Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Even by Rajashtani standards, the Umaid Bhavan Palace, crowning Chittar Hill on the southeast edge of Jodhpur, is an awesome pile. Completed in 1944, it was commissioned as a famine relief project and kept 3,000 labourers busy for 16 years.

Maharaja Umaid Singh, its creator, died just four years after it was finished and barely had time to enjoy the extraordinarily lavish Art-Deco interiors of its 347 rooms and apartments, let alone the 26-acres of grounds. His grandson, the present Maharaja and his family, now occupy one third of the palace. The rest is run in high style by Taj Group.

Enjoy an exclusive “champagne walk” through the palace museum, followed by a frame or two of billiards and late-night dip in the massive outdoor pool, with its views of floodlit Mehrangarh fort in the distance.

Our opinion

Umaid Bhawan Palace is the ultimate royal experience: luxurious rooms, fine dining, an in house museum with fab objets d’art and magnificent gardens dotted with cenotaphs.

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