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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

The resilient romance of Taj Lake Palace

Arriving in a private boat, the hotel slowly emerges like a mirage floating on the water….

By Arun Devpura
Deputy Manager at Kuoni Group

Taj Lake Palace shot to fame in 1983 when Octopussy was filmed here. Back then, the Taj was the only 5-star in the area with absolutely no competition. But even today, despite the area’s development, the hotel still lives up to the hype. Think rose petal showers, vintage cars and Bollywood stars.

This former palace, originally built for Maharana Jagat Singh II, completed in 1746, was used as the summer residence of the royal family until Taj took over management in 1963. You can learn all about its history on a guided heritage walk around the serene courtyards, corridors and waterside pavilions. The bright white marble façade sits on its own four-acre island in the middle of Lake Pichola. A real highlight involves arriving in a private boat while the hotel slowly emerges like a mirage, floating on the water.

Inside is a glimpse into a bygone era with 65 rooms and 18 opulent suites most of which face the mesmerising lake. For those who want to splurge, the Grand Royal Suites are divine with gilt moulding, crystal chandeliers, silk bolsters and elaborate hand-painted frescoes. Otherwise, I’d be content in any room with views towards the shore including the City Palace and Aravalli Hills. The outdoor pool mirrors the serenity of the lake while the spa pampers from head to toe.

There are unique dining spots – the private terraces at the water’s edge overlooking Jag Mandir Palace or even on a traditional rowing boat a la deux. Formal attire is requested at Bhairo’s rooftop restaurant lit by torches at night while Neel Kamas overlooking the lily pond specialises in Indian fare with dishes such as lal maas, a sumptuous, spiced mutton curry. My favourite spot though is Jharokha which takes all-day dining to another level. You feel like you’re sitting out on the water with chefs and waiters who take pride in everything they do.

What keeps the place ticking along is the staff members who have all been there for a long time and the majority of whom are local. They welcome you like family no matter how many times you’ve visited. That’s what makes Taj Lake Palace so timeless. The warmth of its people.


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Alfred & Arun Devpura

Born and bred in Udaipur, the City of Lakes, Arun started his career at the travel desk at Taj Lake Palace which was a dream come true. A travel enthusiast since childhood, he loves to explore new places and meet people from all over the world and is proud to showcase the culture and traditions of his home

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