Think Pink! Pink Palaces, Pink City and Pink Champagne

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hey squaddies!
Following on from my last blog (view here) our road trip from Kumbalgargh carried on to the magical land of palaces and lakes: Udaipur.

As we arrived at the  Shiv Niwas Palace we were greeted with flower garlands, refreshing juice and a complimentary upgrade to rooms overlooking the peaceful Lake Pichola. The hotel was close to the hustle and bustle of the vibrant city centre. Historically, the opulent Palace hosted royal guests of the maharajah (king) and boasts impressive early 20th century architecture and décor. My favourite features were the interiors filled with gold lattice alcoves, Rajasthani marble work, rugs and chandeliers. My enthusiasm for the place didn’t go unnoticed (camera in hand) and I was even given access to an private room in the ‘Panera Bar’ reserved for the royal family which overlooks the lake from one side and the bar lounge from the other. The atmosphere was magical. In the evening, we enjoyed a poolside dinner with pink champagne, charming cocktails, a live classical band and of course, more lamb curry (Laal Maas).

During our stay we visited the lively city to shop for some artwork, jewellery and clothing in the most adorable boutiques which were only a short distance walk from the hotel. My advice to you: don’t settle for the asking price! If you want to avoid the haggling, there are beautiful shops within the grounds where although you’re less likely to find a bargain, you’ll walk away with some fabulous finds.

On our second evening, we went to a rooftop restaurant called ‘Charcoal’; a chic bar and grill with great views of the city’s skyline. We enjoyed some char-grilled chicken and tasty (but strong) mojitos. The atmosphere was very casual and the restaurant owner was very friendly in recommending some spots to check out whilst staying in the area.

Feeling like royalty, we set off on our journey to our next destination: a small town called Bundi. On the three hour road trip we passed farms, small towns and enjoyed some bucolic scenery. We stayed in Hadothi Palace hotel for a night. The hotel had a view of the Taragarh Fort; a picturesque way to start your day!

After a very short stay in Bundi we left for Jaipur, the pink city! One of my favourite experiences included going to one of the many Bazaar’s (street markets) where we spoke to so many local market vendors and bargained until the cows came home – quite literally. Whilst shopping there we saw the ‘Hawamahal Palace’ (palace of winds) - a high pink stone building which was historically built for the women of the royal household to view the street festivals, it features gorgeous coloured glass windows. I could pose there for days!

We stayed at the Atithi Guest House, it's a great laid back place where you're likely to bump into fellow travelers from all walks of life. There was a fab restaurant nearby called 'Peacock' which I can't recommend enough! From the moment you enter, there is a cool East meets West vibe with a sports screen, fairy lights, a giant peacock and a great buzzing international atmosphere. The newspaper inspired menus were fun to navigate and featured a vast of array of Asian fusion food. I highly recommend their take on cheesy garlic bread: a bun filled with onion potato, garlic and oozing with cheese. Not much room for dessert after that! The Thai green chicken curry was yummy too!
For the last leg of our road trip we made our way to a very remote town called Alwar and stayed in a hotel which was an old royal fort high up in a remote mountain that has been restored into a stunning hotel, which I now consider to be Rajasthan’s best kept secret!

Dhadhikar Fort hotel was out of this world. The Alwar hills are so remote; we heard wildlife and echoes of the some of the sounds from the small town all the way up to our rooms. My room was named Draunanchal and they had a gigantic iron padlock and as you enter the cold stone walls you are surrounded by traditional Indian artwork and furnishings, alcoves and a balcony with panoramic views of the city. We woke up to peacocks, squirrels, and gigantic birds of prey flying nearby! The Dhadikar Fort provided us with the most spectacular sanctuary style ending to a busy family holiday.

Goodbye for now India, you have been truly amazing!If you want to know more about any of the above mentioned places, please see the links below. This is not a sponsored post.

Shiv Niwas Palace

Charcoal Restaurant 

Udaipur Hadothi Palace Hotel 

BundiAtithi Guest House Jaipur

Peacock Restaurant Jaipur

Dhadhikar Fort Hotel

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