Legend has it that the young prince Maharana Jagat Singh II indulged in moonlight picnics with the ladies of the Zenana on the lake island palace of Jag Mandir until his father found out. With that option closed to him, he built his own palace on a different island in Lake Pichola. Begun in 1743 and inaugurated in 1746, the new palace was named Jag Niwas. What may have begun as a prince’s rebellious gesture was turned into one of the most romantic hotels in the world by Maharana Bhagwat Singhji in 1963. The palace’s decadent reputation was cemented when the James Bond film Octopussy was filmed on the premises.
Our stay at the Lake Palace was incredible. From the time we arrived by car, after a 5 hour drive from Jaipur we were treated with the most wonderful hospitality by the staff of the Lake Palace. We waited under beautiful archways for the boatman who would take us across the lake where we were greeted with a shower of rose petals as we entered the lobby of the hotel. After check-in, we were then accompanied to our room walking by the lotus pond made famous by the James Bond film, Octopussy. It truly is even more spectacular in real life.
There are 4 restaurants at the Lake Palace. We took a buffet breakfast in Jharokha with views of the lake and City Palace and tried Bhairo situated on the rooftop of the Lake Palace we watched the sunset while enjoying the beautiful contemporary cuisine. The Amrit Sagar restaurant is a more casual dining experience which offers high tea and Neel Kamal offered elegant traditional indian cuisine from the region.
The Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan is the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur and now a luxury Taj Palace Hotel, located 5 miles (8.0 km) outside of the walls of the city of Jaipur on Bhawani Singh Road. Built in 1835 on a modest scale for the queen’s favourite handmaiden Kesar Badaran, and later refurbished as a royal guesthouse and hunting lodge, the mansion was renamed Rambagh, after the then reigning Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II. Rambagh remained the home of Jaipur’s Royalty until 1957, when it was first converted into an upscale hotel and is now managed by the Taj Resorts and Palaces group. For more information visit the hotel’s website.
We had an incredible time at the Rambagh Palace. The staff were very accommodating and great with our kids. The food was wonderful and we were spoilt for choice – in the morning we took a buffet breakfast in the Rajput Room a more casual all day dining experience, in the evenings we either enjoyed drinks at The Polo Bar or on The Verandah while we watched the evenings dance and music performances or had our palms read and we even tried Steam – a restored steam engine complete with a Victorian style station on site – you can either have a drink on the platform or have dinner inside the train! The kids can also have a play in the actual driver’s compartment.
The kids also loved chasing (or being chased) by the beautiful peacocks on the manicured lawns of the Rambagh Palace as well as swimming in both the indoor and outdoor pools. Each day, there was a new beautiful petal flower arrangements by the pools and around the paths leading towards the spa.
A room with a majestic view on the Taj Mahal is what makes the Oberoi Amar Villas very special, it is one of the closest hotels and the views are its expansive grounds are ideal for pre-dinner walks and shows. The hotel is quite new and inspired by Moorish and Mughal architecture with a stunning entrance with arches, sandstones columns and 64 fountains. The swimming pool is huge and simply stunning, it was a perfect resting place after a long day of sightseeing at the Taj Mahal.