Hotel Bissau Palace in Jaipur, India

by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 19, 2019

Review of Hotel Bissau Palace in Jaipur, India.

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).

Attractions

  • 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

The hotel is located in a quiet area about 600m from the Old City.

The hotel is along a dusty but reasonably quiet street that stretches about 600m to the western entrance of the Old City.

Large imposing gates lead to the hotel.

The hotel is securely positioned behind gates – not that the area is unsafe.

The hotel's village-style compound boasts a canon and a Hindu temple.

The Bissau Palace is set within a compound that resembles a village. There’s a Hindu temple and even an old cannon.

The ramshackle nature of the hotel makes it even more appealing.

The exterior could do with some paint and maintenance, but the ramshackle nature of the hotel is certainly part of its appeal.

The lawn offers a few tables and chairs and plenty of shade.

The shady lawn between the front gate and main building has a few tables and chairs.

The hotel boasts several shops within its gates.

Within the hotel grounds are several shops, the sort found in the Old City.

The beautiful lobby is lovingly decorated.

The lobby area is beautifully restored and very nicely decorated.

Walls around the hotel feature paintings of Indian folklore.

Most of the walls around the restaurant and pool area feature intricately painted stories of Indian folklore.

Guests can enjoy breakfast in a special section of the restaurant.

Breakfast is served in a special part of the restaurant.

The beautiful main restaurant serves lunch and dinner.

The fascinating décor continues into the main restaurant where lunch and dinner are served.

The rarely used rooftop offers good street views.

The rooftop is rarely used, but does offer worthwhile street views.

The guest lounge features old-style furniture and prints/photos of old India.

The guest lounge near the reception area is full of old-style furniture as well as prints and photos of old India.

Some guest lounge walls feature bright paintings and fascinating relics.

Some walls in the guest lounge are lined with bright paintings and fascinating relics.

The guest lounge also features paintings of the king and queen who built the palace.

Also in the guest lounge are portraits of the former king and queen who first built the palace (now converted to a hotel).

The gym is surprisingly large and well-equipped.

The gym is surprisingly larger than those at more highly-rated hotels.

The pool is large enough for the small number of guests.

The pool is also substantial, more than big enough for the limited number of guests.

Many of the rooms open up to a common terrace.

Many rooms – some individually named and ominously called ‘chambers’ – are along terraces.

All rooms offer garden and courtyard views from the terraces.

Almost all rooms provide appealing views of the garden and courtyard from the terraces in front of the windows.

Some secluded rooms feature private porches.

Some rooms are more secluded than others, and feature private porches.

Room furnishings are reminiscent of the old-world charm.

Furnishings maintain the old-world charm found throughout the hotel.

All rooms feature 4-poster beds.

A feature of each room is the 4-poster bed.

Room walls are adorned with prints and photos of old India.

The walls in the rooms are lined with prints and photos of old India.

Better rooms feature alcoves with seating.

The better rooms also feature sitting areas in alcoves.

The hotel neighborhood is dusty and not tourist-friendly.

The street outside the hotel is not too noisy, but is still dusty, and offers nothing of interest to guests.

Peacock Rooftop Restaurant is a good place for dinner.

Options for an evening meal are very limited, so take an auto-rickshaw to the popular Peacock Rooftop Restaurant (in the Pearl Palace Hotel).

The Chitrakatha hotel has a delightful rooftop cafe.

Opposite the Peacock, the Chitrakatha hotel also offers another delightful rooftop café.

Hotel Kalyan next door has a rooftop cafe and another indoors.

A third in the cluster next to the Peacock and Chitrakatha, the Hotel Kalyan has a rooftop café and another inside with traditional wooden décor.

The Old City's is about 10 minutes away.

One advantage of staying at the Bissau Palace is its proximity to the Old City, about 10 minutes away on foot.

The busy City Palace area about 2.5km from the hotel is more interesting.

More interesting – and frenetic – is the central part of the Old City near the City Palace, which is about 2.5km from the hotel.

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