Memoirs of an Architect
Although we featured The Oberoi Udaivilas in our Top6Trips a few months back, we have had such an explicit eulogy from one of our discerning members, Katherine - a highly respected architect - that we felt it wholly apposite to cover The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur again.
Katherine has a keen eye for grand designs and had many prerequisites prior to departure, all of which were met with impeccable pulchritude. So moved was she by the intoxicating beauty, the remarkable attention to detail and the faultless service that, when she arrived at Udaivilas, after a perfect stay at the Oberoi in New Delhi, she simply emailed me with the words "My senses have been knocked for six."
Katherine chose to stay in a superior deluxe room opening out onto a semi-private moated pool overlooking Lake Pichola. She commented that this was one of the most "visual" experiences of her life, (and for a 5 star luxury globetrotter that is quite something). She also felt that, for a young hotel, it had a very "deep soul" and thought it was layered in "exotic mystery... everywhere was immaculate and soothing", water being the dominant factor instilling tranquility. A "huge marble lily-pond is in a courtyard as you enter and there are fountains and pools everywhere to behold." As you sit in the bar sipping iced rose tea "you look up towards a dome handpainted in gold leaf." Domes are another feature, some with mosaics, some silver leaf, and she felt that they were a "balancing" concept that anywhere else may have looked kitsch, but here it was inspirational.
"I would certainly recommend my room, as the pool is such a plus - as you float around in there looking onto the Lake, the colours of the tiles blend with the sky and there is plenty of space on your terrace." The small courtyard outside each room is "full of fragrant flowers... bowls of petals are everywhere and there are marble urns with flower petal patterns smelling of jasmine and burning incense." All this, and you've only just stepped outside your room!
Her room was spacious, stylish and dedicated to slumber. "The bed is so comfortable with soft pillows, soft bed linen and a lightweight duvet." Oh! How we wish all hotels would get this right. She reported the colours and fabrics were "tactile and vibrant with lots of cushions and a good size window seat, sofa, desk and chair."
The bathroom "overlooks a small courtyard, and, being made mostly of glass, you feel like you are outside while you shower. The bath is almost Victorian in style but, from a design perspective, it works."
The service in all Oberoi hotels is generally regarded as unimpeachable. Udaivilas is no exception: "The staff is a delight, nothing is too much trouble, nothing! Everything you ask for is dealt with immediately and they do everything they can to please."
It seems that Katherine, who usually dismisses the spa routine, is now a convert. She said it had an extraordinary "sense of calm" and, "although treatments are not my strong point, it has been a pleasure, it really is perfect."
Here you eat like a Maharana in a dining room with views of the City Palace and Lake Pichola. A feast for all your senses. The incredible chef, Stephen Jones, has evolved eastern cuisine with delectable results and will even allow you to spend some time with him in his kitchen.
"I can't find anything wrong' Sophie. I've looked, I really have. I'm simply in paradise."