Whether you’re coming to see the vibrant markets, the formidable forts, or the stunning architecture, Jaipur is a city like no other, and its accommodation offerings are just as special. India’s “Pink City” has places to stay that range from palatial palaces and heritage havelis to beautiful boutique hotels, charming guesthouses, and lots more in between.
If you are on a romantic getaway, a cultural odyssey, a family getaway, or even a business trip with a side serving of culture, here’s my list of suggestions for some great places to stay in this fantastic destination.
1. Rambagh Palace
Often referred to as the “Jewel of Jaipur,” Rambagh Palace is one of the most beautiful hotels in India. It occupies a 47-acre plot just south of the city center, and from there, it’s a 20-minute taxi drive to most of the key attractions. Rambagh once served as the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur, and while the palace may have been converted into a stunning hotel, the family continues to own the property.
The palace has been decorated with intricately-crafted marble jalis (lattice screens), sandstone balustrades, and cupolas, all surrounded by stunning gardens. Its 78 rooms and suites — each with extraordinarily high ceilings — are packed with antiques, four-poster beds, walk-in wardrobes, and spacious bathrooms, all arranged around a beautiful courtyard. There’s a croquet lawn, strutting peacocks, and fountains.
As one might expect from a five-star Indian hotel, the welcome is elaborate and involves garlands of flowers and showers of rose petals. In the evening, guests are invited to take part in a candle-lighting ceremony and there are pre-dinner cocktails in the beautiful gardens. The hotel’s Polo Bar, with its display of trophies and memorabilia of the Jaipur polo team, is a great place to wind down at the end of the day.
The Rambagh Palace has hosted several dignitaries from India and around the world, including the late Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Lord Louis Mountbatten (the last Viceroy of India), Jacqueline Kennedy, and King Charles of England. This is probably the most expensive hotel in Jaipur and definitely isn’t one for budget travelers, but it does offer a fantastic combination of history, heritage, flawless service, and fine dining.
Pro Tip: Rambagh Palace is not open for public viewing, so if you want to see inside, you’ll either need to stay here or book a table at one of the restaurants. If you do book a stay, you can ask the duty manager for a heritage tour of the palace, which will last around 45 minutes.
2. Hotel Narain Niwas Palace
The Hotel Narain Niwas Palace, with its stunning entrance façade, has been with the same family since it was built and is one of the top heritage hotels in Rajasthan. Centrally located in Jaipur, the palace was built in 1928 and designed in the Anglo-Indian style — popular in the Victorian era — for one of Rajasthan’s aristocratic families.
The building still retains some of the quirky touches of a family home — the mango-yellow verandah is very photogenic, the stained-glass windows complement the peacocks strutting the grounds, the walls and ceilings are covered with frescoes and paintings, and the ornate chandeliers hang over purple-colored velvet sofas and carved wooden balustrades. There are acres of beautiful gardens and orchards, an outdoor swimming pool, period furniture throughout, and 52 suites with high-ceilinged bedrooms, exquisite chandeliers, four-poster beds, ornate tapestries, and rose petals in the bathtub.
Pro Tip: Traditionally, Niwas means a “home of royalty.”
3. Samode Haveli
The Samode Haveli is a real Jaipur gem. This 300-year-old haveli was one of Jaipur’s first to turn into a boutique hotel. Built 225 years ago, this is an urban oasis, a luxurious property hidden deep in old Jaipur. It’s a traditional Indian mansion with lush gardens and apartments arranged around a series of courtyards. The former royal apartments are now deluxe rooms and suites. A grand sitting room is decorated floor to ceiling with original 18th-century, hand-painted murals. The balconies of the rooms look out over charming pools, fountains, and the gardens of the old haveli. Schedule an afternoon on one of the daybeds by the prettiest pool in all of Jaipur.
Located in a quiet street inside the old town’s ramparts, the Hawa Mahal, City Palace, and Jantar Mantar are just a few minutes’ drive, or 20-minute walk, away. If you’re an early riser, the hotel offers guided morning walks where you can watch the city come alive, visit the flower market and the local temple, or sample some super sweet chai in the bazaar.
