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“Magnificent hotel with mostly muddle-headed personal, thieves and impudent manag”

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The Oberoi Udaivilas
Ranked #3 of 153 Hotels in Udaipur
Certificate of Excellence
Moscow
Level Contributor
113 reviews
85 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 249 helpful votes
“Magnificent hotel with mostly muddle-headed personal, thieves and impudent manag”
Reviewed 10 February 2008

We have stayed in Oberoi Udaivilas two nights. It is very beautiful hotel in which big money is obviously invested. Rooms are spacious, though a view on lake only partial. A direct view on lake Lake Palace and City Palace only from hotel quay. The hotel has very numerous staff, that partly irritates. As he is mostly muddle-headed and useless. At our installation have by mistake come into a room to other guest, than her have frightened (it was the elderly lady). After 10 minutes to us came somebody, when we taken a shower and asked to wait one minute. As it turned out too by mistake - to us have brought the letter addressed to other guest.
Despite the forced affability of personnel (easy ambience of a Taj Lake Palace, their sincere and real goodwill was pleasant to us more) the dirty dishes was not cleaned by days, and slippers have not brought even then when them have demanded from the housekeeper! DVD in a room did not work. Though the come engineer has repaired it for 10 minutes.It was impossible to charge video and camera accumulators - sockets worked no more than several minutes. It was necessary to carry charging devices to front desk, but also there they for all night have been charged only on a half.
During dinners in outside it was very cold, but to us never have not suggested to move heaters with coals to our table from empty tables. It was necessary to ask each time about it the personnel. But during a breakfast 5-6 persons scurry about our table. The breakfast simply depresses - two dried up!!! slices boiled sausages, more dried up!!! slices of cheese (even without a cover!) and soya milk by request for luxury hotel (only the price was great)! We too having tummy trouble after both dinners, which was not anywhere for three weeks of travel across India. The dinner however was tasty. Live ethnic music and dances though the program was the same both evenings especially was pleasant.
At departure from us tried to charge repeatedly the room price, and when I have specified this mistake - have not apologised at all properly. Etc. But it is all trifles.
The main thing - with us befallen when we have returned after excursion in Kumbalgarh and Ranakpur (very much I recommend, the road from Kumbalgarh to Ranakpur and from Ranakpur to Udaipur is especially beautiful, is the really Indian Tuscany! see photos) We have given tip to the hotel driver and well we remember, that all money was in a wallet. Almost at once, having taken a shower we have gone on synchronous massage to 4 hands (good enough) and not at once have put a wallet in the safe. After massage we have found out mobile phone disappeared. At first we have thought, that it has disappeared during a trip. But when next morning we having gone to tickets counter of City Palace have found in a wallet some small notes (big notes in rupees and dollars have been pulled out), became clear, that us have robed during massage. Having returned to hotel we have declared larceny and have demanded to call the police. But to us have suggested to wait in our room half an hour for any check-up.
Then Abhishek Sharma, the Assistant Manager Front Office has arranged to us a half-hour interrogation, constantly setting the same questions - when we have precisely found out loss of money and phone. He behaved impudently as though anything especial has not occurred. It was disgusting also we have stopped senseless interrogation, was tired to repeat same. After that general manager Torsten van Dullemen has come running. It seemed he has been more disturbed by the happened. But also he has declared to us, that theft is impossible as he is absolutely assured of the personnel. I have asked about police, he has answered, that is necessary to go to police office, on what it is necessary to spend yet not less than two hours. We have refused - we had not time to examine Udaipur enough at all. I have asked what he thinks about it - after all money from a wallet could not disappear wonderfully. He has answered, that it is difficult to explain it.
Then we have moved in Taj Lake Palace (if there is a dilemma - where to stop in Udaipur it is unconditional Taj Lake Palace more special and romantic place. Besides to reach the centre of Udaipur therefrom only 5 minutes by boat absolutely free of charge. From Oberoi it will demand 20 minutes and 2134 rupees!)
When I have come back home I have sent email to Torsten van Dullemen - whether they have found the thief. As I could not restore completely data from stolen sim-card. Its answer has amazed us! He has written, that they "were all very sorry to learn that you had lost your mobile phone and some money during your trip, but upon very detailed investigation I felt satisfied that no member of my team was in any way involved." And he "do trust that you have since been able to obtain a new mobile phone and that it has not disrupted your day-to-day life too much."
Instead of apologies of us obviously tried to make idiots. Somehow, not taking out from a room a wallet we have lost from it all big banknotes and mobile in addition. Unprecedented rudeness and nonsence! I think, that owners of hotel need to dismiss this shameless boor immediately!

