Umaid Bhawan Hotel in Jaipur, India

by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 20, 2019

Review of Umaid Bhawan in Jaipur, India.

Umaid Bhawan – Serene and opulent palace-style guesthouse packed with charisma.

Smaller, though no less palatial than rivals, the Umaid Bhawan is at the bottom of a quiet dead-end street, but within a short auto-rickshaw trip of the Old City. The opulence (which is a little overwhelming at times) continues throughout, from the marble lobby to the alcoves of antique furniture and courtyards with fountains. Like most guesthouses in Jaipur, space is limited, and there are too many rooms in a tight area, but most are fairly spacious inside. The main attractions, however, are certainly the personable service (often lacking in larger hotels), rooftop café with traditional design, and stunning pool.

Umaid Bhawan – The Location

  • Address: D1-2A, off Bihari Marg (road) at Bani Park, within an inner-city western suburb. Look for the turnoff to Bihari Marg at the KP Motors showroom along Sawai Jai Singh Highway. Then turn right at the Madhuban guesthouse.
  • Area: Nicely located on a dead-end street in a quiet suburb of middle-class housing. About 150m from the main road, which has some limited facilities.
  • How to Get There: From the airport (14km, 40-minute drive), take a pre-paid taxi or walk outside for an auto-rickshaw. From other important places: train terminal (2.5km, 9-minute drive), main bus station (2km, 9-minute drive), and nearest metro station (2km, 9-minute drive).

Umaid Bhawan – The Basics

  • Guests: Mostly older couples seeking a heritage-style hotel with more affordable rates.
  • Views: Better than most hotels of this size, but still hit-and-miss. Some rooms face a corridor/terrace which could be noisy at times, while others offer limited windows and no views of any significance.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Not expected – or provided – at this sort of inner-city hotel in Jaipur.
  • Wi-Fi: Free throughout for all guests.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +91 (0)141 231 6184
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: umaidbhawan.com

Umaid Bhawan – Amenities

  • Pool: Reasonably small, like other similar hotels/guesthouses, but the setting is gorgeous. Similar layout to a Turkish bath and flanked by colorful murals.
  • Spa & Fitness Center: None. Perhaps not really expected given the limited space.
  • Other Facilities: Clothing boutique/tailor. Puppet/dance shows. Business Center. Travel desk. Same-day laundry.

Umaid Bhawan – Food and Drink

  • Restaurant & Bar: The Fort View Restaurant on the rooftop provides a splendid terrace setting, with Rajput-inspired design and broad views. Some intimate tables along the edge. Meals could also be served at the stylish dining room indoors, but this is used mostly for breakfast. Also a bar, where the décor is at its most vivid.
  • Breakfast: Usually not included, but this may depend on how the room was booked.
  • Room Service: Limited service available during restaurants hours – 7 am to 9.30 pm.

Umaid Bhawan – Rooms

  • Room Types: Royal Deluxe Rooms • Royal Suites
  • Smoking Rooms: No smoking in the rooms or public areas, but permitted elsewhere.
  • Best Room: Royal Suites are more spacious, and the décor is even more ornate.
  • For Families: Not particularly well set up for families, but certainly space for 2 extra single beds in most suites.

Umaid Bhawan – Local Transport

  • Walking: Streets around the hotel are comparatively quiet, clean, and safe. Only 150m from the busy main road, which offers some limited facilities.
  • 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, Sindhi Camp, is 2km away (9-minute drive), and is attached to the bus station.
  • 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.

Umaid Bhawan – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

    Nothing much within the immediate vicinity, but 500m away via the main road is the chaotic Collectorate Circle roundabout, with a few options nearby.

  • Hotel Jaipur Ashok +91 (0)141 220 4491 – Decent restaurant in the uniquely-designed hotel, but the setting is a bit dreary. At the roundabout. 8-minute walk (650m).
  • Restaurant Cinnamon – In the Hamston Park Golden Manor hotel next door. Classy Indian dinner buffets and a la carte all day. 100m down Shiv Marg road from the roundabout. 8-minute walk (650m).
  • Hitchki Bar & Kitchen – Dingy bar in a basement below the Hamston Park hotel (see above), but decent meals and cheap beer. 8-minute walk (650m).
  • Café Coffee Day – One in a countrywide chain of cheerful cafés serving drinks and light meals. In a colorful office block, 200m down M.I. Road from the roundabout. 9-minute walk (750m).
  • Icekraft Jaipur Banipark – Finest in the region by a mile for western meals such as burgers, waffles, and tacos. Ground floor of Crystal Mall, past Café Coffee Day. 11-minute walk (900m).

