Taj Lake Palace, India

The Property

Built on Lake Pichola in 1743 by Prince, Maharana Jagat Singh, what is now known as the Taj Lake Palace, was once the playground for the young Prince to entertain his friends, with subsequent owners using it as their ‘Summer Palace’.

This 18th Century palace floats in the middle of the lake and is only accessible by the hotels boat, meaning that unless you are staying at the Taj Lake Palace, you will not have the opportunity to experience its wonder or dine in its magnificent restaurants, making it super exclusive and private.

This heritage hotel, in Udaipur, has 83 rooms and suites, all with breathtaking views across the lake of the neighbouring City Palace, Aravalli Hills, Machla Magra Hills and Jag Mandir.

Even though you haven’t visited the palace, it may seem familiar. It was used as a location for the 1983 James Bond Octopussy film and the white Mable courtyards were seen as Octopussy’s lair.

What Makes The Property Unique

It’s easy to see why this is one of the most photographed hotels in the world.  As with many of our ‘Directors Choice’ hotels, it’s all about location.  There are other beautiful palace hotels across the world and hotels with an equally fascinating heritage, but none have these facets and the unique location of being positioned in the middle of a lake, in India.

As you would expect at a Taj hotel, the service is impeccable and you certainly feel like royalty.  From the personally embroidered mats placed by your bed at night, to the monogrammed shoe fresheners inserted into your shoes at the end of the day, there isn’t a single detail that hasn’t been thought of, to make your stay exceptional.

The decor of the hotel is authentic and atmospheric.  You will find an abundance of white and black marble, beautifully coloured glass and semi-precious stones inlaid in the walls.

Who Is It Perfect For?

This hotel is perfect for groups of adults travelling together or for couples.  Families with older teenagers will also love it but whilst the hotel will accept children of all ages, it’s beauty is probably lost on small children.  

There are plenty of spacious public areas to relax and unwind but as the hotel is an island there are no grounds outside of the hotel to have a good run, which some young children benefit from.

Our Own Experience

We stayed at the Taj Lake Palace during a trip to India in September 2018.   Our route had started in Delhi at The Imperial and then on to Jodhpur, where we had stayed at the Taj Umaid Bahwan Palace (sister to Taj Lake Palace).  At this point our expectations were high as we had already stayed at such unique and world class properties.

We will never forget arriving at the dock, just as the sun was beginning to set and sailing over to the hotel in this soft, etherial light.  What was obviously just by chance, felt like it had been designed especially for us.  This alone was enough to take our breath away.

There is nothing that doesn’t impress you about the Taj Lake Palace and our room did not disappoint.  We had chosen one of the Grand Royal suites with its own roof terrace that overlooked the City Palace and gave the perfect sunrise the following morning. The room was opulent in the very best way and you could imagine Indian nobility enjoying time here in a bygone era.

The central court yard, is exactly as we had remembered from the James Bond film and we enjoyed taking our breakfast there one morning.

One of the most amazing memories we have of the Taj Lake Palace was spending the evening on their Gangaur barge, a the 150-year old boat used by the Maharanas for floating processions, celebrating festivals and royal ceremonies.  We dined on board, whilst we sailed around the lake, stopping occasionally to watch dancers in the catacombs of the City Palace, or listen to musicians play traditional music on the shore.  Each course of the meal was brought to us on a floating pontoon, so the chefs could serve us freshly prepared dishes….again the feeling of Royalty continues.

If you are taking a multi centre trip to India and planning on visiting Udaipur, this hotel is an absolute must.  You will never experience such luxury, in such a unique setting and in such a culturally rich country.

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