Taj Adds Palace

Another royal residence added to portfolio in India

By: Devin Galaudet

A new contract gives the Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces managership over one of the greatest royal estates in the world, Umaid Bhawan Palace of Jodhpur.

“North India is a key tourist destination and the Taj continues to consolidate its presence in this region,” said Raymond Bickson, managing director of The Indian Hotels Company Limited. “One of the key differentiators has been our authentic palace experience offering, especially in Rajasthan. Umaid Bhawan Palace expands this unique luxury experience into the city of Jodhpur. Indeed, with this new partnership Umaid Bhawan Palace will enhance Taj Hotels’ current offering in the grand palaces circuit of Rajasthan, which include the breathtaking Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur and the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur.”

“We are pleased to partner with the Indian Hotels Company Limited for the Umaid Bhawan Palace,” said Shivraj Singh, the Yuvraj of Jodhpur. “The association of Umaid Bhawan Palace with Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces augments the Grand Palace circuit in Rajasthan. I remain committed towards promoting Jodhpur as a unique destination and am confident that this partnership with the Taj will enhance my efforts in marketing the vibrant culture of this wonderful city.”

Converted into a hotel in 1977, the Umaid Bhawan Palace sits above the capitol of Jodhpur and currently houses the Maharaja and royal family of Jodhpur in Zenana, the private wing for women of the royal house. While the hotel currently operates with 30 rooms and 15 suites, Taj Hotels plans expansion to include a spa and 25 additional rooms and suites in the future.

Built on 26 acres of land, Umaid Bhawan Palace is an architectural combination where East meets West. Completed in 1943 nearly 15 years after its construction began, Umaid Bhawan Palace is a vast structure built of golden yellow sandstone and designed by noted Edwardian architect Henry Vaughan Lanchester. Art deco-styled interior rooms were complimented by Polish artist Julius Stephan Norblin’s murals. This facility remains in well preserved condition and is an excellent example of art deco style with many public area and both the Regal and Vice Regal suites relatively untouched for nearly 60 years.

Other design elements include the “cupola” of the central rotunda which rises to 105 feet, and the oval staircase hall, which is flanked by the ballroom and banquet hall on either side. This unique palace has its own post office, a library and a private museum featuring authentic Ramayana murals. The palace also hosts recreational facilities such as an indoor swimming pool, a billiards room, four tennis courts, two unusual marble-floored squash courts and 15 acres of gardens.

As one of South Asia’s premier hotel groups, Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces manages 58 hotels in 38 locations throughout India. The Taj hotel group also operates accommodations in 14 worldwide locations including the Middle East, Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, U.K., Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives. The chain features international landmarks, beachfront resorts, business accommodations and genuine palace stays. Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces is a division of the Tata Group, one of India’s largest business houses, established in 1903.