Home to the aristocratic Samode family, Samode Palace has played host to everyone from Mick Jagger to Amanda Wakeley since it was converted into a hotel in 1985. Located north-west of Jaipur in the Aravalli Hills, the palace is a magnificent example of Rajput-Mughal architecture and is unquestionably one of Rajasthan’s finest palace hotels.
A divine place to disappear for a few days, it’s a rambling hideaway of different wings, terraces and courtyards split over several levels. Guestrooms are dotted around the palace and each is unique, but it’s the Royal Suites that are the best of the bunch with their east-meets-west aesthetic of gauzy drapes, latticed windows and mosaic flooring. They also come complete with absurdly soft beds, balconies to watch the sun set on and their very own Jacuzzis. All the rooms are in keeping with the ‘palace’ style and incorporate some of Jaipur’s finest block-printed fabrics. Despite whispers of it being one of the more commercialised heritage properties in India, Samode has managed to win over a chic international crowd who love its grand setting and doting staff.
Alfresco breakfasts are served down in the impressive central courtyard with its fountains and bougainvillea, and are perfect way to set you up for a leisurely day. Think dips in the teak-decked infinity roof terrace pool, a camel ride out into the desert hills at sundown and a candlelit dinner, accompanied by Rajasthani music, at night. All in all, pretty perfect.
- The frescoes at the palace are some of the most impressive in India
- The Ayurvedic Keralan herbal oil massage at the spa
- Taking a camel ride out in the hills before returning for dinner
- There can be some large groups at peak times of the year
Need to know: Samode Palace
Number of rooms: 43 guestrooms and suites
Check-in/check-out times: 12 and 12 noon
Room service: Yes, 24-hour room service is available
Swimming pool: Yes, there are two swimming pools and hot tubs in some of the rooms
Spa: Yes, there’s a small spa, offering traditional Kerala Ayurvedic treatments and massages
Dogs welcome: No
Eating and drinking: There are two restaurants that serve international, Indian and Oriental cuisine. There’s also a newer fine dining, a-la-carte restaurant, which makes a chic alternative to all the home-cooking on offer. For a really romantic evening, dinner can be arranged in the sand dunes or candlelit at the farm.
Near to? It’s just a 30-minute drive away to the ‘pink city’ of Jaipur and its palaces. The hotel overlooks the small, traditional village of Samode, which is perfect for exploring. Excursions to Amber and Jaigarh Forts as well as Sanganer (for block-print textiles) are available. Just ask at reception and transport can be organised for you.
Getting there: Jaipur train station is a one-hour car journey away. If you’re flying in then you’ll be able to reach the hotel in just over an hour from Jaipur Airport, which you can get a direct flight to from Delhi, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mumbai and Kolkata.