The Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, India, was built as a royal summer retreat by Maharana Jagat Singh II in 1746. It is set on a four-acre area on Jag Niwas Island in the middle of Lake Pichola.
The palace has courtyards lined with columns, pillared terraces, fountains and gardens and was used as a regal durbar by the Maharajahs.
The palace building was handed over to Taj Hotels Resorts in 1971, which added 75 rooms. A second restoration took place in 2000. The palace can be accessed by a jetty from the City Palace.
Rooms and suites
The palace features 66 rooms and 17 suites. The 33 luxury rooms provide views of Pichola Lake or the palace’s lily pond. The Rang Mahal and the Royal spa suite provide views of Jag Mandir Palace or the lake. The one-bed suite is set over two levels and features a treatment room and private Jacuzzi.
There are five Royal Suites. The Sandya Suite is decorated in emerald green and royal blue. The Basant Bahar suite is furnished with a silk canopy over a four-poster bed and has views of the lake and Jag Mandir Palace.
The Aravalli Darshan suite offers views of the Aravali Hills. Guests staying at the Machla Magra suite have access to a private alcove while the Jag Mandir Darshan suite looks out to Jagmandir Palace.
The hotel has ten grand royal suites featuring marble-clad bathrooms, rainforest showers, a Jacuzzi and crystal chandeliers. Khush Mahal, once a queen’s chamber, is located at the back of the palace and features an antique swing fastened by gleaming brass chains. The Udai Mahal suite is a tribute to the founder of Udaipur, Maharana Udai Singh, and is decorated with paintings and brocade panelling and is furnished with antique ivory inlaid chairs.
The Sarva Ritu suite has intricate engravings and a Waterford chandelier. The Lotus Palace, or Kamal Mahal, is decorated with intricate artefacts, paintings and furniture. The Sajjan Niwas Suite, built by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1880, features frescoes of Lord Krishna and is decorated with lamps, portraits, a glass mosaic inlay, cloth fans and intricate mirror work.
The Chandra Prakash suite has chandeliers, gilt mouldings, sculpted marble columns and frescoes. This pavilion was used by Maharana Bhupal Singh as a court room in the 1930s. The Peacock Palace, or the Mayur Mahal, is decorated in blue, green and bronze, the shades of the peacock, the national bird of India. The walls are decorated with glass mosaic peacock motifs. The Jal Tarang suite features a semi-open pavilion and a Jacuzzi.
The Sarva Shresth Suite features a living and dining room and is furnished with old-world artefacts and furniture. The suite has two balconies and a private sitting area.
The palace’s rooftop-restaurant, Bhairo, serves European and Asian cuisine. The Jharokha restaurant, situated by the lake, serves international cuisine throughout the day. The Neel Kamal restaurant, overlooking the lily pond, serves Indian and local Rajasthani fare in a royal banquet setting.
The Sea of Nectar bar serves vintage wines, spirits, cigars and sheeshas.
Private dining is available and is served by the Royal Butlers, descendents of the original palace caretakers. Guests can enjoy a private dinner by the pond, on the Mewar terrace, or on the royal barge or pontoon in the middle of the lake.
The palace provides Indian rejuvenation therapies including massages and well-known Indian treatments at the Signature Jive Spa. The hotel also provides Indian aromatherapies and beauty services. The palace spa features a steam bath, a beauty salon and a mini gym. There are also two Jacuzzis and a swimming pool.
Guests can also enjoy massages and treatments on the Taj Royal Spa Boat.
The palace has meeting rooms to accommodate 75 guests while the Lily Pond Courtyard can host small sit-down dinners. Business facilities are equipped with broadband and wireless internet connectivity, multimedia computers and audio-visual instruments.