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Taj Lake Palace Udaipur Review – Why You MUST Stay!

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Checking in at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur is simply magical. A once in a life time experience.

The fact that you can sleep in a Maharana’s summer palace in the middle of Lake Pichola is just crazy!

When I travelled to Udaipur in December last year, I was gazing over the lake at that beautiful floating hotel and I said to myself “when my contract is over in India, I’m going to stay there no matter how much it costs me”.

So, now that my contract as an ex-pat in India was coming to a close in June, I  did just that.

taj lake palace udaipur

My epic fail before staying at the Taj Lake Palace

So, fast forward to my last weekend in India.

I’m riding in the royal transfer boat to one of the top hotels in the world with last nights makeup on, vomit in my hair, hardly a wink of sleep and stressed after missing my original flight from Delhi.

It wasn’t exactly the entrance I was expecting to make! How do you ask? I’ll let you know.

It was my last Friday night in India and naturally, I wanted to go out with a bang. My work colleagues and I decided to go out in Sector 29, Gurgaon.

My flight was at 7am the next morning. I decided, to be safe, that my Cinderella time would be midnight. But it didn’t quite happen like that.

As I was moving my whole house out of India, had been a low key insomniac for a week due to the stress of packing up my life here and been running around like a headless chicken.

I may have got a teensy bit too drunk on champagne and it went to my head.

I woke up with a start to a massive bang on my door; ‘Sophie! Sophie!’ 

You know that feeling when it suddenly hits you that you’ve not set an alarm and wake up with 40 minutes before your flight is due to take off? No? Well, I tell you it’s not pretty.

I leap out of bed and answer the door. Look down and it seems I had been sick. Yum. My colleague said, “you’ve overslept…. and you’ve been sick”.

How embarrassing. *Groan and face palm*

Hoping by some miracle that my flight would be delayed, I sprung into slightly still drunk action and grabbed my case I packed the night before.

Threw on new clothes, brushed my teeth, and asked my taxi to drive as fast as lightning to Delhi airport.

As I was staying at the Taj Lake Palace, I would have sold my very soul to make it there!

I get to the domestic terminal at the airport. My flight’s already taken off and I have to get another flight out of Delhi in 5 hours.

So, I had to make camp in T1 look terrible. I almost teared up as the sympathetic eyes of the barista looked at me in Costa.

But, on the upside. I did have two compliments on how great I looked that morning – maybe I should do this more often (jokes)!

Lesson learned kids, don’t plan a night out when you have a flight at 7 am the next morning!

Against all the odds, I finally landed in Udaipur 5 hours later and was on my way to a much better place in Lake Pichola. Hats off to the Taj team for letting me in and treating me like a queen despite my woes!

It was SO worth the hassle and wait. This is a guide to checking into the Taj Lake Palace Udaipur.

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur Jetty

How to travel to the Taj Lake Palace Udaipur 

The Taj Lake Palace Udaipur whimsically floats on Lake Pichola in Udaipur, Rajasthan.

Known as the ‘Venice of the East’ and the ‘White City’, it’s famous for its romantic lakes and royal palaces.

You can only reach the palace by boat and so when you arrive in the City Palace complex, you will need to reach the Taj Lake Palaces’ exclusive jetty and catch the boat from here.

The ride takes only around 5 minutes and there are boats at all hours of the day.

Unfortunately, unless you’re a guest of the hotel or have a rather expensive dinner reservation you’re not allowed to get a boat over here without checking in.

As soon as I arrived at the jetty I knew I was in for luxury treatment.

I was welcomed with a refreshing drink and a cold towel for my face. Perfect after my hectic journey. I then hopped on the boat and made my way to the summer palace.

taj lake palace jetty udaipur
taj lake palace boat udaipur

A royal welcome fit for a Maharani

When I arrived at the palace, I received a royal welcome with a shower of rose petals.

One of the staff held an umbrella over my head to shelter me from the heat. It was truly a welcome fit for a queen.

The Maharana used to use this as his summer palace and I could see why. The cool breezes from the crosswinds of Lake Pichola were heavenly.

Taj Lake Palace udaipur

Checking in at Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

I then checked in, while in the welcome lounge of the hotel. It was love at first sight with their Rajasthani decor.

Everything was luxurious, even down to the mother of pearl coasters!

The team served me one of their signature mocktails; a Guava cooler.

It was the perfect complement to the summer heatwave which had engulfed the north of India at the time.

