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HOTEL REVIEW

The Leela Palace Jaipur hotel review: Colourful opulence that’s a true escape from the city

Looking for an antidote to the hubbub of Jaipur? This palatial countryside resort may just be the answer, says Tamara Davison

Wednesday 15 May 2024 12:15
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Relax like royalty at The Leela Palace Jaipur
Relax like royalty at The Leela Palace Jaipur (Jack Lawes)

In a nutshell: This exceptional palatial retreat, framed by intricate architecture and impressive natural landscapes, blends luxury Rajasthani culture with five-star service to give each guest a truly royal experience.


Location

Bustling Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan and known as India’s ‘pink city,’ is a thriving hub famed for its rose-coloured buildings and Wes Anderson-esque facades. A 30-minute drive from the centre of town to the foothills of India’s oldest mountains and you reach The Leela Palace. Away from the din of city traffic, it’s a peaceful setting in which to relax and recharge. Historic sites, such as the Amber Palace and Nahargarh Fort, are nearby.

The vibe

Inspired by Indian royal heritage, the hotel is characterised by grand white buildings and silver domes, instantly showcasing opulence and classic Indian charm. Traditional instrumental melodies and the hotel’s signature fragrance drift around the property, creating a sensory experience. Spectacular murals and impressive flower displays are dotted around beautifully decorated rooms, traditional archways, and a breathtaking ballroom – flowers used by The Leela Palace are later upcycled into fragrant incense sticks.

Expect to find spaces inspired by royal palaces, inside and out (Jack Lawes)

The Leela Palace’s centrepiece is a swimming pool framed by leafy trees and sun loungers, where guests soak up sun-filled days. But when not relaxing, there’s stargazing, cocktail hour, crafts, henna art, and palm reading.

The service

As you stroll around the premises, you’re greeted with smiles and “namaste” from staff as you pass. On arrival, guests are greeted by drinks and flowers, with special treats waiting in the rooms. From check in to check out, service is seamless and professional, making you feel instantly comfortable in a home-from-home.

Bed and bath

If you can, plump for a ‘grande suite with terrace’, at the premium end of the resort’s offering. They’re full natural light, the décor is modern, and guests can expect their own outdoor area, walk-in wardrobe and en suite (stocked with The Leela Palace’s Tishya products, which have a rich signature aroma of flowers native to India). Like other parts of the hotel, rooms feature plenty of intricate details, including zardozi embroidery, white marble surfaces, and a soothing colour palette of blue, navy, and gold. Among the opulence is a deeply comfortable bed that almost guarantees a fine slumber (and there’s a decent pillow menu, too, plus an option to hire a butler by the day).

Comfort is on par with elegance in the rooms (Jack Lawes)

Food and drink

There are several dining options. Italian restaurant Preet Mahal is a quiet spot that works well for a date night, serving fresh burrata, creamy cheese sauces and an impressive selection of wines.

The pièce de résistance is the hotel’s Mohan Mohal experience, a hidden fine-dining restaurant decorated with thousands of pieces of mirrored art that took several years to complete. Inspired by the architecture of Rajasthan’s Sheesh Mahal, the Mohan Mahal is both a truly spectacular experience (and a great spot for pictures). Illuminated by hundreds of candles, diners can tuck into a five-course set meal. Reservations are required.

The Leela Palace’s buffet option serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with cuisines from around the world. There are several chefs on hand to rustle up fresh requests and countless options for both vegetarian and vegan diners.

Facilities

Alongside restaurants, bar, pool, and lounge areas, there are plenty of secluded alcoves and seating spots to enjoy the peace of the surrounding gardens. Before it gets too warm, climb to the rooftop for a better view of the resort and surroundings. The spa provides top-of-the-range massages and beauty treatments, as well as a complimentary sauna, steam room, and hot tub for all guests. A modern gym is stocked with high-tech workout equipment.

Disability access

Ramps are available across the resort, lifts connect the floors of the main building, and some rooms have been equipped for guests with disabilities.

Pet policy

The hotel does not accept pets.

Check in/check out

Guests can check in from 3pm and check out is 12pm.

Family-friendly?

Families are definitely welcome, with a kids’ club and a babysitting service. Two children up to the age of six can stay in the parent’s room free of charge, but you won’t receive an extra bed.

At a glance

Best thing: The five-course Rajasthani dinner experience at Mohan Mahal.

Worst thing: Service was a little slow during cocktail hour at the bar.

Perfect for: Couples, families, and solo travellers who want to escape from the city and soak up some five-star treatment.

Not right for: Business travellers who are looking for something cosmopolitan or close to the city.

Instagram from: The pool and Mohan Mahal restaurant.

Read more: The ultimate India travel guide – everything you need to know before you go

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