If there’s one way to define Rajasthan, it has to be “royal”. With the Rajput clan having had dominance over this state for centuries and having fought countless battles against various armies, the Rajputs are not only fierce warriors, but also turned the barren and deserted land of Rajasthan into a region intricately decorated with numerous forts and Havelis with a rich history behind each of them. Not that the kingdom era has ended, most of these forts are accessible to the general public either in the form of museums, heritage sites, or luxurious heritage hotels to give us the royal sense of living that was only known to the kings and queens of the bygone days. Here is the list of best heritage hotels in Rajasthan:
1. Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
Located in the Blue City of Rajasthan, Umaid Bhawan Palace was built during the reign of Maharaja Umaid Singh. This Palace is the sixth-largest privately owned residences in the world and belongs to Maharaja Gaj Singh today. With 347 rooms in the palace, a part of it has been converted into a museum and a part is managed by Taj Hotels as a 5-star heritage hotel. The palace is situated atop the Chittar Hill- the highest point in Jodhpur- and overlooks the entire city. With the same palm court marbles used in its construction as Taj Mahal, this is truly one of the best heritage hotels in Rajasthan.
2. Taj Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
Built-in 1835 during the reign of Maharaja Jai Singh III, this palace located in the capital of Rajasthan was turned into a hunting lodge by Sawai Madho Singh and was then taken as the prime residence of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. It is now entirely a heritage hotel managed by Taj Hotels boasting of 78 luxuriously stunning rooms. With beautiful marble latticework and huge Mughal Gardens, this hotel has hosted several persons of importance including Prince Charles and Jacqueline Kennedy.
3. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
Built during the 1740s under the reign of Maharaja Jagat Singh II of Mewar Dynasty in Lake Pichola in the City of Lakes, this intricately designed marble palace was initially named Jag Niwas and was the summer residence of the Maharaja. Now a 5-Star hotel managed by Taj Hotels comprising of 65 rooms and 18 suites. The Palace Hotel has many credentials to its name, with the James Bond movie ‘Octopussy’ having been shot here.
4. Shiv Niwas Palace, Udaipur
Construction of the Shiv Niwas Palace at Udaipur was begun by Maharaja Sajjan Shambhu Singh and was finished during the reign of Maharana Fateh Singh in the early 20th century. This royal guesthouse has hosted several members of the royal family including George V and Edward the Prince of Wales. It is now a luxurious 5-star hotel managed by HRH Hotels.
5. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur
The Udaivilas is a 5-star heritage hotel in Udaipur located on the banks of Lake Pichola, the biggest of seven lakes in the city. Managed by the Oberoi Group of Hotels, this hotel is an architectural marvel with intricately detailed domes and verdant gardens sprawling across the property.
6. Mihir Garh, Jodhpur
Located on the outskirts of Jodhpur in a village amidst the vast Thar Desert, the Mihir Garh Palace Hotel was completed in 2009 and built by Siddharth and Rashmi Rohet. Literally meaning “Fort of the Sun”, this beautiful hotel offers village heritage tours in Rajasthan, royal picnics, horse rides and one can even chance upon a wild antelope passing by!
7. Deogarh Mahal, Rajsamand
Located in the Deogarh city of the Rajsamand district in Rajasthan, this 4-star luxurious hotel does justice to the ostentatious royalty of the Mewar aristocracy. A part of the mahal is still the residency of the royal family of Deogarh, and the rest of it has been turned into a heritage hotel owned and run by the family itself.
8. Samode Palace, Jaipur
A 4-star luxurious hotel on the outskirts of Jaipur, the palace hotel is designed elaborately in the Indo-Saracenic architectural style bringing out the best of both Mughal and Indian tastes. The walls are beautifully adorned with detailed designs much like the Patrika Mahal of Jaipur, and the surrounding forests of Aravali Hills add a certain magnificence to it.
9. Jai Mahal Palace Hotel, Jaipur
Built-in 1745, the Jai Mahal Palace of Jaipur is another beautifully designed palace flaunting the Indo-Saracenic architectural style. The palace also once used to be the residence of three of Jaipur’s prime ministers. With its lush Mughal garden and 94 luxurious rooms as well as six suites, this palace has now been turned into a 5-star heritage hotel managed by Taj Hotels.
10. RAAS Devigarh, Udaipur
The fort of Devigarh near Udaipur is a true testament of the Rajputana pride and features lush gardens and marvellous architecture. The fort was restored in 1999 and turned into a luxury resort with modern yet minimalist designs. This 18th-century fort-turned-resort is nestled amongst the Aravali Hills and sits at a strategic position overlooking three mountain passes in the region. With wonderful cultural activities and traditional food, this is one of the best heritage hotels in the region.
11. Alila Fort, Bishangarh
Perched upon a granite hill amidst the majestic Aravlis, the Alila Fort is around 250 years old and is now converted into a luxurious heritage resort featuring state of the art facilities fine dining, spa, horse riding, open swimming pool, cultural tours and more.
12. Suryagarh Haveli, Jaisalmer
Located deep in the vast Thar Desert, the Suryagarh Haveli not only provides its guests with a luxurious stay but also features a number of great activities. From yoga sessions, spa treatments, open swimming pools to cultural evening, archery workshops and birding trails and sunset trails, this resort is your one-stop destination for an adventure-packed royal getaway!