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Palace On Wheel

#778 of 1,760 Tours in New Delhi
New Delhi, India
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Palace On Wheel
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triptakingtalker wrote a review Jan 2020
Los Angeles, California9 contributions7 helpful votes
We are a family of four, myself, my husband and our two adult children. It was our first trip to India and because of work schedules we were somewhat constrained for time. We are used to traveling at a slower pace and staying in hotels for a few days to get a sense of the place. This time we had 16 days including travel time from Los Angeles. We flew into Delhi and spent three nights there before boarding the Palace on Wheels. From start to finish it was a once in a lifetime experience. The service was unbelievable. Our "butlers" were Ram and Naveen and they were exceptionally kind and helpful. When my son became sick, Naveen offered to run to the local market to get medicine. They were available 24/7, really waiting on us hand and foot. All the staff was great. We had paid and arranged for private tours in each stop to maximize our time and the guides and drivers were excellent. The touring went smoothly and we saw everything. Palace on Wheels was always escorted to the front of the line and we got top priority everywhere. Since we had private guides, the assistant train manager accompanied us daily and he arranged for rooms for us to rest in while waiting for lunch or dinner at off-train hotels. He also provided great personal service. At every stop, there were bands, locals, elephants etc... to greet us. The service, the organization and the activities put all the cruises that I have ever been on to shame. The cabins were adequate as was the bathroom with a good-sized shower, but they were not 5 stars per American standards. However, they were immaculate and the beds were soft and comfortable. There was space to store the bags under the beds. The biggest problem was that the train rocked terribly at night preventing sleep even with sleeping pills, and my family became very tired and sleep deprived. The train food was good with a blend of continental and Indian with minimal heat. The Indian food was the better of the two. There were many meals off the train, usually lunch, and they were good although not gourmet. The activities included sightseeing (forts, palaces, monuments, museums), camel and elephant rides, a tiger safari (we did not see a tiger but half the passengers did) and bird watching. There was a barbecue and a beautiful music and dance show in Jaisalmer with everyone joining in and dancing. There was a light show in Chittagarth and per Palace on Wheels thoughtfulness and attention to detail, they passed out bug spray to everyone. The shopping was fine, highlighting local specialties. We were taken to state run shops and shown how items were made (block-printing, rugs, inlaid marble, miniature painting), which was actually very interesting. The goods were fine quality and guaranteed (everything that we shipped arrived quickly and in good condition.) We were never pressured to buy. Because we had private guides, we had a little more flexibility and were able to do private shopping in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. I managed to make it to Gem Palace in Jaipur, which was on my to do list. We never stopped at local markets, but honestly I don't think we missed much. There were 79 passengers on our train and because it was over Christmas there were many families. Most passengers were Indian but there were many Americans and families from Germany and Spain. Everyone was very friendly and chatty. We had lunch and dinners with the whole group, but we did not tour with them daily. The only complaint that I heard was people wished they had more time to shop. Otherwise there were no complaints about the tours. We got off in Agra and spent 5 more days touring in northern India before returning to Los Angeles. PALACE ON WHEELS PROS: Out of this world service, ease of sightseeing, variety of activities, comprehensive tour of Rajasthan. Cons: Travel on train is not for everyone. It is very difficult to sleep on a train.
