Monday, October 24, 2011
For a stay in Udaipur, there is no better sense of place than at the Oberoi Udaivilas. A quick flight from Mumbai takes you to Rajasthan, one of the most popular areas for tourists in India. And for good reason--the royal history, gorgeous lakes and hills, palaces, and fabulous hotels. Walking down the airplane stairs and onto the tarmac, I breathed in the cooler air. Gone was the humidity and heavy air of Mumbai. I was so excited to explore the "Land of Kings." And with much better, frizz-free hair!
Forty minutes from the airport, I boarded a boat on Lake Pichola for a quick ten-minute ride to the Oberoi Udaivilas in the darkened nighttime air.
The scented air at all Oberoi hotels I visited on this trip will remain with me-hints of jasmine and other flowers that I've never smelled before. Arriving at Udaivilas felt like I was arriving to stay with my friend, the King of Rajasthan. Rose petals are showered upon each guest upon arrival. Bags are whisked away and immediately brought to your room. All guests enter the palatial lobby and then through my favorite candlelit room pictured above.
From my room, I had this view of the Royal Palace's lights and moon.
Dinner was al fresco with local musicians, and I loved the imaginative and comforting take on Indian food. Can you ever eat enough garlic naan? I loved it and the ladies I dined with, though the whole place felt very honeymoon and I missed Andy. I lived vicariously through the other deliriously happy couples eating outside.
I returned to my room, which I loved, and watched Om Shanti Om on DVD, a 2007 Bollywood smash hit. If you want the perfect movie to get you in the mood of India, watch this one!
Everything looks different in the daytime, so I went exploring early the next morning through the open-air hallways and to the pools and spa (fitness center time was very needed).
I loved exploring the bustling city of Udaipur and then returning to my oasis at Udaivilas again. It became a theme of my India trip-the contrast of down-and-dirty exploration and returning to peace, quiet and true beauty at the hotels. I witnessed heartbreak and joy on the streets every day and could reflect upon the culture and chaos each night without worrying about the water or food.
From the Royal Palace (a must-see during your stay in Udaipur), there are wonderful views of Udaipur, like this one below, with the mountains in the distance.
I recommend booking a guide through Greaves India, as they have access to the most knowledgeable (and fun!) guides. This recommendation coming to you from a straight-up tour guide snob. There are so many terrible ones out there-Greaves has the best connections.