With great excitement, I recently wrote about how I was looking forward to checking off one item from my bucket list. The Taj Lake Palace Udaipur is a unique property with a great history. The property has won multiple awards in the luxury hotel category – so I was approaching this stay with very high expectations. I was hoping my expectations don’t get dashed. However, the property not only lived up to the hype but went above and beyond. Here’s a detailed review of our stay at the Taj Lake Palace Udaipur.
Taj Lake Palace Udaipur Review
If you refer to my previous post, you’ll get a good idea into the history of the hotel and why it features prominently in travel magazines and brochures. I booked the hotel via the Fine Hotels and Resorts collection portal that American Express offers to their Amex Platinum cardholders. After the $200 hotel credit, the total for 3 nights came to $2,008. Amex offers you the option to redeem points at a 1 cent per point ratio while booking. While it’s not a great redemption option, you could use 200,000 Membership Rewards points to offset the cash rate on the booking.
The Taj Lake Palace was originally built in the 18th century as a summer retreat for the king Maharana Jagat Singh of the Mewar royal family. The Taj Hotels Group took over the management in 1971. As the hotel is a floating palace in the middle of lake Pichola, the only way to get to the hotel is via the hotel’s boat. The Taj has their own pick up point for their guests. Our check-in experience was seamless.
Upon entering the lobby, one of the front desk staff members welcomed us and treated us to a welcome drink. She then explained our Fine Hotels and Resorts benefits and gave us the good news. We’d originally booked a luxury room with lake view. We got upgraded to a palace room with lake view, a room located at one corner of the palace right next to the terrace. She then proceeded to give us a tour of the entire palace.
Corner Palace Room with Lake View
The room offered us some amazing panoramic views overlooking the lake. As it was facing the east, we got the privilege of seeing the sun rise over the massive city palace of Udaipur by the banks of Lake Pichola. A welcome letter explaining our Fine Hotels and Resorts benefits was also placed in the room. For someone traveling with an infant, the corner room was perfect as it gave us our own space, with pristine views and ample room to take a walk on the terrace.
The view at night was even more breathtaking.
As soon as we stepped out of the room, we could access the terrace. The terrace offered gorgeous views of Udaipur city and Lake Pichola.
Overall, Taj Hotels has done an excellent job in keeping the original character of the palace intact. On one hand, you have modern amenities like wifi. From a product standpoint, the quality is on par with any other five star hotel. On the other hand, they’ve hardly made architectural changes. That has helped preserve the original look and feel of an 18th century palace.
Food and Drink
The hotel features two main restaurants. Jharokha offers a mixture of both Indian and Western cuisine. Neel Kamal offers traditional Rajasthani cuisine. We spent almost all of our time at Jharokha partly due to two reasons. Firstly, it was the restaurant where we’d have our daily breakfast. Secondly, the view from Jharokha was simply mind blowing.
During breakfast, you also had the option to sit outside in the courtyard.
For breakfast, you could choose from a variety of options. You could order eggs any style or order pancakes and waffles.
On the other hand, you could for either North or South Indian breakfast options. I simply loved the poached eggs benedict that I tried out on Day 1. On day 2 and 3, I tried Indian breakfast options like paranthas, dosas and sheera, which were all delicious.
In addition to the items that you could order, you also had a buffet section. You could pick from fresh cut fruits, breads, cheeses, cereals or juices. Moreover, the staff was more than happy to customize and bring you an item that was not on the menu.
If you wanted to sip a drink, you could head over to Amrit Mahal, the bar at the Taj Lake Palace. Instead, if you wanted to sit outside and enjoy the sunset, the staff was happy to serve you your drink outside. We decided to sit outside the main entrance by the lake at sunset. And boy, we had a memorable evening.
Each evening, the hotel also featured a 45 minute performance of traditional folk Rajasthani music. We were treated to some folk music and dance in the evening.
On the other end of the hotel was the pool and spa. While we didn’t end up using either, we explored the area and it had stunning views of the city by Lake Pichola.
Fine Hotels and Resorts Benefits
The hotel did a decent job at honoring our Fine Hotels and resorts benefits. In addition to the complimentary breakfast and wifi, we were able to check in early at around 1 PM and checked out at around 2 PM. The hotel also upgraded us as a better category room was available.
Our package also included one complimentary meal during the stay. We visited Jharokha for our complimentary dinner. After pampering ourselves with delicious North Indian food, we ended our meals with some dessert, a Tiramisu.
It’s often said that the product may get the customer, but the service is what keeps him. In my case, the Taj Hotels Group has definitely earned my repeated business, thanks to the quality of their service. Their staff was excellent in accommodating any of our requests. They were cognizant that we were traveling with an infant and frequently checked if we had any special requests.
The Pundit’s Mantra
I must admit. I went to this hotel with very high expectations. Growing up in India, I’d seen this hotel splashed over almost all travel magazines. Every friend or colleague who visited there continued to rave about their experience. On my way to the hotel, I was hoping that I don’t end up being that one guest out of ten who has a bad experience. Overall, the stay ended up being one of my most memorable hotel stays. I’m glad I was finally able to visit the Taj Lake Palace Udaipur and write a detailed review of the property.
The only let down was the quality of wifi at the hotel. Barring that, the hotel and its staff simply exceeded our already high expectations. If you plan to visit Udaipur or Rajasthan any time soon, I’d highly recommend that you spend a few nights at the Taj Lake Palace Udaipur.
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