by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 19, 2019
Bissau Palace – Authentic palace hotel that’s convenient and pleasantly quirky and ramshackle.
Unique among rivals, this is still run by descendants of the royal family (who live on-site), and one of very few in Jaipur recognized by the Indian authorities as a genuine Heritage Hotel. It’s set back from the iron gates and within a village-like compound featuring a temple and shops, as well as a sizeable pool. The exterior of this century-old building needs some paint and maintenance, but the ramshackle look adds immeasurably to the charm; in fact, renovations would ruin the vibe. But rooms are faultless and spotless and feature hand-painted ceilings, leadlight windows, and old-fashioned wooden furniture. Another attraction is the proximity to the entrance of the Old City.
Bissau Palace – The Location
- Address: Khetri House Road, in the inner northwest suburbs. About 600m from Chandpole Gate, the western entrance to the Old City.
- Area: Faces a dusty but reasonably quiet street. However, nothing at all of interest for foreign tourists in the immediate area.
- How to Get There: From the airport (14km, 35 to 40-minute drive), take a pre-paid taxi or walk outside for an auto-rickshaw. The train terminal (2.7km, 14-minute drive), main bus station (1.3km, 16-minute walk), and nearest metro station (550m, 7-minute walk) are also close by.
- Handy to: Old City.
Bissau Palace – The Basics
- Guests: Many are on packaged tours, staying for a ‘Heritage Hotel experience’, though it’s also terrific for families.
- Views: All rooms face the gardens or courtyards, providing superior views than most heritage-style hotels.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Certainly not expected – or provided – at this sort of historic inner-city hotel in Jaipur.
- Wi-Fi: Included free for all guests, but access is patchy away from the lobby/restaurant areas.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +91 (0)141 230 4371
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: bissaupalace.com
Bissau Palace – Amenities
- Pool: Good size, with relics of old India surrounding it. Alongside a terrace where meals and drinks can be served.
- Spa: Basic treatments can be arranged through the reception.
- Fitness Center: Surprisingly larger than those in modern 5-star resorts.
- Facilities: Lounge/library. Same-day laundry.
Bissau Palace – Food and Drink
- Restaurant & Bar: The restaurant serves breakfast to guests and a la carte Indian and western meals all day. The portions are hearty, service is very attentive, and prices are quite reasonable. A bar offers drinks in the colonial-style lounge packed with paintings and antiques, as well as seating on the poolside terrace.
- Breakfast: Included for all guests.
- Room Service: Limited service during restaurant hours – 7 am to 9 pm.
Bissau Palace – Rooms
- Room Types: Standard Singles • Royal Chambers
- Smoking Rooms: Might be allowed in some rooms. Check with the management.
- Best Room: Most Royal Chambers are different in layout and décor. Ask for one that’s separate, does not face a noisy corridor, and has a private porch.
- For Families: Ask the management about fitting an extra single bed into a room. The best option is adjoining rooms, but none have connecting doors.
Bissau Palace – Local Transport
- Walking: Local streets are dirty and dusty, but not overly crowded or noisy. Nothing within walking distance of interest for tourists, however, except the Old City which is less than 10 minutes on foot.
- Public Transport: The Jaipur Metro is of limited use to tourists – at least until the 2 new stations in the Old City are completed in about 2021. The nearest station to the guesthouse, Chandpole, is 550m away (7-minute walk).
- Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: Taxis (unmetered) are poorly-marked and almost impossible to find without help from the hotel reception, and useless in the Old City anyway. Otherwise, Uber and Ola work effectively. However, just about anywhere, including the airport, is accessible by abundant auto-rickshaws. Some are electric and feature 2 small benches.
Bissau Palace – What’s Nearby?
Restaurants & Bars
Nothing along the nearby streets or within the outer part of the Old City. So take an auto-rickshaw to the Pearl Palace Hotel, which has a lovely rooftop café, and is flanked by 2 other hotels with similar facilities. Each offers vast views, intimate tables, and live music on most evenings, and all are open from about 7 am to 11 pm.
- The Peacock Rooftop Restaurant – In the Pearl Palace. Remarkably extensive menu also features pizza, pasta, salad, and Chinese. Can get overcrowded at times, affecting service. Bookings recommended. 12-minute drive (2.6km).
- Chitrakatha – Quiet and laidback. More tempting selection of Indian cuisine than the other 2. 12-minute drive (2.6km).
- Kalyan Rooftop Restaurant – The cheapest and least crowded, with TV sports and comfortable furniture. Also, a lovely restaurant inside with a delightful wooden Rajasthani design. 12-minute drive (2.6km).
Shops & Markets
- Shops along the street in front of the hotel are for local residents, not foreign tourists, e.g. butchers and electrical workshops. The entrance to the Old City is a 10-minute walk, but for any shops and markets of interest, head to the area around the City Palace (see below).
- A frenetic maze of shops, markets, traffic, and more traffic, the Old City is both fascinating and frustrating to wander about. In the center, the City Palace (open daily from 9 am to 5.30 pm) is a marvelous example of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture, and is packed with courtyards, gardens, and museums. The nearest entrance to the Old City, Chandpole Gate, is only 600m (7-minute walk) from the hotel, while the City Palace is about 2.3km (14-minute drive) away.
- Jantar Mantar – UNESCO World Heritage site featuring the world’s largest stone sundial and 18 other instruments. 1 of 5 astronomical observatories built in north India in the 18th-century by Maharaj Sawaii Jai Singh II. Right opposite the City Palace. 13-minute drive (2.4km).
- Hawa Mahal – This 18th-century sandstone summer palace features 953 windows which let in cool breezes during the summer, and allowed the Royalty to view the streets below without being seen. Visit early morning to watch the sun’s rays filter through the latticework. 15-minute drive (3km).
- Amber Palace – UNESCO World Heritage site, also known as Amer Fort among locals, featuring 4 must-see courtyards (Shila Devi Temple, public audience hall, private audience hall, and Mirror Palace), and sound and light shows in the evening. Open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. 28-minute drive (9km).
- Nahargarh Fort – Historic defense fort overlooking Jaipur. Houses the Jaipur Wax Museum by the entrance, and features a second, updated Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace). 40-minute drive (15km).
Bissau Palace – The Hotel
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