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Taj Hotels launches tour inspired by The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel film in Rajasthan, India

Rambagh Palace and Taj Lake Palace in Rajasthan have launched a guided tour inspired by The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (TBEMH), in time with the UK release of the film’s sequel on 26th February. An exciting alternative to regular sightseeing, this tour will offer the opportunity to discover real-life locations, in both Jaipur and Udaipur, that played host to the first movie.

The ‘Best Exotic’ Jaipur
TBEMH aficionados can begin their journey at Rambagh Palace, following in the footsteps of their favourite characters, while exploring Jaipur and its surroundings, the main setting for the story. The hotel’s Concierge has designed a two-day guided tour that shies away from tourist beaten tracks. Kick start with a cinematic full immersion at the historic 13-storey deep Chand Baori step well, in the village of Abhaneri, and learn all about the legendary King Raja Chand. 

Get whisked away to a bygone area and visit the Kanota Fort, dating back to the British occupation. Here lunch is served in Castle Kanota in the colonial-style lounge known in the movie as the Viceroy Club, where Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup hang out.  Back in Jaipur, the tour focuses on highlighting the best of the Pink City, such as Sagar Lake at Amber Fort, to cater for first-timers to Rajasthan’s largest city. In keeping with the ‘Best Exotic’ theme, the excursion includes a sneak peak at Panna Meena Kund step well, where Sonny - played by Dev Patel - woos girlfriend Sunaina - Indian actress Tina Desai. And no tour would be complete without a walk in the vibrant Janta Bazaar flower market, where Sonny buys marigolds for Sunaina.

In the evening at Rambagh Palace, guests can reminisce about the day’s adventures over Champagne and a Northern Indian gourmet feast in a private gazebo - lit with flaming torches and nestled on the palace greens, under the starry sky.

The ‘Best Exotic’ Udaipur

The journey continues southwards to Udaipur. Taj Lake Palace, the floating princely mansion once used as the backdrop for James Bond’s ‘Octopussy’, is also featured in the first Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie. Travellers keen to have their very own ‘Best Exotic’ experience should look no further than staying at this landmark hotel in the heart of Lake Pichola. To crown this voyage across Rajasthan, Taj Lake Palace offers TBEMH fans a guided tour of the 17th century Ravla Khempur. This is the real ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, a picturesque rural palace approximately an hour outside Udaipur, where the British retirees in the film take up residence. To complement this Rajasthani countryside outing, the hotel offers a picnic hamper, filled with freshly made delights to eat en route. 

To relax after a day of discovery, Taj Lake Palace can treat guests to a traditional Indian aromatherapy massage on the Jiva Spa boat, sailing around the lake, at sunset. And why not end this ‘Best Exotic’ tour in style with a candlelight dinner on the imperial barge Gangaur or on Mewar Terrace with unparalleled views of the City Palace, Lake Pichola and Monsoon Palace.

· Double rooms at Rambagh Palace start from £235 including breakfast. The two-day guided tour for two costs INR 15500 (approx. £161) and lasts approximately 5 hours each day. It does not include lunch at Castle Kanota. Prices for private dining upon request.

· Double rooms at Taj Lake Palace start from £229 including breakfast.  The guided tour for two costs INR 12500 (approx. £130) inclusive of picnic hamper. The tour lasts approximately 5 hours.

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