Scattered with splendid palaces and dripping with royal romance, Rajasthan knows a thing or two about luxury. The name Rajasthan even translates to the Land of Kings!
That said, it’s not all pomp and grandeur: as specialists in bespoke, one-of-a-kind private tours of this region we know that true luxury lies in the experience. We’re not scared to steer off the beaten track to experience something truly exceptional. With that in mind, here are 25 of our favourite luxury experiences in Rajasthan:
1. Private dinner overlooking the Taj Mahal
While every room at The Oberoi Amarvilas offers a beautiful view of the Taj Mahal, some come with a private balcony. You can sit out and gaze at the monument in comfort and privacy well beyond the regular visiting hours, appreciating how the marble changes colours from sunrise to sunset and under the moonlight. The best part about the balcony, in our opinion, is having your dinner served there exclusively by a dedicated butler.
2. A spa treatment while floating along Lake Pichola
Stay at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, and you can indulge in a spa treatment while floating along Lake Pichola, in the Jiva Spa boat. A glass of wine on deck afterwards while the sun goes down is the perfect way to round off one of our favourite luxury experiences in Rajasthan.
3. Hot air balloon ride
Take in Rajasthan from a different perspective by floating over Amber Fort and the Pink City in a hot air balloon, with Skywaltz. Seeing children in the villages below, smiling and waving as you drift by is a lovely experience.
4. Spend the evening with elephants
Three big things make Dera Amer so unique: Laxmi, Rangmala, and Anarkali. Rescued from a life of shuttling tourists up and down the Amber Fort, these days they are fed, bathed, walked, and generally fawned over, by guests of Dera Amer. You can spend the evening here and enjoy a delicious dinner, or stay the night in one of just two luxury tents.
5. High tea at Rajmahal Palace
Rajmahal Palace is one of our favourite luxury hotels in Rajasthan and a perfect base for exploring the Pink City. It’s hosted many a celebrity guest including Queen Elizabeth II, Jackie Kennedy and Lord Mountbatten. The hotel treats guests to complimentary afternoon tea on the laws with a selection of teas, coffees, and freshly baked goodies including royal family favourites.
6. Leopard spotting at SUJÁN Jawai
Rajasthan is home to a variety of impressive wildlife, including the elusive leopard which you’ll spot easily at this intimate, luxury camp. Jawai is still relatively unknown on the tourist trail and much less commercialised than Ranthambhore. If you’re looking for an authentic safari experience in comfort and style, SUJÁN Jawai is a superb choice.
7. A private cooking class at Oberoi Rajvilas
Rajasthani food is delicious, and if you’re staying at the Oberoi Rajvilas, we highly recommend learning how to make it with their hands-on cooking class.
8. Treasure-hunting in Jaipur
When it comes to shopping, Jaipur has something for everyone. From elegant silk saris to kitschy wooden camels, even the most frugal visitor is likely to leave the city with some goodies tucked in their luggage. Rajasthan is well known for its craftspeople, and each region has its distinct specialities. Jaipur is at the hub of the state’s tourism industry and has handicrafts from across the region but is most famous for its jewellery; if you want something with a local flair here, pick up a piece of blue pottery or a pair of emerald earrings.
9. A private champagne tour of Mehrangarh Fort
Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur is one of the most massive forts in India and dates back to the mid-15th-century. Impressive gates bear the marks of numerous failed attacks, and its museum displays a stunning collection of arms, costumes and artwork from the kingdom’s glorious past. A private, champagne tour of the fort with the museum curator is one of our most exclusive luxury experiences in Rajasthan.
10. Enjoy a private, authentic folk performance
Our exclusive Bhopa performance is a culturally-rich experience, and, for many of our guests, a highlight of their stay. Bhopa is a dying art form of the nomadic Bhopa tribe, who enjoy a lively tradition of storytelling through song and dance. A long-painted scroll (known as a phad) is, rather like a comic strip, crammed with paintings depicting dramatic events in the life of a Rajasthani hero, the brave warrior Pabuji. The Bhopa unrolls his scroll, and narrates the story through songs, highlighting relevant pictures on the scroll with a lantern, while his wife brings the tale to life with animated dance sequences. It’s one of our favourite luxury experiences in Rajasthan, available exclusively to guests of Indian Excursions Co.
11. Yoga at Bhangarh Fort
We recommend including a night or two in rural Rajasthan to your itinerary. It can be a lovely contrast to the thronging cities and is also where you’ll find some of the region’s most elegant hotels, including Amanbagh. While you’re there, rise early for a private morning yoga session at nearby Bhangarh. Rumoured to be haunted, Bhangarh was abandoned early in its history. Today it is home to remnants of palaces, temples, pools and markets. The national heritage site was built in the 17th century by Diwan Madho Singh of the Jaipur royal family. Amanbagh can arrange private yoga sessions amongst the ruins of this folkloric, medieval city.
