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Udaipur, an iconic city in India's Rajasthan region, is known for its lakes, palaces, and the brightly colored textiles and silver jewelry that adorn local women – and now the brand-new Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur. The luxe hotel with 80 rooms has claimed a waterfront setting on Lake Pichola and bragging rights to India's first ESPA, a top spa brand that's available top hotels worldwide, like Peninsula in New York, and is known for its exceptional therapist training. The spa is a combination of indoor crystal steam rooms and nine spa-treatment tents set in the hotel gardens. Couples suites (like the one pictured) have private swimming pools.
One of the ways to get around the five-star rack rates for a Merchant-Ivory-worthy spa junket is to visit in June through September, or monsoon season. Temperatures in Udaipur top 100 degrees during the day, but evening rains cool things back down. (Think of it as a spiritual cleanse.)
Leela Palace's Spa Divine package for two guests costs 17,600 INR (or about $374) for a Lake View room, round-trip airport transfers, breakfast, and a light lunch, plus a one-hour spa treatment each – either the Aromatherapy or the Swedish massage. The only catch: You have to stay two nights to land this rate. www.theleela.com
For more trip-planning information, see our Udaipur Travel Guide.