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Taj Lake Palace Udaipur 4.5

Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Stunning location in the center of Udaipur's Lake Pichola, right offshore from the City Palace
  • Elegant, traditionally inspired rooms and suites with marble floors and lake views
  • Three restaurants, including seasonal rooftop option, Bhairo, with gorgeous views
  • Romantic private dining available, including dinner on a 19th-century boat
  • Elegant spa with wide range of wellness and beauty treatments
  • Beautiful outdoor pool with lake views
  • Fitness center with free weights and cardio equipment
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Meeting room for rent 
  • As seen in James Bond movie, "Octopussy"

Cons

  • Only accessible via a short boat ride (pro for some)
  • Fitness center and pool are small 
  • Parking is limited
  • Some rooms have shower/tub combos

Bottom Line

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur is a luxury hotel occupying a gorgeous 18th-century whitewashed palace (you may recognize it from the James Bond flick, "Octopussy") in the center of Udaipur's Lake Pichola. The hotel offers 66 rooms and 17 suites, all with traditionally inspired regal Rajasthani furniture and beautiful lake views. Features include a luxury spa, three restaurants with Indian and international fare, a small fitness center, a lovely pool deck, and a series of gorgeous outdoor common areas with lots of seating. Jiva Spa offers all sorts of massages and beauty treatments. With its prime location and luxurious rooms and amenities, this is arguably the best place to stay in town. However, the purpose-built The Oberoi Udaivilashotel on the opposite side of the lake is a close contender, and arguably a tad more luxurious. 

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Scene

Elegant 18th-century palace hotel of "Octopussy" fame situated right in the middle of Lake Pichola

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur is housed in a gorgeous palace commissioned in the mid 18th-century by Maharana Jagat Singh II for seasonal use and was a summer home for generations of rulers for centuries to follow. It was transformed into a palace hotel in 1963 -- some may recognize the white-marble lake palace from its prominent featuring in the 1983 James bond film, "Octopussy" (which is regularly screened in bars and restaurants throughout the touristy parts of Udaipur to this day.) The hotel retains much of its original charm, with its beautifully maintained whitewashed exteriors dominated by successions of arched windows and traditional domed cupolas known as chhatris. The interiors are equally striking. Most of the common areas are outdoors, and there's a mix of courtyards filled with lush tropical foliage that creates a jungle vibe, plus multiple marble terrace areas with chairs, tables, lounge chairs, and swing benches. 

Interior common areas include a narrow lobby with gold-and-beige marble floors, numerous crystal chandeliers, and a mix of ornately carved pillars and archways. The restaurants here follow a similar decor scheme, with lots of archways and gold-leaf painting on the walls. The upscale Neel Kamal adds beautiful silk tablecloths with gold-plated place settings, plus red-and-gold upholstered chairs, to the mix. Most guests are tourists with lots of cash to splash (including the occasional celebrity), and staying here is not at all cheap. 

Location

On an island inside Lake Pichola, a few minutes' boat ride to the City Palace and its surrounding shops

Taj Lake Palace is situated on a tiny island smack in the middle of Lake Pichola and is only accessible via boat (the ride only takes a few minutes, though). The boat dock is located due south of Udaipur's biggest attraction -- City Palace -- in the main touristy part of town, near the city's famous Jagdish Temple and a few minutes' walk from little restaurants and shops catering to international tourists. It's about a 10-minute drive to the dock from the railway station. Getting to the airport can take upwards of 40 minutes. 

Rooms

Luxurious, ornate rooms and suites with marble floors and ornately painted walls, all with lake views

Taj Lake Palace offers elegant rooms and suites across six categories, from entry-level 300-square-feet (28-square-meters) Luxury Rooms up to a stunning Grand Presidential Suite that's spread out over 1,734-square-feet (161-square-meters). All rooms have lake views and come with flat-screen TVs, DVD players, safes, coffee- and tea-making facilities, minibars, and yoga mats. Decor varies a bit across units, but guests should anticipate marble floors with hexagonal designs paired with hand-painted floral designs on walls and ceilings and an eclectic mix of wooden chairs and furniture. Suites tend to be a bit less loud in terms of decor and add four-poster or canopy beds and more elegant details, such as crystal chandeliers and gold-painted molding.

Palace and Luxury Room bathrooms are spacious and bright, with a mix of marble floors and countertops and tiled walls in a rich cobalt-blue hue plus shower/tub combos with rainfall shower heads. Suite bathrooms are dominated by marble, with separate walk-in rainfall showers and elegant clawfoot tubs. All bathrooms feature magnifying mirrors, hairdryers, and luxury toiletries from Forest Essentials, an Indian Ayurvedic brand.

Features

Three restaurants and a bar, gorgeous outdoor pool, and a luxury spa

Features here as luxurious as the rooms and as picturesque as the location. Along with 24-hour room service, the Taj Lake Palace offers three elegant restaurants plus a lovely bar -- Amrit Sagar -- that offers tapas and cigars along with a large selection of wines and liquors. Jharoka is the main restaurant and offers European, Asian, and Indian fare from early morning until late at night. Neel Kamal opens only at dinnertime and offers fine-dining, with menus focusing heavily on regional and Indian classics. There's also a seasonal rooftop restaurant -- Bhairo -- that serves European fare. Romantic private dinners can be arranged on the hotel grounds or out on the hotel's century-and-a-half-old boat, the Gangaur.

Other facilities include a meeting room and free hotel-wide Wi-Fi. There's a lovely (if a little small) outdoor courtyard pool and a compact fitness center with treadmills and free weights. The Lake Palace also hosts an opulent spa, Jiva, with all sorts of traditional Indian massages and beauty treatments on offer. Free parking is available on the shore, but note that there is only room for 10 cars.

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Address

Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001, India

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