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Date of experience: December 2019
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geoffery o wrote a review Nov 2019
Penrith, United Kingdom12 contributions3 helpful votes
The Palace On Wheels is not what it says in the way of luxury at all Spent 7 nights and days on it The food is exceptional the service is faultless The cleanliness of the room was good The itinery was brilliant The restaurants were lovely The whole standard of the train itself is not the luxury they imply in their brochures Very poorly maintained in many ways and so so noticeable when they take you to genuine 5 star hotels for lunch!! It just makes it more obvious Shower rooms terrible, our sink leaked from day one and was never right, shower door hanging off on 2 hinges The paintwork is shocking Even out into the corridors and associated areas Sad and neglected look basically There is also a definate heirarcy in guest preference where they try to keep certain groups apart only because they have paid more and it is very noticeable What makes matters worse is we were taken to a wonderful hotel for a night of Indian culture and food of course, in the course of speeches one of the managers actually said 'Please pass your word around about Palace on Wheels so we can make more money' They may well do but not where it is necessary, like maintenance, upkeep and general presentation
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Date of experience: November 2019
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749David wrote a review Nov 2019
New York City, New York601 contributions208 helpful votes
I've read the other reviews that talk about "Not a Palace" and they're just wrong. This is an excellent trip, you won't be disappointed. Just remember 2 things, this is a TRAIN and it's in INDIA. In India, you will eat Indian food; not hot-dogs, not pizza, not cold meats for breakfast. You will eat an international breakfast everday (I had Eggs, either as omelettes or over-easy on toast, with Bacon). Each evening you will have Indian food. Is it the best food you'll ever taste? Probably not, but you're on a Train! Plenty of food, very tasty, all served hot. You want something different, just ask. My wife doesn't eat red meat so we requested Chicken instead. They were happy to do so, cooked in any fashion we wanted. I asked for a Dal Makhani and Sanjay was happy to make it specially for me. There was a non-Indian option available every evening (such as Pasta) for anyone travelling to India who won't eat Indian food! The cabin was excellent, very clean and refreshed every day by the two 24x7 butlers (Rampaul and Ashok) who were both awesome. It's an Edwardian era Maharaja's coach, so built in the 1910's/1920's. WE had twin beds that were very comfortable. And you're on a Train, so Yes,the train rocks and moves and shakes - it's a Train! Not the best sleep I've ever had, but if that was what I was looking for, I wouldn't have booked a week on a train. The bathroom was great. The shower is about 2' by 4' and we had constant piping hot water. The toilet flushed and the water drained and it was cleaned everyday. The excursions were fantastic. We saw 7 cities, 6 forts, 7 palaces, the Taj Mahal, we rode on an elephant and also a camel in the desert. We took a boat ride on Lake Pichola to the island where Octopussy was filmed, and had a rickshaw ride through the Bird Sanctuary. Everything was arranged for us, and all transport worked very well. My only criticism would be the 'forced' shopping visits which were clearly 'fixed'. Very expensive so the guest doesn't have a chance to experience true shopping in an Indian bazaar or market. These were tourist traps that are clearly connected to the train in some fashion, but again, you're in India. Everyone is involved in the deal. But you can always wait in the Bus. In summary, it's a 100 year old train that moves through the night so sleep is adequate but not the same as a hotel room. Food is just fine (and I thought the Indian food very good indeed) but not haute cuisine, and the excursions (leaving aside poor Shopping experiences) are amazing. Mahesh, Sanjay, Ashok and Rampaul are deserving of special mention for their above-and-beyond service.
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Date of experience: November 2019
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Singh wrote a review Oct 2019
3 contributions
Me and my wife have just come back from a week journey on the Palace on wheels from Delhi to Rajasthan. We were looking forward to this vacation and came back very dissapointed. We were given a room in which the toilet was leaking water on the floor which is very unhygienic. We reported this matter to the appropriate personel but nothing was done just a token gesture that they will resolve the issue. We asked for another room and was told the train was full despite the fact the train was not completely sold out and people were given 2 rooms when they had only paid for one. The curtains were falling off the brackets every time the train jolted which was quite often and again nothing was done. The cleanliness of the room was not acceptable and we were asking for towels and refills for the shampoo and body gel although we had expected this to be a norm. The meals on the train were rushed and all the courses were served on the same plate, lasagne was served on the same plate as your curry which is not what you expect from such an expensive holiday. On the positive side the excursions were fantastic, the coaches were air conditioned and clean. The stop overs for the midday meals were in absolutely beautiful heritage hotels, and the food and the variety of food was great. In summary a great way of visiting Rajasthan if you are limited for time in India but lower your expectations regarding the train in my view this is a 3 plus star train and not a 5 star. Please Note If you have a physical disability such as back problems or other pain issues this type of holiday will not be for you as I found out.
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Date of experience: October 2019
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anita wrote a review Oct 2019
Greensboro, North Carolina3 contributions
Palace on wheels is by no means a palace. The first look at our bathroom came as quite a shock. Black mold growing all around the outer rim of the shower, constant leaking water from the toilet, stains on the ceiling and the walls, an encounter with a cockroach in the shower and occasionally seeing mosquitoes in the room and around standing water near toilet came as a huge shocking surprise on this so called luxury train. NRIs and Indian nationals - this train is not for them. In fact those countries from which higher percent of tourists are coming to do Palace on Wheels are given special treatment on this train. We were appalled beyond words to see this discrimination. Last day of the trip for dinner as we were looking forward to saying good bye to fellow travelers we along with other Indians and few select foreigners were told/directed to sit in one dining cabin and 70 percent of the other preferred foreign travelers were placed together in the other for celebrations. We were appalled and disgusted by this discrimination and the bitter memory of it will stay with us for a very long time. And the credit for this goes to our tour leader Umesh. This train is a rip off in another way too. Every city that we visited we were taken to shopping places that are charging at least 4-5 times the cost of the goods. This expensive trip is a total waste of money and needs to be avoided.
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Date of experience: October 2019
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