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

The rooms at Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

I had requested a quiet room as I had struggled to sleep for quite a few weeks and just needed some quiet to get some well-needed rest.

Plus, after the morning I had I could have slept for a week to try and forget the embarrassment.

The team upgraded me from a garden view room to a penthouse suite with jaw-dropping lake and city palace views.

I honestly had to pinch myself as I couldn’t believe my luck. I was going to wake up to this in the morning *squeal*!

Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur
Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

My room was the Palace Suite, which was simply perfect. It had heritage haveli decor with gorgeous painted scenes on the wall.

It came with a sofa and boutique Rajasthan furnishings. It also came with modern amenities which you would expect at a 5-star hotel.

The air con was on point. My favourite part was the massive bath!

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur
Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

Exploring the grounds of Taj Lake Palace

Every part of this hotel was dreamy.

The white spires and the amazing Indian archways were laced with bougainvilleas, all accompanied by a 360-degree backdrop of Lake Pichola.

It was like walking around a movie set.

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur
Taj Lake Palace UDaipur

This hotel is world-famous for many reasons but it is also known for the James Bond film ‘Octopussy’ being shot here in 1983.

The iconic scenes filmed at their Lily Pond are legendary.

Unfortunately, it was undergoing some essential maintenance while I was here, but it was still pretty!

Taj Lake Palace udaipur

The pool at Taj Lake Palace

The pool was out of this world.

The fact you could swim here in the morning light, overlooking the city palace was beyond belief.

After you’ve taken a dip and need to warm up again, you can relax on their sun loungers with panoramic views of the lake. Perfect for some TLC and relaxation.

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

Taj Lake Palace bars

Their bars and restaurants are honestly some of the most extravagant yet elegant I’ve seen.

Every room was to die for.

It was like a Wes Anderson movie or something. All of these places were here for you to relax in.

Although there wasn’t much aircon, the fans and the cool breeze helped make it the perfect setting for a lazy afternoon.

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur
Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

Taj Lake Palace entertainment

Each evening the palace puts on a cultural performance for their guests. We were treated to an evening of traditional Rajasthan music and dance performances in their courtyard.

Here, you will get some complimentary snacks and can order drinks from the bar as you watch.

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

Yep, that is 9 plant pots on his head, a sword in both hands spinning brass plates, and all on one leg!! Outstanding.

After, the main performance you could see the famous ‘shadow dancing’ in the courtyard. I loved her dress, it was so pretty!

Taj Lake Palace
Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

Taj Lake Palace restaurants

The Taj Lake Palace has two restaurants serving traditional and western cuisine and a bar serving light snacks here, so you don’t have to worry about leaving the hotel for food unless you want to.

But, it does come with a hefty price tag!

As it was my last weekend I decided to try out their Jharokha restaurant for dinner.

This one had some stellar views of the city palace and lake Pichola lit up at night while I was wined and dined.

Of course, I decided to treat myself to a final butter chicken curry with garlic naan. I would kill for one now!

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur
Taj LAke Palace udaipur

My room rate also included breakfast which was an amazing buffet of fresh fruits and cooked to order dishes.

It was a nice treat having a massive breakfast by the lake, overlooking the winter palace with the sun shining through the arched windows…. ahh. Take me back!

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

The views of Lake Pichola

I feel that no description of the views of Lake Pichola would do it justice.

You honestly just need to see it to believe it! I’ll let these photos do the talking…

Click here to read the top things to do in Udaipur or how to plan a visit to the Ahar Cenotaphs

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

The world class service

Whenever I’ve stayed at a Taj Palace or hotel, I always rave about their service. The staff who work at the Lake Palace however must be angels sent to earth!

From start to finish on my stay here, they welcomed me with open arms and waited on me hand and foot (despite the mess I was).

To add to my string of bad luck, my camera broke and was suffering from a ‘lense lock’ error.

Panicking as I really wanted some nice photos, the Taj team actually lent me a camera!

As I travel solo, it’s hard for me to get pictures of myself and I felt lost as I didn’t have my blue tooth shutter to take any. But, the Taj staff came to the rescue and even came around and took some lovely pictures of me in my dress! I was truly grateful.

You really can’t beat that sort of service. When I was leaving, I was handed a thoughtful gift of a box of incense.  

They said that as I was leaving India, I could light these and the smell would bring me back to the palace.