12. Private boat ride on Lake Pichola
Enjoy lunch or afternoon tea in a traditional boat on Lake Pichola. Or wait until sunset.
13. Stay in a suite at the Taj Lake Palace
A shimmering mirage in the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, the Taj Lake Palace is one of the most beautiful places to stay in all of India and arguably one of the best luxury experiences in Rajasthan. The crown jewel of the hotel, set in what was once a royal pleasure palace, is the Sajjan Niwas Suite. Built by a Maharana in 1884, the suite’s terrace opens directly onto the lake.
14. Renew your vows at the Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
Perfect for honeymooners or those celebrating an anniversary. Renew your vows overlooking the world’s favourite monument to love, with the option to adorn traditional Indian attire.
15. Dinner at Dharikhana overlooking Mehrangarh Fort
Nestled amongst Jodhpur’s bustling old walled city, in the shadow of Mehrangarh Fort, RAAS boutique hotel brings an 18th-century haveli bang up to date. Whether or not you choose RAAS as your base in Jodhpur (we highly recommend so), don’t miss an evening meal at their restaurant, Dharikhana.
16. Take a vintage car ride at Umaid Bhawan Palace
Picture this: you’re in the back of a 1927 Rolls Royce, departing from the 20th-century Umaid Bhawan Palace to Jodhpur airport, amid 21st-century infrastructure and traffic! The palace, home to several generations of the Jodhpur royal family, has an expansive collection of vintage cars to choose from including the 1906 Overland, the 1927 Rolls Royce Phantom, and the 1937 Delahaye Roadster.
17. Dinner at Indian Accent, Delhi
Within The Lodhi hotel in Delhi, Indian Accent offers accomplished, gourmet cooking that blends Eastern and Western culinary influences. For a genuinely lavish meal, guests can dine at the Chef’s Table, where they’ll indulge in eight courses, wine pairing with each, and the chance to liaise directly with the Executive Chef or Chef de Cuisine.
18. Cocktails at Bar Palladio, Jaipur
Set within the sumptuous heritage grounds of Narain Niwas Palace, Bar Palladio is not only one of Jaipur’s best restaurants; it’s also the most photogenic. Finished in seriously chic décor, this is the rendezvous of choice for creative inner circles. The effervescent froth of the Venetian Spritz cocktail pairs beautifully with the bar’s sophisticated surrounds, and is an august aperitif to the classic Italian cuisine.
19. Spot tigers in Ranthambhore National Park
Seeing a tiger in Ranthambhore is an exhilarating experience. You’ll first hear the jungle sounds that warn of a tiger’s presence: monkeys and peacocks screech, and the deer in the area become on edge. Your experienced guide will be carefully looking out for these signs as he accompanies you through the jungle on a private safari.
20. Sundowners in the desert at The Serai
We love taking a camel out into the desert. Even better, why not combine this with a sundowner on the dunes at sunset? Luxury desert camp The Serai also layout a leather armchair and a bar for you. Now that is something you’ll never likely forget!
21. Step-well dinner at Rawla Narlai
The signature experience at Rawla Narlai is their step-well dinner. At sunset, you’re transported by a traditional bullock cart to the step-well, which is beautifully lit up with candles. Here, you sit down for a splendid meal of local dishes while being entertained by traditional folk musicians.
22. Astrology-reading at the Taj Rambagh Palace
Travellers with a mystical side will want to stay at the opulent Taj Rambagh Palace when visiting Jaipur. Among the elegant suites and high-end amenities, the hotel also employs an astrologer and palm-reader. The lavish property conducts sessions on the lawns.
23. Tour the private rooms of Jaipur’s City Palace
The private rooms at Jaipur’s City Palace are one of Rajasthan’s best-kept secrets. Discover them in detail with Indian Excursions and our celebrated, expert guides. The ‘Blue Room’ is particularly impressive.
24. Dinner at Sheesh Mahal at the Leela Palace, Udaipur
With a stunning location on the edge of Lake Pichola, the opulent Leela Palace, Udaipur is one of our top hotel choices in Rajasthan. Whether you stay there or not, be sure to reserve a table for dinner at Sheesh Mahal, the open-air fine dining restaurant with a stunning vista across Lake Pichola.
25. Spend Diwali with an Indian family
While there’s plenty of evidence of Diwali on the streets, it’s indoors, amongst Indian families, that the meaningful celebrations take place. If you’re visiting India during Diwali, we can arrange for you to spend the evening with a local family for an insight into the local culture.
These suggestions are just a taste of the many unique luxury experiences in Rajasthan we can offer as part of a more comprehensive tailor-made tour. To start discussing yours, please get in touch. As experts in private, bespoke itineraries through this region, we’d be the ideal match to assist with the planning of your trip.