With shimmering Lake Pichola and the wooded Aravalli Hills stretching away in every direction, Udaipur has a romance of setting unmatched in Rajasthan and arguably in all of India. On and around the shores of the sparkling lake are three fabulous luxury hotels: Taj Lake Palace, Oberoi Udaivilasand Leela Palace. Each a marvel in their own right. The only tricky thing is which one to choose as your accommodation. But, fortunately, as experts in luxury tailor-made tours of Rajasthan, we know these properties inside out. Here, we give you the lowdown, the advantages and the disadvantages of each hotel to help you make the perfect decision.
Location always plays a key part in our guest’s decision about where to stay.
The Taj Lake Palace, which floats like a mirage in the centre of serene and glassy Lake Pichola, makes it one of the world's most romantic hotels. Transferring to and from the property by boat is a truly magical experience as is gazing out at the sparkling waters from your palace room window.
Both the Leela Palace and the Oberoi Udaivilas are nestled on the banks of Lake Pichola. Staying at the Leela Palace or Oberoi Udai Vilas affords a stunning view of the Lake Palace, City Palace and Lake Pichola. At the Leela Palace, the Grand Heritage Lake View Rooms with Balcony boast their own private terrace from which to admire the beautiful panorama. The Premier Room with Lake View at the Oberoi Udai Vilas ensures a wonderful view of the lake as well as direct access to a semi-private swimming pool.
It’s difficult to say which of these luxury hotels in Udaipur have a better location. They are all exquisite properties. However, we think that the Lake Palace comes out on top owing to its unique location in the middle of the lake rather than on the banks.
It’s impossible to say which hotel has the edge. Instead, it all comes down to personal taste. For guests who like a rich history, Taj Lake Palace with its old-world charm, authentic touches and original fountains is a must-stay. The Oberoi Udaivilas has a more classic, perhaps minimalist atmosphere with fine attention to detail. Guests who appreciate royal, glamorous Indian décor would be happiest at the Leela Palace. In terms of space, the Oberoi Udaivilas has the largest entry-level rooms at 600 sq ft, the Leela Palace’s begin at 480 sq ft and the Taj Lake Palace at 300 sq ft.
Taj Lake Palace, Oberoi Udaivilasand Leela Palace all offer a number of excellent restaurants, serving sumptuous cuisine.
Taj Lake Palace has three dining options – we love Neel Kamal, the fine-dining dinner-only restaurant overlooking the lily pond. Presented on Versace dinnerware, expect authentic flavours of the royal cuisine of Udaipur, the North West Frontier and other regions of India, produced using local ingredients and wood-fired stoves. Alternatively, find delicious European cuisine at the open-air Bhairo, an incredibly romantic rooftop restaurant with far-reaching views across the lake to the City Palace.
The Oberoi Udavilas also has three restaurants. Our favourite is Udaimahal which serves Indian cuisine with a focus on rare dishes and reinvented classics. Candlelit at night, with live traditional music, the interiors of this evening dining space are magical with a painted dome ceiling of a tranquil night sky. Another great option is Chandi, where you can dine al-fresco on both Indian and western food overlooking serene Lake Pichola.
At Leela Palace, our top choice is the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, Sheesh Mahal which has a stunning location on the edge of Lake Pichola – and, in our opinion, is the best dining experience in Udaipur. Whilst savouring authentic Indian dishes, the al fresco setting allows guests to soak up the mesmerising lake view and the starlit night sky.
Each of three luxury hotels in Udaipur offers a great selection of private dining options for those truly special occasions. At the Taj Lake Palace, couples can enjoy an intimate dinner complete with a dedicated butler and handcrafted menu in fairytale settings across the palace – the best, however, is to dine à deuxon the Gangaur, a 150-year-old boat used by the Maharanas. Private dinners at the Oberoi Udaivilascan be arranged beside the lake or at the poolside pavilion, decorated with a curtain of fresh marigold flowers and lit by candles, accompanied by live traditional music. At the Leela Palace, the hotel’s Destination Dining is fantastic, arranged at various venues, including the garden patio, the spa alcove, and the pool deck. The staff is brilliantly attentive, creating tailored evening including personalized menus and bespoke entertainment.
Dining is guaranteed to be a royal experience at all three hotels. If you were to decide on the Leela Palace as your hotel in Udaipur, you are more than welcome, of course, to dine at the Oberoi Udaivilas one night. Taj Lake Palace is the only exception as the entire property is accessible only to resident guests.
These three luxury hotels in Udaipur have all the facilities you would expect from a five-star hotel including a spa, swimming pool, salon, fitness centre and bar.
The Taj Lake Palace’s spa is an experience like no other as guests can enjoy a wonderful selection of aromatherapy experiences whilst floating on Lake Pichola in the Jiva spa boat.
We would say the Oberoi Udaivilas is the best for children. They offer many complimentary activities including a magic show, kite decorating and flying, pot painting, a puppet show and even a treasure hunt. The hotel also has babysitting services.
The Leela Palace is brilliant for bringing Udaipur’s rich culture to life with musical performances and colourful live dances in the evenings.
The Oberoi Udaivilas, Taj Lake Palace and Leela Palace are among India’s finest luxury hotels so the first-class service is a given. That said, based on feedback from previous guests, we would say that the Oberoi Udavilas has the edge. The staff are impeccably-trained providing incredibly attentive, personalised and warm service. This high level has seen Oberoi Hotels & Resorts receive innumerable awards and accolades – and Oberoi Udavilas was named Best Hotel in the World in 2015.
These ideas are just a starting point for what your trip to India could include. To start planning your luxury tailor-made holiday to India, please contact us. Each trip designed by Rajasthan Tours is created uniquely for you, working to your budget, style and interests with an absolute commitment to quality. We take the work off you to allow you to enjoy the most memorable holiday experience.