At a Glance
Created to provide luxurious respites from the beautifully chaotic sights and sounds of India, Rajasthan’s urban Oberoi properties are themselves extraordinary in their opulence and spectacular architecture. The hotels and resorts, each set in fantastic locations with easy access to the region’s sights, center around pavilions, pergolas, pools, fountains, courtyards and colonnades, as well as guest rooms with super comfortable amenities, traditional design touches and modern details throughout. Service, too, is prioritized across the hotels belonging to this nearly century-old, family-owned brand. If the Taj Mahal seems “the embodiment of all things pure, all things holy,” as Kipling wrote, then Oberoi’s pleasure palaces are the embodiment of all things amazing. Set on 30 acres of wildlife conservancy overlooking Lake Pichola, The Oberoi Udaivilas brings to life the splendor and romance of the fabled Indian subcontinent.
The Standout: The rooms with access to a 240-foot-long pool and lake views (if you’re traveling with friends, you can swim between each other’s gated gardens)
Don’t Miss: A slow, sunset boat ride on Lake Pichola after a day of touring
- The lavish service that starts with a sprinkling of rose petals upon your arrival and continues through your stay
- The large rooms (starting at 600 square feet)
- The three restaurants, two main pools and opulent spa, that make this property a perfect option during a multi-stop trip
The ceremonial arrival via boat is one that no guest should forgo (it was the highlight of my trip). Having arrived at night we traversed the black, tranquil water of Lake Pichola with only the twinkling lights of neighboring palaces to guide our way. Upon docking, we were whisked into the forest and across manicured lawns up to the hotel, which stood brilliantly aglow in the night sky. The staff welcomed us with a showering of rose petals and traditional tilak, just the appropriate pomp and circumstance to leave us feeling like royalty.
Inspired by the traditional palaces of the Mewar Kingdom of Rajasthan, the Oberoi Udaivilas is a feast for the senses both inside and out. Domed pavilions and walkways are nestled amidst verdant gardens, sprawling courtyards, rippling fountains and reflecting pools. Wild peacocks and rare birds preen atop exotic trees. The hotel interiors, embellished with marble, hammered gold, hand-painted frescoes and intricate mosaics, create a majestic ambience, fit for the Maharana himself.
With only five room categories, even the lowest exceeds expectations. Entry-level Premier Rooms measure a sizable 600 square-feet and offer views of lush gardens, courtyards and communal pools. For a little something extra, guests can upgrade to a room with a semi-private pool and view over Lake Pichola. The larger accommodations, luxury suites and the two-bedroom Kohinoor Suite, feature a courtyard with a private pool and a dining terrace.
Most guests never leave the property and why would they? With impeccable service, three restaurants, two main pools, an opulent spa and a plethora of on-campus activities to choose from, the Oberoi Udaivilas is a true destination hotel, and one of my new personal favorites.
Rooms to get: Pool rooms offer semi private pools and panoramic views of Lake Pichola. Although larger in size, suites are set back on the property and have obstructed views of the lake.
Indagare Tip: Though the Oberoi Udaivilas is still close enough to Udaipur’s palaces and temples, it can take 20-30 minutes to cross the lake and arrive in town, compared with five minutes from Taj’s Lake Palace, which is right in the middle of Lake Pichola.
The Oberoi Udaivilas is certainly one of the most spectacular hotels in India and should be saved for the end of a trip. Three full days is the appropriate length of stay, one for sightseeing and two for relaxing on property. The best months to visit are October and November when the landscape is green and lush and lakes are full. The hotel undergoes extensive maintenance at the end of every September due to monsoon damage.
Families with younger children should know that while The Oberoi Udaivilas itself is one child-like fantasy world, the property is not totally suitable for children. There are no interconnecting rooms and suites can only accommodate one additional child on a rollaway bed. Families are nevertheless welcome, and many make do. Certain rooms with interconnecting terraces are limited and should be requested in advance.
Who Should Stay
Romantics, dreamers, sybarites, whether they be couples, singles, groups or families with older children
Written by Indagare