Revamped 18th-century palace Raas Devigarh is a fairytale-like fortress of a boutique hotel, with a smattering of gingerbread balconies that look out across frangipani-filled landscaped grounds. The marble-lined pool terrace and the open courtyards invite decadent, drink-in-hand lounging. A top-notch chef serves Rajasthani cuisine in the white marble dining room, and barmen shake up crown-worthy cocktails in the open-air bar. The Ila spa – one of only two in India – will usher any travel-related tensions straight out the door; resurface to peacefully enjoy the sweeping valley views from your suite’s private balcony. It’s just the place for royally-minded getaways.
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A guided heritage walk around the palace with a glass of sparkling wine
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $201.01 (INR14,237), excluding tax at 18 per cent.
Rates generally include an American-style breakfast.
Delve into Rajasthani cuisine with a traditional cooking course led by the hotel’s head chef, who will also happily lead you on a culinary tour around the local grain, spice and vegetable markets.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, spa, on-site and valet parking. In rooms: WiFi, iPod dock, TV and DVD player, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, free bottled water and air-conditioning.
Our favourite rooms
We’re particularly enamoured with the Aravali suites; it’s all about their beautiful balconies, which are perfect for leisurely breakfasts à deux (and the spacious ensuite bathrooms tip the scale even further). Garden Suites, while not in the main part of the palace, have their own tented lounge terraces.
The heated granite pool dominates the main terrace and has panoramic views over the rolling hillside. The pool is flanked by ivory-white daybeds, both with and without billowing canopies, and drinks and snacks can be ordered poolside, too.
Treatments in the soothing Ila spa use British-brand Ila’s ethical and eco-friendly products. Choose from classic massages, beauty rituals, holistic treatments and health-centric yoga sessions in the rose-, jasmine- and sandalwood-scented spa; for next-level unwinding, go for one of the Devi Blessings, two-hour treatments designed to calm and recalibrate your nerves. The spa also has a mineral-enriched Himalayan Salt cave and a menu of health-nurturing nibbles and drinks, including herbal teas.
Bring jewel-toned dresses, classically beautiful swimsuits, and that book you’ve been meaning to read; pack sturdy shoes and lightweight linens if you plan on trekking around the local area.
Original construction on the palace was in 1760, and there are stairs throughout, so it may not be suitable for guests with mobility constraints.
Welcome; free cots, highchairs, toys and art supplies can be provided, and there’s a family-friendly pool and outdoor play space. Babysitting is available for INR500 an hour. Beds for 4–12 year olds are INR3,500 a night (with breakfast and tax).
Plastic bags are restricted, water is solar-heated plant, and vegetables for the restaurant are grown in-house.
You can’t go wrong with balcony-dining at Raas Devigarh. For extra privacy, book a romantic dinner for two in a Jharokha (an open-air turret) at the top of the palace.
Think relaxed royalty: dress for dinner in white linens and elegantly flowing silks.
Chef Sanjeev Kumar serves up seasonal fare, with ingredients grown in-house or locally sourced, in the hotel’s restaurant. Minimally decorated in white marble and gold accents, with original paintings of the former rulers who once called Devigarh home, the restaurant has panoramic views over the surrounding countryside and the Aravalli hill range. Don’t leave without trying the Rajasthani lamb or Jodhpuri chicken curries and the popular local Mirchi Vada (chili fritter) dish.
The laid-back and open-sided bar looks out over the pool and the nearby hills; inside, it’s all stone arches and wine-coloured fabrics, and outside there’s ivory-hued seating. The bar is open throughout the day, so you can start with a relaxing mid-morning chai on the balcony, move on to late-afternoon cocktails in the lounge area, and wrap up your evening with a bottle of wine panoramic countryside views. The bar pours out expertly shaken cocktails, and also serves coffee and teas and hand-squeezed juices; the wine list has options from India’s up-and-coming vineyards and international favourites.
The bar shakes, stirs and pours drinks from 11am to 11pm. The restaurant is open throughout the day for meals and in-betweens; breakfast is served from 7.30am to 10am, lunch from 12.30pm to 3pm, and dinner from 7.30pm to 11pm
Order any food or drinks you fancy to your suite at any time of the day or night.
