Once upon a time, many decades ago, Mr. Oberoi gathered his A team & ordered the construction of a palace that represented both India’s rich heritage & Mewar’s tradition. That’s how I imagine The Udaivilas came about.
You hear an echo in the background “Bamulaiza Hoshiyar..Jahanpanna aur Begum Sidhu padhar rahe hain”..
..You’re ushered into the gorgeous hotel, with a light shower of rose petals. A quick tilak ceremony sets the stage for the experiences to follow…
Large domes and cupolas. Marble lily pounds. Floral work on gold leaf. Thekri work on the walls. Candle light reflection on 1000 pieces of glass… it is luxury personified & the closest anyone will get to experiencing the lives of the erstwhile maharajas.
After the welcome ritual of petals, tilak & property tour, we were left to the comfort of our room. The room opened up to a private pool running across a few suites and overlooking the Lake Pichola. Since there were only 2 other occupants, we pretty much had the pool to ourselves for most part of our stay.
We couldn’t call each other Charoo & Reuben at Udaivillas. The names didn’t reflect the royalty we were surrounded with.. It just seemed inappropriate & rude. For the duration of our trip we were Begum(queen) & Jahanpana (king).
Begum would wake up every morning & look for the khansama (cook) to prepare her the most delectable breakfast. Then begum would park herself on a chaise lounge by her pool with a cocktail and alternate between snoozing & some light reading.
Around lunch if they felt like checking on the praja, the royal couple would leave the palace premises & go explore a thekri workshop. Follow it up with local rajasthani food & then return to the warm luxury of their not so humble abode.
Begum would grab a bottle of wine & jump into the pool with the love of her life every afternoon. Soon as the effect of alcohol mixed with water buoyancy, Begum would transform into Jennifer Grey ( Baby in Dirty Dancing).. She would run to her Patrick Swayze who may or may not have been able to manage a water lift.
At the first sign of sunset, they would grace the bar and prepare for the feast that followed.The food of the God’s is served in a candle light setting under the star lit sky. There is live Rajasthani classical music and dancers enthral you as you’re served the most delectable food & wine. You know you’re sinning when you order dessert right after exploring the possibility of your stomach exploding after dinner. But trust me when I say, it’s a risk worth taking!
No power in this world can keep you awake after a meal like that. Maharaja & Begum would drift into a sound sleep smiling, and wake up to the most pleasant thoughts of the day to follow.
We spent three days in Udaivilas but carried back memories that will last us a lifetime!!
I also converted from a nay sayer to the strongest believer of luxury tourism. This trip opened the doors for a whole new world of tourism that now waits to be explored.. I can hardly wait to get started 🙂
Hotel: Oberoi Udaivilas
Best time to go: October to March
How to get there: Flight connections via Delhi
Ideal Trip time: 4 days