Hotel Review: A Tale of Two Tajs

Hotel Review: A Tale of Two Tajs

Travel Weekly explored Udaipur in Rajasthan’s golden triangle and enjoyed a positively regal stay at the twin TAJs.

After obsessing over the 6 seasons of the Netflix’s Crown, it would be remiss of the Travel Weekly team to not at least try to stay at some of the hotels that welcomed Queen Elizabeth over the years!

The two Taj Palaces in Udaipur are not just hotels; they are a grand entrance into the world of resplendent luxury. From the moment you set foot inside the first of these two magnificent palaces, you are transported to opulence and elegance. Don’t ask us to choose which we prefer, you have to stay at both to immerse yourself in the most royal of experiences.

Taj Lake Palace

The Lake Palace was built in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh II of Udaipur as a winter palace for him and the ladies of the court’s private chambers. The palace was converted into Udaipur’s first luxury hotel in the 1950s and has been run by Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces since 1971. It has been known to host everyone from famous Queen Elizabeth II to Vivien Leigh and Jacqueline Kennedy. It was also made famous by upstaging James Bond in one of its more classic film Octopussy.

 

Experiences

The Taj Lake Palace feels like being transported into a dreamlike experience. The grandeur and elegance of this iconic hotel seems to float like a white marble mirage, over the lake surrounded by the Aravalli Mountains. The hotel provides complimentary boat rides on the lake so you can take in the City Palace, Jag Mandir, and other historic landmarks from the water. The hotel often hosts traditional Rajasthani cultural performances such as folk dances and music in the central courtyard as well as Guided heritage walks within the hotel’s premise

First Impression

The Lake Palace is spectacular. It appears almost like a mirage in the horizon- a white marble beauty seemingly floating on the lake. It took us a while to realise she wasn’t actually floating but an engineering marvel of the 18th century.

The entire property can stay afloat because it was built on a natural foundation of four acres of rock that make up part of the Jag Niwas islands. When the tide is high, all traces of the base island are obscured to create the illusion that the palace is just floating on the water.

We were ferried to the hotel via boat from the nearby shore. When we arrived, we were greeted with a royal butler service by a doorman holding an umbrella to protect us from the sun along with icy cool hand towels. So lush!

Rooms

Sixty-six and 17 suites with opulent Indian design echoes the 18th century and is elevated by modern comforts. The first thing we notice is the rooms have stunning views of the lake and the city. Oh and what rooms they are! Exotic is an understatement with ornate carved arches, artwork, crystal stained glass, and stones of pink and green lotus leaves. The word opulence was discovered in this room.

Food

The Taj Lake Palace boasts several exquisite dining options, including a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views of the lake and the city, offering a diverse range of culinary delights, including authentic Rajasthani cuisine.

Service

The Taj hotel group are well known for exceptional quality, attention to detail, and commitment to providing guests a memorable experience. The Taj Lake Palace does not disappoint. Every room has a butler service and the concierge can answer is on tap.

Overall rating 9/10 As close to perfection as it gets.

Taj Fateh Prakash Palace

As with any timeless and intricate architecture, emotions rise and we got almost overwhelmed by the grandeur of this historic palace hotel. The ornate decor transports you to a bygone era of Indian royalty. Magnificent chandeliers, elaborate frescoes, and meticulously crafted marble work are nothing short of breathtaking. The palace gets its name after one of the rulers of the Mewar dynasty, Maharana Fateh Singh and for art lovers, the palace is covered in priceless artwork.

Rooms

A total of 65 rooms. The rooms and suites are categorized as Palace Room, Deluxe Suite, Luxury Suite, Luxury Suite with Sit Out, Grand Luxury Suite, and Royal Suite. Each room and suite is provided with various facilities for a comfortable stay.

The rooms again feel like you are stepping into a time capsule of regal Rajasthan. Each air-conditioned suite comes with large arched windows, original paintings and period furniture, seating area and satellite TV. The Palace room has views of Lake Pichola, Lake Palace and Jagmandir Island through classic jharokha (arched window) ledges with comfortable cushions.

Food

The hotel’s restaurants offer both Indian and world cuisines. Sunset Terrace – consistently rated as one of India’s most scenic restaurants – is the perfect venue for a royal Mewari meal with views of Pichola and Jagmandir Island. Surya Darshan Bar offers an English Afternoon Tea to savour with family and friends, later transforms to a sunset spot for champagne and hors d’oeuvres.

Overall Experience of both Taj’s

It was perfect to experience both Taj’s because we got a full picture and insight into how it must have felt to be part of Royalty in India. It is a retreat that captures the essence of Rajasthan’s royal heritage

Getting There

Flights from Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD) to Delhi (Indira Gandhi International Airport – DEL), Mumbai (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport – BOM), or Chennai (Chennai International Airport – MAA).

Flight from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL) to Delhi (Indira Gandhi International Airport – DEL), Mumbai (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport – BOM), or Chennai (Chennai International Airport – MAA).

Domestic flight from the Delhi or Mumbai fly to Maharana Pratap Airport (UDR) in Udaipur. There are several airlines that operate domestic flights on this route.

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