Some hotels are magical, others glamorous or luxurious, and there are some, which like the Raj Palace encompass all our fantasies and aspirations. Its four floors, decked with gleaming gold, ivory, silver and carved mirrors, combine the mysteries of history with luxury and modernity. This majestic hotel is considered, by many, the best palatial luxury hotel in the world. A night in one of its most sumptuous suites can cost $45,000, a considerable sum, which justifies such a unique experience.In 1995, Princess Jayendra Kumari Ji decided to restore this ancient castle and turn it into one of the most exclusive hotels in the world. The palace, one of the few places where the Maharajah lived, was restored respecting in every detail its timeless magnificence and splendor.
The Raj Palace hotel has 28 suites and 38 majestic rooms overlooking its exquisite gardens. Guests can select their favorite category according to their wishes since there are three types of lodging with very evocative names: Presidential, Palatial and Prestige.
The Prestige suites embody the essence of the palace, with panels dating from the 17th century, ceilings with allegorical decorations, antique furniture and private mini-museums that exhibit valuable art collections. The restored suites Raj Mahal, Khaas Mahal and Swarna Mahal were, at one time, the private parlors of the royal family. Large windows offer endless views or the Charbagh and Maharani Bagh gardens. These rooms have welcomed not only 13 generations of Indian royalty, but countless international dignitaries, celebrities and Heads of State who have left secrets within its walls.
Among the presidential suites, we found the Maharajah’s Pavilion, a royal apartment of about 16,000 square feet, with four floors, private entrance and interior elevator for the exclusive use of its guests. There is also the Shahi Mahal suite, which combines the unparalleled luxury of the 17th century with the modernity of the 21st.
These palatial suites boast two bedrooms, living room and dining room, furnished with gold and silver. The décor includes priceless artworks and their private terraces make them irresistible to the most discerning travelers.
The Durbar Mahal suite, which used to be Thakur Sahib’s private bedroom, overlooks the inner courtyards of the palace. Its luxurious features include stucco walls decorated with gold and silver, marble floors, oriental rugs and splendid chandeliers, as well as a recessed balcony, typical of traditional Indian architecture, from which Thakur Sahib gave his speeches. This suite also features a private walkway that connects the different pavilions of the Zenana, the apartments reserved for the women of the royal family. The highlight of the suite is its private museum, which displays Thakur Shahib’s ancient throne.
The Mahal Jhanki suite will also let your imagination fly as you enter the realm of sensuality. All Indian royal homes had to include a place for the private pleasure of the royal dignitaries. It was in this opulent parlor where they met with their wives and concubines, a fact that is reflected in the miniature paintings that depict erotic life in the court. The 6,500 square-foot suite comes with Jacuzzi, swimming pool and a private rooftop sun terrace, where guests can enjoy beautiful views of the city.
There is also a private spa next to the pleasure pavilion. Other amenities include a spacious living room, private bar, library, study area and an elegant dining room complete with a separate butler’s entrance. It is exquisitely furnished in gold and ivory, and marble predominates in the two luxurious bathrooms.
Many celebrities have chosen to stay at the Raj Palace, from Prince Michael of Kent, Lord Mountbatten, Amitabh Bacchan and Fredrick Forsyth to Elaine Page and Dominique La Pierre. For Princess Virginia Ira von Furstenberg, it was “a lovely stay in a wonderful hotel.”
Each of the Raj Palace Hotel suites has its own story. This sumptuous Indian palace, which allows us to surround ourselves with art and the most elegant luxury and comfort, is a unique experience, only comparable to the excellent descriptions of a tale from the Arabian Nights. ■