Part 2: Taj Platinum Experiences
The Taj Platinum Experience is one of those that I feel truly worth of the benefit of its Platinum status. This is my 2nd year and the curated experiences are what I look for the most. To me, this is what makes First Class is First Class and the Taj has gone to provide its most loyal guests with such First Class treatment. There are 15 of them and in each membership year, the Guest has the privilege to reserve for three. The experiences range from Private Dining specially set up for members, Luxurious massages on private boat for Two, Diving, etc. Everything is complimentary and based on the 5 I had experienced so far, 4 of them was a private experience, making it a truly bespoke experience and indeed very special.
The Platinum Experience in Jaipur is called The Royal Treatment at Rambagh Palace
and described as “Ornate corridors of the Rambagh Palace lead you to a beautiful Baradari overlooking the Palace Gardens and the exterior façade. Decorated with exotic flowers and candles, the Baradari gives you an exceptionally royal experience as you tuck into a delicious 3-course dinner”
Since some friends were also planning to be in town, I had also asked what would be the surcharge for additional guests and I was informed that it would be US$300 Per head - a very steep price but probably reasonable considering this is a private experience whereby an entire pavilion is reserved for your own use overlooking the lavish private garden of the kings, and served by a private butler and an entourage of servers and with a menu that is crafted specially for you.
The experience started with a walk along the ornate corridors of the Rambagh Palace.
Passed opulent rooms and restaurants.
Towards our specially-set up pavilion (called a Baradari), graced with candle lamps and flowers. A truly stunning sight.
We were then seated and entertained by our butler with complimentary wine and champagne. They actually gave me a wine menu with prices and only at the end of the meal, it was informed that it would be on the house. It was not exactly pleasant this way but I think they would like to see if I picked something too premium or not.
I had brought with me a turban and the butler helped me put it up. Boy, it was really tall and royal. This was my extra request. There is no turban as part of the Platinum experience in the Rambagh. I have the turban from another Hotel from another Platinum experience the year before (read more below)
Dinner then started with an amouse bouche and a barrage of dishes served in a traditional thali. Unfortunately, this time I didn’t bring my SLR and the phone camera really struggled with the Low intimate lighting condition. It ended with a pleasant note.
However, this experience did not come close to what I had the previous year at another opulent palace, the Umaid Bhawan in Jodhpur. That was a truly spectacular experience with a curation of experience that I would never forget. The Platinum Experience in Jodhpur is titled Sunset Pavilion at Umaid Bhawan
and described as “Soak in the magnificent gold vignettes of Mehrangarh Fort against crimson skies as you dine on the Sunset Terrace of Umaid Bhawan Palace, the highest dining point in the city. Survey the vast Rajputana heritage as you partake of the lavish Rajasthani Thali from this vantage view. An experience fit for a king!”
The Umaid Bhawan is a much larger and grander palace.
First, we were seated in an immense lobby. Served with champagne, I had a turban fixed on my head (a sweet surprise) while my lady had veil donned on her.
From here, the butler brought us around the palace giving us candid stories and histories. It was a sprawling compound and very impressive.
After that, we were led up to the rooftop, where we found a private dining set up, with its own makeshift kitchen just for this purpose just behind one of the domes.
And the view was memorable for lifetimes ahead.
Dinner again was served Royal-thali style and it was exquisite.
We chatted for hours with the massive fort in the distance. We couldnt feel more than being king and queen that night.
At yet another palace in Hyderabad, the Falaknuma, the Platinum Experience is called A Walk in the Sky at Falaknuma Palace
and described as “Join the Palace historian for a private tour of the iconic bastion of rich Nizami heritage. Indulge in the Nizam’s beloved ritual Afternoon Tea, served in the Jade Room. Savour the Nizam’s special tea blend accompanied with a high tea platter of a delectable mélange of English and Indian hors d’oeuvres, chocolates, and champagne.”
This was a high tea experience. Unlike in the other 2 hotels, we had the privilege to stay here too.
We arrived royally, and ceremoniously on a horsedrawn carriage.
The façade of the palace is imposing and monumental.
Unlike the previous two palaces, this palace is 100% European-style with no single Indian element (at least that's what the palace historian told us). The first ante room is exquisite.
As is the main Reception Hall with its grand staircase.
The Ballroom is stunning. One can imagine what took place here 100 years ago.
Adjacent to it is a special dining hall, with a banquet dining table, which is said to be the longest in the world.
From here, we were brought to the exquisitely opulent Jade Room.
On the veranda of which, we had our private table set up.
This was a High Tea Experience, set up for royals, and now accessible to commoners like me.
The palace grounds are very pleasant with plenty of greenery.
Rooms are of understated classic elegance.
Other than dinner experiences, there was also a very unique Platinum Experience which has been removed from the 2017 catalogue. It was a complimentary 2 hour private Spa Boat experience on Lake Pichola with the famous and iconic Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur.
I had the privilege of staying on the floating palace last year and in that stay, I booked myself the private boat spa experience.
The hotel was stunningly sited in the middle of a lake, accessible only by boat. This hotel is most famous as setting to one of the James Bond movie.
Rooms are small compared to the other Taj Palaces which is natural considering the tight space of the property. And it is decorated in local Rajasthani style. Very beautiful despite its size.
It is a serene place, and one of the most romantic in India. Far from the hustle, bustle, and hassle so typical of India cities.
And sunset is stunningly beautiful.
The spa boat was anchored off the main palace building and to access it, one had to be transferred by an even smaller boat.
The spa boat has an outdoor jacuzzi where One and one’s company could enjoy the beautiful Udaipur winter weather sipping champagne and dipping in the jacuzzi sprinklered with flowers. How more romantic could it get!
Wine and cashew nuts served by the jacuzzi by the private butler.
And tea after that
Inside the spa was a private couple massage room with 2 treatment beds and shower facilities.
I didn’t take as many photos as this was a truly private experience. But I Guess readers could imagine how special this experience could be. It started with a footbath, followed by a good 90min long massage.