Jaipur has a plethora of places to stay, from standard Holiday Inns to the usual backpacker hostels. But no one in their right mind comes to Rajasthan to overnight in a bland room in some nondescript hotel chain when you could be sleeping in the very room where a maharaja seduced his maharani, or in the royal apartments of the family guests -- hence our focus on heritage hotels of which the following reviews represent the best in the city, in a variety of price categories. The exceptions to this are the good-value Shahpura House, K Country Villa -- where you get to mingle with aristocratically connected locals -- and the decadent Rajvilas, which not only imitates the heritage property concept, but in many ways improves upon it.
An alternative in this pricy category that you may want to consider (if you like your bling) is the Raj Palace (tel. 0141/263-4077; fax 0141/263-0489; www.rajpalace.com; from Rs 22,000 for a Heritage Double, Rs 32,000 for a Heritage Suite, Rs 52,000 for a Prestige Suite, and right up to Rs 600,000 for the Presidential Suite) The oldest mansion in Jaipur (1727), it is well placed right next to the city gate through which this palatial Haveli has a private entrance and has plenty of interesting amenities including an in-house cinema. A member of The Small Luxury Hotels of the World, rooms are suitably posh (each of which has its own display cabinet of museum-worthy artifacts) in elegant buildings that look as though they were converted from palace to hotel by an Indian Gianni Versace. Yet, while there's gold, glitz, and glamour aplenty, we can't understand exactly how it is positioned, and where trite, piped classical music fit in with a look that's trying so hard to be bling.
A couple of heritage properties deserve a mention in this category, and none more so than the Jai Mahal Palace (Jacob Rd., Civil Lines; tel. 0141/222-3636; www.tajhotels.com; Rs 18,000 luxury double). The hotel is architecturally splendid, with buildings dating from 1745, and it's recently undergone a life-altering renovation that has made it even more comfortable and homely but somehow it cannot shake its tag as a local corporate hangout. The grounds are large and manicured, with a huge pool and tennis court. Guest rooms are bright, if a little compact, and dining venues funky (particularly the sultry, mauve Cinnamon, known as much for its cocktails as it is for its Indian cuisine), but it's neither as grand as Taj Rambagh nor as romantic or authentic as Samode or Alsisar havelis (both of which offer better value for money).
Another budget option -- though nowhere as nice as Diggi Palace Umaid Bhawan (tel. 0141/220-6426, 0141/231-6184, or 0141/220-1276; fax 0141/220-7445; www.umaidbhawan.com; firstname.lastname@example.org) is an old haveli in a residential street offering dark but clean rooms -- all with A/C -- which have the usual antique furnishings and attached showers; ask to see a few as they are all different. It also has a nice pool out front. Deluxe Rooms go for Rs 1,500 but rather ask for a Royal Deluxe Room overlooking the pool (Rs 1,800) which comes with A/C and fan. Internet and Wi-Fi are Rs 60 per hour.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.