Private palace life in Jaipur is dangerously easy to get used to. We went all-in and enjoyed every second of pampering at Rajmahal.
The walk up the iconic marble stairs of the Rajmahal palace instantly transformed my wife and me into a Maharani and Maharaja. Great, since feeling like a king has its advantages, and it enables to test out the regal-end of India’s hospitality specter – from the very inside.
We were sent back in time, to the royal lifestyle and the magical days of Maharajah Sawai Man Singh II and his wife Gayatri Devi, top-politician and fashion icon, also known for her legendary parties. (Book: A Princess Remembers.The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur)
This royal family home deliver all you need of old glory, but with all modern comforts. A distinguished feature is the very playful designs thanks to the extreme makeover of the palace – by interior designer Adil Ahmad. Some of it felt slightly Liberace-ish at first but I adjusted easily. Among the many things worth studying closer is 46 custom design wallpapers around the palace, reflecting royal family stories in the motifs. The discreet and personalized services of the palace staff, make the experience complete.
Among house guests before us where Queen Elizabeth II, the last Viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten and Jackie Kennedy. I am sure we were as good taken care of as them.
The property is huge, but to be a palace-hotel the building Rajmahal is relatively small. Which is all good news for those of us that prefer small groups. It’s only 14 rooms/suits in this palace and one of its valuable features is the feel of being a house-guest.
For 4 days we never spotted more than two other guests at the same time, which made it easy to feel as a private guest – or like me, (almost) as the Maharaja himself. When 2 of the “disturbances” was by Jaipur’s real princess going to the gym or dining with friends, it only added to the regal flavor.
We decided to go all-in on our royal experience, and stayed on the property day and night. That is except two short and absolutely regal-proof excursions:
Private tour in the city palace. Impressing structure of several palaces in Jaipur’s terra-cotta colored old town.
A spin in central Jaipur in Raj Mahal’s vintage Ambassador car, with the only stop at the polo track.
My advice is you do the same, spend maximum time in the bobble. Unfortunately it is guaranteed to burst if you go outside to visit a mall and have dinner at Pizza hut.
So what did we do in our 100 hour Rajmahal exile?
Most of the time we were laying in the shadow next to the Art Deco pool, reading and resting our eyes on the marvelous surroundings. (i.o.w: doing as little as possible) Re-charging, almost in meditation mood.
Other than that we were occupied having breakfast in “51 shades of pink” or dining in “The Colonnade” or “The orient occident”.
Our pre- and post-dinner wine was sipped while soaking in the ambiance of the lounge or Polo bar. Taking in the fantastic chandeliers, mirrors, the old photos, polo prizes and other family antiques, not to mention the amazing wallpapers.
It’s impossible not to want to know more about the ones who used to live here and how palace life was like. You know you have reached the peak of the hypnotic state when the manager have the royal family three Xeroxed and brought to you.
So, if you want to stay in style in a living museum, being pampered as a part-time royal and enjoy all the luxury of small-palace-life, Jaipur and Rajmahal is a very good option.
Now we are checking out of the fantasy, flying 1300 km south -for another non-royal-work-week and simple living in a Latin quarter guest house in Panjim.
Constantly treating oneself with new and very different experiences, truly is a low-hanging fruit in India.