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Where once the Maharanas of Mewar held court and today Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar and his family stay at adjacent Shambhu Niwas Palace! Overlooking Lake Pichola, this palace hotel exudes romance and grandeur that takes one back in time. Maharana Fateh Singh of Mewar — who ruled from 1884 to 1930 — constructed Fateh Prakash Palace on the eastern shores of Lake Pichola during his reign, as an exclusive venue for royal functions. Today it has been refurbished as a heritage palace hotel by HRH Group Of Hotels. I had stayed there when I first visited Udaipur as a delegate of World Living Heritage Festival and two years later, here I am again!


Walking in, I was charmed by the new reception by the lake, with its miniature paintings, portraits, royal artefacts and armoury of the Mewar dynasty. Yet, the palace hotel merges a modern luxury lifestyle with ancient heritage. The rooms are equipped with modern amenities including flat-screen television, wi-fi, refrigerator — though my favourite spot was a plush window seat overlooking Lake Pichola, Lake Palace, Jagmandir Palace and the Aravali Hills beyond! I was enveloped by romance and it had taken a lot of will power to stop gazing at the stunning vista and head out! There's a lot to do here: I was there four days and still had not covered it all! The day always began with breakfast at alfresco restaurant 'Sunset Terrace'. I was in awe of Durbar Hall Sabhagaar; in 1909 Viceroy of India Lord Minto had laid its foundation stone! Today Durbar Hall Sabhagaar and Crystal Gallery, with rare paintings and object d'art, is evocative of its rich heritage and perfect for destination weddings and luxury conferences. Want to indulge in retail therapy? I bought tunics, jackets, scarves and costume jewels at Anokhi and Aashkha in the City Palace Complex: a two-minute walk! Now, no visit to Udaipur is complete without a tour of City Palace Museum maintained by the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation. It was a lesson in five centuries' cultural heritage! Tired after a day's work, I always booked a relaxing massage at the adjacent Shiv Niwas Palace followed by a glass of wine...


Is it a wonder then that Fateh Prakash Palace has been awarded National Tourism Award for 'Best Heritage Hotel — Heritage Grand' 2001-02, 2002-03, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2008-09, 2012-13 by Department of Tourism, Government of India and awarded for its  "outstanding performance in Hospitality Sector" in 2007-08? Reminiscing about my stay, as I explored the hotel once again, I do recommend staying at Fateh Prakash Palace to relive the living heritage of the Mewar dynasty and its unparalleled hospitality. The luxury hotel allows guests to journey to the gilded ages, where opulence is celebrated and savoured in equal measure. It’s an experience unlike any!


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