Monday, 24 February 2014 22:17

Royal sojourns in a beautiful city

The princes and courtiers of yore are long gone. What hasn’t left-Udaipur is the magnificent royal indulgences and The Leela Palace, Udaipur bears testimony to that.

There’s so much that has already been said about the beautiful Leela Palace located on the banks of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, the city of Rajasthan. Yet, nothing prepares you for the breath-taking beauty that awaits you. Guests get the first taste of luxury as they step into the exit foyer of the small Maharana Pratap airport. There are sparkling white BMWs lined up to ferry the valued guests to the boat point. Here begins your first round of clicking photographs as you take in the lake and your first real view of The Leela Palace - standing royally and bathed in the comforting rays of the sun. A liveried staffer of the hotel escorts you to the ferry under a traditional Rajasthani umbrella done up in gold thread and beautiful trimmings. Soon you are on the waters of Lake Pichola, and beyond it lies the magnificent landscape that surrounds you stunningly.

The majestic Jag Mandir - pleasure palace of the king, the Monsoon Palace up in the mountain, the City Palace Museum, which also houses the crystal and its latest addition - the silver wing. As you reach your destination, another uniformed staffer awaits you with the umbrella and you are escorted grandly to the lobby of the majestic hotel warmly welcomed with a traditional live Rajasthani music, the tika and thirst quenching soft drink . The lobby is filled with regal splendour all around with silver ornate tables, statues, expensive local art, and lounge chairs with rich tapestries in warm red and gold.  If you are housed in the new wing, be prepared to walk through corridors that are adorned with colourful Rajasthani paintings, the smell of fresh roses and the sweet sound of traditional music. It’s pure seduction of your senses.

All rooms and suites at the Leela Palace face the beautiful lake, surrounding palaces and the majestic Aravali range, ensuring peaceful and refreshing mornings. It’s a view, enough to give you a spring on your feet, for a beautiful day that awaits you. The royal splendour flows on to the rooms with rich silk bedspreads, individually designed curtains and cushions. The suites are furnished with regally inspired designs and handcrafted furniture that is all very welcoming. Thekri, a traditional Mewari art form which involves the use of intricately chiselled mirrors on plaster, is the predominant theme of the palace’s interiors and so you will find it in the suites as well.

Once you have done the mandatory shopping and sightseeing, a dinner at the Sheesh Mahal speciality restaurant is a must. You will be pampered here by the chef who will whip up a delicious menu with exquisite dishes filled with the aroma of spices and flavours especially for you. Indulge heartily in the delicious cooked aromatic dal makhani with rotis cooked traditionally by a Rajasthani lady right in front of you. Relish mouth watering mutton and chicken curry cooked just the way you want and served with fragrant rice. Sip on the best wines available in the country. It’s a fine dining experience that will take you to another level.  All this while you enjoy live local folk dance and the beautiful surrounding palaces lit with night lights and its rays dancing on the quiet lake waters. It’s pleasure that can’t be forgotten easily.

The stay at the Leela Palace is incomplete if you do not find time to indulge in the tented luxury spas meant for absolute relaxation. The ESPA spa is surrounded by a beautiful garden, the stunning view of the lake and the fragrant aromas of the incense oils that transports you to a different world. Do visit the small yet interesting ancient Shiva temple located in the middle of the spa area where you might be lucky enough to hear the chanting of the priest while he performs his daily prayers.

The award winning spa offers a variety of massages both Ayurveda as well as western. They are deeply therapeutic and calming. The spa’s one-of-a-kind air-conditioned tents, set amidst private pools and fragrant gardens, fuse centuries-old local artisanal designs of Rajasthan. Its Aroma Steam rooms, featuring amethyst crystals and anthracite glass tiles are set amidst a story of heritage and architectural beauty, offering a calming prelude to the treatment experience. Before you know it, you will be planning your next vacation to the very same place not realizing the days have just flown and there is so much more to see and explore leaving you counting the days for your next trip.

For more information please visit: www.theleela.com

 

 

 

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