A Royal Reverie
Fascinating fables about the grandeur and opulence of India’s erstwhile royals have been narrated by voyagers, traders and story-tellers, since the dawn of modern civilization. Unparalleled in their heyday, they continue to make staggering contributions to India’s culture and heritage, with some of the most magnificent edifices known to man. Taj takes great pride in preserving this rich history with its awe-inspiring Palaces. Carefully selected for their uniqueness and painstakingly restored to their original glory, each one offers an array of curated experiences you are sure to cherish.
TAJ LAKE PALACE, UDAIPUR
The first of Taj’s Grand Palaces, this pristine white-marble castle floating on the serene waters of Lake Pichola, once belonged to Maharana Jagat Singh, circa 1746. Fittingly called Jag Niwas (heavenly abode) in its day, the hotel is enveloped in royal architecture and detailing like open-air courtyards, lotus ponds and a small mango-tree-shaded pool. It attained global fame as the secluded lair of the eponymous Bond Girl in the James Bond film ‘Octopussy’. Each of its 65 luxurious rooms and 18 grand suites is unique in style, adorned with traditional Indian silks, wooden lattice and araish work ceilings, teak furniture, stained-glass windows, miniature paintings, marble-clad bathrooms and crystal chandeliers. They offer breath-taking views of the neighbouring City Palace, Aravalli Hills, Machla Magra Hills and Jag Mandir.
Jiva Spa’s boat experience pampers you as you sail through purple sunsets, with carefully created treatments that draw on the ancient wellness heritage of India. Plan a special tour of the city of lakes in one of our vintage cars or let palace butlers, who are trained as knowledgeable hosts taking care of royalty, tend to your every need.
RAMBAGH PALACE, JAIPUR
The famed ‘Jewel of Jaipur’, built in 1835, has gracefully stepped through many chapters of royal history; from being the home of the queen’s favourite handmaiden, to a royal guesthouse, to the residence of Maharani Gayatri Devi, the ‘Rajmata’ of Jaipur. Even today the palace retains its elaborate splendour with 78 stunningly restored luxury rooms and suites, extravagantly decorated with Rajasthani artwork, French windows and plush tapestries. The elaborate Mughal Gardens perfectly compliment the palace’s hand-carved marble ‘jalis’, sandstone balustrades, cupolas and ‘chattris’ to give it a dreamy, old-world charm. Here you can also experience some of Jaipur’s best fine-dining with a royal Rajasthani feast at Suvarna Mahal – the 18th-century, French-style, former palace ballroom with huge crystal chandeliers.
Set up a private dinner under the stars at the palace’s gazebo, illuminated by fairy lights and speckled with exotic florals; or at the ‘baradari’ (patio courtyard), with candles and melodious live music. A multi-course or ‘thali’ menu can be personally tailored for you to celebrate your special occasion.
TAJ FALAKNUMA PALACE, HYDERABAD
Perched 2,000 feet above the twinkling city lights of Hyderabad, this palace was once a home in the sky to the Nizam – rumoured to be the world’s richest man at the time. Since 1894, it has been steeped in history and exudes befitting grandeur even today, beginning from the moment you arrive in a horse-drawn carriage and are tended to by royal butlers. Take a historic walk across the 32-acre property in the footsteps of royalty and important heads of state as you glide through the Grand Staircase, or a treasured library with a collection of rare manuscripts, or the magnificent Main Hall, decorated with 40 Venetian chandeliers. The 60 rooms and suites, lovingly restored by the Nizam’s Turkish wife, provide marvellous views of the palace courtyard and the 400-year-old city below. Not only are you spoiled for choice with plenty of fine dining options, but the hotel also offers a wellness menu that employs the finest principles of Ayurvedic cooking to ensure holistic rejuvenation.
Plan a private meal at the Gol Bungalow at the edge of the palace and be treated to sweeping views of the city. If you’re travelling in a group, you can reserve the world’s largest dining table – a stunning 101-seater in a unique room with wooden interiors, ornate crystal chandeliers and exquisite acoustics that enable you to hear whispers from one corner of the room to another.
UMAID BHAWAN PALACE, JODHPUR
Built in the early 20th Century, Umaid Bhawan Palace is a magnificent example of Rajasthan’s rich heritage and continues to be one of the world’s largest private residences. Featured on a countless number of “world’s best hotels” lists, this palace sits atop Chittar Hill – the highest point in Jodhpur – and has gorgeous views of the historical Blue City, the vast neighbouring sand dunes and the imposing Mehrangarh Fort. Framed in 26 acres of lush gardens, replete with dancing peacocks, the resplendent royal residence is constructed using the same palm court marble used in the iconic Taj Mahal. The cuisine is delectable and gourmet Rajasthani meals are prepared using age old recipes and techniques representing the fabled lifestyle and savoir-vivre of Indian royalty.
Although private dining options are aplenty, a unique experience is to saunter through the palace’s Museum, where one can admire the finest collection of Victorian and Edwardian antiques, while savouring a glass of fine champagne.
