As some of you may have read from my previous posts, I dreamed about this trip to India for months. In fact, the trip itself was a dream, partially due to the fact that we stayed in an actual palace while we toured Jaipur.
…yes, you heard me right. An actual palace.
Built in 1835, this royal site began as the home of the queen’s favorite handmaiden, before expanding into a royal guesthouse and hunting lodge. In the 1930’s, Maharajah Sawai Man Singh II established the royal building as his home. Eventually it was converted into a luxury hotel property – an easy transition, as it already had the luxurious grounds, sumptuous rooms, and exquisite charm to attract tourists and locals alike.
We flew from New Delhi to Jaipur immediately after our 20 hour international flights. Jetlagged and disoriented, we became absolutely shellshocked as we drove into the hotel property. Peacocks were roaming around the front gardens, and butlers dressed in traditional garb were nodding to us as we slowly drove up to the front entrance.
Then, as our car door was opened by the bellhops, we were greeted with a royal welcome to India:
…your eyes are not deceiving you. A man is in fact shielding us from the gently falling flower petals as we walk up the staircase. I was soon given the “tilaka” mark on my forehead, and a wreath of jasmine around my neck. We were then seated in the gorgeous lobby as our tour guide arranged our room check in.
Then we walked around the courtyard, taking in the glorious halls of sandstone and marble, into our sumptuous room, complete with a balcony to watch more peacocks walk around!!
The entire stay, we were treated like absolute royalty. As we passed various staff members in the halls, they would inevitably bow and greet us with, “Namaste.” Treats were brought to our room without even being asked – coffee, tea, small chocolate treats. A local musician performed the flute greeting song to me our first night there.
The staff would even coax the peacocks to come near our table on the veranda so I could take better pictures of the beautiful birds! I felt absolutely spoiled.
Other special activities were included in our stay, including a heritage walk around the hotel grounds, informing us guests about the esteemed history of the property, particularly with its history of Polo (thus, why there is a Polo Bar on the property). There was a man driving a horse-drawn carriage for you to tour the entire gardens, a nightly dance program, and of course, a variety of restaurants and bars for you to enjoy!
The most formal restaurant, Suvarnah Mahal, is famous for its traditional preparation of the five main cuisine traditions in India. This restaurant was beyond gorgeous – plates and silverware were gold Versace design. Dad especially enjoyed pretending like he was on an episode of Game of Thrones with his goblet.
The food was delicious – we tried dishes from all five of the regions, though our favorites were the curries from Punjab tradition.
…Of course, my favorite dish was dessert!!! Rose petal ice cream with gulab jamun (kind of tastes like honeyed doughnuts).
I could go on and on about the food at the other restaurants, as well, but I don’t want this post to become too tiresome. Just trust me when I say the more casual restaurants are also delicious. “Steam” restaurant is actually a converted train!
We also spent a good deal of our “rest” time at the veranda bar, where you had beautiful views of the grounds during the day, and firework at night (because it was the wedding season while we were there, many celebrations were going on throughout the city!). I will say the cocktails at the hotel bar were QUITE strong, and I tried to pick ones that would taste more citrusy and less boozy; unless you like the (to me) overwhelming taste of lots of alcohol in your drinks I would stick to the wine and beer.
We were sad to leave our royal oasis and head back to New Delhi, as this hotel really made our India trip. Typically, I view hotels as merely the place to sleep in between days of exploring a new country, but in Jaipur, Rambagh Palace is inherently woven into part of the Jaipur experience and we savored every moment at the property!
If you’re looking for a hotel in Jaipur to make you feel absolutely pampered, this is THE place to go! Whenever locals or our tour guides found out we were staying in Rambagh, they exploded with compliments over this fine hotel, and told us many times that this was the best place in Jaipur to stay. If you’re interested in more information, be sure to check out their website at this website.
Can’t wait to tell you more about my trip! Including an item that’s been on my bucket list for years…xo