The Luxe List 2010, India: Leela Palace Udaipur, Udaipur



The canopied launches that convey guests to this regal retreat offer but a taste of the opulence to come. Arrivals are greeted by lively Rajasthani folk musicians and a shower of rose petals before being ushered into Rajput- and Mughal-style gold-domed buildings, ornate courtyards, manicured gardens, and a heritage orchard. All 80 spacious rooms and suites (some with their own plunge pools) look directly onto Lake Pichola, with views across to the city or the Aravalli Hills; sumptuous embroidered brocades and hand-carved marble lotuses showcase the talents of India’s finest artisans. The spa, set within gardens on the lake bank, is centered on an ancient Shiva temple where a puja takes places each morning. The large outdoor pool is the best in Udaipur. The Dining Room, helmed by French chef Karim Hassene, offers Indian-accented Gallic fare and spectacular degustation menus, while the lakeside Sheesh Mahal is a romantic choice for dining under the stars

Lake Pichola; 91-294/670-1234; theleela.com; doubles from US$525

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