A former royal palace in Rajasthan that was converted to a luxury hotel in the 1970’s was today named the best hotel in the world based on reviews on the travel site TripAdvisor.
The Umaid Bhawan Palace which is located in the city of Jodhpur and was once the largest private residence in India.
It’s 347 rooms were once home to the royal family of Rajasthan before some 64 of the rooms and suites were taken over by the Taj Hotels group in the early 1970’s.
The palace was built in the 1920’s by the then ruler of Jodhpur, Umaid Singh, who wanted to create an infrastructure project to provide employment for local farmer who had been suffering from a three-year-long drought.
Singh commissioned the Edwardian architect Henry Lanchester who based his design on Sir Edward Lutyens’ famous government complex in New Delhi and seamlessly blends eastern and western styles, including a magnificent 105-foot cupola.
The lavish interiors with gilt furniture and elegant artwork follow the Art Deco style, complemented by the exotic murals of the self-exiled Polish artist Stefan Norblin.
A standard room at the Umaid Bhawan Palace today starts at an average of around £500 per night for a couple.
While the Palace is not the only royal residence operated by the Taj group in India, many TripAdvisor users praised the hotel’s high level of service standards.
One user revealed that guests were welcomed by a troupe of musicians playing drums and trumpets – the traditional welcome historically offered to members of the royal family.
In fact, a common theme among many reviewers was that they were made to feel truly like “royalty”.
“I am delighted with this year’s edition of the awards. Over the years we are seeing the increasing presence of Indian hotels globally. The Indian hospitality industry has increased their standards and are in step with with global experience,” TripAdvisor India Country Manager Nikhil Ganju said.
The Travellers’ Choice awards for Hotels were determined based on millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from TripAdvisor travellers worldwide.
Now in its 14th year, the Travellers’ Choice awards have recognised more than 7,000 properties around the world, with lists covering 97 countries and eight regions worldwide.