It List 2008
Umaid Bhawan Palace
Renovated Hotel. Welcome to the palace: “a living testimony to the royal ethos of India,” as heralded by the embossed and gilded brochure. And is it ever, with 26 acres of landscaped gardens where peacocks display their plumage, and 76 guest rooms, including 40 raj-worthy suites in what is purportedly one of the world’s largest residences. That elegant figure in the linen tunic may well be Gaj Singh II, the maharajah of Jodhpur, who resides in one wing with his family. A 105-foot central cupola sheds a golden light that appears to waft through the long corridors. Built in the Art Deco style of the 1930’s for the grandfather of the current maharajah, Umaid Bhawan Palace sparkles after a $15 million renovation by Taj Hotels Resorts Palaces. If the hotel sounds familiar, that’s because Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar held their wedding celebration here last year—one sure reflection that this sprawling golden yellow structure is ready for prime time.