Taj Lake Palace, Udiapur
This 18th century palace will introduce children to new and exciting experiences, while you relax in the spa or explore the sights of Udaipur.
An ornate palace floating on the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, Rajasthan, all regal white marble and carefully placed artifacts might not scream child-friendly. But The Taj Lake Palace is the perfect example of appearances being deceiving.
As you step off the speedboat that transports you to the four-acre palace, your children will be made to feel at home, with the help of Gili the squirrel and Mor the peacock – the resident wildlife.
During the day, a programme of activities introduces kids to India’s rich heritage, one where they are a core part of family life. Traditional Rajasthani puppet shows take place regularly, alongside cinema screenings – with popcorn –, arts and crafts sessions, and camel cart rides. For teenagers there is also the chance to learn the secrets of a royal kitchen in a cooking lesson, or have henna tattoos. Most of the activities are free but some have a small fee (from £2 to £11).
Of course, adults are not forgotten, and while the kids are at play, you can explore the palace, take in the rich silks, intricate mosaic tiles and elaborate architecture. Feel like a fifties screen siren while you lie by the pool on vintage-style sunbeds or have an Ayurvedic treatment at the Jiva Spa. If you need a little reality check and want to head into Udaipur without the kids, babysitting can be arranged.
The bedrooms at The Taj Lake Palace are disguised as treasure troves and are kitted out with child-friendly amenities.
To help you on your way with little children, you’ll find special lotions and potions, mini towelling robes and a thoughtfully positioned elephant stool to help them reach the sink.
At bedtime, the chef’s tailor-made treats will miraculously appear on their marshmallow-soft pillows.
Price: Double rooms start from £224 a night for two people.
Travel time: Flights from London to Udaipur, via Delhi, take 13 hours and 40 minutes (not including transfer time).
How to get there: Jet Airways flies from London Heathrow to Udaipur; from £787 return.
Best time to go: Udaipur is hot all year round, but the coolest temperatures are between September and March, when they hover around 30 °C. Monsoon season is from July to September.