Samode Palace

Jaipur, India Book from Book from £104 per night

Majestic and rambling fairytale palace nestled into the Aravalli Hills, overlooking a traditional rural village
If you get the feeling that you’re wandering through a movie set whilst at Samode Palace, that’s probably because you are. This 150-year-old Rajasthani abode has been the backdrop to numerous Bollywood movies, as well as Raj-romance classic, ‘The Far Pavillions’. The building stands in serene, sprawling splendour on a hilltop at the end of a dusty road, an hour's drive from Jaipur. A magnificent example of Rajput-Mughal architecture, it boasts some of the finest frescoes and mirror-work in Rajasthan. We came for rest and recuperation and found ourselves on our own Royal Progress through endless wings, terraces, courtyards and levels, marvelling at lavish creations like the extravagantly painted Durbar Hall and breathtaking Sheesh Mahal. Twisting staircases and painted corridors open up to spacious rooms and suites, which have a timeless, elegant charm.

After a day's sightseeing, you can explore the tranquil garden, unwind with an Ayurvedic massage in the spa, or sink a sundowner by one of the 2 pools. At dusk, the twinkling palace lights illuminate the darkness and inject plenty of romantic appeal to alfresco dinners in the flower-scented courtyards or feasts in the fine-dining restaurant. Wander through the manicured ground or peruse an impressive classic car collection: if you've ever wanted to play out childhood fantasies of living like a king or queen, Samode Palace is the place to do it.

Highs

  • The palace has been meticulously restored to accentuate the wonderful architecture and grand scale, with amazing mosaics and frescoes
  • Camel safaris in the bush at sunset are an unforgettable experience
  • This is an ideal place to rejuvenate and relax, with Ayurvedic treatments, Balinese massages, a sauna and a steam room
  • The wine list is superb, and the terrace by the rooftop infinity pool is a magical place to savour a drink
  • Honeymooners will adore the sumptuous Royal Suites, with their private balconies, dining rooms, and outdoor Jacuzzis

Lows

  • Visiting groups and gala dinners can make it feel impersonal at times, though non-guests can't use the rooftop pool or the fine-dining restaurant
  • There’s nowhere else to visit in the area, and some of the extras seem expensive
  • Some of the Deluxe Rooms can be dark - opt for a suite
  • Some consider it to be more commercialised than other heritage hotels, and we've heard reports of staff encouraging guests to buy their families' wares

Best time to go

October is one of the best times to visit Jaipur (and especially Samode Palace) as its rural location is almost unrecognisable under a carpet of lush greenery post monsoon. The weather remains good right up until early April. December and January are cool in the evenings so bring some winter warmers, but sitting around a roaring fire with an evening drink only adds to the fun. It also means that mornings are fresh and utterly beautiful. In May, things really start to heat up, and June, pre-monsoon, they start to get quite humid, so these months are best avoided. July through to September witnesses the monsoon, and Jaipur is at it’s quietest; if you don’t mind the rain it can be a spellbinding (and inexpensive) time to visit.

Our top tips

From December to February bring some warm clothes for the mornings and evenings. Light clothing for covering up against mosquitoes in the summer months is advisable. Dress appropriately - skimpy outfits are out of place in Rajasthan - and bring some walking shoes for exploring the local village. Many like to dress for dinner here to maximise the experience.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Honeymoon
Spa
Wedding
  • Luxury Hotel
  • 43
  • Restaurants and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Live like royalty as you languidly lounge in the dreamy rooms. Scattered around the building, they vary in size, shape and design but all are colourful and unique, with intricate marble and woodwork. All rooms are decorated in a classic style that perhaps looks a little ‘chintzy’ today, but it’s all in keeping with the age of the hotel. Bathrooms have an old world aesthetic: slipper bathtubs and big powerful showers.

