To provide a local perspective on some of our favourite destinations Ampersand is doing a new series of Q&A Blogs with some of our special contacts on the ground who will be sharing their insider tips on their location.

Here at Ampersand we absolutely adore India’s Leela Palaces. Over the last decade we feel it has emerged as the rising star of the luxury Indian hotel brands, perfect for guests who are looking for an opulent and uplifting experience that is fit for a modern day prince or princess. There are now Leela Palace properties in Udaipur, New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai, plus a highly anticipated Leela Palace Agra due to open in 2014, splendidly located near the Taj Mahal.

Sharing his insights with us this time is Mr Graham Grant, the General Manager of the utterly gorgeous Leela Palace Udaipur.

I’m new here. Please tell me something interesting about The Leela Palace Udaipur…
There are 270 Elephants (a symbol of purity and prosperity) in silver, wood, metal, stone and print drawn across the property and the hotel also features a 150 year old Shiva Temple on the premises. Without exception, every room at the Palace offers a lake view or lake and heritage view. There is no better location than the Leela Palace to visually appreciate Lake and City Palace Heritage sites. ESPA is the only lakeside tented luxury spa in the country with plunge pools and open air treatment facilities. Leela Palace Udaipur Sheesh Mahal Restaurant

I’d like to try something off-the-beaten track here – what do you recommend?
A ½ day trip to Delwara, a local village that has been engaged with wonderful NGO work by Seva Mandir. Meet local residents, visit historic Jain temples and see the practical day to day life of a village community.

Which attraction should I definitely make time to see?
The City Palace – best reached by The Leela’s own tuk-tuk, which winds through charming old city lanes to arrive for a 1-2 hour Palace excursion. This will be 3 hours very well spent capturing Udaipur’s heritage.Leela Palace Udaipur spa tent exterior

Which of the “must-visit” attractions should I avoid?
Monsoon Palace; there is no need to visit as it can be captured best in evening from The Leela grounds.

I’d like to buy an unusual souvenir – what do you recommend?
Buy a miniature painting by local artists.

Where can I take the best picture of City Place, Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, Lake Pichola and the Aravali Mountains?
From any Leela Palace hotel room! leela palace udaipur suite__bed_room

I’d like to explore the surrounding area. Is there a particular day trip you’d recommend?
Explore Ranakpur Temple and Kumbhalgarh Fort on a full day tour.

I’m going to propose to my partner while I’m here – where should I do it?
On a sunset cruise in the middle of Lake Pichola or at Spa Alcove’s exclusive destination dining. Leela Palace Udaipur boat_arrival

What’s the best restaurant in the city right now?
Sheesh Mahal offers fine Indian dining on the bank of Lake Pichola with majestic views in the foreground of Lake Palace and the City Palace beyond.

And where’s best for drinks?
Library Bar at The Leela Palace Udaipur.

Are there any cultural events or exhibits I should see while I’m here?
There are Cultural Folk Dances every evening at The Leela Palace Udaipur between from 7:40 pm to 8:45 pm and the City Palace has a sound and light show in the evenings. Leela Palace Udaipur inner_courtyard_with_dancer_and_musicians_opt_iii

Thanks for your help. Should I tip at The Leela Palace Udaipur?
It is certainly not expected, but if you wish to tip you may leave it at check-out as tips are distributed fairly to all staff.

We would like to thank Graham for his tips on Udaipur! If you are interested in visiting for yourself, please speak to our India sales consultant, Catriona Deredas on +44 (0)207 819 8905. Catriona recently stayed at Leela Palace Udaipur and has this to say about it:

The Leela Palace Udaipur is a fabulous hotel with sensational rooms overlooking the lake and the famous Taj Lake Palace. The pool service here is second to none with a constant replenishment of ice cold water and towels, with frozen fruit treats and fresh sorbet. The Leela Palaces have uber luxury and decadence down to a fine art… I could not be more in love with the Leela Palace brand.