The New Raffles Udaipur Hotel is the Posh Pampering Splurge We Need Right Now

Just yesterday the BBC announced that India was withdrawing its 10-day quarantine period for visiting UK nationals, signaling a decisive confidence that the coronavirus crisis was definitively on the decline there. The nation of nearly 1.4 billion people was hit particularly hard during the pandemic, with 34 million cases and 451,000 deaths recorded.
With that in mind, the India tourism industry will need a lot of help to recover – so putting it on your travel list for 2022 could even be considered an act of good conscience. But if you need another very good reason, there’s the opening of the Raffles Udaipur hotel, the luxury brand’s truly spectacular new flagship property.


Set just outside of the historic city from which it takes its name, it is actually perched on a private, 21-acre island, overlooking a 400-year-old temple, and the serenity of the Udai Sagar Lake. With its fountains, obelisks and meticulously manicured gardens, it’s almost like a mini Eastern version of Versailles, minus the paranoid, egotist monarch. Nodding to the State of Rajasthan‘s royal heritage, the architecture is a grandiose update of the neoclassical tenets: massive pillars, grand outer staircases, an elegant but adornment-free facade.

The 101 rooms and suites marry Western luxury and Mughal detailing, with handcrafted furnishings by local artisans. The Flamingo Signature Rooms even boast such seven-star amenities as private gardens, heated pools w/ cabanas and, well…actual flamingo murals in the bathroom. Manor Suites and Oasis Suites come in at about 120 square meters of plush each.

As would be the case for a hotel that you almost never have to leave, the Raffles Udaipur is a veritable epicurean wonderland, overseen by Culinary Director Prasad Metrani (formerly of the Fairmont Jaipur). To wit, Sawai Kitchen updates the cuisine of the royal houses of India for today’s tastes; Harvest – opening later this year – will create edible farm-to-table masterpieces from the foraged bounty of the estate farm; and the al fresco Belvedere Point serves dishes inspired by the five elements – earth, fire, water, air, space – with ethereal lake views as a backdrop. There’s also the Raffles Patisserie, the Rasoi cooking school, and the stylishly bookish Writers Bar, with its spiral staircase, grand chandeliers and Champagne + caviar menu.

But the Long Bar, a spinoff of the legendary cocktail hotspot in the Raffles Singapore, is sure to be the beating social heart of the hotel, where the international jetset will regularly while away evenings over top shelf Indian spirits and signature Udaipur Slings (gin, club soda, cherry liqueur and simple syrup).

There’s also the Raffles Spa, with six treatment rooms, sauna and jacuzzi. But if your visit is really about de-stressing, one might venture a guess that communing with the property’s considerable natural offerings would be the best strategy. And what could possibly be more “self-caring” than stopping to smell the fragrant white frangipani, the night-blooming jasmines, and the stunning spider lilies, then spending a few contemplative moments under the sacred peepal (fig) tree?

So yes, the Raffles Udaipur offers precisely the type of posh pampering we deserve after nineteen months of fear, anxiety and uncertainty. The only downside being having to work up the courage to actually leave at the end of your visit.

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