The Deluxe Rooms are the cheapest, with adequate space and charming décor, though some can be a bit too dark for our liking. Paying a bit more will get you one of the large Deluxe Suites, with a sitting area and possibly a balcony and dressing room. Really splashing out? Then opt for one of the spectacular Royal Suites on the top floor, which have private balconies, Jacuzzis, vast lounges and large TVs. As befits a palace they are stunningly and tastefully decorated with some of Jaipur's finest block-printed fabrics covering carved or four-poster beds.

Thoughtful touches include hot-water bottles for cold nights, fruit baskets, coffee machines, a jar of cookies, and mosquito coils for the warmer months. You'll also find DVD players and a wide library of films to choose from. The room we reigned in (a Royal Suite) overlooked the walled garden and valley; other rooms have balconies and views of the village, the mountains or Samode fort.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

The food at Samode Palace is a feast of Indian and Continental dishes. For casual dining, a breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet is served in the collonnaded dining room. This is a great option for those with good appetites, though smaller appetites may find it a little overpriced.

Fruit salads, Bircher muesli, warm pastries, eggs to order or a Full English are all available for breakfast, as are a selection of hot Indian favourites. A veritable feast of Rajasthani (lentil, vegetable, lamb, chicken) curries and accompaniments are laid out for lunch and dinner, whilst assorted baskets of rotis, papad, and naan whizz around the dining room.

In recent years the western menus have improved a lot. You’ll find a choice of healthy modern inclusions from courgette spaghetti to sautéed vegetables, as well as staple favourites like vegetable bakes - welcome respite from the heavy hotel food that most travellers experience throughout Rajasthan.

Table d'hôte and à la carte meals are also available, and we’d recommend doing this from time to time. Or dine in the speciality restaurant, where the chefs really show their skills. We tucked into a tasty red and yellow pepper soup, okra tempura and mutton Daruwalla. Those with a sweet tooth will revel in the Kashmiri chilli chocolate fondant.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take a tour of the palace rooms to see their incredible frescoes, ornate ceilings and mirror-work - the exquisite Durbar Hall, the Diwan-i-Khas (halls of private audience) and the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) are not to be missed

  • Recline beside the tranquil marble and mosaic pool while sipping a cocktail, rejuvenate in the Jacuzzi, or watch the sun set from a daybed by the rooftop infinity pool

  • Soothe your mind and body with an Ayurvedic treatment or a Balinese aromatherapy massage

  • Wander around the cobbled lanes of Samode village

  • Take a horse-riding expedition or camel safari in the surrounding countryside, or treat yourself to a hot-air balloon ride and get a bird's eye view of it all

  • Scramble up to the hilltop fort for breathtaking views across the valley and back towards the palace

  • Book a special dinner in the nearby sand dunes, and you'll be entertained by dancers as you dine

  • Spend the day at sister property Samode Bagh, with its fine Mughal-style gardens, grass tennis court and cool pool. Its restaurant is very good; in fact, we had our best Rajasthani curry here

  • Jaipur’s famed monkey temple is just 3 km away. Go with a guide (mostly for stick- wielding purposes)

  • Sightseeing excursions and onward travel can be arranged to the historic 'pink city' of Jaipur (with monuments and exceptional shopping opportunities), as well as Amber and Jaigarh Forts, Ramgarh Lake and Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Camel safaris
  • Historical sites
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Safaris
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being

Kids

The hotel welcomes children of all ages. Extra beds, cots and babysitting can be arranged for an extra charge, and there's a children's pool.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
8/10
Food
8/10
Service
8/10
Value
8/10
Overall

A beautiful old palace, with a very impressive approach. As with a lot of these Indian heritage hotels the rooms could do with a little updating. Our suite was a fabulous size with a really big bathrooom. The roof top pool was our favourite spot but ironically this is a new block made to blend in with the old, which it does very well. The food in the fine dining restaurant was excellent. Overall a very pleasant relaxing experience.

8/10,

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Rates for Samode Palace