Reviewed by Elizabeth Hoyle
Why you’ll love Fateh Garh
This hilltop palace is located 7 km from the City of Lakes and enjoys stunning views of Udaipur and the iconic Lake Pichola. The original structure dates back to the 1880s and once stood near Bhilwara. Facing demolition, it was moved – bricks, pillars, doors and all – to its new position by hoteling maestro Jitendra Singh Rathore.
The hotel has just 48 rooms meaning it retains a boutique hotel type feel. There are two swimming pools, a lovely spa and a handful of restaurants. Best of all, however, is the hotel’s position which undoubtedly commands the best outlook in town. Suprisingly perhaps, for a hotel of this vintage, Fateh Garh also has strong eco principles making it a conscionable choice as well as a fashionable one.
In fact, our only criticism of the hotel would be the service that was not always top notch when we visited. Otherwise this countryside palace is a lovely space to retreat to after a day sightseeing in Udaipur.
Why the kids will love Fateh Garh
The hilltop position is both Fateh Garh’s strong point and its weakness; owing to the varying levels and sometimes-precarious stairways and balconies this hotel is not suited to little kids and curious toddlers.
Big kids and teens will have a ball however and there’s plenty for them to do. The staff warmly welcome children (of all ages) and activities include swimming in one of the two pools, table tennis, badminton and a good size garden ideal for games of cricket or football. The hotel covers 51-acres and there are plans to plant 1,000 trees a year on the property, which will make the perfect grounds for hide-and-seek. There is also a vintage car collection at the hotel, which will delight petrol heads young and old.
Udaipur itself is also a wonderful destination for big kids and teens and there is a lot for families to do from horse safaris and boat trips on Lake Pichola to screenings of James Bond’s Octopussy and dawn hot air balloon rides over the Aravalli hills.
The Fateh Garh was built using materials found in the local area, including sandstone, marble, wood and even locally produced fabrics. There are 48 spacious bedrooms divided across three categories: Renaissance Rooms, Heritage Chambers and Fateh Garh Suites. The large rooms have all been classically decorated in muted tones with off-white marble floors and classical dark-wood furniture. All rooms enjoy wonderful views of the surrounding hills and the City of Lakes.
Renaissance Rooms: The thirty-eight Renaissance Rooms are spread across the various floors of the hotel. Some rooms are more spacious than others but they all have a view. Some even have views from the bathrooms so you can soak in the bath and soak up the views.
Heritage Chambers: There are seven Heritage Chambers. Each is located in a corner of the Palace ensuring maximum views of the hills and surrounding countryside. These rooms are larger than their Renaissance counterparts and well worth the extra space if you are travelling with children.
Fateh Garh Suites: The three Fateh Garh Suites each measure 550 sq ft meaning you have plenty of space. These suites feature elaborate headboards and delicately carved furniture and some even come with an elaborately hand-painted dome. Two of the suites enjoy their own small plunge pool and a private massage table.
Best rooms for families: The rooms can all accommodate two extra beds and a baby cot. The Heritage Chambers offer more space for families and are recommended, particularly for families with big kids or teens. There are no inter-connecting rooms.
There are a couple of dining options at Fateh garh; the Baradari with 270° views and the Terrace. The Prasadam restaurant is used primarily for weddings and functions. The hotel is happy to organise private dinners in other areas around the hotel.
The cuisine is predominantly local with an emphasis on Mewari dishes. North Indian specialities are also served and there is a small continental menu.
Breakfast is served on the large terrace looking over the Aravalli hills and beyond to Udaipur. The views are particularly spectacular in the mornings with the mist rising from Lake Pichola. An a la carte Indian or European breakfast is offered beginning with fresh fruit salad and a pastry basket (croissants/muffins). Eggs are cooked to order and are generally delicious. Coffee and tea is freshly brewed but not consistent in quality!
Lunch and dinner can be enjoyed on the terrace or, if a little chilly, in the Baradari restaurant – a glass enclosed restaurant on the terrace which offers fabulous views. The food is very good (we particularly enjoyed the Rajasthani lamb dishes) and there’s a wide choice of Indian cuisine and a small continental menu.
For Kids: There is no dedicated kids menu although there were a few pasta options on the menu for kids to enjoy. Room service is available.
Activities for Parents
Lie by the main swimming pool and soak up the sunshine and then take a stroll around the heritage property.
Enjoy a tour of Udaipur including a guided walk around the magnificent City Palace. Wander the tangled lanes of the Old City stopping by the packed-to-the-rafters stores along the way. Practice your bargaining skills and see what you come away with!
Visit the hilltop Monsoon Palace, stop by museum-worthy havelis and then jump in a boat for an up-close-and-personal look at the floating palaces on Lake Pichola.
Make an appointment at the Sansha Spa that offers some divine treatments and therapies using fresh, natural and organic combinations. Enjoy the Mewari food demonstration and learn about this delicious, regional cuisines.
Go for a spin in one of the hotel’s collection of old cars; you can’t drive yourself unfortunately but it’s still a unique way to see the countryside.
Activities for Kids
Play in one of the two swimming pools, there are shallow steps for novice swimmers.
Ask the hotel to arrange a tour of the countryside and experience the Arvalli hills and neighbouring villages on foot, by jeep or on horseback.
Jump in a boat and tour Udaipur by water; see how many James Bond locations you can spot along the way!
Play a game of badminton or table tennis and then challenge the family to a game of carom, monopoly or scrabble.
Visit the hotel’s vintage car collection and then head to the City Palace to ogle at their fleet of museum-worthy vehicles including the Rolls Royce Phantom that was used in the Octopussy.
Head to Udaipur and search for the man who creates miniature paintings using a squirrel’s hair – this is the traditional way to paint here in Udaipur!
A/C, babysitting, common rooms, baby cots available, doctor on call, the nearest hospital is 8km away, 2 extra beds allowed per room, kids’ activities, laundry, shop, spa, two swimming pools, travel desk, wheelchair access, WiFi.
When to go:
Udaipur’s climate remains relatively warm throughout the year. The best time to visit is between November and February when the days are sunny and temperatures range between 22C – 29C. Evening temperatures during this period can drop to as low as 8C.
From March the mercury starts to rise and the summer months (April to June) see temperatures soar to 37C and higher. The monsoon usually arrives in late July and lasts until September. September and October are also good months to travel, it’s warm and muggy, but the crowds are smaller and good hotel deals can often be found.
Location & Travel:
Hotel Fateh Garh is located ona hill amongst the Aravali ranges on the western edge of Udaipur in Rajasthan, India. Udaipur’s Dabok airport is 28 kilometres from the resort and the drive takes 45 minutes. Udaipur is well connected to New Delhi and Mumbai with daily flights operated by Jet Airways and Indian Airlines.
The hotel is approximately 9 kilometres from Udaipur railway station. The travel time by train from New Delhi to Udaipur is approximately 12 hours by Mewar Express.