At that point, I was so touched and nearly in tears. I will honestly miss the staff as they were so kind. Hats off to all of them, they are really a credit to the Taj group.

Taj Lake Palace

Make sure you book a night at the Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

I’m so happy that I chose the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur to spend my last weekend in India.

Although there were mishaps from start to finish, I wouldn’t have changed my experience here for the world!

This hotel is expensive, but it is well worth the money for the views you get.

It’s not every day you get to be treated like a queen on a romantic floating palace!

A big thank you to the Taj team for welcoming me here and making my last weekend truly special. I wish I was back there already, I guess I’ll light that incense tonight..*sniff*

If you would like to reserve a night at the Lake Palace, you can check available dates and rates here. 

taj lake palace

Heading around Rajasthan? Check out these posts!

The best Rajasthan Itinerary

My complete guide to the Pink City of Jaipur

A photography guide for Jaipur

My top travel tips for Jaisalmer

A camel safari in the Thar desert

Why Bundi has to be on your bucket list

Top places to visit in Bikaner

Visiting the rat temple in India

Why you need to visit Pushkar

Tiger safari in Rajasthan

Top places to visit in Alwar

Neemrana Fort Palace guide


Saturday 10th of June 2023

Thank you for your wonderful review! Unfortunately, now in 2023, we are not even allowed to visit this hotel or take a boat to it to enjoy one of their restaurants...they have restricted the restaurants to hotel guests only. I tried to reserve a table for dinner, but they replied back saying:

"We would like to inform you that being a boutique hotel, Taj Lake Palace is a residents-only facility and all services and facilities are solely for our in-house guests. The residents-only policy is in place to ensure a tranquil experience for our guests.".

I badly wanted to have lunch or dinner at the Lake Palace and then I would leave the hotel and not be any trouble to the guests. It's a shame that they have such a policy now. The rooms are no less than $1200 USD per night, for the cheapest, which I cannot afford. The Burj Al Arab in Dubai is also a very expensive hotel, far more expensive, yet they allow outsiders who are not hotel guests, to dine at their restaurants. This place needs to allow that as well.

Sophie Pearce

Wednesday 14th of June 2023

Hi Amisha, thanks for letting me know. The fact that they won't let non-residents visits is WILD to me as, even with guests, the restaurants are almost empty. Sorry that was the case for you, it definitely hasn't always been like this. I'll update my post. Hope you had a lovely time in India. Sophie x

Marlene Beckett-Cooper

Saturday 10th of October 2020

I enjoyed your stay at the Taj. My American friends stayed there and invited us (8 Aussies) over for a drink. To be picked up by the little boat was already an adventure. We wondered around the palace and enjoyed the fantastic views. That was a nice start for our 7 weeks India, which had many surprises, to put it mildly. I have to ask you: where did you buy the beautiful turquoise dress? I bought a similar silk caftan. It lost a lot of colour in the first (hand) wash. I should have ask for a business card of the shop I bought it from. Unfortunately I didn't, or I would have re-ordered another one. If you could remember where you bought this lovely dress, maybe I would have a chance to order a new caftan or dress. Looking forward to your reply I am faithfully Yours Marlene

Sophie Pearce

Saturday 10th of October 2020

Hi Marlene, I'm so happy you enjoyed your visit to the Taj Palace! Isn't it wonderful? It felt like a dream. Yes, India certainly has that effect on you doesn't it. It's a crazy and exciting journey but that's India haha!

So, I bought my dress in the city of Lucknow at the local market. Basically, you walk inside any Indian local clothes market where they sell the pieces for ladies dresses. Then, you take the materials to a tailor (which costs like $5) and they fit it to you to your measurements. It only cost me around $40 (£30)!!

I bought it for a friend's wedding but I couldn't resist trying it on and walking around in it at the palace. Unfortunately, I'm not sure where you could buy it online :( sorry for that.

If I do find it anywhere, where they sell the same type of package with the dress materials for tailoring. I'll drop a link to it here :)

I really miss India at the moment. Hope we can make it there again one day! Sophie x


Tuesday 30th of July 2019

Thanks for sharing the posts. Keep up the good work . I really like the posts

Sophie Pearce

Tuesday 30th of July 2019

Thank you so much for stopping by ! Sophie x

Bharat Taxi

Sunday 30th of June 2019

Beautiful pictures! I would never imagine having this kind of experience in India. Thank you for sharing your experience! India as a whole is an incredibly special place.