Perched in splendid isolation at the top of Jodhpur's highest point, Umaid Bhawan Palace must be one of the world's most sensational hotels. Designed by Edwardian architect Henry Lanchester, it took 3,000 workers 15 years to build, and today it is still the home of Jodhpur's royal family, who sometimes reside in an adjacent wing.
Lined with marble extracted from the same source as the Taj Mahal, this is one of the city's top visitor attractions too, and rates include museum and palace tours as well as trips to the Maharajah's private horse stables. Preening peacocks roam the 26 acres of magnificently landscaped gardens and each of the lavish rooms are adorned with mirrored columns, hand-painted damasks and elaborate art-deco flourishes. Out by the enormous turquoise pool, butlers proffer cold drinks and picnic baskets, and the spa offers ancient Indian healing therapies. There are two restaurants: the very grand Risala, and alfresco Pillars, the setting for spectacular sundowners overlooking the Blue City.
Culture and history lovers seeking royal splendour
Couples and families
THINGS TO DO AT THE HOTEL:
Take a tour of the palace and museum, Jodhpur attractions within their own right
Work up an appetite for lunch in the swimming pool or on the tennis courts
Awaken the senses with yoga, meditation or an Ayurvedic treatment
Take in the views of the city at sunset over a cocktail at Pillars bar
THINGS TO DO NEARBY:
Marvel at the imposing Mehrangarh fort
Explore the Sadar Bazaar with a private guide for a true assault on the senses
Arrange a round of golf, some horse riding or take in a polo match
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