I'm an experienced traveler having been to over 35 countries in the past 8 years at last count. I usually stay in mid-range hotels. Early this month however, I made the fortuitous decision to pass by the 'Pink City', Japiur, on my honeymoon, and stepped up to the Taj Rambagh Palace and it was definitely not something my wife and I regret!
Simply put, the hotel is a destination in itself. We advised them that we were on our honeymoon and were upgraded to a suite which I understand costs in excess of US$1,000 a night at normal rack rates. If you know how cheap hotels in India are, you'll understand how much money that is.
As we were driven pass the security checkpoint and into the hotel grounds, we were presented with walled bliss away from the buzz and mayhem that is India, containing delightfully manicured lawns, well-maintained fences and gardens, and immaculately attired staff. On arrival at the hotel lobby, we were mysteriously asked for our photo to be taken on the ornate marble stairs passing over the small waterway. Inside the foyer, we were greeted with a flute each of some sort of delicious rose-flavoured drink. Check-in was with a personal staff member while seated on the lounges, not standing in front of a cold, behemoth reception desk at most other so-called '5 star' hotels. If they are 5 star, the Taj Rambagh deserves at least one more.
When we were personally escorted into our suite, we were totally flabbergasted by the decadence. Usually it's just my wife taking the photos, but we were both madly punching away at our mobile cameras, trying to capture the room, unable to hide the childish grins on our faces at having been so lucky. My wife was also given a large bouquet of pink flowers and a large chocolate cake had been wheeled in, as further gestures of goodwill towards our recent marriage.
This was more of a large luxury one bedroom apartment, than a hotel room: with two chandeliers, a four post bed, lashings of solid oak furniture, lush carpets, and marble everywhere else in the foyer, sitting room, walk-in wardrobe and bathroom, which was complete with a jacuzzi (over which hung the second chandelier), twin basins and twin shower area. It was truly palatial and as I stated on my Facebook status soon after, it felt like we were truly living it up like maharajas.
The rest of the hotel was perhaps just as you would imagine a former Indian palace to look like, which was fitting since it was in the "Land of the Kings", Rajasthan. At 6pm we were taken on a free guided tour of the hotel grounds, dining areas and indoor pool, as well as through the 'Prince's Suite' which somehow was even more magnificent than our suite. Though we thought it was only reserved for heads of state or otherwise for royal family members only, we were told that the suite was available to paying guests, no doubt for a rather princely sum, pardon the pun. To top it off, we were offered a glass of champagne each, as well as hors d'ouevres. Like I said, the hotel is a destination in itself. The plentiful and majestic peacocks with their beautiful blue plumes littered the grounds as an added bonus.
Later that night we enjoyed some free entertainment in the form of traditional dancing and music, while we sipped cocktails overlooking the internal courtyard, before moving into the dining room for a lovely dinner. Upon return to our suite, we were taken away yet again by the turn down service which had transformed our kingly bed into a sea of black satin sheets and pillowcases. The maharajas sure knew how to live.
In the morning, as it was during the peak summer period and the hotel was quieter than usual, we were told to our initial disappointment, that no buffet breakfast was available. Could this be our first disappointment? However, we could choose one item each of hot food from the menu. So my wife and I choose one each and as the immaculately-outfitted waiter brought toast to another table, I hankered and asked for the same. Our waiter promised that this would be no problem. He then asked us to choose a juice and tea or coffee. The drinks duly arrived after a very short wait, followed by the toast. Next came a dish of cold meats and cheeses, two fruit platters, three tiers of cakes and muffins and just as we thought our table for two could hold no more, out came our hot meal of choice. They lied. We had a buffet breakfast at our very own table. It needs not be said, but we sadly could not finish all the fine food and felt somewhat guilty about it, even though it was not our choosing. I felt all the more foolish for requesting toast.
As sad as we were, we had to pack our meagre possessions after breakfast as we were only staying one night. Our only regret was not being able to stay another night. As we were checking out, we were presented with gifts consisting of a pair of beautiful, exclusive coasters which we were told hoped reminded us of the Taj Rambagh Palace, as if the magnificent experience was not enough, and the answer to the mystery of why we had our photo taken on arrival the afternoon previous: a photo of us on the marble stairs, with me standing there like a backpacker with a pair of sunglasses hanging off a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops. I felt ashamed to have arrived in such a state, in start contrast to the majestic landmark which we are fortunate enough to be able to say that for one night, we lived like a king and queen.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- About Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces: Established in 1901, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is one of Asia's largest and finest group of hotels, comprising over 119 hotels in 61 locations across India with an additional 17 international hotels in the Maldives, Malaysia, UK, USA, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East. From world-renowned landmarks to modern business hotels, idyllic beach resorts to authentic Grand Palaces, each Taj hotel offers an unrivalled fusion of warm Indian hospitality, world-class service and modern luxury. For over a century, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, the iconic flagship has set a benchmark for fine living with exquisite refinement, inventiveness and warmth. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is part of the Tata Group, India's premier business house. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Taj Rambagh Palace Jaipur
- Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel Jaipur
- Rambagh Palace Hotel Jaipur
- Rambagh Palace Jaipur
- Rambagh Hotel Jaipur