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Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur
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Reviewed November 1, 2010

Rajasthan is the land of riches and royal grandeur replete with the history of warrior clans who lived life to the fullest, the reminiscences of which can be seen in today’s ‘Havelis’, ‘Mahals’ and the royal palaces that stand testimony to the indefatigable quest for life these happy-go-lucky princes had. Umaid Bhavan is one of them in the city of Jodhpur, created by Raja Umaid Singh over a period of 16 years in 1931. This was one of the finest and earliest examples of food for work programme implemented by the Jodhpur royals. As a Taj TIC Gold Member, we were fortunate to stay in this magnificent palace for two nights, of course, in the non-season (June 2010).

The Umaid Bhavan hospitality begins at the airport when one of their butlers, in our case, Sikander, in his regal uniform received us at the Jodhpur airport with a magnificent car waiting for us. During our ride to the hotel, Sikander narrated the marvels of the hotel, the historical importance and his experience as the personal butler to the King Gaj Singh II who had handed over the hotel management to Taj Hotels. Part of the palace is open to the public as a museum. The major part is occupied by the Taj and one corner kept by the royals themselves. As soon as we entered the hotel, we were received by a retinue of beautiful girls in their traditional colorful Rajasthani ensemble with a plate of aarti and garland, in their hands. After the ceremonial welcome of aarti and garland, my wife grinning in vanity from ear to ear, we were right away taken to a magnificent suite with a living room and bedroom as big as a tennis court. The butler Sikander made us comfortable with welcome drinks while the front office manager Mr. Amit Sarkar familiarized us with the palace and later took us around it, first to the museum and to the rest of the hotel areas. He took us to the Princess suite on the first floor and the adjacent prince suite which were getting readied for the Minister of Tourism, Maharashtra who was about to visit the hotel with his family and entourage the following day. No complaints. We got more than what we paid for. Every inch of the hotel was breathtaking in its splendid, magnificent and decadent opulence with the royal tradition imprinted on every artifact and curtains. It would have been impossible for a prince to maintain such a huge palace but for the Taj having taken it over, however preserving and developing the originality thereof and maintaining the monumental fixtures up to date.

The Umaid Bhavan palace, as I was told happens to be among the largest palaces in India with the constructed area running to about three and a half acres over a total ground area of 26 acres. There are huge lawns manicured and crowned with shining goblets of water sprayed on a day to day basis to keep it reasonably cool in the scorching summer of Rajasthan. Jodhpur is the extreme border area before the desert starts. However, the hotel with all its greenery keeps its visitors closeted there within its premises. In fact, this was one occasion in which we (my wife and I) soaked ourselves in the grandeur of the hotel without any thought of moving around the city. I had already seen the Mehrangarh Fort and other historic monuments in and around Jodhpur and there was not much to be done in the infamous June summer so I enjoyed every bit of being in the hotel for the next 3 days, exploring the nook and corner of the hotel. The Central dome (cupola) is 104 feet high and the circular foyer and the restaurants, the bar, were all managed by seemingly royal guards with their grand turbans in places. At least two of the guards had moustaches as big as three feet curled and set in place. Amit Sarkar, the front office manager said that the guards got up around two O’clock in the morning, if their duty was to begin at 6’clock tending their moustache and setting it like a handle bar. The Rajputs of Rajasthan are very proud of their handle-bar moustaches as they are of their ancestry. It was very fascinating to see them in action as they opened the gate to let in or out, bowing as if you were the Maharaja. We visited the Trophy Bar and Rizala, not for a drink or morsel of food but to have a look at it. The waiters over there, Govardhan and Siddiqui explained the marvels of the artifacts over there, stuffed animals and how they got hunted down and showed some exotic wine and an enviable list of single malt whiskies, culinary cocktails, organic wines and hoards of beverages to choose from, and in the meanwhile serving us a few brownies and mocktails.

