Sujan Rajmahal Palace
What’s so special?
The Sujan Rajmahal Palace is situated in Jaipur’s old town, just moments from the city’s Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) landmark with its crenellated red and pink sandstone walls, and several bustling bazaars that should appeal to the bargain hunter in everyone. The airport is a half-hour drive away.
How they rate it
This is the city’s oldest palace (built between 1729 and 1732 by the Maharaja as a garden retreat). But the “technology is 21st-century, with free Wi-Fi all over the hotel and noteworthy service at every turn, including free laundry”, says Mary Lussiana in The Independent. The best rooms are the his-and-hers Royal Apartments – “splendidly opulent, with velvet armchairs, patterned sofas and silk rugs on marble floors… both have private dining rooms, separate entrances and a chauffeur and butler on call”. But even the lowest category “Palace Rooms” are “palatial by any standard”.
The Orient Occident dining room serves Jaipur thali – an array of local delicacies, the highlight of which is the jungli maas (tender mutton cooked with red chillis and garlic).
Double rooms from £167. For more information, visit sujanluxury.com, or call 00 91 11 4617 2700.
What’s so special?
This unusual hotel is surrounded by rocky outcrops on the banks of a lake in central Rajasthan. It’s not one for thrill-seekers or a holiday with the children – but it is the perfect place to rest and recharge and generally get away from it all, with little else to do other than relax by the pool, star gaze, or take a guided nature walk.
How they rate it
“A somewhat stark beauty, Lakshman Sagar was once a 19th-century hunting lodge belonging to the Thakur of Raipur,” says Condé Nast Traveller. In all, there are 12 thatched guest cottages set in 32 acres. They are “dotted around” the place, “some reached by a path that winds beneath an ancient banyan tree, others near a lake, where antelope and peacocks trip and sip each evening”. The interiors are “evidence of a zero-kilometre design philosophy: sari-upholstered benches add zip to the mud tones and chandeliers are created from dangling copper pots and wooden spoons”.
The restaurant serves up traditional cuisine from the area, including food cooked to the traditional hunting recipes of the Raipur family. The menu includes dishes such as cardamom-spiced lamb.
Doubles start from around £140. For more information, visit sewara.com, or call 00 91 11 2649 4531.
Two quiet resorts in Turkey
If you want to dodge tourist traps in Turkey, then Bozcaada (pictured) is ideal. It isn’t easy to get to – five hours by car or ferry from Istanbul – but it is “the perfect undiscovered getaway”, says Jeremy Seal in The Sunday Times. It’s one of two Turkish islands in the Aegean and is just seven miles long.
“The town is a lovely grid of vine-shaded alleys, handsome 19th-century townhouse hotels and… tavernas” around a harbour. “A favourite with hip Istanbulites”, gift shops and galleries are cropping up around the town. However, “you’ll still find authentic islanders, appealingly weathered neighbourhoods and working wineries”. Hotel Kaikias is a “beautifully restored quayside house” with a café and art gallery opposite (from £66, B&B; kaikias.com).
An equally attractive alternative getaway is Akyaka. “The Turks are mad for this little seaside resort on the Gulf of Gökova… the pine forests, streams and sandy beaches certainly make for a superb natural setting.” There is an up-and-coming foodie scene here “based on unpretentious but imaginative home cooking”.
“Add an agreeable mix of visitors – among them Turkish families drawn to the town beaches, wind- and kitesurfers after the consistent breezes and those few foreigners in on the secret – and you’ll wonder why you never knew about this place.” Stay at the Yucelen Hotel, “a popular family option with a private beachfront” (from £499pp, B&B, for seven nights including flights and transfers; anatoliansky.co.uk).