Do you know about Taj Hotels? I knew of them before this year but I didn’t KNOW OF THEM. Now that I have been to three Taj Hotels properties in India, something about my life will never be the same again. Read on to find out why….
I was a guest of Taj Hotels for the stays referenced here. I was not compensated for sharing this information with you nor was I required to & all opinions plus images are my own.
I think ‘Luxury Travel’ is a term that has within it a sort of sliding scale in terms of what that really is and what it is not. Most days I am not even sure I could securely define it. I just know most of my travel experience of the last few years is more luxury than not and I know it’s what I prefer. So that’s why I was so honored and excited to be asked by Taj Hotels to be a guest on a trip that would visit three of their properties in India. They’re known for having in their portfolio TRUE ‘luxury hotels.’
Taj Hotels Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur
From the minute we walked through the doors at Umaid Bhawan Palace, I knew I was going to like our third and final Taj Hotels property. I hadn’t done a lot of research prior to our arrival because I wanted to be surprised but I had heard that it’s been chosen numerous times in the past and even as recent as last year as the ‘Best Hotel in the World.’ Still I think CN Traveler said it best with their review. I can’t disagree with a word,
“Even the most jaded jaws drop on arrival at Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace, the imposing royal residence turned luxury hotel in the northern Indian city of Jodhpur. Ironically, a 1920 famine across Rajasthan motivated then Maharaja Umaid Singhji to build his Art Deco aid project, creating work for three thousand people, among them descendants of the Taj Mahal carvers who chiseled the exquisite yellow sandstone façade here. Today, the royal family lives in one wing while guests pretend to the throne along endless marble corridors and in the expansive gardens clipped to perfection by a staff of 25. Take a worthwhile detour to the on-site museum, filled with photos and memorabilia cataloguing the bejeweled lives of Jodhpur’s elite. Since 1972 the palace has operated as a heritage hotel but only with the arrival of the Taj Group in 2005 does service come close to matching the awesome setting. All 64 sizable rooms are equipped with WiFi and round the clock butler service.”
I also loved that the heritage of this property includes having given work to people who were so in need of it at the time. Because while the idea of a palace can seem very outdated in today’s world, anything that does some good while also adding beauty to the world, ends up being good in my book. Umaid Bhawan is also still a residence of the royal family of Jodhpur who I hear still do a lot of good in the city or for the city’s residents.
And the pools — when Alice Goa and I were doing a photo shoot at the outdoor pool, we experienced again the incredible level of service that all Taj Hotel guests are treated to. Not only the assistance of staff but the delivery of a beautiful picnic basket with chilled watermelon, bottles of water, cold towels, a bento box of snacks and a mojito for each of us. I’ve had little treats poolside at resorts before but this was next level. One Taj employee explained it to me thus, “every guest is royalty while they’re here with us.” I also heard locals say that in general in India, all guests are like god or ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’. It’s stuck with me because I believe that if we all looked at visitors and guests with such kindness and openness, perhaps the world would be a better place.
Rajasthan really surprised me during this trip, officially becoming my favorite part of India that I already want to return to see more of as soon as I can. And a huge part of my love was cemented with our stay at Umaid Bhawan.
From the first night on the roof at sunset, to the way every meal was worthy of a Michelin star to the outdoor and indoor pools to the incredible spa to the view from my room, to the smile on the faces of everyone we met, to the afternoon tea and the bazaar that was set up for us in the courtyard one day and on and on and on…it was all the things that my childhood princess dreams were made of. And so much more.
It was easy to see why Umaid Bhawan Palace has been chosen more than once as the best hotel in the world.
Did you catch Part 1 in this series? And Part 2? What did you think about Umaid Bhawan Palace and these other Taj Hotels?
I use the term ‘to die for’ in relation to these Taj Hotel properties in India not because that’s a phrase that I think should be used lightly. Rather, I use it because that’s the phrase that kept popping into my head every day that we were guests of Taj Hotels in India.