Oberoi Udaivilas or the Taj Lake Palace? Taj Lake Palace or the Leela Palace? It’s a question that we’re often asked by our guests at Indian Excursions. As experts in tailor-made tours of Rajasthan, we’re intimately familiar with all three of these luxury hotels in Udaipur, and for your comparison here we break down the advantages and disadvantages of each one to better aid your decision making:
When deciding which of the luxury hotels in Udaipur to go for, location is of course a key factor for many of our guests. The Taj Lake Palace’s unique and dreamy location in the middle of Lake Pichola makes it one of the world’s most well-known luxury hotels. Transferring to and from the property by boat is a romantic and memorable experience, as is gazing out at the shimmering waters from your palace room window. Staying at the Oberoi Udaivilas or Leela Palace instead would afford a view of the lake palace as well as the City Palace and Lake Pichola.
“I’ll always remember one of our past guest sharing their opinion with me on why the Oberoi Udaivilas had the better location: ‘if you stay in the Eiffel Tower, you don’t get to enjoy the view of it!’ he exclaimed!” – Madeleine Hann, Co-founder at Indian Excursions
Both the Leela Palace and the Oberoi Udaivilas are nestled on the banks of Lake Pichola, offering stunning views. At the Oberoi Udaivilas, the Premier Room with Lake View ensures a wonderful view of the lake as well as direct access to a semi-private swimming pool that runs along the periphery of the hotel. At the Leela Palace, Grand Heritage Lake View Rooms with Balcony boast their own private terrace to sit out on and gaze at the stunning panorama.
It’s difficult to say which of these luxury hotels in Udaipur have the better location. All three are stunning, though the Lake Palace has an edge owing to its unique location in the middle of the lake rather than on the edge of the lake.
The Taj Lake Palace, Oberoi Udaivilas and Leela Palace are all amongst India’s finest luxury hotels and so one can expect world-class service. Though we’re splitting hairs here, based on the feedback of our past guests we’d have to say the Oberoi Udaivilas has the edge in terms of service. The signature Oberoi service saw the group be named as the Best Group of Hotels in the World by readers of Travel+Leisure magazine, and the Oberoi Udaivilas itself accounted as The Best Hotel in The World in 2015. Think attentive yet unobtrusive; personalised, where each member of staff remembers your name, your likes and dislikes; and above and beyond, where staff know exactly what you want even before you do, and mark your special occasions with complimentary extras.
- Rooms and suites
Now, this is a hard one! It’s impossible to say in this Oberoi Udaivilas vs. Taj Lake Palace vs. Leela Palace comparison that any one has better rooms and suites than the other. What we do think is that it comes down to personal taste. Those who’re keen to soak up rich history, old-world charm and authentic details would prefer the Taj Lake Palace. For a more classic, perhaps minimalist atmosphere with fine attention to detail; the Oberoi Udaivilas. Guests who appreciate royal, glamorous Indian décor would be happier at the Leela Palace. In terms of space, the Oberoi Udaivilas has the largest entry-level rooms at 600 sq ft – the Leela Palace’s begin at 480 sq ft, and the Taj Lake Palace at 300 sq ft.
The Oberoi Udaivilas, Taj Lake Palace and Leela Palace all offer a number of restaurants and stunning cuisine. At the Oberoi Udaivilas, we love Udaimahal – an evening dining space adorned with a night sky, domed ceiling. Candlelit at night, with live traditional musicians and views of the City Palace lights twinkling on Lake Pichola, Udaimahal epitomises romance. The menu features Indian cuisine rare dishes and reinvented classics.
The Taj Lake Palace offer four dining spaces – our favourite is Neel Kamal. A traditional ambience, views of the lily pond, and a mesmerising water feature set the tone for Neel Kamal at the Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur. The fine-dining dinner-only restaurant serves authentic flavours of the royal cuisine of Udaipur, The North-West Frontier and other regions of India, using local ingredients and wood-fired stoves.
At the Leela Palace, we feel the Sheesh Mahal takes the biscuit as the most memorable dining experience in Udaipur. This Indian fine-dining restaurant boasts a stunning location on the edge of Lake Pichola. The al fresco setting allows you to soak up the night sky, enjoy a cool breeze from the lake, and a mesmerizing view across the City Palace, Lake Palace and Lake Pichola.
Each of these three luxury hotels in Udaipur also offer a number of private dining options for those truly special occasions. At the Taj Lake Palace, couples can enjoy an intimate dinner on one of the secluded terraces or beside the lily pond. At the Oberoi Udaivilas, special dinners are arranged beside the lake or at the poolside pavilion. At the Leela Palace, their ‘destination dinners’ can be arranged at various venues, including the spa alcove, the garden patio, or the pool deck.
