Till not so long ago, my family always believed that if we were going to spend a lot of money on a holiday, we might as well go abroad. In early winter 2011, I decided I wanted to change all that and planned to take my family on a luxury vacation in India. I’d had my eye on a resort for several months, and I knew that was going to be the one. By late summer 2012, I had been employed long enough to be able to afford a weekend there for my family.
A lot of frenetic planning happened. My sister and I did all of it, because we knew our parents might be less than enthusiastic about the idea. We needed to coordinated hotel and flight reservations and make sure it was within the next two weeks, because after that peak season rates would become applicable. Finally all done and we got going.
We got off the Delhi-Udaipur (via Jodhpur- 2 takeoffs and 2 landings. Not ideal for a borderline aviatophobic like me) flight and found 2 BMWs waiting for us. 1 car per room. Me and my sister rode in style 😀
We rode in comfort for about an hour and got onto the ferry, while our luggage continued on to the resort in the cars.
Welcome to the Oberoi Udaivilas.
Till we got there, I was slightly apprehensive. This was quite a risk I was taking, a completely new kind of vacation. We NEVER splurged on luxury. Ever! We stayed in nice hotels everywhere, but they were just that… Nice. The Oberoi Udaivilas is a different league altogether.
We were greeted outside with a lot of fanfare (garlands and everything). My family was totally glowing and I was feeling terribly shy. Garland? For me? Really?
The lobby was spectacular. Our eyes were popping out of our heads as we (naively) made our way to the reception to complete the check-in formalities.
Oh naw… Check in at the reception? Why would we want to inconvenience ourselves like that? We were taken straight to our rooms where our luggage was waiting for us. They gave us some time to freshen up and then came to finish whatever needed to be done.
The rooms were gigantic, as were the toilets, and they were done up in an ‘old world’ style.
Tip: Go for the rooms with a semi-private pool. The price difference between that and the basic garden-view room isn’t that much, but the difference in experience is much much more.
7 rooms share a pool. Our rooms weren’t adjacent (we had one in between), but no matter 🙂 We could just swim over whenever we wanted. Who was going to bother walking those twenty or so feet right? 😉
I mean, so what if this is what the lobby looks like?
And so what if you get to see peacocks taking a stroll while you’re making your way to visit Mummy-Daddy?
What sets this hotel apart though? Most people have stayed at good hotels, great hotels also. Well, going far beyond how beautiful this place was, I must put the spotlight on their hospitality. Suuure, maybe I paid through my nose for it (in absolute numbers it probably wasn’t so bad… Architects fresh out of college are just paid very low 😉 ), but the care we received in exchange was just .
Tip: Go for the Breakfast + Dinner package. That’s what we did (and I fell ill because of overeating on the second day 😛 Oops). Seriously, in a normal ‘Meals Included’ package, they usually lead you to a buffet. Here, our first meal was dinner and there seemed to be no buffet. And the hostess said we could just go ahead and order whatever we wanted. Incredible? I think so! Of course, nothing was cheap on the menu, but we could order whatever. We. Wanted. For breakfast the next day, there was a buffet and we could additionally order anything else off the a-la-carte menu.
There was a Bengali chef who decided he was fond of us, so he took mighty special care of us. My dad wanted traditional Bengali food for breakfast one day, and this guy went out of his way to make it for him, and it wasn’t even on the menu. The day we were leaving, he packed us little packages of sandwiches, fruit and juice for our flight(s) home.
It rarely gets better than that!
Because of my inconveniently upset tummy, we had to cancel our tour of the city (oh, and when I was feeling unwell, they got me medicine and some tummy-cooling foods. I guess they’re used to guests slipping into food comas on a regular basis 😳 ), and went for a walk within the resort.
I think I mentioned the word ‘spectacular’ before.
Do you think I exaggerated?
I don’t think so.
Tip: Take a look at the official website before other booking sites. Sometimes they have schemes and packages you won’t find elsewhere.
So… Was 10months’ pay worth it?
Pic credits to my baby sister, Poofee ❤
Editing to add this… The usual image you see of the palace in the middle of Lake Pichola is that of Taj Lake Palace. That is an actual palace which is now being used as a hotel. Udaivilas is on the side of the lake and was just designed to look like a palace. I spent HOURS perusing reviews of both so I could decide which one to go to, but decided to go with Oberoi because that was my dream destination anyway. And I’m very glad I did, I can’t imagine anything else being better!!