Our rather starstruck opinion is that if the most talented and imaginative of the Mughal Empire’s designers and architects were zapped into the first decades of the 21st century, lavished with nearly unlimited resources, backed up by the imperially adept Oberoi Group, and set loose on a prime piece of lakeside property…well, they’d come up with something very like the Udaivialas.
The Udaivilas is spread over 50 lovingly tended acres of what were the hunting grounds of the princely state of Udaipur’s maharanas, whose City Palace is at the opposite side of Lake Pichola. The hotel’s interconnected, beautifully painted domes and corridors are designed to invite light and air into the richly decorated hotel. Its rooms range from the frankly fantastic (private pools, private butler, etc.) to the merely marvellous. All offer the full range of amenities modern and traditional, and all are individually and artfully designed, looking out at the serene lake or inward to the hotel’s exuberant interior garden.
Stepping down into one of Udaivilas’ restaurants from an elegantly curving staircase is a princely experience (and so is the hotel’s international and Indian cuisine), and dining in one of the expansive verandah’s private nooks, looking out at the lights of the lake, and maybe taking a nifty little motor launch into the city is a uniquely Udaivilian experience.
Udaipur is one of India’s most revered resort towns, famed for its Bosphorus-like mixing of town and water, combining natural beauty with lots of artifactual excellence—notably at the huge, excitingly historic and wonder-filled City Palace, to which we’ll motorboat with our Micato Travel Director. We’ll roam Udaipur’s exceptional shopping streets just below the Palace, and we’ll head a little way out of town, perhaps lunching at a brilliant old palace restaurant, then venturing to the thousand-year-old temple complexes of Eklingji and Nagda, the site of two temples “lavishly embellished,” as we say in our Splendours of Northern India itinerary, “with wonderfully carved stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, co-starring godesses and gods and lovers in inventive embrace.”