Rajasthan, India

Roughly midway between Ahmedabad and Udaipur, Dungarpur lies sufficiently far from the tourist trail to have retained a decidedly old-world feel. Few travelers ever make it to the town, and those that do all stay in the splendid Udai Bilas – a 19th-century palace made of blue-grey sandstone on the shores of Gaibsagar Lake. It’s a joy waking up at the property: the views from the front-facing rooms across the water are chimeric just after sunrise, when the delicate domes and pillars of the Jal Mandir lake temple seem to float above their mirror image. We strongly advise clients to book a suite – and not merely for the sublime views. They’re much larger and furnished with original antiques from the royal collection. Other attractions include the palace’s museum of vintage cars, a magnificent marble banquet table (where you eat facing a flower-filled, scented pond) and, not least, the old, 7-storey Juna Mahal, noted for its fine Rajput-style murals.

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