We have all heard of the Taj Mahal, but what about the Taj Lake Palace? The Taj Lake Palace is reminiscent of the Taj Mahal, but you can stay here for the perfect magical getaway that only Incredible India promises. This resort was conceived in romance, and was built in 1746 by Maharaja Jagat Singh 11, 52nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar who are believed to be descendants of the Sun God.
Arriving by boat, it is hard to believe what you are seeing. The beautiful palace floating on the lake, accented with the background of the Aravallit Mountains and city palaces really is an enchanting sight to behold. Inside, the marble palace continues to delight. Moving through the airy lobby and blue games room you come to the dreamlike courtyard, with lanterns, lily pond and fountains, through to the waterfall, bamboo trees and singing birds.
All of the rooms here have outstanding views across the lake. You will be spoilt for choice with pillows- ten to choose from- and soothed with the brown and white tones accented with floral designs as the décor of the rooms. We stayed in Room 116- The Khush Mahal Suite. We awoke to views of the eastern wall with the sun reflecting off the lake and through the six panels of plaster, red, yellow, blue and green glass composing the wall onto the ceiling of our room, and we could have stayed here all day to soak in this view. If you like to release your inner child, then ask for the suites featuring ornamental swings dangling from the ceiling, and for a royal experience stay in the Royal Suites, gracefully created with an effortless charm, delicate details and panoramic views.
Taj Lake Palace offers up four restaurants to choose from, each one different from the next. You can find Indian, Asian, Italian and contemporary Western dishes created by the master chefs of this hotel, and you can choose to eat on the rooftop, by the lily pond or poolside. If you would like to dine anywhere else, then the Royal Butlers are on hand to arrange a private table to your pleasing.
Try the Neel Kemal, meaning ‘Blue Lotus’. This restaurant offers up exquisite Indian food, with dishes based on the flavors and wood-fired cooking techniques of royal Meward family cuisine, and we were certainly impressed with our experience here. However, if you want to try contemporary European then eat at the rooftop Bhairo restaurant- meaning ‘gust of wind’, and take in not only the cuisine but also the 360-degree views.
The highlight of our visits has to be relaxing at the end of a long day with an expertly prepared beverage. For cocktails, martinis, a list of international spirits, renowned vintage wines and aged cigars unwind in the Amrit Sagar– the lifeblood of the Taj Lake Palace social circuit. The name means ‘sea of nectar’, and this bar is stylish, refreshing and has a relaxed charm with an indoor-outdoor ambiance. There is also a lounge bar, known for it’s teas and coffees during the day and cocktails during the evening.
Lake Pichola is one of several lakes in Udapiur, and is the lake where the palace is situated. The shoreline is dominated by the City Palace complex, which is composed of several palaces built of 430 years, a museum, a crystal exhibition, two hotels, a meeting chambers and the official residence of the Mahrana and his family. It is well worth visiting, and this region around the lake was used in the setting for the 1983 James Bond movie Octopussy. If you want to explore further than rent a vintage car- a Land Rover of 1948 Jaguar- and go sightseeing.
There is also plenty to do in the hotel, with a relaxing handsome billiard room with a bar upstairs, and a swimming pool where it is always sunny. To really relax, take a visit to the Jiva Spa. This spa is rooted in India’s ancient approach to wellness, embracing the mind, boy and spirit. The spa experiences are provided by trained experts, using natural products in a harmonious setting. Signature treatments, scrubs and wraps, individual and couples’ treatments and aromatherapy are among the spa menu.
Rates: Double rooms start at US $363.
Extra: Breakfast is included.