A 300-year-old maharaja's mansion is the surreal setting for Samode Palace boutique hotel near Jaipur, in the heart of Rajasthan. Home to mirror-tiled halls and mural-lined walls, marble swimming pools and regal, antique-filled suites, this walled desert wonderland is the stuff of legend.Wander through the Sheesh Mahal, a series of mirror-tiled and mural-lined rooms, each more breath-snatching than the last. Once a royal reception space, it's now used for chichi cocktail sessions. Decorated with 16th-century hand-painted walls, silver armchairs and chandeliers, the greeting area overlooking the courtyard is equally eye-catching.
Ask and you shall receive at this regal retreat. Jump into a Jeep, mount a camel or hop onto a horse for a desert safari, or take an escorted tour of Samode village (free if you book through Mr & Mrs Smith), wandering the cobblestoned streets and visiting local shrines, bazaars and stores selling bangles, cloth and gems.
Spa treatments are on offer in the day spa, and yoga sessions can be arranged in the hotel grounds (be sure to ask in advance). On special occasions, a round of elephant polo can even be wrangled.