If any palace hotel can truly be called timeless and luxurious, it must be the Taj Lake Palace. Situated majestically in the refined island of Lake Pichola, Rajasthan — the Taj Lake Palace harks back to an era when Maharajas and Maharanis wore opulent clothes and plenty of jewels. Unlike many other palace hotels that hew closer to the preservation, the aesthetic at the Taj Lake Palace has gone from just old fashioned to an up-to-date grandeur that feels of -the -moment. This month, You & I takes a tour of the grand hotel that once belonged to MaharanaJagat Singh (circa 1746) with K Mohanchandran, Area Director – Udaipur & Jodhpur and General Manager of Taj Lake Palace.
Taj Lake Palace-
The young prince, MaharanaJagat Singh requested his father, MaharanaSangram Singh II, if he could reside in the pleasure palace Jagmandir with his ladies. The Maharana did not give permission but taunted his son that if he was so keen to stay in an Island Palace, why doesn’t he build one for himself. It is this taunt that led to him building his own pleasure palace on Lake Pichola in the year 1743. The Maharana (ruler) called this palace which he finished building in 1746, Jag Niwas.
Jag Niwas is today the majestic and magnificent Taj Lake Palace of Udaipur. Restored to its pristine glory, this spectacular palace became world-renowned when the James Bond film ‘Octopussy’ was filmed at it. It was the secluded lair of the film’s eponymous Bond Girl. This heritage hotel has 65 luxurious rooms and 18 grand suites. Its location on an island amid a lake affords every breathtaking room views of the neighbouring City Palace, Aravalli Hills, and Jag Mandir.
The incomparable location provides the perfect backdrop for the exquisite cuisines at the elegant restaurants of Taj Lake Palace. These are open only to resident guests. Signature speciality restaurants at this palace serve a choice of cuisines. Neel Kamal for authentic Rajasthani and other dishes from India; and the seasonally open-air Bhairo for contemporary European delicacies. In the evening, indulge in signature martinis, cocktails and a grand collection of premium international spirits at the bar, AmritSagar. Continue your being pampered as a royal at Jiva Spa, with a spa boat experience like no other. Carefully created treatments draw on the ancient wellness heritage of India, and the fabled lifestyle and savoir-vivre of Indian royalty.
This palace continues the tradition of grand soirees and formal levees which were hosted here by the royal family of Udaipur. Meetings and Incentives at Taj Lake Palace are like nowhere else in the world. Where else can you meet at a palace in the middle of a lake? And this most romantic of hotels is the ideal venue for fairytale weddings and magical honeymoons.
Known as the Venice of the East, the city of Udaipur, with its elaborate palaces, serene lakes, exotic temples, and resplendent gardens, has a lot to offer. Our concierge would be happy to assist you in making arrangements and plan a special tour of the city of lakes in one of our vintage cars.
Some of our distinguished guests that have stayed at the Taj Lake Palace over the years are Mrs Jacqueline Kennedy, Mr Mick Jagger, Mr Brad Pitt, Ms Angelina Jolie, Mr Russel Brand, Ms Katy Perry, H R H Prince Michael of Kent, Ms Hillary Clinton, Ms Ariana Huffington and Nick Jonas to name a few.
Most coveted suite
The Grand Presidential Suite named as ‘SHAMBHU PRAKASH SUITE’ after MaharanaShambhu Singh is furnished in impressive and opulent colours with high curved arches. The various styles that adorn the suite are a reflection of the diverse history of Udaipur. The suite offers panoramic views of the setting sun in the evening. The suite is 1,734 sq. ft large and is interconnected to a Grand Royal Suite. This suite has a rack rate of INR 11,00,000 per night and has a king bed placed in the bedroom and has a five-fixture bathroom with luxury bath amenities.
‘Shambhu Prakash’ - Presidential Suite offerings include a Taj Lake Palace personalized label champagne from the house of ‘Drapier’ along with amenities like hand-rolled truffle chocolates, exotic fruit selections and an array of cheese and cold meats cut platters. A selection of afternoon Royal English high tea with exotic single estate teas are laid out and served by trained Palace butlers at the suite balcony overlooking the picturesque mountain range of the Aravalis. Evening signature amenities include cognacs, cocktails and a Chef’s special to go along with the turndown service.
The presidential suite has housed many dignitaries and business heads in the past. To name a few, we have hosted Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, the sovereign ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah, Mr William SamoeiArapRuto who served as the Acting President of Kenya and David MohatoBerengSeeiso king of Lesotho. – as told to Anisha