WHAT’S IT LIKE? This five-star luxury hotel takes its place in Udaipur against competition from the Taj and Oberoi groups. It’s a boutique property with 80 huge rooms (from 54 sqm) that all have fabulous views of Lake Pichola, and are also very peaceful – in fact, a large Indian wedding took place over a couple of days while we were there and we weren’t disturbed by it, despite evening entertainment and several gala dinners going on.
WHERE IS IT? On the northwest bank of the lake, from where you get an outstanding view of the Taj hotel and City Palace. On arrival you are taken to the property by boat but, in fact, it is only a short and picturesque walk into the centre of Udaipur.
ROOM FACILITIES The 72 bedrooms are divided into Lake View and Heritage Lake View, the latter also having views of the two palaces, while the eight suites come in Luxury, Duplex, Royal and Maharajah types. All have LCD TV players, though who would watch television with views as good as the ones here? There are also Bose iPod docks, broadband high-speed internet access (Rs 600/£8 for 24 hours), US and UK plugs, organic teas, Nespresso machines (in suites only) and bathrooms with TVs.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Restaurants and bars The Dining Room serves international cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with both indoor and outdoor seating available. For special occasions, Sheesh Mahal is right by the lake and offers fine Indian cuisine. There is also the Library bar, which specialises in cognacs and malt whiskies. Food and drinks are served by the pool during the day.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The hotel has several event spaces, including the Mewar room, which seats up to 96 delegates banquet-style, and the Marwar, which holds 80 theatre-style. These two rooms combine to form a ballroom with a capacity of 200 for dinner. There are also three smaller boardrooms for between eight and ten guests, and a business centre.
LEISURE FACILITIES The large swimming pool is good for both lounging and lengths, and free foot massages are offered during the long morning and afternoon hours for those relaxing in the cabanas. There is an excellent gym with modern equipment and a dedicated yoga studio in the Espa-branded wellness centre (open 9am-9pm), which offers a wide range of treatments from facials to “jet lag eliminators”. Games of bocce and croquet also seemed to be popular.
VERDICT Very good service and great views make up for the lack of history in this perfectly situated luxury property.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 80, including eight suites
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The amount of space and amazing views – forget staying at the Lake Palace, it’s far better having a view of it and the City Palace.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in June started from Rs 15,300 (£210) for a Lake View room.
CONTACT Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur, Lake Pichola; tel +91 294 6701 234; theleela.com