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Review of Jai Mahal Palace (Jaipur)

In this post, we’ll review the Jai Mahal Palace, a luxury hotel operated by Taj Hotels in Jaipur, India. We’ll cover everything from booking to dining to amenities to our room, providing our thoughts on service and the experience as we go along. Read on to see how our stay at this famed Jaipur hotel went!

About This Post and Related Posts

This stay was part of a two week visit to India, which was itself part of a larger 23-night trip. We had the chance to stay at several fantastic hotels, including Atlantis Dubai, The Oberoi New Delhi and The Oberoi Amarvilas (Agra). It’s worth remembering that context when it comes to any of our criticisms. In particular, I think it’s worth comparing our experience at Jai Mahal Palace with the Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur. Neither stay was perfect, but we wound up feeling very different about the two hotels.

NOTE: None of these hotels were comped, and we paid for all of these stays in full. This post is not sponsored and we do not receive affiliate income from any of these hotels.

Booking Jai Mahal Palace

I booked our Jai Mahal Palace stay via Amex Travel on my Amex Platinum. While this earned 5X Membership Rewards points, it probably wasn’t the best option. I did it without thinking because I was in the midst of earning a signup bonus and booking other hotels that were part of the Fine Hotels & Resorts program. Jai Mahal Palace isn’t a part of that program. Booking direct or maybe via Chase Travel (10X Ultimate Rewards points with my Chase Sapphire Reserve) would have made more sense. 

Our room category was Luxury Room With Sit Out Garden View. As we’ll get to, the sit out (patio) was actually probably a mistake and we didn’t use it at all. We paid $1,749, or $583 per night, earning 8,745 points.

Jaipur was the only city in our trip where my top hotel options weren’t available at reasonable rates. This might be because we were traveling during Holi, and Jaipur is a popular local destination for celebrating that holiday. (We instead choose to celebrate Holi in Udaipur, which is a bit calmer.)

Pre-Stay Communications

One of the reasons we booked nicer hotels for this trip is that we wanted to have a single point of contact to help us plan our time at each destination. This is a departure from our backpacker days when we went with hostels or AirBNBs and booked everything else on our own (with the occasional tour through a hostel).

In particular, we wanted to book transportation through the hotels. While this was more expensive than any number of other options, we opted for the comfort of knowing we’d have a good safe car that could accommodate our car seat. We also wanted to have minimal (not “no,” unfortunately) detours to see “the best _____ in the city!”

I contacted Jai Mahal Palace via email to arrange transportation. They quickly provided a rates table for their car service. We paid 10,000 INR for a full-day driver in a Toyota Fortuner and 700 INR for a transfer to the train station (for our train ride from Jaipur to Udaipur) in the same vehicle.

Notably, as part of my reservation I requested an infant crib. Cribs are specifically mentioned on the Jai Mahal Palace website:

As I’ll mention again later, no crib was available. I’m highly disappointed this wasn’t brought to my attention prior to arrival.

Regardless of cultural norms or expectations, a luxury hotel with international clientele should be aware that requests like this are more or less essential. We stayed at five hotels in India, plus one in each of Dubai and Doha, on this trip. This was the only one without a crib.

Arrival and Check In

We arrived by car from Delhi just before 2 PM. A long morning for Zoe (our 2-year-old) means arrival into a fancy hotel is a bit of a mess. In this case, the hotel was trying to dote on us, and we were trying to soothe our screaming toddler.

Check-in was smooth enough, and we quickly filled out our basic forms. We were provided juice, given a traditional welcome and escorted to our room with a brief tour and history lesson. Our luggage (which was taken from the bellhop when we pulled up) arrived just a few minutes later.

The lobby itself was gorgeous, far and away the best-maintained part of the hotel. It was borderline ostentatious, but when you book a 5-star hotel in a converted palace, an over-the-top lobby is something you’re asking for.

Our Luxury Room at Jai Mahal Palace

Having come from the very modern Oberoi Delhi, I was a little disappointed with the rooms at Jai Mahal Palace. The room felt dated, worn out, and small.

The turquoise color scheme was pretty, but it had no opportunity to shine because the lighting in the room was abysmal. This was largely because the patio was coved and hedged on either side. That meant that almost no natural light could get into the room.

(Note: Unfortunately our best photos of the room had some of the curtains closed. You’ll have to take my word that opening them fully did not drastically improve the lighting.)

This is partly my fault for booking this category. However, I’ve had plenty of patios/balconies (including in hot sunny climates) that didn’t have this issue.

The sit out walked right into the pool area and Giordino restaurant. This would be convenient, except the door couldn’t automatically lock behind us. Instead, one of us had to look the door from the inside and then take the long way out of the main building, which including going up and back down stairs. A small gripe, but a bit of a head-scratcher given how well-placed the sit out was otherwise.

