Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel, Udaipur, India

Travel review

Photo by Anu Anniah

I have to start by saying that Udaipur is beautiful. I cannot not say this. I have visited Udaipur twice and I think I will keep going back. 

Those dreamy lakes, tiny lanes with eclectic stores filled with jewellery, craft, and eye-catching merchandise, jostling with cows on narrow streets, sighting handsome white horses readying themselves for a wedding procession, ancient painted doors, havelis from the grand life of the past…the list of reasons to fall in love with Udaipur is endless.

In a city with such grandeur, it is only fair to want to stay in a palace!

A friend had recommended Jagat Niwas Palace. So I decided to try this palace hotel and oh…it was lovely! We stayed there for 3 nights in April 2019 and I wouldn’t mind going back!

Jagat Niwas Palace sounds royal and lives up to the name. It is a haveli or a mansion from the 17th century. It is what one would call a heritage hotel. The very thought of spending a couple of nights in an over-200 year mansion was mind blowing.

I had obviously seen photos of Jagat Niwas on the web, but to actually see it in person is awesome. We traveled from Bangalore to Udaipur, landed at the Maharana Prathap airport and hailed a cab to Jagat Niwas.

Sadly, Jagat Niwas is located in one of the narrow alleyways in old Udaipur. So we had to get off and walk with our luggage for a few minutes. 

Tip: You can probably ask the hotel to pick you up from the airport. Maybe then you won’t face this issue.

We entered Jagat Niwas and were transported to a different world. Jagat Niwas gives you a good sense of what ancient Udaipur must have once looked like, with all its havelis and palaces and old world charm.

Photo by Anu Anniah

All your eye sees is pristine white surroundings dotted with traditional decor such as shiny copper pots, urlis with water and pretty flowers floating in it, and regal looking furniture.  

After a smooth check in process, we were shown to our lovely haveli non-lake facing rooms. We opted for non-lake facing since we hoped to spend most of the trip viewing the lake from somewhere or the other in Udaipur.

In hindsight, maybe we should have opted for lake-facing rooms. You can’t get enough of Lake Pichola – by sunrise, by bright day light, by twilight, by night. It looks dreamy all the time.

Rooms and Service

Photo by Anu Anniah

The rooms were a bit small, but more than made up by being spotless, and the furnishings were beautiful. The bedspreads and matching curtains were aesthetic and so pleasing to the eye that we could not resist kicking off our footwear and crashing into the bed at once.

The hotel staff were polite and available, but unobtrusive. That is a good thing because when you are in a mansion, and thinking of yourself as royalty, you don’t want the halls crawling with other people. You want to walk around like a queen. Luckily for us, there were very few guests as well. So it did feel like we owned the place.

By the third day, I had hurt my back somehow. I got up with a severe backache and was immobilized for a bit. I could not even climb up a flight of stairs to the rooftop restaurant for my breakfast. I called the Reception and told them my predicament. They were very accommodative, and although they don’t have room service, they sent me a plate of piping hot pooris and potato sagu along with masala chai to the room. 

Painkillers helped me get back on my feet later in the day. The folks at the Reception were considerate. They enquired about my back and offered to hail transport for me too.

Now that’s a personal touch that adds a lot to how I felt during my stay.

A View to Die For

Almost all hotels around Lake Pichola promise you a view of the lake. And the lake can be seen from lots of places. But the rooftop restaurant of Jagat Niwas offers a wide-angle view of the lake with no obstruction. I got my money’s worth just by staring out at the lake from the rooftop restaurant. By day, the view was beautiful and peaceful. By night, the same view took on a romantic golden hue.

Photo by Anu Anniah
Photo by Anu Anniah

Jharokha – A Window to your kingdom

If the view from the rooftop restaurant or anywhere else in the hotel was not enough, they also have these beautiful traditional Rajasthani windows called Jharokhas. I mentioned earlier that you can see Lake Pichola from lots of places in the city, but looking at the lake sitting in these comfortable and tastefully done jharokhas is an experience.

Photo by Anu Anniah

Photo by Anu Anniah

Sitting at the jharokha, sipping a leisurely masala chai after a sumptuous breakfast, we forgot that we had to see more of Udaipur. We just sat there and watched a lazy boat or two go by.

Our kingdom was in order. All was well with the world.

Ambience

What can I say about a 200-odd year old haveli that took us back in time? The hotel is very tastefully decorated. There is a lot of light and fresh air (which you will need in the sweltering heat of Rajasthan), and a touch of the traditional without too much clutter. It is pleasant and classy.

At night the place transformed into something magical because of the subdued lighting and the diyas or lamps lit strategically all over. 

Photo by Anu Anniah
Photo by Anu Anniah
Photo by Anu Anniah

Location

Jagat Niwas Palace is located pretty centrally. It is a short walk away from Udaipur’s iconic City Palace. If the palace  is not on your itinerary, include it, especially the light show in the evening! 

Lake Pichola is literally a stone’s throw away. You can actually throw stones from the Jharokhas into the lake 🙂

The tiny lanes of the Old City where Jagat Niwas is located are worth walking around in. Take it slow. Meander. Absorb. Shop. 

Parting shot

The night before our departure, we dined at the rooftop restaurant. After a hot and sweaty day around town, it was cathartic to sit on the terrace, feel the cool breeze from the inky lake, sip  cold beer, and consolidate our expenses for the last couple of days. 🙂

Photo by Anu Anniah

We had to leave early the next morning to catch an early flight. When we checked out, breakfast was not yet ready. The hotel staff scurried around to see if they could ready it for us. But we didn’t have time. Then they did the most unexpected thing. They packed us a nice breakfast hamper to enjoy at the airport. Fresh fruits, sandwiches, and tetra packs of fruit juices.

Our day was made. It was such a thoughtful gesture.

Therefore…

For their thoughtfulness, for the location, for the stunning views, and for the beautiful ambience and decor, I do recommend a stay at Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel at Udaipur! 

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