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Side Trips : The White Hotel

March 06, 1994|Barry Zwick

Jaipur is capital of the desert state of Rajasthan in northwestern India and one of that nation's most colorful cities. Inside the Old City's 270-year-old walls, the buildings are pink and orange--in fact, Jaipur is called "the Pink City"--and the streets are filled with donkeys, horses, cows, goats, monkeys and even elephants. On the other hand, the city's most beautiful building, the Rambagh Palace, is luminously white and the rooms are filled with fortunate souls paying as much as $500 a day to live like nabobs. Built by the maharajah Man Singh II in the late 1920s, the Rambagh was turned into a luxury hotel in 1957. The luxury is real. Guests can stroll through the gardens in the cool of sunrise, sip Singapore slings on the terrace as musicians and jugglers perform and camel-drivers pass by, work out in the well-equipped gym, swim in the indoor pool with its stained-glass windows, sample excellent Indian and European food in the main dining room (called the Suvarna Mahal, or Golden Palace, for its gilded mirrors and thick golden brocade tapestries). My own $150-a-night suite was about 600 feet square--so large it came with dual-zone air-conditioning--and had a marble bathroom about three times the size of the average Indian house. More expensive suites are practically palaces of their own.

Rambagh Palace, Bhawani Singh Road, Jaipur, telephone (91-141) 521-241; reservations, (800) 448-8355. Rates: $125 to $500 per night for two.

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