Orchard Palace, Gondal
Orchard Palace has to be one of western India’s most welcoming and atmospheric heritage hotels. The former royal guest house of the Gondal Maharajas, it boasts a splendid 19th-century arched façade and 1940s Art Deco interiors that haven’t altered a jot in decades. Three-piece suites, antique prints and embroidered bedspreads decorate the huge rooms, some of which have long covered verandahs and dressing rooms where the servants used to sleep.
A team of kindly retainers look after today’s guests, guiding visitors around the vintage car collection, Maharaja’s railway carriage (which you can sleep in) and groves of lime and mango trees in the grounds, where more than 80 peacocks strut in bucolic splendour.
With more time you can drive out to the royal grasslands to spot Nilgai (blue bulls). Staying as part of a group here feels like a bit being at an old-fashioned country house party.
A charming and simple royal guest house with comfortable rooms and good home style Gujarati food.
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