Managed by the Taj Hotels, the 19th-century Rambagh Palace is the best address in town—and the place where we had the privilege to taste the real lifestyle of Jaipur’s last maharaja, if only for a few days.
The Rambagh Palace used to be the Maharaja and Maharani‘s home. In its heyday, the palace hosted many international celebrities and dignitaries and the royal couple turned it into a hotel in the end, while still treating it as their home. At least for a while.
This heritage shapes the experience of Rambagh even today. The hospitality here is a way of life, making the stay at Rambagh Palace very special indeed.
The glorious past
We surrendered to the royal treatment from the moment of arrival. First sprinkled with rose petals, then rested on a cozy chaise longues, we were offered welcome drinks and cold towels to refresh after a journey. The check-in process followed and it itself was relaxing, despite taking place in the somewhat imposing lobby.
Vintage car, horse carriage, a real steam locomotive with carriages converted to a restaurant and the fabulous gardens populated by peacocks—at Rambagh every corner bursts with history and character.
The palace maintains vintage details, to the backdrop if its architectural glory and grandeur. Colossal ceilings and domes top expansive rooms, marbled corridors lead to arcaded courtyards, fountains punctuate gardens, long colonnades flank lawns and patios.
Rooms and beyond
The Rambagh Palace preserves its heritage, but it provides contemporary luxuries too.
For a large property such as Rambagh, the number of rooms and suites is surprisingly low. There are seventy-nine rooms, all beautifully restored with period furniture, rich fabrics and hand-painted motifs. Formerly the chambers of the Maharaja and his guests, today they are of course air-conditioned and equipped with plasma TVs, and WiFi.
The property also has a spa center, with a heritage indoor swimming pool (built in the 1920s) as well as a very pretty new outdoor pool. The spa treatment rooms are set in pavilions, freestanding among lush gardens.
There are also four fine-dining restaurants and a large bar called Polo Bar, where we’d end up having cocktails almost every night, followed by dinner at the casual Verandah restaurant—our favorite. Overlooking the gardens, it has a very relaxed atmosphere. So does the delightful Steam restaurant, set within a restored 1915 railway carriage and serving light meals and pizzas.
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On the opposite end of the spectrum is Suvarna Mahal, the palace’s former banquet hall and today the choice for stately dining. With crystal chandeliers and large alabaster marble lamps, Suvama is well in the realm of the past extravagances of Maharajas.
In fact, Suvarna Mahal is emblematic of the Rambagh experience. The hotel is filled with memories of the bygone era, but especially its lavish luxuries—updated to the 21st century and with the five-star standards of service to match—offer a window to the fantastic wealth of the Maharajas.