The hotel has two swimming pools, one indoor and one outdoor. We tried both of them. In fact it is fascinating to note that the internal swimming pool is maintained at 210C so as not to cause any harm to the wall painting and murals done with natural colours. It is a royal salute from the Taj to the tradition and heritage of India. Then there is the Jeeva Spa manned by Ekraj, a naturopathy expert from Nepal who became our constant companion and guide for the rest of our stay there who took us around the spa explaining the special ayurvedic treatments they had charted out not from Kerala, but the ancient ayurvedic tradition of Bihar. This was a new area of knowledge for me. I was always proud that Kerala is the mother of Ayurvedic therapy system. But the best of Kerala treatment had been merged with the Magadh system as well. Shri Ekraj took us round the nursery in which was being developed certain herbs and medicinal plants. He also took us to the fabulous gym, one of the most modern and self contained, I ever saw. The equipment was all state of the art like treadmills and the vibrator, abdominal benches and the works. Everyday I spent a few hours at the gym to digest atleast a part of the heavy royal food served at the Rizala and the Verandah Cafe where the chefs concocted the best of Rajasthan royal dishes served in a grandiose ceremony by waiters dressed in their resplendent uniforms. The evenings were reserved for some fire cultural extra-vaganza. Even we tried the ‘laal maas’ which watered our eyes like the grandmother did with her fairy tale stories. They also tried to serve my eccentric orders for certain Bengali food. There was an endless list of waiters who would willingly do everything possible and impossible to make you feel like the king and then there was Tomishra, the enchantress from the F&B who took a few culinary challenges from me and got her chef to additional exercise for me for a three eggs, all white fluffy omlette. Of course nobody makes it the way they do in the Taj Bengal (See my reviews). But she got me the Jamaican coffee, alright. Don’t forget the sunset pavilion, if you happen to be there in winter.

The General Manager Mr. Ashish Roy joined us on the day of our check out and presented my wife with a book on Umaid Bhavan which she opens at least once a day to read a page. I have already read it a dozen times. He wished us all well with the next part of our tour to Jaislmer.

On our check out, we were to visit a friend at a place where cars would not enter and the hotel arranged to drop us at the nearest place with proper directions to the driver and how to go instructions for us. Until we reached Jaisalmer, the following day, they kept track of us knowing our journey to Jaisalmer.

If you want to have a real taste of royalty, you have to make a stopover at Jodhpur. If you want to make the best of your stay in Jodhpur, you have to stay at the Umaid Bhavan and experience what royal splendor is all about. The hotel rentals are very exorbitant. Accepted and so is the food but if you want a taste of royal grandeur, once in a lifetime experience with Taj signature hospitality pampering you like a mother coochie-cooing her child, you have to stay at the Umaid Bhavan. Right from the General Manager Ashish Roy to the lowest level watch and warn staff over there speak their special language of love, warmth and hospitality and I cannot but put on record the services rendered by Achal Singh, from the house keeping – Govardhan Singh, Kumar, Mahaveer, Pushpender, and Tomishra, from F&B and above all the front office manager Amit Sarkar and the General Manager Ashish Roy for making our stay a memorable one with memories lingering in our minds for ever.

I wish I could have stayed a few more days. But the Taj Palaces create an inveterate indulgence in your epicurean mind which you cannot come out of early unless you have strong will to stay away from the severe credit card punches.

Stayed: June 2010, traveled on business
1  Thank krishnamrutam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RamaJodhpur, General Manager at Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur, responded to this reviewResponded November 14, 2010

Dear Mr. Krishnan,
Greetings from Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur!
Thank you for taking your valuable time in sharing your feedback. I am pleased to note that your experience at the hotel met your expectations and that you had a pleasant and comfortable stay with us. I have shared your appreciation with the team especially with Amit Sarkar, Sikander, Achal Singh, Ekraj, Mahaveer, Pushpender & Govardan Singh as it is feedback such as yours that motivates us to achieve higher levels of service.
We value your patronage and look forward to welcoming you to Umaid Bhawan Palace again.

Sincerely,
Ashish Kumar Rai
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2010

One memory that stands out from my entire vacation is how, at all times in the day, you felt you are not on this planet anymore! The only sounds that you would hear all day were of birds chirping and the leaves rustling with the breeze:) Would you believe that? In Mumbai, despite staying on a high rise, we sleep to the sound of traffic, and yes, again wake up to the sound of traffic. Obviously, an amazingly rejuvenating experience!

The food is brilliant. We thoroughly enjoyed the palace tour as well, and spotted peacocks, a black buck and a rabbit :)

The staff had organized a traditional rajasthani dinner for us on the last day of the stay, including a song & dance performance! Small things that complete the experience!

Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
1  Thank ItzRitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RamaJodhpur, General Manager at Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur, responded to this reviewResponded October 30, 2010

Dear Madam,
Greetings from Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur!
Thank you for taking your valuable time in sharing your feedback. I am pleased to note that your experience at the hotel met your expectations and that you had a pleasant and comfortable stay with us. I have shared your appreciation with the team as it is feedback such as yours that motivates us to achieve higher levels of service.
We value your patronage and look forward to welcoming you to Umaid Bhawan Palace again.

