India’s palace hotels are world’s most genuine opulent hostelries, as authentic as hotels in, say, Dubai and Las Vegas are merely “copies” – think of Taj Falaknuma Palace, outside Hyderabad, with a dining table that seats 110, and, in Udaipur, Rajasthan, think of Taj Lake Palace, the ship-like hotel fixed to the base of Lake Pichola, an artificial lake created in the 14th century and named for nearby Piccholi village
Last Wednesday, on 1st January, the Taj palace portfolio gained another member, with the flagging of what is now Taj Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur. It is within Udaipur City Palace on the shores of the lake. You also look to the surrounding Aravalli Hills. Fateh Prakash, as it was before, was built during the reign of Maharana Fateh Singh Mewar in the 19th century as an exclusive venue for royal functions (make sure you see what is one of India’s most flamboyant ‘Durbar Halls’, a dramatic heritage banquet venue with a show-stopping centrally-hung crystal chandelier that is said to weigh 1,000 kgs). There are 65 keys, and top-rung are the two, 1,000 sq ft, Royal Suites. Hotel manager is Dilip Nair.
The House of Mewar is one of the oldest dynasties in the world, with its origins tracing back 1,300 years. The head of the family today is HH Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, Maharana of Udaipur and Chairman and Managing Director, The Lake Palace Hotels & Motels Pvt Ltd. As he says, “My family has shared a close and fruitful association with IHCL since 1971 – when we commenced our valued relationship with Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur. In 2020, we strengthen our bond through Taj Fateh Prakash Udaipur, which is a significant palace by virtue of having been witness to many a royal function over time.” His Highness has nine hotels in all, all in the area: he also collects Mewari polo ponies, and classic and solar-powered cars.