Inside The Taj Lake Palace Hotel (AKA The Floating Lair In ‘Octopussy’)
— 9 January 2023

Inside The Taj Lake Palace Hotel (AKA The Floating Lair In ‘Octopussy’)

— 9 January 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

The Taj Lake Palace, floating in the middle of Lake Pichola in India’s Udaipur city, has been operating as a luxury hotel since 1963. And it’s not just considered one of the country’s finest and most unique accommodations, but it proudly wears the nickname of the “Octopussy hotel”.

For anyone who has seen the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy, the reason is obvious.

Even though there have been numerous James Bond movies since the Roger Moore classic, the Taj Lake Palace remains one of the most inspiring and impressive shooting locations in the entire spy franchise. A franchise, mind you, that’s renowned for having some incredible settings, from the historic Italian civilisation of Matera, used in No Time To Die, to the immense Ko Khao Phing Kan in Thailand, used extensively for The Man With a Golden Gun.

The Octopussy Hotel

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The iconic Taj Lake Palace was the show-stealer in the scene where Roger Moore dresses his submarine as a crocodile and makes his way to the floating palace of the film’s primary antagonist, Octopussy. Seeing it splayed out on the big screen must have been quite the sight back then, so imagine what it’s actually like to stay there.

For decades, the Taj Lake Palace has drawn luxury travellers to Udaipur city with its opulent architecture and glowing marble aesthetic. The hotel has 65 rooms and 18 suites, all tastefully appointed and lavishly coloured to reflect the property’s watery environment.

Despite the 18th-century floating palace being one of the most memorable James Bond filming locations for the franchise, there are evidently still many younger travellers who are yet to discover the place. Every couple of years, the hotel re-enters the news cycle with headlines like “you can stay in the hotel from Octopussy” and “inside the luxury hotel from Octopussy.” This here is no different – just a homage and an awareness piece for what just may be the very best hotel in India.

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Taj Lake Palace’s outrageously ornate guest rooms are matched by an equally ostentatious approach to colonial architecture. Most of the original details remain from centuries ago, with various archways framing some of Udaipur city’s greatest landmarks including Aravalli Hills, Jag Mandir and The City Palace.

The entire property can stay afloat because it was built on a natural foundation of four acres of rock that make up part of the Jag Niwas islands. When the tide is high, all traces of the base island are obscured to create the illusion that the palace is just floating on the water.

Since the 1960s, the hotel has offered one of the most lavish experiences in India. Everyone gets a royal butler service after they are ferried to the hotel via boat from the nearby shore. Once inside, guests are immersed in supreme old-school hospitality, complemented by comfortable wooden furniture and rich silk upholstery.

All the expected amenities make up the hotel’s footprint, from a spa and a fine dining restaurant. Staff can also arrange visits to the area’s various palaces, temples and gardens. After all, Udaipur is widely known as the “Venice of the East” with its numerous landmarks and royal on-the-lake lifestyle.

A night at the Taj Lake Palace is surprisingly affordable as well. Well, for a high-end luxury hotel at least. You’re looking at a starting price of around $658.

Taj Lake Palace

Address: Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001, India
Contact: +91 294 242 8800

Rates start from around $658.

Inside the iconic Octopussy hotel
The iconic Octopussy hotel
Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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