In a region famous for its many palaces, Umaid Bhawan Palace stands out as something special. Designed in the 1920s by the renowned Edwardian architect Henry Lanchester, the palace was not completed until 1943 and is the last great palace of the Indian Raj. The palace is a unique fusion of art deco architecture and traditional Rajasthan design, built in a grand scale with golden sandstone and topped by a 105 foot tall dome. It took more than 5,000 workers 15 years to build the palace, and is unusual in that it does not use mortar or cement to bind the stones together. When finished, it was the largest private residence in the world, with almost 350 rooms. The palace was converted into a hotel in 1972, and more recently has been managed by the Taj chain as the most luxurious hotel in Jodhpur. The Maharaja's family still live in one wing of the palace, and another part of the palace is open to the public as a museum, but the hotel is self contained and staying here is an unforgettable experience.
Umaid Bhawan Palace sits on Chittar Hill overlooking Jodhpur and facies the city's other great palace, the Meherangarh Fort with wonderful views from the terrace restaurant. There are a total of 64 luxurious appointed rooms and suites, all decorated in an art deco style, and guests can take advantage of the many facilities in the hotel, including both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spa, health club and tennis courts.
Open: Umaid Bhawan Palace is open all year.
Location: Umaid Bhawan Palace is located just outside the city of Jodhur, in Rajasthan. The hotel is set in 25 acres of gardens.
Rooms: There are 64 opulent rooms and suites divided into 6 categories. All have LCD TV, DVD player, â€˜phone, Wi-Fi internet access, safe, minibar and en-suite bathroom with a range if complimentary toiletries. There is 24-hour room service.
Activities: Sightseeing in Jodhpur, visiting the markets, horse riding. Various sports and games are available at the hotel including tennis, squash and croquet. Guests can enjoy leisurely drives in one of the hotelâ€™s vintage cars and stroll in the grounds.
Facilities: The hotel has lovely gardens, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, croquet lawns and stables. Indoors there is a billiards room, underground zodiac pool, squash courts, libraries, a whispering gallery and turret rooms. The hotel has a boutique, a bookshop and an antiques gallery. re are various terraces. The hotel houses the family museum and a collection of vintage cars. The yoga studio is open from 8am till 8pm daily. Guests can enjoy a range of treatments at the Grande Jiva Spa and be pampered in the beauty salon. There is a well-equipped gym with a fitness trainer in attendance. Other facilities include laundry, currency exchange and a travel desk. The hotel offers a choice of dining options. Risala serves continental and Indian dishes, Pillars is set on a veranda and is the setting for breakfast and drinks and snacks later in the day and the Sunset Pavilion specialises in barbecues and grills. There is a cosy bar.
Dining: Meals are taken at individual tables.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome. Babysitting can be arranged.
Health: We recommend malaria prophylactics for travel to India.
Communication: There is internet access.
HH Maharaja Gaj Singh owns this palace. He is also the founder and chairman of the Jai Bhagirathi Foundation, which supports numerous community & environmental projects such as water-saving initiatives.
"Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of those places that blows you away with itâ€™s grandeur and sheer scale. Itâ€™s opulent art deco design and baroque furniture are out of this world and of course the grounds are fabulous. If you are looking for a luxurious stay and appreciate history then this is for you."