Dining is guaranteed to be a royal experience at either of these three luxury hotels in Udaipur. If you were to decide on the Oberoi Udaivilas as your hotel in Udaipur, you’re always welcome of course to dine at the Leela Palace one night. The only exception to this is the Taj Lake Palace, as the entire property is accessible only to resident guests.
All three of these luxury hotels in Udaipur offer all the facilities one would expect from a five star hotel; including a spa, swimming pool, salon, fitness centre, and bar. The Taj Lake Palace’s spa is perhaps the most fitting, as guests can enjoy a treatment whilst floating on Lake Pichola in the Taj Lake Palace’s spa boat. At the Oberoi Udaivilas, we love their sunset shikhara boat ride – an experience that’s a highlight for many of our past guests.
For child-friendly activities we would say the Oberoi Udaivilas has the edge. They offer activities (many of which are complimentary) including a magic show, pot painting, kite decorating and flying, a puppet show, and even a treasure hunt!
At the Leela Palace, colourful live dances and musical performances in the evenings bring Udaipur’s rich culture and heritage to life.
That’s an easy one – of the three luxury hotels in Udaipur we’re comparing, the Taj Lake Palace wins hands down in terms of history. This dazzling white marble palace is 250 years old and was originally built by an Indian price. In comparison, the Oberoi Udaivilas and Leela Palace are both newly built, though with grand domes, reflection pools and turrets they have been designed to reflect a traditional style and appear at home within their surroundings. The Leela Palace was painstakingly constructed over a period of 14 years (that’s much longer than the Taj Lake Palace!) and this can be seen in the fine level of detail around the property.
“When staying at the Taj Lake Palace, don’t miss the complimentary heritage walk around the property (with a glass of sparkling wine), where the palace historian will explain the rich origins and romantic stories behind the palace” – Shiv Gurjar, Co-founder at Indian Excursions
The Taj Lake Palace owes much of its charm to its unique location in the lake. It’s accessible only by boat, of course. The boat ride is only a short five to ten minutes and offered complimentary around the clock, though the Oberoi Udaivilas and Leela Palace are more accessible with entry by boat or by road. At the Leela Palace, guests are encouraged to enter by boat, as their parking area is quite a walk away from the main hotel (buggies are available with compliments of the hotel). The Oberoi Udaivilas is the most accessible of the three hotels.
When comparing these three luxury hotels in Udaipur in terms of cost, the Oberoi Udaivilas, Taj Lake Palace and Leela Palace are within a similar price point. For a standard room, guests can expect to pay from approximately ₹30,000 ($464; £365) per night in the low season (April to September), and ₹75,000 ($1160; £920) in the high season (October – March). During Christmas and New Year this is significantly higher. The Leela Palace and Taj Lake Palace both have mandatory gala dinners on the 24th and 31st December which can cost upwards of ₹25,000 per person.
In conclusion, all three of these luxury hotels in Udaipur are absolutely stunning and excel in all areas, from their location to their décor to their cuisine and service. Ultimately, it’s not really possible to make a wrong choice as they’re all wonderful and will ensure a truly memorable stay. We’d encourage you to go with your gut instinct on whether the Taj Lake Palace vs. Oberoi Udaivilas vs. Leela Palace catches your eye the most. Overall however we’d say that those who’re keen on history would prefer the Taj Lake Palace; excellent service and spacious grounds the Oberoi Udaivilas; and glamorous grandeur the Leela Palace.
And, if the decision is just too hard, you might like to consider staying at two or even all three of these fabulous hotels. This is an approach lots of our past guests have taken, for example by spending their first night at the Oberoi Udaivilas and their last night at the Taj Lake Palace. The only snag is the added check-in and check-out as some may find it tiring to pack and unpack your belongings once again, so it depends on you and your preferences as an individual traveller.
If you’d like to experience one of these three luxury Udaipur hotels on your upcoming trip to Rajasthan, please do get in touch. We’d love to assist with your arrangements, and as experts in private, luxury tailor-made tours of this region would be an ideal match. For inspiration on the possibilities, we’d recommend taking a look at our sample itineraries – our Oberoi, Leela and Taj Luxury Rajasthan Tour would be a great starting point. But remember, all our tours are tailor-made to our guest’s individual tastes and requirements – every aspect is flexible and will be designed around your every preference.0