There is a soul like me who would find any reason to take a trip. I have been waiting for a while to do a long post. This trip report starts with me making Rajasthan trip for my birthday. I would be covering Jodhpur, Jaipur, and Mumbai here. I somehow haven’t managed to do Jaisalmer till date. I will also be writing about Ajmer and Pushkar. I really don’t care about my birthday celebration and hence really ever let anyone know that it’s my birthday.
However, I have started being superstitious about my birthday. I want to spend a year on the road and not in my home and hence would love to avoid partying home at any cost. Last year we celebrated my birthday trip at The Lake Palace Udaipur by Taj.
As it is always difficult to get calendars of everyone involved in line, it is a logistic nightmare for me to arrange a trip with other people involved. Different ideas, different realms, different demands. My niece and her parents were also going to be joining us for the part of the trip.
In this report I would be covering:-
- Umaid Bhawan Palace and Jodhpur Sightseeing
- Umaid Bhawan Historical Suite
- Umaid Bhawan Maharani Suite
- ITC Rajputana at Jaipur
- Le Meridien Jaipur
- Westin Pushkar
- Lessons of Pushkar
- Gateway Resort Pushkar
- Pushkar and Ajmer Sightseeing
- ITC Maratha Mumbai
Umaid Bhawan Jodhpur by Taj Group of Hotels
This year, I finally stumbled upon monsoon package with one of the destination properties in my mind which suited perfectly at the right price points. I got a great deal at Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur. The property was rated #1 in the world by Tripadvisor in 2016. This event led to my curiosity about the reason why. Why would an Indian property stand head and heels above all the luxurious and dazzling properties I have seen across the world including the ones at Las Vegas, Dubai, Bali, Thailand, and Cambodia. Somehow, Indian property stood tall. I went with the expectation that it would be a better experience than Taj Lake Palace Udaipur.
What did Monsoon package consist?
1. Pay for two nights and 3rd night is complimentary
- Airport Transfer
- Half day Jodhpur Sightseeing tour
- High tea every day
- Heritage tour
- Rajasthani Thali dinner
- Discount on Spa treatments
On a fateful day, I landed up in Jodhpur. The airport is a military-run operation, and hence there is very basic service available. I was surprised that runway strip was long and small. Once we got out of the airport, two Innovas stood there to welcome us. They provided us with water bottles and refreshing towels. It was rather interesting that I didn’t see Tata name anywhere which is the parent company.
Once, We reached the property; there were large trumpets playing welcome music. Like an arrival of the monarch. Hotel staff stood in a line, ready to welcome us to the property in Indian custom by putting tikka on the head. Once the ceremony was over, we were sent to the big hall where they took our family pictures.
The hall had nice Rajasthani folk music and traditional dancees and they served us a glass of sparkling wine and some snacks. The hall is grand, and we were informed that it is the same hall in the evening where they host culture evenings.
The staff processed our Check-In right there at the hall. We were provided room on the right wing. The problem was the room was little further from the main building and required few steps to get up. There were no lifts in that wing aka a problem for physically challenged folks.
Once we got to the room, I was remarking the size of the room. They felt very tiny for the palatial hotel. It was as if was given to helpers of the royal family instead of the guests. I found it highly disappointing as it was not what we were promised on-call earlier with the hotel. We were told that we would be upgraded to historical category room. However, the property was sold out for that night. I would write a separate post about the room and its review.
We didn’t want our hard earned money to go on the wash. We had to request the staff many times before they put us in the room that we were promised before our arrival.
About 4 pm, there was a high tea which had some nice snacks. I munched down so many scones there.
After high tea, we headed out for the cultural performance. They served some sweets, mocktails, and desserts at the dance. It was a pretty sight, and we enjoyed the eve pretty well. Once the cultural program was over, we headed out to the lawn and took so many snaps of the entirety of the property. There was a lovely sunset in front of the property. We were so full that even couldn’t think of having dinner.
The breakfast spread was an average spread. I would definitely prefer Taj Lake Palace over this spread. The spread here was average. The taste of food was good but not great.
After the breakfast, we headed for the half day sightseeing the tour. The first destination was Mehrangarh Fort. As we headed out, it was the scorching sun, and many wouldn’t dare to move ahead. However, I wouldn’t miss the chance to walk around.
The fort was huge. There was a lot of walking around. The pictures I was getting felt like I was on Great Wall of China.
It was fun to see the rugged look place instead of all posh fort. There were various viewpoints to look at the blue city. We could see our Umaid Bhawan Palace in the distance standing like a messiah in the desert.
The fort is one of the largest forts in India. It was almost in ruins. However, I could see how difficult it would be for armies to attack this fort. It was a great vantage point on the hill where enemy movement would be in clear sight. We got to see the blue city from the top. Our Palace/Resort was also visible in the distance.
Next, we went to Jaswant Thada, a place designed as a cenotaph. The place is made up of marbles and is called mini-taj mahal for a reason. I found the place literally opposite of Mehrangarh Fort.
It was an oasis in the desert. There is a small lake nearby, and the view is that of the fort on one side. There were many birds flying around and having water there. However, it was almost middle of the afternoon by the time we were done with this place. The sun outside was so hot that we didn’t want to do any more sightseeing. When we heard that we are missing out on some temple, I gladly let it slide.
We were back at our hotel and relaxing our eve there. We spent the eve taking the plunge in the pool. I know I rarely ever do that. However, this was a very special plunge. The pool was well decorated. I am not sure why but it looked nice. It was one of the rare time, I decided to chill in the pool and have fun.
Next day, we just planned that we would be chilling at the resort. I was just running around the resort and chilling with my niece. We played a lot there. My family got some photoshoot done there. The property looks vast and easy to get lost. Here as the pillars look similar. However, they just have 64 rooms there. I even had a chance to have a look at Presidential Maharani suite. I would be adding a review of that too.
The complimentary dinner was a lucky fable for us. They said that we informed them about it later than required, it would be a problem for them to serve us Dal Baati and Choorma. We were thankful for that. We enjoyed our royal dinner without missing out on anything. We were fully stuffed. It was fun exploring the property and doing activities there. We even had an amazing concert there.
First we thought we would have dinner in outskirts, but there were too many mosquitos out there, and we didn’t want to risk that. We had dinner at the same place as where they serve high tea. We had our dal baati and choorma next day before we left the property. We also tried famous gulab jamun vegetable. Just fabulous!
After we finished the lunch next day, we were on our way out to our next destination. I don’t know why this hotel was #1 on tripadvisor. Yes, it is amazing to be treated as royalty and that experience means something. However, If I had to choose between Taj Lake Palace and Umaid Bhawan, I am bending towards Taj Lake Palace Udaipur.