The bathroom was nice at a glance, but not super spacious. There was enough room for one person to be getting ready while another bathes, but you wouldn’t want two people getting ready in there.

The room was loud and let in a lot of noise from the echoey hallway. This is where evaluating these rooms gets tricky. Jai Mahal is a converted palace. That means we have to accept some trade offs, and echoey hallways are one such example.

But wear within the room is less excusable since those spaces are significantly more under the hotelier’s control. There was a substantial amount of rust and water damage in the bathroom, and the rest of room was equally worn around the edges. There was too much scuffing and grout for a 5-star hotel room.

The functionality of the room also left a lot to be desired. Multiple outlets weren’t working, no matter what combination of switches / adapters we tried.

On a positive note the bathroom came with plenty of small amenities and individual hand sanitizer bottles, something I actually wished for back at The Oberoi New Delhi. Our Taj sanitizer lasted us the rest of our trip (and beyond).

Jai Mahal Palace provides filtered water in large, reusable bottles. This is exceptionally more environmentally friendly than single use plastic, but if you’ve had it hammered into your head to only drink pre-packaged bottled water in India, you might be disappointed.

Resort Grounds and Ambiance

Jai Mahal Palace boasts that the hotel is “a great example of Indo-Saracenic architecture set amidst 18 acres of landscaped Mughal gardens.” The grounds are comprehensive in their offerings and overall beautiful, but there were spots in need of improvement.

For the positive, the resort has two pools, an adults only pool and a kids pool. The kids pool has a depth of 2 feet. This was nice because Zoe could touch the bottom, but still have a better experience than a mere splash pad. The pools are not heated, a consequence of the palatial history, I suspect.

There’s just a small changing room and minimal service at the pool. I saw one person receive food, but there was no menu and no one ever asked if we needed anything. The pool attendant was very helpful in bringing Zoe an inner tube and basketball, which they loved.

Overall the condition of the pool chairs was lacking. They were covered in often dirty white towels, with pool towels also available.

The grounds have a badminton net, croquet course, and walkable gardens that are in fine condition. There’s a kids room that was a very nice treat. It was filled with toys and games, and arguably Zoe’s favorite part of the entire trip.

The fitness center was small and a little hot, but it sufficed for our needs (running on a treadmill). It also has a pool table and table tennis. It also was the only location at the the hotel that had packaged bottled water, which we often snagged.

While the grounds as a whole could use a little work to bring them to palatial quality, we encountered two specific issues that detracted from our stay.

For starters, there was broken glass littering the playground, directly under one of the ladders. I’m surprised that inspecting this area wasn’t routine enough for the hotel to catch this, and I can only imagine what this review would read like if Zoe had found the glass before Emily.

Then there was the pigeon problem. Again, being from New York (and Chicago before that), I’m not averse to pigeons generally. But a luxury hotel should but some effort into make sure they aren’t constantly flocking about the grounds, drinking from and pooping around pools. (There’s a separate issue of the larger peacock poop, too.) We had to stop Zoe from climbing in and out of the pool at will because there was just too much poop.

Of course the pigeons that have chosen the hotel to flock to might be difficult to deal with, but that’s what should separate 5 star hotels from other hotels.

Those specific issues notwithstanding, the overall ambiance at the hotel was very nice. We walked the grounds several times and it was always a nice experience. There were areas that needed work, but overall it really felt like walking palace grounds.

Our second night we had a beer outside at the restaurant while an Indian wedding proceeded just a few steps away. It was probably a highlight of our trip.

(Ah yea, the wedding. The noise from the wedding was a bit much, though it stopped at a reasonable hour at about 10PM. No sleep was lost, and Zoe had fun dancing to the music. Just be aware of this at luxury hotels if you’re traveling during wedding season.)

The hotel also offers onsite, traditional entertainment. This includes dancers and musicians, but due to conflicts with the wedding we weren’t able to see those. We did catch the traditional Rajasthani puppet show one night. It was a nice treat for a few minutes.

Service at Jai Mahal Palace

Coming from The Oberoi, a chain know for their exceptional hospitality, the contrast at Jai Mahal Palace put us off a bit. Check-in was very pleasant, particularly given our somewhat salty toddler, but after that things were mediocre.

First of all, there was no crib in the room, despite my having requested one at booking. As pictured above, cribs are mentioned in their website. I’ve also read several reviews that mention cribs.

I called about a crib and someone came to the room to tell me they don’t have one. Okay, so we prepared for Zoe to share the bed with us. However, after reconfirming my recollection that multiple sources pointed to there being cribs here, I decided to pay a visit to the front desk.

