The Oberoi Udaivilas was given the title of 2013’s #1 hotel in all of India and is always in contention for one of the best hotels in the world. After experiencing the resort for ourselves the reasons are obvious.
First let me start by saying that the city of Udaipur is an oasis within India, lush with numerous lakes. The Udaivilas resort is beautifully located on the famous Lake Pichola with breathtaking views of the City Palace across the lake. This building was designed with an ambiance of grandeur with awe inspiring features keeping you in the present moment and fully taking in your experience of India.
Premier Room with Semi-Private Pool
When you picture this hotel, this is the room you see in all the photos. Its main feature is the shared infinity edge pool looking out to Lake Pichola perfect for watching the sunset, maybe drinking a glass of wine, and listening to the birds as the sun goes down. The pool wraps around the hotel and is shared with 8 of the premier rooms, yet it felt secluded and was always empty.
The room is spacious and elegantly designed accented with hand crafted artwork and furniture famous of this city. When you enter the room you see a large sitting area and next to it a king sized bed looking out to the view of the lake. The bathroom is made of marble with a free standing bath tub that was filled with rose petals when we arrived! It’s the details like this made our stay exceptional. Out the bathroom door, you walk into your private courtyard that leads to the pool. This would be the room to select for a couple, but more people you would want to book to one of the suites.
Most stays include a daily breakfast which is a huge display of meats, cheeses, baked pastries, as well as Indian specialties and freshly squeezed juices. Of all the Oberoi’s we have visited (4), this had the best breakfast. The quality and presentation of the food was great but I didn’t care for the western style dishes that were not prepared properly such as watery hollandaise sauce and eggs that were not poached in the Eggs Benedict. Although the Indian dishes are nearly perfect, their Western takes were mediocre at best.
What the food lacked, the views and setting of the restaurants fully made up for. The views of the hotel all face the Pichola lake some with additional views of the garden. Also make sure you take advantage of this by dining at the outdoor restaurant during sunrise or sunset. Another great place to enjoy your breakfast is outside of your room in front of your private pool overlooking the lake, listening to the countless types of exotic birds. We had breakfast outside one early morning as the sun came up and to our right just outside of the fence were the most beautiful deer we have ever seen. I’m talking gorgeous, healthy deer with unbelievable markings and giant antlers. There were about seven or eight males challenging each other.
There are a couple of restaurants on the premises, most notably Udaimahal which serves amazing northern indian cuisine just sublime and best Indian food in an Oberoi so far. If you’re feeling a little tired of Indian you should visit Suryamahal which is right across the corridor where they produce some good international dishes. Dinner is more consistent than the western breakfast in our opinion.
The bar just off of the grand lobby prepared excellent cocktails although the wine list was small. It was a quiet and beautiful place to just unwind after a long day of sightseeing. And they also offer cuban cigars if you’re into that.
Lastly if you want a memorable moment reserve a private dinner under the dome. When we went the dome was undergoing renovations so we had a fabulous meal in a mini dome right outside of the main pool candle lit with thousands of flowers that were strung up especially for us. It’s bar none one of the most romantic experiences we have ever had. The service was excellent and always eager to please. They even had a sitar player serenade us for the course of 4 hours then fire works! Indescribable moment. I can’t imagine what it would be like having a similar experience under the large dome located on the roof.
Udaivilas is extravagant and no expense was spared while building this modern day palace. I’m sure the grand entrance leaves each of its guests speechless. The hotel courtyard is the size of large field centered with an immense water feature taking shape of a symmetrical lotus flower cut into marble and still water in between. You then walk through more fountains and pots filled with floating petals intricately designed every morning. And finally you reach the main entrance to the hotel and greeted with the traditional welcome ceremony of some placing the clay on your forehead for good luck.
This hotel fits in perfectly with the nature around it. While exploring the grounds you see how massive it is with lush with gardens & fountains, peacocks, a herd of white spotted deer, and an unbelievable amount of different kinds of birds chirp their songs above you throughout the day. At sunset, the lake belongs to love birds taking a romantic boat rides as the sun goes down and the city lights up with a pinkish glow.
Have a spa treatment and feel like a princess. They offer traditional ayurvedic treatments, but I opted for a massage and rose petal milk bath. My private treatment room was quite large with views looking out to the lake. The room contained a shower, massage table, ayurvedic table, and next to the window a stand alone tub filled with pink rose petals and milk. Also I loved looking down at a bowl filled with floating flowers while getting my massage. However, my husband did the Ayurvedic massage & treatment and it was too powerful for him. It must have released a ton of toxins because he felt nauseous the next day.
The service here makes you feel of royalty with a lot of service staff waiting on your every need. The servers here are young and in the beginning of their careers still driven and passionate of their budding careers. Although they may at times forget something you requested, their apologizes are sincere. And their unintimidating, unpretentious, and not 100% confident demeanor almost feels servant-like taking you back to the past and feeling like the Maharaja himself.
- Plan your stay to be at least 3-5 days. 3 days is just enough time to see the nearby sights, but the hotel is magnificent and one of the highlights of the city so I recommend 4 days at the least.
- Reserve the Premier Room with semi private pool. It is worth the extra money.
- Explore the gardens & the jetty at sunrise. The sun rises across the lake and the sounds of the morning chants makes it unforgettable.
- Reserve the private dinner under the lakeside dome. The most romantic setting all to yourselves with a personal waiter, someone playing music, and the city glowing in the background.
- Go for a Shikara Ride (traditional boat) ride with canapés on Lake Pichola as the sun goes down and the stars come out.
- Visit the Jain Temples of Ranakpur decorated with erotic ancient carvings
- Go for a camel ride to a private lunch in Devigarh Fort Palace and request the Liz Hurly breakfast room
- Purchase a pashmina or indulge and treat yourself to an ibex made shahtoosh shaw.
- Enjoy a private tour of the City Palace
- Tour the Monsoon palace of Sajjan Garh
- Taj Lake Palace Udaipur
- The Leela Palace Udaipur