THE TAJ MAHAL PALACE, MUMBAI
There are few structures as iconic as the crown jewel of Mumbai, a prominent landmark overlooking the magnificent Gateway of India and vast Arabian Sea beyond, since 1903. This legendary, luxury hotel has played host to a plethora of royalty, dignitaries, world leaders and eminent personalities from across the globe, as seen by the nostalgic photographs that adorn the walls of the heritage wing. It is widely regarded as a forerunner in hospitality, with its attentive staff, impeccable service and globally acclaimed Golden Keys Concierge. The rooms are a remarkable blend of stately heritage and modern amenities, most with expansive views of the city’s harbour. In-house fine-dining restaurants are amongst the city’s finest – including Japanese cuisine at the award-winning Wasabi by Morimoto, authentic Chinese fare at Golden Dragon and traditional middle eastern food at Souk. A shaded pool courtyard feels miles away from a buzzing metropolis and is the perfect place to relax after a long day, as is the massive Jiva Grande Spa with its signature treatments and indulgent facilities.
A fleet of exclusive luxury yachts is perfect for intimate celebrations of up to 20 people – time your cruise to coincide with sunrise or sunset to get stunning views of the city in a different light. High tea at the colonial-style Sea Lounge is also an unmissable event, served in true elegant fashion with classic English delicacies and a selection of the world’s best teas and coffees, all accompanied by music that sets the mood for a fantastic evening.
JAI MAHAL PALACE, JAIPUR
A city palace located in the very heart of vibrant Jaipur, Jai Mahal was built in 1745 and is a great testament to Indo-Gothic architecture. 94 modern rooms and six suites offer all the creature comforts one would expect from a world-class hotel and its 18 acres of landscaped Mughal gardens are the perfect respite after a busy day of shopping and sightseeing. Relax in a hammock near the pool, take a run along the jogging track, wake up to morning yoga lessons, be mesmerized by the geometric marble floors or practise some miniature golf. Besides authentic Rajasthani fare the hotel also houses Jaipur's finest contemporary Italian restaurant – Giardino, that cooks up delicious pizza and has an expansive international wine list.
Enjoy a sit-down meal in traditional flair with a Bajot private dining experience for a truly regal and romantic dinner. Select from an extensive wine list and global cuisines that you fancy or go with a traditional local menu and try dishes like Daal Bati Churma and Pyaaz Ki Kachori.Best For: Beach Bums
TAJ USHA KIRAN PALACE, GWALIOR
This 138-year-old white and yellow palace is a quintessential piece of Gwalior’s heritage. Surrounded by 9 acres of manicured lawns, there is an exquisite element of craftsmanship found in every corner of the hotel from fine tapestries and ancient stone carvings to famously detailed filigree work. The 1 and 2-bedroom Luxury Villas offer solitude and exclusivity with a private pool and a sun bathing area, while The Royal Suite is truly generous with period furnishings, Venetian mirrors, mother-of-pearl mosaics and canopied beds.
Private dining experiences give you a chance to sample recipes from the Maratha and Nepal royal kitchens, accompanied by classical music from the Gwalior Gharana.
TAJ NADESAR PALACE, VARANASI
Located in one of the world’s oldest cities amidst mango orchards and jasmine fields, seeking sanctuary here is a divine experience. Originally built by the East India Company in the 19th century, the palace has 10 luxuriously appointed Heritage Rooms, Heritage Suites and Royal Suites. The restaurant serves local cuisine as well as ‘satvik’ meals and the Jiva Spa has rejuvenating ‘Abhisheka’ treatments, which draws inspiration from time-honoured Indian purifying rituals. Tee off at the mini golf course or take a guided tour in a “Royal Horse Carriage”, driven by a coachman who comes from a lineage of royal family butlers.
Savour a ‘Benarasi Chai Experience’ with hot tea served in small earthen pots, accompanied with local snacks, as you take in the views. Sit by the pool and enjoy an Indian live barbeque while sitar and tabla players entrance you with a symphony of sound.
TAJ FATEH PRAKASH PALACE
Set on the eastern banks of Lake Pichola overlooking the mighty Aravali mountain range, Taj Fateh Prakash palace is drenched in Rajput history. Much of the original palace décor has been precisely maintained – from miniature paintings and the armoury, to royal heirlooms and furniture straight out of the toshakhanas (royal storerooms). The Sunset Terrace restaurant and Surya Darshan Bar offer scenic vistas of Lake Pichola, Jagmandir Island, Lake Palace and Sajjangarh Palace along with gastronomic delights, champagne and hors d’oeuvres. The 5,177 square foot Durbar Hall is a dazzling showcase of royal splendour with a stunning 1000-kilogram crystal chandelier that illuminates the pillar-less room, encircled by walls lined with vintage weaponry and Persian carpets that cushion the marble floor.
Take a stroll through the Crystal Gallery – the world’s largest privately-owned collection of crystal objets d’art – including the only crystal bed in the world and a jewel-encrusted carpet.
You are certain to enjoy your tryst with royalty with this collection of distinctive Royal Palaces and their unique, unforgettable experiences. Designed to make you feel like 21st century monarchs, Taj’s Palaces let you soak in decadence by immersing you in old-world charm and letting you experience centuries of rich heritage, while presenting you with every modern comfort you desire.
Live like royalty amidst heritage and grandeur, while you add luxury experiences like never before to your memoirs. With the best in class hospitality, inimitable dining, unique recreational experiences, picturesque locations & exciting palace holiday packages- cherish moments for a lifetime with Taj Holidays. Every holiday is crafted with impeccable details just for you and your loved one.