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Global hangout: Umaid Bhawan, Jodhpur

This palace hotel - from its resident peacocks to its live-in Maharaja - is as regal as it gets

  • Umaid Bhawan
    Arrive at Umaid Bhawan in style in one of the property's many vintage cars.Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • Umaid Bhawan
    Run by model-turned-chef, Esther Tan, Ta Pantry in Hong Kong serves up food that blends cuisines like French aImage Credit: Supplied picture
  • Umaid Bhawan
    The Spare Room is a gentleman's club-meets-bowling alley that has reinvented cool in LA. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Fancy living like a Maharaja for a weekend? Then this is the place for you. In fact, the Maharaja of Jodhpur still lives in one of this building's wings. Impressed?

Just a hop and a skip from Delhi, the building that in part houses this 64-room hotel was built as a palace/monument between 1928-1943. The luxurious sandstone structure is like the colour of sunshine, looming over the desert surroundings while a family of peacocks roam the 26 acres of lush gardens and the jaw-dropping collection of vintage cars zip in and out, taking guests to the charming city of Jodhpur and back - there really is nowhere else as evocative of old-world Indian glam as this.

Book yourself into a historical or Maharaja suite and you'll be surrounded by antique furniture, original works of art and photos that hark back to the building's royal history. Oh, and decadent details like the marble baths don't do any harm either. Swim in the outdoor pool in the morning or wind down before bedtime in the elegant indoor grotto-style pool. Enjoy breakfast on your balcony - which boasts a view out to the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort or have a more formal dinner on the colonnaded verandah called The Pillars.

Whatever you choose to do, one thing's for certain, the hotel's butlers will make sure that your experience is the best it can possibly be. We could certainly get used to this whole Maharaja thing.

Inside info

Rooms start from Dh1,200 a night, but book in for the Royal Retreat and pay Dh5,500 for two people for two nights, which includes dinner and breakfast every day as well as a sightseeing tour and a yoga session.


Jodhpur, Rajasthan
+91 291 251 0101

More global hangouts

Hong Kong:Ta Pantry, Wan Chai
Speakeasy restaurants area culinary trend for 2012 - why bump elbows with others when you can have your own room? Private dining emerged in Hong Kong due to sky-high commercial rents and were places to pick up cheap meals, but more recently, high-end versions have emerged. Next time we visit Hong Kong we'll definitely try Ta Pantry - run by Hong Kong-born LA-raised model-turned-chef, Esther Tan, Ta Pantry serves up food that blends cuisines like French and Chinese. Tip: book weeks in advance (minimum spend for dinner for up to 10 is Dh2,200 on weekdays, Dh3,200 on weekends).
Call +852 9403 6430  or visit

USA: The Spare Room, LA
Unrivalled cocktails using herb-infused potions, secret photo booths behind hidden walls, a gaming parlour and two vintage bowling lanes - this gentleman's club-meets-bowling alley has reinvented cool in LA. Book your table, sip a cocktail and start off with a friendly warm-up of Connect Four (the game set is in a stylish walnut wood) or maybe a snakeskin-embossed Yahtzee? Then move on to the bowling. You'll be handed a pair of shoes made by cobbler to the stars, George Esquivel, and will probably be sharing lanes with Brangelina or Nicole Richie.
Call +323 466 7000  or visit