Originally the property of the Maharaja Of Mysore, the palace is currently owned and managed by a company set up by the erstwhile princely state of Gondal in Gujarat. Theirs since the 1940s, the palace used to be a summer home. So if you are dazzled by the royal life, you can choose to rent out the vast lawns for a wedding or party. Alternatively, just check into the Royal Suite which used to be the royal family’s personal residence. Think four-poster beds, regal wooden stairs, and décor and artifacts that have been heirlooms for centuries. Even Indira Gandhi called it home for three days, they say! They have standard rooms, deluxe and luxury suites too, if you don't want to splurge too much!
If checking in is not an option, check out their cool motor racing themed bar. A car racing enthusiast and expert in his day, Jyotindrasinghji Jadeja of Gondal (who lives in Gujarat), the Formula III bar is an ode to the erstwhile King. From quirky wheels for table stands, coasters with cars of them, and couches draped in the chequered flag, it’s like you’re in a pit lane. Make sure you look at the walls, dotted with numerous photos of the former Maharaja, his brother and cousins, from their days as racers. Talk about life in the fast lane! This place is still a go-to bar of racing enthusiasts for ‘old times’ sake’, we are told. You can get beer for just INR 150, with towers coming for INR 800, plus bar nibbles, on the house! Settling here at about 3pm is not out of the ordinary, and neither is lingering until you’re politely asked to leave!
Dinner at the restaurant, Golden, is a pleasant experience too! Our favourites are the Dal Makhani, slow-cooked overnight. It actually has the smoky flavour and you’ll do well to pair it with the Butter Naan. For those who like Laal Maas, you know we don’t get the authentic kinds here, but the closest we have gotten is with the Handi Lamb. Made with no holds barred on the ghee and khada masala (whole garam masala), the meat falls off the bone, and simply melts in the mouth.
Work it all off in their swimming pool, set in the new wing of the hotel. It's a pretty set up, though don't expect Olympic workouts to be done here!