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This review is from: India Sublime: Princely Palace Hotels of Rajasthan (Hardcover)
This well produced book contains many important palaces that have recently been converted to luxury hotels. Naturally, the original architecture, decor, and mood of the traditional buildings have suffered the renovations and the hyper cleanliness demanded by today's luxury seeking tourist. Nevertheless, many of the buildings are so spectacular that, in spite of conversion, much of their original brilliance remains. Many palaces are in distant reaches of Rajasthan and not on the usual tourist circuit. In general, these are the most exceptional. The book is nearly worth having merely to see the fantastic high ceilinged, completely tiled rooms of the Raj Niwas in Dholpur, or the magnificent complexly mirrored room at Kuchaman Fort in Kuchaman; both of these sites are amazing. Most of the hotels in this book retain their major architectural elements and are often newly decorated, but in a style that aptly suggests earlier periods. These are wonderful to see. A few palaces have been too up-dated and feel somewhat false and dead, and one hotel (Udaivilas in Udaipur) was built in 2002 in a bastardized traditional style and should not have been included in this book. In one instance, a large interior room of a palace has been transformed into a room for an indoor swimming pool. Nothing wrong with that for the tourist trade; but, the spirit of the original enclosure is entirely lost. In general, the hotels have been too manicured,too meticulously repainted according to contemporary taste, and decorated with standard hotel amenities reminiscent of Martha Stewart. In these instances, the feeling is that of the standard international luxury hotel, rather than sensitively refreshed examples of the great Indian palace styles of former times.