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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you’re going to travel to Rajasthan, do it right. Among other things, that means living like a maharajah. In Jaipur, go for a heritage haveli, and in Udaipur, splurge and go for The Leela Palace Udaipur, one of the three most popular luxury hotels at Lake Pichola (Oberoi Udaivilas and Taj Lake Palace being the other two).
We had a sensational stay at The Leela, soaking in Rajasthan’s regal exuberance. Here are 7 reasons to plan a stay at this super luxury resort :
1. Cream of the Crop
How often can say that you stayed in one of the best hotels in the world? Yup, The Leela Palace Udaipur has been ranked among the best in the world by biggies like Tripadvisor and Travel + Leisure. On Tripadvisor, it ranks as #1 not just in Udaipur, but in India. The hotel has been voted #7 among the Top 10 Best Resort Hotels in Asia and has ranked #34 in the Top 100 Hotels in the World, in the prestigious Travel + Leisure USA World’s Best Readers Survey.
With rankings like these, you really can’t go wrong.
2. Picture Perfect Setting and a Dreamy Approach
Located in the City of Lakes, this dreamiest of hotels overlooks the Aravalis, Lake Pichola and City Palace, making for a picture postcard setting. Your stay begins with a gondola ride across the lake whence you get to enjoy these beautiful views. The Leela Palace Udaipur makes for a striking sight even from afar, a fairy tale setting for a true blue Mewar experience! If a stay at this place doesn’t leave you starry eyed, nothing will.
Wait, it gets better! Since all the rooms are lake-facing, you get to wake up to some of these serene views every morning.
3. Luxury Meets Tradition
The Leela Palace Udaipur is truly reminiscent of the royalty of the bygone era. The moment you step inside the lobby, the opulence and grandeur sweeps you off your feet. You can also see a reflection of local arts and crafts throughout the hotel. Think beautiful paintings, embroidered fabrics, metal inset wood work and small touches that imbue a sense of the local. Every single piece of décor and painting is simply beautiful and ornate.
The awesomeness continues in the rooms, which are aesthetically done up with local artisanal work adorning the room and the walls.
4. Varied Experiences
There are wonderful Rajasthani folk music and dances in the evenings, not to be missed. The hotel also offers small tours – for ₹500/person (approx. SGD 10/person), we went on a guided tour of the hotel’s common spaces and artwork, and learnt about the history; after which we were taken on a sunset cruise. They also offer Destination Dining, and spa and yoga sessions.
5. The Leela Moments
If you love to gorge on good food every now and then, absolutely buy The Leela Moments – Breakfast & Lunch/Dinner. We paid around ₹2700/night (under SGD 60) on top of the room rate, for 2 meals for 2 – a sweet deal indeed, especially since the food is obviously pricey. The deal isn’t limited to specific dishes either, you can order anything from the menu. We obviously wanted to try a variety of dishes, so we asked the staff for smaller portions to avoid wastage, and they happily accommodated. And boy, did we binge eat!
6. Food Fit for a Queen (or King), Served with a Side of Breathtaking Views
Enjoy delightful food at one of the many restaurants at The Leela Palace Udaipur! You can head to Sheesh Mahal for authentic Indian fine dining. The Library Bar is great for a pre-dinner drink – it is well stocked and comes with the complete literary ambience created by dark wood panelling, fireplaces, fine art, books and artefacts.
We absolutely loved the multi-cuisine food at The Dining Room, especially our dinners. This is where #5 comes in handy. We tried dishes from 3 different cuisines (Indian, Indo-Chinese and Thai) on the first night itself. The Paneer Tikka and Anjeer (dates) Tikki were to die for. The Stir-Fried Noodles and Vegetables Kung Pao were fantastic too. My favourite dessert was Salted Caramel, although, the Chocolate Temptations was definitely more decadent. The Dining Room also serves a delightfully varied Buffet Breakfast in the mornings including several popular Indian breakfast dishes that are cooked fresh to order.
When you first reach the hotel, you are welcomed by the staff, in traditional Indian style with Puja Thalis and a showering of rose petals. This is just the beginning – you can look forward to plenty of pampering.
The staff to guest ratio is incredible and we always felt outnumbered. We were assigned a dedicated butler who really gave us the royal treatment all through (thank you Lokesh).
On the first night of our stay, I limped into the restaurant for dinner as I had injured my foot. Our server noticed that the limp was fresh and was quick to get me a crepe bandage and ice packs without me even having to ask (thank you Karan).
All in all, the staff at The Leela Palace Udaipur are exceptional and will go to great lengths to make you feel special right from the word go. In fact, they make feeling royal normal, like it is your right.
Hotel rates can vary a lot in Rajasthan depending on the season. We paid around ₹25,000/night (approx SGD 530) for a Heritage Lake View room, inclusive of a couple of meals and 2-way airport transfers (in the low-season). However, you can expect to pay much more in the peak season.
Bonus: More Images, in case you need some more persuasion
Most travellers from Singapore visit Udaipur as part of their Rajasthan tour. Scoot offers a direct flight from Singapore to Jaipur, 4 times a week. The flight is approximately 5.5 hrs. A domestic flight from Jaipur to Udaipur is under an hour. The Leela Jetty is a 40- minute drive from Udaipur airport. From the jetty, you’ll take a short gondola ride to The Leela Palace Udaipur.
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