Shops

  • No shops around the nearby streets, but a few along the main road about 150m away. Otherwise, head into the center of the Old City (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 about 2.5km (10-minute drive) from the guesthouse, while the City Palace is about 4.5km (19-minute drive). Both are best accessed by auto-rickshaw.
  • 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. 20-minute drive (4.7km).
  • 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. 21-minute drive (6km).
  • 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. 35-minute drive (12km).
  • Nahargarh Fort – Historic defense fort overlooking Jaipur. Houses the Jaipur Wax Museum by the entrance, and features a second, updated Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace). 50-minute drive (18km).

Umaid Bhawan – The Hotel

The hotel is located in a middle-class, inner-city suburb.

The hotel is pleasantly located at the end of a no-through road in a middle-class and inner-city suburb.

The former royal palace has been beautifully converted into a hotel.

The Umaid Bhawan is one of many heritage-style hotels in Jaipur that has been beautifully converted from a former royal palace or mansion of nobility.

Rooms in the 2 wings of the hotel offer no worthwhile views.

The hotel comprises 2 almost identical wings. Space is limited throughout, however, so most rooms have no worthwhile views.

The hotel has several alcoves with old-fashioned furniture.

Alcoves and niches all over the hotel are packed with old-fashioned furniture.

Courtyards offer relaxed seating in natural light.

Some courtyards provide natural light and particularly inviting places to relax.

Many rooms open to a terrace with seating.

Many rooms face a terrace with tables and chairs.

The garden is quite small.

With so many rooms squeezed into a tight space, the extent of the garden is quite limited.

The lobby has an elegant clothes boutique.

Near the lobby is an elegant clothes boutique.

The pool has a impressive design but lacks shade and lounge chairs.

The design of the pool is particularly impressive, but it lacks shade and lounge chairs because it also has been squeezed into a limited space.

The pool features attractive traditional murals on the walls.

The walls alongside the pool feature very attractive traditional murals.

The rooftop has been converted into a cafe.

Like most similar hotels, the rooftop has been converted into a café.

Fort View Restaurant offers intimate tables and great views.

The Fort View Restaurant on the hotel rooftop provides intimate tables and fascinating views.

Every floor features a different layout and theme.

Every level features a different style and layout, especially along the terraces that link each room.

The spacious rooms feature old-fashioned furnishings.

All rooms are spacious and packed with suitably old-fashioned furnishings.

The small windows in some rooms offer less natural light.

Some rooms can be a little dark because the undersized windows offer minimal natural light.

Suites feature large window-side sitting areas.

Suites feature sitting areas alongside the full-length windows.

The main road offers a few shops and cafes.

There are very few facilities around the streets close to the hotel, but it is only 150m from a main road which offers a few Indian-style shops and cafés.

Hotel Jaipur Ashok nearby has a decent restaurant.

At the roundabout about 500m from the hotel, the Hotel Jaipur Ashok has a decent restaurant.

Restaurant Cinnamon is a short stroll away.

Approximately 100m down Shiv Marg road from the roundabout is the excellent Restaurant Cinnamon in the Hamston Park Golden Manor hotel.

Hitchki Bar & Kitchen is located below Restaurant Cinnamon.

In a basement below Restaurant Cinnamon, the rather dingy Hitchki Bar & Kitchen serves cheap beer and tasty food.

Café Coffee Day is close to the roundabout.

The cheerful Café Coffee Day is about 200m from the roundabout.

Icekraft serves tasty western food at Crystal Mall.

The finest place to eat in the area, especially for western food, Icekraft is about 300m from the roundabout.

Jaipur features electric auto-rickshaws.

The walls of the Old City are about 2.5km from the hotel, best reached by auto-rickshaws, some of which are electric.

The City Palace area offers the finest shopping.

The best range of shops is around the City Palace deep within the Old City.

The Old City is vast and fascinating.

It could take days to fully explore the Old City.

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