasured, the hospitality is incomparable as the staff made our stay memorable forever! Every staff at the palace were genuinely nice and eager to make our stay better any way they could. It is the graceful staff that enhanced our stay!

They even made our day when we were checking out by giving us a box of incense to take home so our home can smell like Taj Lake Palace and a framed picture of us they took when we arrived! I just wanted to hug all the staff and thank them for making our stay exceptional with all the personal touches!

From the banks of Lake Pichola, Taj Lake Palace glistens on the waters and no other hotel can bear any comparison. If you can, I would highly recommend staying there when visiting Udaipur.

Udaipur is a city with multiple palaces turned into hotels. There are many other beautiful hotels in Udaipur, make sure to book in advance as Udaipur is a big wedding destination and most hotels get booked up for such events!

Other options:

The Leela Palace

The Oberoi Udaivillas

Shiv Niwas Palace

Taj Fateh Prakash Palace (newest property owned by the Taj Hotel group- this group will always provide exceptional service)

A little History of Udaipur:

The first stone laid for the city of Udaipur was 1559 by Mahrana Udai Singh. History has it that Panna Dhai, nursemaid of Udai Singh, took care of him after his mother committed suicide during Chittor’s second johar in 1535 (mass suicide of women while their men fought an unwinnable battle). Vikramadiya was appointed to take the throne until Udai Singh was of age (only six years old) to take the responsibility. Vikramadiya was murdered by distant kinsman, Banveer Singh who wanted the throne. Now, Udai Singh (the only direct surviving of descendant of Bappa Rawal) was the one obstacle between him and the throne.

Banveer was determined to assassin the young Udai Singh. Panna Dhai protected Udai Sing with exemplary devotion and found sanctuary in the fort of Kumbhalgargh. Few years later, the noblemen of Mewar recognized Udai Singh as their king and he took the throne in 1542.

However, Maharana Udai Singh fled Chittor during its third attack by the Moghul Emperor. While fleeding, Udai Singh met a holy sage, who advised the young Maharana to establish a kingdom at the end of the lake, present day city of Udaipur! Without the selfless act of Panna Dhai and advice from holy sage, the city of Udaipur would have not existed! There is Panna Dhai Museum and national award to recognize her loyalty and shift act. To this day, in the heart of Udaipur’s City Palace, known as the Dhuni Mata, there is a flame that burns in everlasting gratitude to the holy sage that gave Udai Singh guidance.

Furthermore, Udaipur’s history is filled with remarkable Maharanas whose devotion have led to India’s independence!

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Apr 19, 2020


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