A crenellated vision in white set high on a granite knoll with far-reaching views, this is no ordinary palace hotel. It’s a glamorous, modish retreat and a refreshing change from the dark claustrophobic interiors of traditional Rajasthani fort-palaces.
An hour’s drive east from Udaipur off National Highway 8, the hotel sits among wheat fields deep in the Aravalli Hills. It’s a 10-minute walk into the welcoming village of Delwara, known for its ancient Jain temples.
Address: NH8, Near Eklingji Temple Delwara, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313202, India.
Style & character
A symphony in white offset with silver and gold and vivid splashes of peacock green and saffron yellow, the interiors will delight those who love clean and contemporary design. The palace is truly labyrinthine. It’s worth taking a tour with a member of staff to find hidden courtyards and balconies that look out over a landscape little changed since Rajput rulers hunted here 200 years ago.
The ambience is hushed and grown up (though that may change around Indian holidays like Diwali) and guests are a mix of Indians, Europeans and Americans.
Service & facilities
The solicitous staff go beyond the call of duty. A friend fell ill on my visit and staff summoned a doctor in a trice, bought her medicine and prepared special food. Over-solicitous “royal service” can be an issue at palace hotels but at Devigarh they recognise that not all guests want a waiter at their elbow.
The grounds contain a large pool which is heated – essential in winter. There’s also a billiard room, an Ila spa, a hot tub on a turret and private yoga lessons (£20 an hour). The excellent village tours are taken by well-trained local youths.
There are 39 simply sumptuous suites scattered throughout the fort, some hidden away up narrow staircases. Garden suites have private verandas but the view’s the thing here so pay up for a Palace suite. Rooms are refreshingly bright with pale marble floors, sprung super-king beds and large bathrooms with tub and walk-in rainshower. All have private terraces, day beds in a sitting area, and CD and DVD players. Butlers are at your beck and call.
Food & drink
The main dining room occupies a swish white pavilion. Delicately spiced Rajasthani curries, both meat and vegetarian, top the menu which also includes international dishes such as roast chicken with herbed potatoes and fillet of salmon. Salads are from the hotel’s organic garden.There are also magical venues for private dining by candlelight, including the historic mirrored Sheesh Mahal or under the stars warmed by a roaring fire.
Any dish can be cooked to order for breakfast including a full English fry-up or a stack of pancakes, but do try one of the south Indian specialities: masala dosa, uttapam or idli. There’s a good choice of freshly squeezed juices.
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