  • Stayed January 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank Aion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oberoi-Udaivilas, General Manager at The Oberoi Udaivilas, responded to this review, 5 March 2008
Having read "Aion"s review, I would like to respond personally. As the guest wrote in his review, I met up with him and his wife during his stay. Just before check-out, the guest contacted the Reception desk that several belongings were taken from their room. This is the first time that I personally have had to deal with such incident at The Oberoi, Udaivilas. We simply do not have a history of theft at the Resort. I personally led the investigation and based on their very specific statement, I was able to ascertain through our electronic key system records, that no-one had entered their room in their absence. I personally conveyed this to the guest and asked him if I could help in any other way. I offered to obtain a rental mobile phone on his behalf for the duration of his time in India and enquired whether he needed some money in cash, to help him tie over the remaining days of his holiday. I also offered to accompany them personally to the police station. They had been out visiting several sights and in all probability this is where the theft took place. Throughout this several members of my team were with them to ensure that they were comfortable. Their English is not fluent, which must have been hard for them at the time so I wanted to be sure they felt understood . It is notable that several minutes prior to our discussion, the guests had filled out our guest feedback form, which clearly stated that our services generally "exceeded expectations" and that they had a nice time. After we had denied our involvement in the disappearance of his mobile phone and money, he wrote these complaints upon his return to Russia. I have written to the guests twice to try to repair the relationship and asked for their telephone number, which was declined. They did threaten that if we would refuse to refund the money or supply a new mobile phone he would write to tripadvisor. Torsten van Dullemen, General Manager, The Oberoi Udaivilas
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Hertfordshire
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 January 2008

Stunning hotel in a beautiful setting. No wonder it is rated as one of the best in the world.

We took a boat transfer from the Lake Palace where we had stayed the night before and we were quicky and effortlessly taken to our room. On arrival everyone knew who we were and which room we were going which made us feel very relaxed!

The rooms are lovely - but compared with other Oberoi's not stunning - unless you pay serious money for the pool suites!

The gardens, pools, spa and views are amazing. The hotel interior is stunning.

Dinner on the terrace was a fantastic way to end our tour of Rajasthan.

We felt the service was poor in places especially during dinner where it was quite hit or miss - plenty of staff - just no one knew what they were doing!

However it did not detract from an amazing few nights!

It is a very different feel to the Lake Palace - if you have time - stay at both!

  • Liked — the setting
  • Disliked — patchy service
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Herts2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 January 2008

We stayed in Udaivilas for our last night of a 12 night tour of Rajasthan. Thankfully, unlike the previous review, we did not experience any major difficulties with service and we thought that the hotel did on the whole live up to its reputation as the best in the world. We had stayed at the two Aman properties in Rajasthan on our trip and the standard of service was comparable. The Udaivilas is a bigger property and therefore does feel slightly less "exclusive" than the Aman properties, however, this does not detract from the general feeling that you are staying in a very special resort. Our favourite member of staff was the gatekeeper who greets every car arriving at the resort - a very nice welcome indeed! The buildings are very extravagent and the setting right on the lake overlooking the Lake Palace was amazing.

We arrived early morning and whilst the check-in staff were very polite and helpful, there was a little confusion with our check-in and we got the sense that some of the staff were new. We didn't mind that our room was not ready (as we did not expect it until lunchtime) but the staff made a big fuss about getting us a room to change in and freshen up in the meantime which we initially agreed to. Unfortunately it then took a long time for that room to materialise so in the end we decided to forego the freshening up and begin our tour of the hotel and camp at the pool until our main room was ready to make the most of our day. It took a long time for the check-in-staff to find our hand luggage which had been whisked away when we arrived. They did make up for this though by finding us at the pool a little later and taking everything to our new room which was ready early and which was in a very nice location overlooking one of the pools. We opted for the standard class of room which was lovely and spacious with a great interior design and a nice courtyard and table overlooking the grassy courtyard. I'm sure the rooms with the private access to the infinity moat pool are amazing if you can afford it. And then there are the suites (in which Madonna was staying during our visit!) which are very secluded and private with their own pools.

We took an Oberoi driver into Udaipur for the afternoon and he was a great guide (you don't need a separate guide as well as the driver as the drivers speak great English and are very knowledgeable). We went to the City Palace and then to a shopping bazaar which was great fun (if not expensive - we're not very good at haggling!). We then took a 45 minute boat cruise on Lake Pichola from the hotel jetty with champagne which was just perfect. Dinner was al fresco with live dancing and entertainment. When the hotel is full, it is first come first serve for a table outside - most people seemed to get one eventually but it pays to eat a little earlier to get a good table. There are heaters (which are a necessity in January). The food was great, a really extensive Indian and International menu. Wine is expensive but then you get used to that in the hotels in India. We took to sampling local Indian wines - the Sula Sauvignon Blanc was particularly good as well as the Sula Brut Champagne! We had most of the next day to relax by the pool - we went to the Spa Pool which is in a great location overlooking the lake (there are two communal pools in addition to the private moat pool). Lunch is also alfresco and the service is top notch. There was a delay with a cup of tea and when we asked, it turned out that the poor waiter had tripped and spilt the tea so they were brewing another one. They were very honest and couldn't apologise enough (not that we minded in the first place!). Finally, when we were leaving, they checked the flight schedules for us and noted that our flight was delayed so they delayed our drop-off so that we could spend a little longer at the hotel (its well worth walking around the grounds down by the lake).

