Check in to the royal life

If you thought Airbnb was just about affordable yet quaint stays, here’s one that costs almost Rs 5,00,000 a night for two but gives you an incredibly experience-rich vacay at the Jaipur City Palace!
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Plush private spaces at the Jaipur City Palace. Image: Courtesy Airbnb.

The bed and breakfast circuit may not always be your first choice when you travel. But we’ve found that Airbnb goes far beyond that when identifying properties to add to its roster. For example, how would you feel about the scion of the Jaipur royal family being your host on your next visit to the Pink City?! It’s true, the young Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh (fondly called Pacho), whose fortune has been valued at 855 million USD, made history by becoming the first king to host on Airbnb!

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The dashing Pacho, who has a passion for polo, says, “I’m thrilled that my family and I are partnering with Airbnb to bring the splendour of Rajasthan to life for travellers from around the world.” Image: Courtesy @lapoloindia.

You can now book the Gudliya Suite, one of the most lavish guest rooms inside a very private section of the 300-year-old Jaipur City Palace on the site. The proceeds from these top-dollar bookings go towards his mother’s Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to supporting rural women and artisans in Rajasthan.

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Beautiful bedroom in the Gudliya Suite Image: Courtesy Airbnb.

A stay at the suite provides an inspiring journey into the rich history, cultural heritage, and artistic traditions of Jaipur’s royal family. Even before it became available on Airbnb, the luxurious Gudliya Suite, which includes its own lounge, kitchen, luxurious bathroom and private, indoor swimming pool, had only been used for the royals and their special guests – from the late Princess Diana to Oprah Winfrey.

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You can feel like an insider at the Jaipur City Palace. Image: Courtesy Airbnb.

Just like they did, you’ll have a chauffeur-driven car waiting to receive you at the airport, a dedicated butler, who will help you make the most of your time in the palace and plan your time in the city. Daily breakfast can be a serenely royal affair, with peacocks parading around the palace’s lush gardens. You can savour authentic Rajasthani meals al fresco, sitting on the terrace overlooking the Aravali hills. The indoor swimming pool offers you a taste of the rarefied luxury that India’s royals have enjoyed for centuries.

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The royal staff is at your service. Image: Courtesy Airbnb.
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A swim in the absolute privacy of the indoor pool. Image: Courtesy Airbnb.

You’ll be shown around the 18th century palace by a member of the royal staff, who will explain the intricacies of the architecture, art and décor, as well as the historical armoury in the City Palace Museum. Probe them a little and you could hear about Jaipur’s legendary sagas of war and love, and some incredible folk tales. They are also at hand to escort you through the best city experiences, including private shopping tours, exclusive guided walks through local museums and other excursions.

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Get dazzled by the amazing architecture and décor on a private tour of the palace. Image: Courtesy Airbnb.

Not surprisingly, part of a guest review for the suite on Airbnb reads: “The stay at the City Palace in Jaipur surpassed all of my expectations. The property itself is jaw-droppingly beautiful given its historical significance. I would definitely recommend this stay to others who are looking for a unique royal experience.”

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The corridors are awash with the state’s rich history and culture. Image: Courtesy Airbnb.
A glimpse of what’s on offer. Video: Courtesy Airbnb.
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The intricately painted walls in the royal chambers and views of Rajasthan’s capital are bound to give you a sense of the city’s immense heritage. Image: Courtesy Airbnb.

Driving change through hospitality

Not only do guests get the pampering of a lifetime, but such collaborations are helping the community at the grassroots as well. Airbnb is deeply committed to boost tourism across India and empower underserved communities through tourism. The partnership with Princess Diya Kumari (PDK) Foundation was built on Airbnb’s existing efforts in India to promote healthy tourism and provide economic empowerment opportunities to communities in rural areas. Under the MoU, the Princess Diya Kumari (PDK) Foundation and Airbnb agreed to:

● Promote micro-entrepreneurship among rural women in Rajasthan by providing skill development training to help them becoming hosts on Airbnb.

● Identify and increase the network of homestays and unique accommodations in Rajasthan available on the Airbnb platform.

● Create two social impact Experiences, which will highlight the state’s artisan treasures, heritage architecture and local culture, with the proceeds goingback to local communities.

● Support select PDKF initiatives under Project Shiksha Diya with the aim to provide digital literacy to young women.

● Provide financial aid to support the Digital Scholarship Program under Project Shiksha Diya.

Read more.

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