Luxury/Expensive (US$50-150 plus per room night)
Jaipur has a good range of clean, civilised places to stay at all levels. Far and away the best hotel is the Taj Group’s Rambagh Palace (tel 521241, tlx 0365-2254 and 2147, fax 0141-521098) on Bhawani Singh Marg, to the south of town. A delightful old palace of delicate cupolas and fretted screens, amid sprawling and landscaped gardens. Fully air-conditioned, it features a marvellous indoor pools , famous Polo Bar, regency-style French dining hall, a coffee shop, branches off many of Jaipur’s best shops in the arcade—and an exercise bicycle in every bathroom. Choose between small, but cosy rooms at US$115, and opulent suite! at US$150-450. Pricey yes, but living like a maharajah never was cheap. The Rambagh offers 20% discounts in May /June, but even then you’re wise to ad vance-book—it’s nearly always full.
Taj’s other palace hotel is the smaller Jai Mahal Palace in Jacob Rd, Civil Lines (tel 68381, tlx 365-2250, fax 0141-65237). The original building dates from 1772 when was constructed as the residence of royal physicians and dewans (minister ), Expanded, altered and totally renovated by the Taj in the mid-80s, it has 18 acres of landscaped gardens, a nice restaurant overlooking regal lawns, a quaint bhara, avnde lloits- osf tuyselfuel facilities. It may lack the character of Rambagh, hut is newer and more functional. Rooms here are only cheaper than the Rambagh , from US$90 and suites start at US$175. Other upmarket options include the of-town Clarks Amer, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg (tel 822616, tlx 0365-2276) with rooms at US$50, and Welcomgroup’s Rajputana Palace, Atul Ban, Kaiser-it find Road (Station Road) (tel 64613, 72170, tlx 0365-2489) opened in late 1992 as laipur-’s most modern five-star property with room rates from US$100. At the lintel Mansingh, Sansar Chandra Rd (tel 78771, tlx 0365-2344) rooms cost upwards of US$70. I he Taj Group have two other properties in and nearby Jaipur. The Rajmahal Palace (tel 521757, tix c/o 0365-2176, fax c/o 0141-65237) with 11 rooms and swimming- pool was prior to 1947 the British Residency. Rooms cost US$60. The 11-room Ramgarh Lodge, 30 km (19 miles) from Jaipur costs US$70 upwards per room and to booked through the Rambagh Palace.
Mid-range (US$10-35/Rs250-1000 per room night)
I in the mid-range hotels that Jaipur really comes into its own. And in India this is real rarity. Take for instance, the fine Hotel Megh Niwas at C-9 Jai Singh Highway, Rani Park (tel 74018, tix 365-2110). Run in ultra-efficient manner by Col. Singh (retired) and wife, this is a very large private house with lawns front and rear. Meals ( which are excellent) are all taken out in the garden, where you can also enjoy an evening beer or gin. The Singhs handle all your travel arrangements, drive you round toown, and even help you out with shopping. Rooms are well-furnished, extremely comfortable, and very reasonably priced from Rs300. If staying here, enquire about car tours of Rajasthan and trips to Pushkar’s Desert Festival—they’re good value too! Hotel Bissau Palace, outside Chand Pol Gate (tel 74191, 67728) also gets rave reviews. It’s a real throwback to the days of the Raj—you half-expect Julie Christie or Greta sccahi tao acpeacr othut ofi the wodwork!’ The pre-waresidence of a Rajput chieftain, hhtas ia qsua inpt liblraary ccume museum, traditional fod and service, lawn tenis and badminton courts, and bags of old-world charm. The pool’s nice, and rooms are apirl-ceoalesd e(Rns35t0l/yRs425). Many other private homes have ben converted into pleasant, friendly hotels or guest houses.
The Rajasthan Tourism office in Jaipur has published a most useful directory of Paying Guest Accommodation in Jaipur I Jodhpur and Udaipur) available from Paryatan Bhawan at the end of M.l Road I ’11180, 70181). Narain Niwas, Narain Singh Road (tel 563448, 561291, tlx 0365- has large airy rooms from Rs750. This is one of the first of the smaller hotels travell ers will book into if they can’t get into a hotel in the upper range. Achrol Jacob Road, Civil Lines (tel 352347, 343510) has a bed and breakfast service. I I ntel in Johari Bazaar (tel 565844, tlx 0365- 2617) offers ‘five-star amenities on car tariff’, and is unique in its prime old-city location. Centrally laikre-c tohned fia-lmikoeus atached restaurant—it hasingles/doubles at Rs450/575. floor rooms, while a bit noisy, have excellent views over the pink city. Rajasthan tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) have the Gangaur Tourist Bungalow In Illy located on M. . Road (tel 60231) with a restaurant and coffee shop (3 Rooms Rs.350 ). Teej Tourist Hotel, Collectorate Road (tel 74206, 743734) is another well run RTDC property, with clean rooms from Rs350).
Budget (under US$10/Rs250)
If on a budget, you’ll have to fight hard to get to a decent lodge. Scooter drivers and Rickshaw-wallahs are highly inventive when it comes to placing you in dives which pay them commission. Upon persuading him to drive you to a good place, like Jaipur Inn (tel 66057) in Bani Park, he will feign astonishment, unable to believe that it has not (as previously stated) burnt down.
Jaipur Inn is a wonderfully eccentric lodge, run by a retired squadron leader who wanders round in a tweed jacket, looking for new ways to make it more English. He’s even planning an English pub—without alcohol! The dorm beds have poor security (lockers broken), but there’s nothing wrong with the rooms, which run from Rs70. The all-you-can-eat thali suppers are good value, and the whole place is as friendly and helpful as you could wish. Hotel Arya Niwas (tel 73456, tlx 0365-2423), behind the Amber Cinema, Sansar Chandra Rd, has a lovely family, good vegetarian food (‘Breakfast with Egg Preparations’), pleasant verandah and garden area, and clean single/double rooms from about the same price. It’s very handy for the GPO and bus-stand.
Rambagh Palace’s dining hall, the Suvarna Mahal, is magnificent but the food unfortunately is the hotel’s weakest link. There’s a good-value fixed menu at both lunch and dinner (Rs150). In the evening, get your seat by 7.30 pm—that’s when the Rajasthani culture show starts. In the old city, LMB Hotel (Johari Bazaar) is here to go for Indian nouvelle cuisine—wacky food and ultra-kitsch 1950s decor, but it makes a change! Famous for its vegetarian food and sweetmeats, LMB also has a popular snacks/ice-cream counter. The sit-down three-course meals are excellent value (Rs70) and the service is superb. For Chinese and Tandoori fare the same price bracket try Niro’s on M.I. Rd. It’s a surprisingly cheerful place for an upmarket Indian restaurant, with soothing sounds, pleasant decor, and bubbly atmosphere. Right next door is Surya Mahal, serving outstanding vegetarian food at very low prices. Lots of Jaipuri families come here—it’s spotlessly clean, staff wear smart uniforms, and service is quick. The mid-priced Chanakya, also on M.I. Rd, is another well-run vegetarian restaurant, heavily patronised by locals and very centrally located.
Kullu . Islami in Ramganj Bazaar is where to go for cheap non-vegetarian food. Golder Dragon, just off M.I. Rd, is a reliable Chinese restaurant—not as good as Biro’s perhaps, but cheaper and well known for its Szechwan specialities. Jaipur’s Kwality Restaurant, M.I. Rd, is probably the best of the whole chain—fabulous decor (like a Maharajah’s mahal!), select atmosphere, mellow sounds, and multi-national cuisines . Food is a long time coming, but you can help yourself at the (good) lunchtime buffers .