This palace-turned-hotel in the Aravalli hills is just outside buzzy and royal residence-filled Udaipur.
The nearest airport is Maharana Pratap Airport; arrange transfers with the hotel for INR2,500 (plus taxes) per car each way for the one-hour drive.
The hotel has free on-site and valet parking.
Worth getting out of bed for
There’s plenty to keep you busy at the hotel, between dips in the pool, spa sessions, rooftop yoga and cooking classes. The hotel can also arrange day tours to lake-lined Udaipur, the village of Delwara, or the nearby temples of Nathdwara, Eklingji and Nagda – temples to Krishna, Shiva and Vishnu, respectively. World Heritage sites Kumbhalgarh – a Mewar fortress – and Chittorgarh, one of the largest forts in India, are also nearby. Adrenaline-seekers will enjoy horse and camel rides or jeep safaris. Relaxed village walks and picnics can also be arranged.
For open air dining with a view, make your way to the Sunset Terrace; it’s open for breakfast, light snacks, lunch and dinner, and live musicians add to the charm of dining in a former maharana’s palace. Lakeside Tribute Restaurant serves Indian, Chinese and European dishes and has an excellent view of the Rang Sagar Islands, so you can settle in for a side of bird-watching with your meal. Consider yourselves warned: it’ll be tempting to fill up on the selection of delicious Rajasthani breads. Choose from a wide range of grilled and tandoori dishes (including vegan options) at Charcoal, and request balcony seating – for couples only – in advance.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this princely hotel in India and unpacked their made-in-Udaipur jewellery find and favourite new Rajasthani recipe, a full account of their luxury break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Raas Devigarh in Udaipur…
It would be easy to hallucinate a trumpeted fanfare as you pull up to the impressive 18th-century ivory palace that now houses boutique hotel Raas Devigarh. The multi-tiered balconies and spiked corner turrets will have you feeling like royalty before you even pass through the arched doorway of your bright white suite. Inside, it’s thoroughly modern, but retains a regal air with jewel-toned pillows and wall hangings; the former residents, we think, would wholeheartedly approve.
As you explore the fortress, you’ll find a marble-lined pool on a valley-view terrace, a jasmine-scented spa, and a wall-free bar with plenty of cosy balcony seating. And if post-travel hunger has heightened your senses, just follow your nose to the source of the simmering spices, a white-marble restaurant with a menu full of locally inspired cuisine.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Raas Devigarh’s Guestbook below.
The honesty and beauty of the architecture. This is a real building with age and atmosphere, but with rooms fully refurbished to best-in-class. Expect to feel pampered in your room and lost in the alcoves and quirky rooms around the hotel itself. Have a guided tour of the building. It is absolutely worth it.
To be disappointed - it is awesome.
Stayed on 4 Aug 2018
Raas Devigarh is possibly the most memorable and enjoyable luxury experiences in my well traveled life. Easily top 3 hotel experiences, but in the discussion for #1. Hotel: incredible historic palace atop a hill amidst rugged rural convergence of three valleys. Quiet, serene, connected to the sounds of the village life below. Stunning. Room: splurge on an Aravali Suite, they are up in the heights of the old palace; or else a Palace Suite. (Garden Suites, least expensive, are more modestly below at foot of pool area, still very nice, but I would have been left wanting for the experience of routinely going up/down into the tall palace.) Service: consistently excellent, polite, attentive, always available, understated. Everyone's training and service attitude is excellent, thank you! Spa: professional and friendly manager, excellent masseuses who truly give a strong skilled massage. Exceptionally clean and luxurious facilities, true luxury. Food: incredible! Really really good. We took every meal at the hotel, it was just an amazing journey through regional indian flavors, with international options available. Splurge on private dining option in the Sheesh Mahel room.
Many stone stairs throughout the rather vertical property, though there are elevators that enable movement through much of it. I would not recommend to friends with mobility challenges or families with wild young children.