An old-world Indian classic, Shiv Niwas stands within the walls of Udaipur’s City Palace — once a guest house for royal visitors, today it’s a different sort of guest house, a small hotel (thirty-six rooms and suites) that’s nonetheless very big on luxury.
Here it’s as though the whole boutique thing never happened. You could never accuse Shiv Niwas of being a “design hotel,” unless you’re particularly interested in design from centuries past. Instead it’s about timeless pleasures: the pool deck, the faultless service, the views of Lake Pichola — this last is an absolute must, as the lake elevates the experience from merely luxurious to something extraordinary.
Standard rooms, those with the city views, are a little more contemporary, and as such a little less inspired. It’s in the suites that Shiv Niwas really shines, the interiors an aristocratic fantasy, the terraces looking out over the water, one, the Imperial suite, with ornate checkerboard floors and a working fountain right in the bedroom.
Some modern services, like a spa or a fitness center, are absent, but that’s nothing to hold against a hotel of this size. It’s got what counts, including a couple of restaurants, and a roof terrace with unmatched views of the lake and the surrounding City Palace.