Off Season Tourist - India Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
Two weeks in India, 2003 Notes from the Off Season Tourist
Udaipur - The Lake Palace Hotel
Or the hotel where we could have stayed for a 1000 years

Nice view of Lake Palace
The Lake Palace Hotel
Driving up to the parking lot beneath the Udaipur City Palace we caught our first view of the Taj Lake Palace Hotel. A stunning white marble palace seemingly floating in the middle of a lake. This was what we had been waiting for. Back in April when we were planning the trip, someone at work stopped by with a couple of brochures about Taj hotels in India. The first picture I saw was the courtyard of the Lake Palace Hotel. That's all it took. How could we pass up the opportunity to stay in one of the most romantic hotels in the world? I'd like to thank Rohini and her Taj contacts for getting us such a great deal for our 3-day, 2-night luxurious stay. It was worth what we paid and much more!

Lovely boat ride
Boat ride to the Lake Palace Hotel

After a very short boat ride to the hotel, we are greeted by hotel staff who showed us to our room.

Julie in the Lake Palace room
View of our room in Lake Palace
View of our room

We were greeted at our room by more staff waiting for us with fresh mango juice. Inside the room was a fresh fruit basket and a stunning view of the Udaipur City Palace across the lake.

Marcus relaxing in the pool
Everything was just perfect. The pool had a mango tree growing next to it and there were hot tubs hidden in cuppolas with amazing views of the lake and the city. We had a quick dip in the pool and basically just relaxed. We'd been traveling a lot and it felt good to just do nothing but lie in the sun and drink fresh lime juice.

That evening the hotels took guests on a boat ride across the lake to the old Jag Mandir Palace. There we had an amazing view of the Lake Palace and also the Monsoon Palace up on the mountain. The Monsoon Palace was built by the emperors but abandoned when they realized that if was too difficult to pump water up to the Palace.

View of the City Palace Lake Palace

Elephants at sunset Elephants at sunset

On the boat ride back to the Lake Palace, we were surrounded by hundreds of what we thought were very large birds, swooping down to the lake. There was a lack of water in the region - some said it hadn't rained in 5-7 years - so the "birds" were coming to drink from the lake at sunset. We were all trying to identify the creatures when I realized that they were bats. Literally hundreds of very large bats. We drove the boat right through the mass of bats and they weren't the slightest bit bothered by us.

Back at the Lake Palace, we had an incredible 5-star dinner, followed by music and dancing. No, not ballroom dancing...rather traditional Rajasthani dancing and music. The dancers, who were sitting down, were also balancing pots and candles on their heads. Not so hard, you say, but try tying tiny cymbols to your toes and taking other cymbols tied to pieces of thread and trying to hit the cymbols on your toes with the cymbols on string. And don't forget the balancing of the pots and candles. We were quite impressed.

We finished the night with a drink in the lilypad courtyard. It was lit-up by little white lights and we felt like we were in a fairly tale! We felt 100% at home at the Lake Palace and would have been happy staying there for a very long time!


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