Udaipur — the name itself conjures up romance, bringing to mind its dreamy setting on seven lakes ringed by magnificent palaces and the tall ridges of the Aravalli Range stretching out into the distance. Indeed, it was dubbed "the most romantic spot on the continent of India" by James Tod, an officer of the British East India Company — a moniker that still holds true today. If you’re looking for a romantic escapade, choose from these stunning hotels in Udaipur.
1. Taj Lake Palace
When it comes to location, nothing can beat the Taj Lake Palace, which sits pretty in the placid waters of Lake Pichola. The striking white marble edifice dates back to the 18th century and was once the royal summer palace. It was converted into a heritage hotel in 1963, offering 65 luxurious rooms and 18 grand suites. Its fabled terraces and private nooks offer many dinner date opportunities, whether it’s at the rooftop al fresco restaurant Bhairo or on the 150-year-old royal barge, Gangaur. Don’t miss booking a couple’s spa on board the Jiva Spa boat, an elegant floating pleasure palace anchored on Lake Pichola where skilled therapists soothe your mind and body with signature royal spa experiences.
tajhotels.com, doubles from Rs 41,000
2. The Oberoi Udaivilas
Spread over 1,21,406 square metres of luxuriant gardens, The Oberoi Udaivilas’ resplendent architecture — of interconnecting domes, stone pavilions with tiled courtyards, fortified walls with elegant arches, and gently rippling fountains — pays homage to the romance of traditional Indian palaces. The richly appointed rooms come with private terraces and many with private swimming pools. A rejuvenating spa ritual for couples at the luxurious Oberoi Spa is a must-do. End the day with a boat ride on Lake Pichola in a tastefully decorated shikara, and later, dine in the private lakeside pavilion with unparalleled views of the night-lit City Palace and Jagmandir.
oberoihotels.com, doubles from Rs 49,000
3. The Leela Palace Udaipur
Standing tall on the banks of Lake Pichola, The Leela Palace Udaipur offers stunning views of the Aravalli mountains. Whether you choose to stay in the Lake Wing or Palace Wing, the luxurious rooms come adorned with traditional craftsmanship of Rajasthan such as thekri, glass and marble inlay, artefacts, and paintings. Indulge in delicious culinary experiences amidst breathtaking natural settings, whether it’s a private lakeside breakfast or a picnic in the guava garden. The hotel is currently offering a complimentary 3rd night’s stay if you book for 2 nights (March-September 2023).
theleela.com, doubles from Rs 38,000
4. ZANA Lake Resort
If you want to get away from the bustle of Lake Pichola, book a room at the recently opened ZANA Lake Resort — one of the only two resorts on the shore of Udaisagar Lake (about 10 km outside the city). Unlike other resorts that lean heavily into the Rajasthani aesthetic, ZANA goes minimalistic with a touch of English manor house. All 30 rooms face the lake, some with balconies others with private gardens. The gorgeous infinity pool seemingly blends into the lake (truly #poolgoals!) and is the perfect setting for a fun evening of guided liqueur tasting. Food ranges from Indian to Chinese and Italian and is served in the restaurant or in one of two private lakeside gazebos (note that this is a vegetarian-only resort, but egg preparations are available).
zanaresorts.com, doubles from Rs 15,000
5. RAAS Devigarh
Just 25 km from Udaipur, RAAS Devigarh is a grand hilltop 18th-century palace-fortress that’s been given a modernist makeover. Tucked in a secluded spot in the Aravallis, the fortress was built by generals of the legendary king Maharana Pratap. It was restored over 15 years and it now houses 39 suites distributed across different levels, each seamlessly blending contemporary luxury with ancient beauty. For the ultimate private stay, book The Devigarh Suite, complete with its own swimming pool. If you’re the adventurous sort, there are several hikes around the Aravallis to choose from or you can take it easy with a tailor-made couples’ spa experience. For dinner, book the Sheesh Mahal with its mirrored environs where you can indulge in signature Rajasthani thalis.
raashotels.com, doubles from Rs 24,000
5 things you must do in Udaipur
- Visit the City Palace, an imposing palace complex built over 400 years, part of which is still home to the current royal family. The palace stands on the east bank of Lake Pichola and contains a museum that gives you a glimpse of how the rulers of Mewar lived.
- Get a bird’s eye view of Udaipur from the hilltop Sajjangarh Palace, the erstwhile monsoon palace of the royal family. Its café offers snacks and drinks but if you’re staying at ZANA Lake Resort, the hotel organises a lovely picnic lunch in the garden.
- Grab a coffee at one of the cafes that dot the banks of Lake Pichola. Locals recommend Jheel’s Ginger Coffee Bar & Bakery, which offers indoor and outdoor seating spread over several floors (we vouch for the quality of coffee!).
- Hop on a boat and cruise Lake Pichola; the golden hour before sunset offers a particularly mesmerising experience with all the lakeside buildings gleaming golden and casting shimmering reflections.
- Join the locals to catch the sunset at Ambrai Ghat on Lake Pichola; sure, it will be thronged but at least you will get a fab selfie! Later, head next door to Ambrai for a dreamy dinner date with a view (reservation recommended, ambrairestaurant.com).