Yours sincerely,

Ashish Kumar Rai

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2010

The hotel is an exquisite Palace where they treat the guests like royalty! The pampering starts at the airport, with a turbaned butler and a driver, waiting with cold towels and chilled water. At the hotel, you are showered with rose petals as you enter the beautiful domed lobby, given a welcome drink and then, whisked off to your room, in a matter of minutes. We were given an upgrade to a suite. The suite was gorgeous, but the best part was the balcony with the sweeping views of the garden. We would have our tea in the mornings and watch the peacocks strut by.
The service was outstanding. Each and every staff member went out of his or her way to make our trip memorable. Amit (our favorite bartender) would fix a different fruity complimentary concoction for my daughter each time we stopped by for a drink. Dhruba, the chef asked us what food we liked and whipped up special dinners for us. The food was consistently good.
My husband and I had some great massages at the spa. They have a beautiful art deco indoor pool next to the spa and they have a lovely outdoor pool with a sweeping view of the town. At both pools, the staff members were attentive, with fresh fruit, water, cold towels etc. Every evening, at turn down, along with a plate of cakes/sweets for us, they had a separate plate for my daughter. Each evening, it was something different. A clown, a heart or something cute with her name written on it with frosting! There were so many extra touches like this, I can't even mention them all. We arrived there on July 28 and we were supposed to stay for 3 days but ended up staying for 5!
When we were about to leave, Puneet Sharma, the charming Operations Manager, gave us a nicely wrapped gift. It was a coffee table book about the history of the palace. Then, he and four other staff members (no, I am not kidding - 5 of them!!!) came to see us off!! I told you - they treat their guests like royalty! We have stayed at some nice hotels like the Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons etc. but nothing compares to this. The only other place that was as wonderful was our stay at the Taj Udaipur Lake Palace, last year!

Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
Thank RadishPaloAlto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RamaJodhpur, General Manager at Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur, responded to this reviewResponded October 12, 2010

Dear Madam,

Dear Madam,

Greetings from Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur!
Thank you for taking your valuable time in sharing your feedback. I am pleased to note that your experience at the hotel met your expectations and that you had a pleasant and comfortable stay with us. I have shared your appreciation with Amit, Dhruba & Puneet Sharma and the team as it is feedback such as yours that motivates us to achieve higher levels of service.
We value your patronage and look forward to welcoming you to Umaid Bhawan Palace again.

Ashish Kumar Rai
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2010

Just returned from my business trip to Jodhpur.. stayed at the Palace and wow.. what an experience!! We reached the palace in the evening after our meetings and were accorded a warm traditional welcome at the reception. We were met by a smart young lady who took us to our rooms and told us that we were upgraded to a suite!! Wow!
The suite inside was great... cosy bed.. well stocked mini bar.. a study.. a huge bathroom with a bathtub right in the middle..Every detail in the room was well taken care off and prepared with for our visit!
We visited the bar which had an excellent selection of drinks.. post which we went to the very famous open air 'Pillars' restuarant!! Great Rajasthani food coupled with great service made a great evening for us! Great place to entertain your guests!
I'm planning to go back along with my family for the palatial experience very soon!

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Prajodh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RamaJodhpur, General Manager at Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur, responded to this reviewResponded October 12, 2010

Dear Sir,

Greetings from Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur!

Thank you for taking your valuable time in sharing your feedback. I am pleased to note that your experience at the hotel met your expectations and that you had a pleasant and comfortable stay with us. I have shared your appreciation with the team as it is feedback such as yours that motivates us to achieve higher levels of service.

We value your patronage and look forward to welcoming you to Umaid Bhawan Palace again.

Ashish Kumar Rai
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2010

All the hotel staff dressed in royal attire makes you feel as if you are a royal family member.The hill top view of the city is soothing to the eyes,all houses painted in blue looks like sea along the hill side.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Manish_para
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RamaJodhpur, General Manager at Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur, responded to this reviewResponded October 12, 2010

Dear Mr.Para,

Greetings from Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur!

Thank you for taking your valuable time in sharing your feedback. I am pleased to note that your experience at the hotel met your expectations and that you had a pleasant and comfortable stay with us. I have shared your appreciation with Swaroop and the team as it is feedback such as yours that motivates us to achieve higher levels of service.

We value your patronage and look forward to welcoming you to Umaid Bhawan Palace again.

Ashish Kumar Rai
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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