At the desk I was intercepted by the same person I’d spoken to on the phone. I explained I wanted to double check and his reply was “No sir, we don’t have.” When I explained I’d requested one and read that they did indeed have them, he said “I called housekeeping, we don’t have.” This was apparently a dead end, but I’m more disappointed by the lack of any effort to find a resolution.

Was there any room with perhaps two beds worth considering? Maybe we could try a roll out bed, which their website also lists? Since we’re sharing a bed now, is there a room with a king bed (ours was a double)? Or could someone at least apologize for ignoring the fact that I’d requested a crib that doesn’t exist?

Ultimately, we all slept just fine together in the double bed we had. The absence of the crib didn’t ruin our stay by any means, and had I been offered a genuine apology or explanation, the issue would probably only merit a single sentence in this review.

As a more general matter, virtually no one outside the front desk was equipped to help with even simple requests. I asked the gentleman delivering our dinner one night if it was at all possible to preorder breakfast, and his response was “if you have any questions, call 0.” I asked a young woman by the front door if there was an ATM on-site, and she said “please visit the front desk and they can help you.”

And comically, while trying to track down a restaurant, I was also directed to the desk by the staff. There, two further people had to consult to determine that the hotel patisserie I was showing them on their own website no longer existed.

In these and other interactions, it was less the action and more the attitude that bothered me. Most people we interacted with felt very cold. Smiles were rare, and interactions were very business like. When I went to the desk to change money, you couldn’t have distinguished the interaction from getting cash from a bank teller in the US.

I had one email exchange about booking a car where the hotel asked me for “additional reservation information” because they couldn’t confirm my information by my name. This was odd because I’d dealt with them by email previously with no issue before, and I’d already checked in. It’s all a stark contrast with The Oberoi, where multiple people in the lobby knew Zoe by name by the second day.

There were exceptions, but they were exceptions. An older higher-up at breakfast was exceedingly friendly. Housekeeping staff both when visiting our room and in the halls could be counted on for a smile and exchange of pleasantries.

We had a driver for a full day, and we were very happy with his service. We spent one full day in Jaipur exploring some of the city’s historical sites and had a lovely time. Unlike at The Oberoi New Delhi, the car didn’t have WiFi, but that’s not a deal breaker. It was stocked with bottled water, and our driver didn’t do too much to sell us on experiences we weren’t interested in.


Jai Mahal Palace has three restaurants and a bar. The website advertises a fifth option—La Patisserie—that staff were, after several conversations, able to confirm for me no longer exists.

Marble Arch is the main restaurant and where you’ll find breakfast. We only ate breakfast there and found it enjoyable. The buffet is supplemented by a menu, both of which contain a mix of Indian and international items.

Giardino is an Italian restaurant contained in a separate building just off the pool in the back of the hotel. We had a few good meals there. We didn’t have the opportunity to try either Cinnamon or Marigold Bar.

There was a bit of confusion at the restaurants as to whether they had a high chair (we were twice told no, and twice told yes). It seems likely the complex maybe only has one or two shared between the restaurants.


I don’t like leaving bad reviews. Generally, I think most people in the service industry are trying their best. I also tend to think a hotel is more or less just a place to rest your head at night. If you can get through a stay without anything bad happening, then the hotel has done it’s job.

But the fact is that Jai Mahal Palace isn’t living up to the standard of a 5-star hotel.

I admit that once flaws present themselves to you, it becomes easier and easier to start finding more and more. I’ve reviewed hundreds of nights worth of hotel stays, and I’ve almost never mentioned “this person didn’t smile” or “this person just told me to call someone else.” But that’s because when those things happen in isolation they aren’t notable. Once they become part of a pattern that includes actual hazards, you start to notice how far the issues spread.

I don’t know whether it was the broken glass at the playground, the non-existent baby crib, or the bird poop, but at some point I crossed the Rubicon into a land where every little flaw started to nag at me.

Our experience at Jai Mahal Palace did ripple beyond the stay itself. I opted to cancel our upcoming stay at Taj Lake Palace — this brand’s location in Udaipur — in favor of instead booking The Oberoi Udaivilas. The contrast between the experiences at Taj-operated Jai Mahal Palace and The Oberoi New Delhi was just too large for us to stick with Taj over The Oberoi at our next destination.

For what it’s worth, I highly recommend checking out our review of The Oberoi Udaivilas. That stay also didn’t go perfectly, but it’s almost unbelievable how much the hotel went out of its way to correct a simple misstep relative to the issues we encountered at Jai Mahal Palace.

The bottom line, we won’t be staying at or recommending Jai Mahal Palace for future visits to Jaipur.

Surendra Singh Rathore

Monday 3rd of July 2023

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