What We Love
- Elegant rooms furnished with antiques and artworks from the maharaja owner’s personal collection
- Surrounded by mango orchards and jasmine fields, a three-mile drive from Varanasi
- Dinner by the pool lit by votive candles
- Butler service is included in the rate
What To Know
- A 12.42 percent luxury and service tax per night will be collected at the Jetsetter checkout
- Free WiFi for up to two devices
- It’s very quiet, but that’s one of its charms; if you want an active bar scene, this isn’t the place
- Despite the historic look, all rooms have WiFi and flat-screen TVs
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Built by the East India Company and acquired by Maharaja Prabhu Narain Singh in the 19th century, this elegant palace near the holy city of Varanasi is surrounded by mango trees and jasmine fields. Inside, it’s like stepping back into the days of the Raj, with black and white checked marble floors, curved verandas, iron four-poster beds, Persian rugs and a grand winding staircase. The public areas are filled with antiques and artworks from the maharaja’s personal collection.
Bed and Bath
The 10 guestrooms and suites are gracefully decorated with original antiques, traditional furnishings and mirrors framed with Venetian glass. The walls reflect the colors outside (marigold, pink and peach) and are dotted with historic photos and the maharaja’s paintings. The spacious bedrooms have majestic wrought iron four-poster beds draped in billowing fabric, and the marble bathrooms come with deep soaking tubs.
The palace’s restaurant serves refined Indian fare either on the veranda, by the pool or (if the heat is too intense), in the intimate air-conditioned dining salon, which has marble floors and antique sconces. The best way to tour the grounds is in the horse-drawn buggy, which once belonged to the maharaja. Head to the JIVA Spa for a treatment that brings together traditional royal wellness and therapeutic experiences. Since this is India, yoga classes are available, and, again, since this is India, there’s an astrologer on call.
In the Area
One of the most spiritually important cities in India, Varanasi exudes a richness that is felt by all, Hindu and otherwise. Everything revolves around the Ganges. At sundown, the best way to experience the aarti, a highly choreographed devotional ritual using fire as an offering (near Dasaswamedh Ghat, facing the river), is in a small boat that the hotel can arrange. Taking a boat is also the best way to see Varanasi and the Ganges at sunrise, when the scene is more tranquil and residents descend the stairs of the ghats to bathe in the river. On a less spiritual note, the mazelike streets of the old city are also filled with market stalls, and Varanasi has long been known as a center of beautifully woven silk. Buy a sari or a shawl at the Silk Weaving Center.
How to Get There
Property gives a feel as if you are king for a day. Just a 10 rooms property spread over 28 acres in heart of the city speaks of itself. They gave a innovative experience of cutting the birthday cake by my wife with a royal sword.
We had lunch at the Chowk restaurant at Taj Benaras recently. The food and ambience was impeccable. Our lunch was made more special by the excellent service and warmth shown by Mr Abhimanyu. He even took us around the property and told us all about the hotel in detail. We would definitely want to stay at this property in our next visit to Benaras.
Compared to the huge opulent Indian palace hotels that we had stayed in, this one was more like a boutique hotel, but it was excellent. Initially a staff hotel for the East India Company it became the residence of a Maharaja with less extravagant tastes who lived a comfortable lifestyle. Royalty has stayed here since 1835 and we felt like royalty ourselves with the excellent service. The food was outstanding and always accompanied with entertainment. Order tomato soup in the Dining Lounge and experience a unique serving. If Naseem offers a carriage ride, accept it.
The Palace is set in 36 acres of gardens and has only ten rooms.
There is a complimentary horse and carridge ride in a 100 year old carridge with a uniformed driver / guide who explains the grounds.
The welcome at the hotel is second to none.
The staff are the best we have encountered in our travels.
There is no need to book the restaurant - they are ready for you
Top marks all round
I knew before we arrived it was undergoing refurbishment. They first put us in a room in the un-refurbished part of the hotel - we passed by the new modern rooms to our 3/4 star room which smelled of mildew and the carpets in the hall were dirty, the bathroom was small and cramped and dated - I immediately went down and said I did not like our room and wanted a refurbished room. After phone calls and talking they said they would “upgrade” me to one of the new rooms!
Much better, the halls outside were still being painted and I got the impression they were working frantically to get the hotel finished in time for Diwali when no doubt they would be full.
The new room was modern and had a huge walk in shower. The armchair, in beige, had numerous stains on it, so not quite new!
The staff, working round builders etc, are very friendly and helpful and the hotel will be very nice when it is finished. The grounds are lovely and is in a bustling area outside, though you really would not want to venture out of the grounds for anything!
We had dinner in the restaurant, first night, the buffet £15 pp and the second night off the menu in the same restaurant, we had a delicious butter chicken. I would go for ordering off the menu.
Breakfast had the usual choices and was good.
Pool area was nice and the water a bit warmer and was refreshing to swim in. They had free yoga at 7am round the pool though I did not take that.
A busy hotel, looked full, but probably one of the better hotel in Varanasi.