The only other grumble would be having to pay for the internet in order to check-in on line for our flights - you would have thought they would throw it in for free given the room was over USD800. Also, when we were checking out, they realised they'd not charged us for a bottle of water from the mini-bar so we had to sign another credit card receipt - again for 200 rupees, this seemed a little unnecessary (especially in all other hotels, water is free in the hotel rooms). In this hotel, they have their own water plant so you can actually drink the water if you want to but we didn't want to risk it as we'd been illness free all holiday!

We changed our booking from Lake Palace Resort to Udaivilas at the last minute based upon recommendations and we are very glad we did. You can take the Udaivilas boat around the lake and see the Lake Palace from the boat and we were glad we weren't staying there as overall Udaivilas is a great experience.

  • Liked — The amazing setting and design.
  • Disliked — Having to pay for the internet and a bottle of filtered water.
  • Stayed January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank Bliz_Belamina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Marazion, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
230 reviews
109 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 229 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 December 2007

We saved this hotel to last for a no-expense-spared blow-out prior to returning home from what was a fabulous 3 week tour of Rajasthan. The position, architecture and the rooms were marvellous but the place is awash with trainee staff who constantly genuflect as you pass them in the corridors but who have not yet learned to pass on messages. At least five times (2 rooms and 2 sets of friends) room service let us down and we had to ask for things repeatedly - such as hairdryers. There was no hot water at 7 pm one evening when we were changing for a special dinner (in the hotel). Then, having succesfully negotiated the whole of Rajasthan without any tummy trouble we got it here! Breakfast is charged extra which is a bit rich given the cost of the rooms and the inclusive breakfasts in comparable hotels.
We spoke to the manager about these things and he was extremely approachable and on-the-case - he has only been there 3 months and I'm sure he will improve things as he has personal knowledge of how good the service is at rival hotels e.g. Amarvilas in Agra and Devigarh just north of Udaipur. However, given that we paid as much for our 2 nights there as we did for a week in palace hotels elsewhere we were a bit cheesed off.
Russell

  • Liked — The building
  • Disliked — Poor service - resting on their laurels as the Top Hotel in the World
  • Stayed November 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank JonathanSymonds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
59 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 November 2007

I've stayed at both the Taj Lake Palace and the Udaivilas, and both are fantastic. However the Udaivilas has modern rooms, better food, better dinner show, and a great spa. The staff was friendly and attentive. It is a great place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle. I can see why it is rated the #1 hotel in the world. We could not ask for anything more.

  • Liked — The amenities
  • Disliked — The price
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank PD2K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oundle, UK
Level Contributor
46 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 November 2007

As you can tell by our other reviews, we are big Oberoi fans. We finished our two week tour of India at the Udaivilas, and could not have imagined a more perfect place to do so. The hotel, grounds and rooms were just stunning. I went exploring, and it took me over 45 minutes just to walk around the hotel. We were lucky and our room had direct access to the moat swimming pool, and great views of the Kites (not eagles as one hotel employee told us) and spotted deer in the Nature Reserve next door. Our terrace was beautiful, and we ended up doing a lot less than we had planned because we could hardly bear to leave these lovely surroundings. We ate all three nights at the outdoor restaurant, mainly because it was Diwali and we had fab views of all the fireworks, and also because we had managed two weeks with no stomach problems and didn't want to risk a town restaurant before our long trip home ! Cowardly but sensible. Anyway - by this time we realised that the Oberoi chefs will prepare almost anything you ask them too, and we took advantage of this. The food was very good, and not as expensive as some other Oberoi hotels. We could not fault the hotel (my husband moaned at the long walk to the main areas - I was quite happy as the only exercise I got in the whole two weeks was walking to and from our rooms, and the odd lazy swim. The staff as ever were friendly and attentive, and the only complaint I have is that the hairdryer was too hot for me, so I went to the Spa hairdresser instead. Lovely. Some people complain on their reviews that the service is OTT. But this is India, and that it how it is. We love it. Now we are home, I stand outside doors hopefully and wait for someone to open it for me! Udaipur itself was beautiful, and well worth exploring.

