Bikaner, Rajasthan, India

The Laxmi Vilas Palace was designed at the end of the 19th century by one of the great architects of the Raj era, Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob. Crafted in rich red sandstone, it ranks among the very finest royal abodes in the region, renowned above all for its intricate filigree, carved screens and latticed windows.

The palace, divided into two separate wings, is centered on a cloistered courtyard where fire dances and ghazal singing enlivens the winter evenings. Sparkling with gilt, exquisite lacquer work and murals, the interiors have enraptured European royalty and several heads of state over the years, as the photographs hanging beneath the tiger skins in the billiards room underline. There’s also an outdoor pool in the grounds.

Lallgarh, the sister wing next door, accommodates a second characterful heritage hotel, this time with an indoor pool. Many of the rooms are vast, and no less sumptuously decorated than their siblings in the other portion.

Our opinion

A good mid-range option in this frontier town, the three star facilities at this hotel offer a characteristic royal experience.

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