Pro Tip: With some of Jaipur’s most inviting pools, this is a popular place to stay. Make sure to book well ahead in the high season.
4. Shahpura House
The meticulously maintained, 64-room, 19th-century Shahpura House heritage hotel is located in a quiet residential area of Jaipur. It’s owned and operated by an old aristocratic family that lives on the top floor and takes enjoyment from sharing their traditions with their guests.
The building has a unique and distinctive old-world charm. Built across numerous levels, around a variety of traditional chowks (courtyards), the former Royal Rooms of the house are now deluxe rooms and suites, each with its own distinctive character. Every public space seems to be decorated with paintings of Hindu gods, flowers, birds, and creepers. The mirror work makes the ceilings shimmer like gold. Known as alankara, this notion of decorating every spot is typical of Rajasthan decorative style. The property shines during such Indian festivals as Holi and Diwali, and guests are invited to participate in these festivals alongside the family.
5. Rose Amer
Rose Amer sits in a quiet corner of Civil Lines, one of Jaipur’s exclusive neighborhoods, just steps away from the Governor’s residence. It was once a Colonial-era guesthouse for the Royals of Jaipur and British Officers but is now an elegant boutique hotel. Beautifully refurbished by the current owners, a four-generation family, there are eight lavish and uniquely furnished suites here with private living areas, gardens, and patios, all set on a sprawling 22-acre property behind high walls and hundreds of mature trees.
6. 28 Kothi
28 Kothi is a boutique guest house in a quiet, centrally located neighborhood in the heart of Jaipur with just five individually styled rooms. There’s a lush garden, terraces, reading corners, a library, and some very Instagramable interiors dotted with quirky design touches.
Built by a French architect for the late founder of Jaipur’s foremost jewelry store, Gem Palace, the feel is minimalist by Indian standards, but there are many amusing, decorative touches throughout the property — a hooded cobra candle stand, fish-holding napkins, and antique ladles on the bathroom walls. Each of the five rooms is named after a jewel and there’s even a soap menu; choose from lemongrass, musk, rose, ylang-ylang, and aqua. Indian elements are everywhere from the aluminum trunks to the cotton furnishings and colorful cushions.
The resident manager and tiny staff are very hands-on and happy to sit with guests to help plan sightseeing, dinner, and shopping options.
7. Dera Amer Wilderness Camp
For something different and a glamping experience you’ll never forget, head out of town to Dera Amer Wilderness Camp. A sharp turn off the Jaipur-Delhi highway, and a little way down the road, you’ll find the camp on the outskirts of the tiny rural village of Kukas. Jaipur’s old town is around 30 minutes away and the Amber Fort is a 20-minute drive.
After acquiring 180 acres of neglected scrubland in 1981, the owners made a commitment to return this stretch of land to a state of untouched natural beauty. Over 30 years later, Dera Amer is now something of a sanctuary for animals, both domestic and wild, and the perfect spot for visitors who wish to escape the city. Resident elephants and camels were adopted from the rigors of the city and rescued from a life of hard labor. There are two big things that make Dera Amer extra special — Laxmi and Rangmala. These two elephants were adopted from the Amber Fort, where they were rescued from a life of ferrying tourists up and down. The camp does not condone riding, and these days, the pair are fed, bathed, walked, and generally fawned over by camp guests.
There are six sumptuous safari-style tents here with deceptively comfortable beds. Dera Amer is a seasonal camp, closed during the summer months, and what it lacks in facilities (no pool, no spa, no minibar) it makes up for in wildlife. There are opportunities for early morning safaris in search of leopard, jackals, deer, and an extensive list of bird life. This is a very different place from any of the Jaipur City hotels.
And there you have it, my top picks for places to stay in magical Jaipur. This list is far from exhaustive. After all, there are so many great places to choose from, but I hope I’ve given you some ideas and inspiration to get you started on your holiday plans.