Jewel On The Lake By The Luxury Channel

Leels’s first palace hotel opens in Udaipur, offering ultimate luxury in a romantic heritage city.

A palace fit for a Maharaja recently had its soft opening in Udaipur, in India’s Rajasthan. Set on the banks of beautiful Lake Pichola, The Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur has 80 luxurious rooms and suites and captivating views of this romantic heritage city and the surrounding majestic Aravili Mountains.

Renowned architect Bill Bensley and interior designer Jeffrey Wilkes have created a modern palace recalling the grandeur of Udaipur’s historic past. Huge domes crown the roof of The Leela as overhanging wood balconies, or jharokhas, adorn the walls and lofty corbel arches decorate the doors. Guests enter a grand courtyard with flowering trees and fragrant landscaped gardens. Mosaics of peacocks and the Tree of Life embellish the interior walls. A long dramatic pool borders the lake. Inside The Leela, shimmering light reflects off the thikri, the traditional Mewari mosaics of mirrors, enhancing the “palace” ambiance. In this fairy-tale setting, guests will feel like royalty.

The luxury boutique hotel has three restaurants, a lounge and bar and a 10,000-square-foot Spa Guest rooms – all have spectacular views of Lake Pichola. The design is contemporary with traditional elements of Rajasthani artistry. Exquisite fabrics are embroidered with regally-inspired designs and carved wood furniture has mother of pearl inlays and brass tarkashi work. Decorative ornaments include: hand-crafted white marble lotus flowers, carved silver elephants and vibrant paintings of puppets from Rajasthan folk tales. The opulent Maharaja Suite has its own dining room and study, a private pool, a Jacuzzi and its own massage room.

Open 24 hours a day, The Dining Room, under the guidance of Executive Chef Karim Hassene from France, offers an extensive menu of dishes prepared with fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables from The Leela’s organic garden. When Sheesh Mahal, the palace’s rooftop restaurant, opens at the end of the summer, guests will dine under the stars on recipes from the royal kitchens of India. Guests can also opt to lunch at the pool or take a proper afternoon tea on The Verandah.

The Spa at The Leela offers all the traditional treatments as well as Ayurvedic therapies in its 14 treatment rooms, including spa “tents” set amidst the palace’s gardens. Steam rooms, a Jacuzzi and a fitness center with personal trainers form part of the spa, as do daily yoga classes.

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