Places to stay
Dreamy design in Morocco, beauty in India, a Thai retreat and old-school British charm
From the moment you step foot on the boat that sweeps you across Lake Pichola to the Leela Palace, you get the impression you’re about to experience something special. That initial feeling is confirmed when you’re greeted by a flurry of rose petals floating down from a balcony before you’re whisked off to one of the 80 standout rooms or suites. Each faces on to the freshwater lake, which is the largest in the bustling city.
Expect elegant, luxurious decor and traditional rugs, an extensive pillow menu, an immense marble bathroom with sunken tub, plus views to the Aravali mountains and breathtaking City Palace. Geometric design is at play throughout the exquisite grounds; there’s a dazzling central courtyard, large pool, well-equipped gym and 900sq m outdoor spa complex with treatment tents and therapy suites.
Wake up early for a yoga session in the guava orchard or have the hotel’s chefs take you into the centre of the city as part of its Culinary Sojourn package. Here, you can visit the fruit and vegetable markets and sample authentic street food before heading back to the hotel for a private cooking class in the open kitchen or vegetable and herb garden.
Before you make your way to one of the two restaurants for dinner, be sure to embark on the sunset cruise for canapés and chai. Sheesh Mahal, the open-air terrace restaurant, serves up refined Indian classics such as lamb korma, an outrageously light and fresh dhaal, and gatta curry, a Rajasthani gram flour dumpling in yoghurt gravy. Dining Room, the all-day restaurant, offers international dishes and boasts a statement walk-in wine cabinet. It’s not difficult to wile away the rest of your evening with a drink in The Library Bar. AD. Doubles from £669, 00 91 294 670 1234, preferredhotels.com. Jet Airways flies from London Heathrow to Udaipur from £408pp return. jetairways.com