- Royal Couchsurfing
Forget chain hotels. Stay at the City Palace of Jaipur instead — you’ll even have a King as your host.
There are no shortage of castles and wondrous locales up for booking on Airbnb. But how about having literal royalty host you for your stay?
Jaipur — also known as the ‘Pink City’ — is the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan. And in its heart lies one of India’s most iconic buildings: the City Palace. It’s also soon to be the home of Airbnb’s latest exclusive offering.
On November 23, you’ll be able to book and stay in the luxurious Gudliya Suite, located within a section of the royal palace that was kept strictly for the royals and their special guests. The Suite comes with its own lounge, kitchen, bathroom, and — of course — a private indoor swimming pool.
Historic dignitaries that have stayed in the City Palace include Bill Clinton, Prince Charles, and Jackie Kennedy.
Built in 1727 by the city’s founder himself, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the City Palace is a proud example of the stately Rajput architecture of the time, combined with other architectural influences.
Ornate chambers topped with crystal chandeliers, airy reception halls with glided wall decorations and intricate carvings: This palace is most certainly the real deal. The sprawling palace complex even houses a sizeable museum, which showcases the clothes, weapons, and artworks gathered over the centuries.
But the real gem here is your host, the dapper, polo-playing 21-year-old Maharajah Padmanabh Singh.
“My own travels with Airbnb have made me feel very welcome in new cities and cultures, and I’m happy that the experience of quintessential Indian hospitality will be shared with others,” he says.
As a guest at the City Palace, you’ll be well taken care of by a private butler and guide who can arrange a plethora of unique experiences for you, like afternoon tea with the residents peacocks in the Palace’s lush gardens, or authentic Rajasthani meals on a terrace overlooking the surrounding Aravalli hills.
What’s more, proceeds from each booking through airbnb will go to the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting rural women and artisans in Rajasthan.
The Gudliya Suite in the City Palace of Jaipur opens for stays starting November 23, though you might want to book fast: The calendar looks to be full almost through the next year.