  • Liked — Stunning decor
  • Disliked — Hairdryer
  • Stayed November 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank janetatt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manhattan
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 November 2007

What makes the Udaivilas, part of the Oberoi Hotel Group and located in Udaipur, simply the best hotel that I have ever stayed at is not the merely the outstanding architecture and setting of the place, perched as it is on the edge of the Lake Pichola with superb views of the City Palace and the Taj Lake Palace. It is also not the outstanding décor with a perfect influence of the old Meewar Dynasty right down to the ivory carved dressers in the rooms, the moldings on the walls and the stone floors. It is also not the most amazing spa that it has with a truly breathtaking swimming pool. All of these elements are outstanding, no doubt, and having stayed at some other exquisite hotels, I believe that Udaivilas is top of the line amongst them. However, what makes Udaivilas the BEST hotel in the world is its staff, the people who host the guest sduring their stay. I can go on and on about the staff’s extreme dedication to pleasing the guest, its resourcefulness, its sense of responsibility for the guest’s vacation to go perfectly and finally, its never faltering, genuinely friendly smiles.

I can’t say enough about how wonderful the staff was during our three night stay at the hotel. The concierge, Ranna Das, made our itinerary and then was extremely flexible to changing it to our last minute whims and desires. I did a lot of shopping and was worried about how to get it all bubble wrapped so it could be safely put on a plane…no issue. Ranna took over and had my suitcase packed under his own supervision so that everything was packed properly and safely. We forgot to adjust our hotel and plane tickets to go to Mumbai a day later than planned and again, Ranna took over and handled everything himself---at the last moment, no less. Because of that, we were stuck on an evening flight instead of a morning flight to Mumbai and Ranna gave us late checkout till 5 PM! Himanshu Dhingra was also very helpful and resourceful.

Our guide, Raj Singh, and driver, Devi Singh, were with us on all our excursions. Raj was very knowledgeable about the local history. Devi Singh was always polite, friendly and endlessly patient whenever we wanted to stop the car and take pictures.

Tracey and I had trouble with the DVD in our room and the engineer, Prashant, was most helpful about fixing it (they sent two other folks to our rooms, in addition to Prashant, just in case)! We needed a USB cable and the staff made sure to find us one. One of the most endearing things was every time we had an issue, there was a seemingly endless supply of willing and able hotel staff to help us out.

The hotel was recently voted the best hotel in the world by Travel & Leisure magazine and the second best in the world by Conde Nast Traveler. It was also the only hotel in the world which was on both lists. Every single person of the staff takes an obvious pride in this and it felt like they each felt personally responsible for up keeping the status!

Since no review is complete with some areas for improvements, I will get very nitpicky to provide some: the hair dryers in the rooms don’t have enough force and should be replaced, the DVD collection has some DVDs which don’t work so the list should be updated and finally, there are some signs of wear and tear appearing around the hotel, e.g. the paint on our outside veranda was beginning to chip and there was some dirt and cobwebs around the plants.

We went for dinner to Taj Lake Palace and checked out the hotel while we were there..our advice? Don’t stay there. It is old and tired and the only real pleasure it offers is how it looks from the outside and one doesn’t have to stay at the hotel to enjoy that! We also had lunch at the Shiv Navas Palace which is in the City Palace and owned by the Maharana. It is even older and more tired looking than the Taj Lake Palace. We were relieved to return to the Udaivilas each time! When we went to Mumbai, we stayed at the Taj Lake Palace (the old wing). It is beautiful and the staff is good but after Udaivilas, it just wasn't up to par.

Go and stay there---you won't be disappointed!

  • Liked — Everything!
  • Stayed October 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank aaa1aaaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Oberoi Udaivilas

Property: The Oberoi Udaivilas
Address: | Haridasji Ki Magri, Udaipur 313001, India
Phone Number:
Region: India > Rajasthan > Udaipur District > Udaipur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Udaipur
#2 Family Hotel in Udaipur
#2 Romantic Hotel in Udaipur
#3 Luxury Hotel in Udaipur
#3 Spa Hotel in Udaipur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — The Oberoi Udaivilas 5*
Number of rooms: 87
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In a city fabled for its palaces, The Oberoi Udaivilas can take its place with pride. With views over Lake Pichola to the spectacular City Palace, the hotel itself resembles a grand palace. Landscaped gardens and shady courtyards, decorative fountains and reflection pools, cool marble, ornate carving, inlay work and detailed interiors create a marvellous ambience of days gone by. Huge bedchambers with large private terraces, luxury suites with private swimming pools, marble bathrooms, walk-in closets, butler service and 24-hour in-room dining make you feel like royalty. The restaurants serve international and Indian cuisine including regional favourites. A gymnasium, two large swimming pools and a luxury spa offering a range of therapies, add to the ambience of total pampering. The facilities are particularly suited to meetings that might benefit from this exotic location. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Oberoi Udaivilas Hotel Udaipur
Oberoi Hotel Udaipur
Oberoi Hotel Udaivilas
Oberoi Udaipur
Udaipur Oberoi

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