The India Guide

A designer's guide covering Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Delhi, Goa & Day Trips

A Compilation of My Opinions & Photos

Below is a diary of my favorite spots in India, my recommendations and photos that I've snapped along the way. It is based on four visits (about 3 months total) in the last year. I have only included places I personally have been and all the photography is my own. There are many more spots I want to visit, so the guide will continue to evolve. I hope you find it helpful and fall in love with India as I have. 

Why do I spend so much time in India? My brand Beau & Ro produces it's apparel exclusively in our fair trade factory, Olive Workshop which gives me the privilege of traveling to India often! Xx - Sara

PS. I wear so much Beau & Ro in India!

AN INSPIRING DESIGN MECCA

Jaipur

The home of blockprint, Jaipur aka "The Pink City", is my favorite city to spend extended amounts of time in in India. In addition to a bustling cultural scene, incredible architecture and palaces, the city is also home to some of the best hotels and restaurants in India.

Jaipur Hotels

There are countless fabulous hotels in Jaipur, many with amazing restaurants and bars as well! Obviously you can't stay at all of them, but add them to your list and pop by for dinner, lunch or a drink!

Rajmahal Palace RAAS

Built in 1729 by a royal family the Rajmahal Palace has since been transformed into a hotel that looks like it was designed by Wes Anderson. This 13 room hotel is where Art Deco meets opulence, complete with stellar service. It's also conveniently located in the middle of Jaipur.

Villa Palladio

The sister hotel to one of my favorite restaurants, Bar Palladio is a brand new gracious country estate, Villa Palladio. A fantastic jewel-box of a hotel, there is nothing like it in the world. Note, this property is outside of Jaipur's city center making it both a lovely escape but also a bit of a drive to get to the best of Jaipur.

28 Kothi

Located in the middle of Jaipur, 28 Kothi is a perfect hotel for travelers who don't want to break the bank, but are seeking an intimate and personal experience. The staff and restaurant at this property are both fabulous. I highly recommend Cafe Kothi even if you're not staying at the property! It is the sister property to the very cool Johri hotel.

The Oberoi Rajvilas

The Oberoi Rajvillas is a sprawling, beautifully landscaped property with magical architecture and gardens, complete with flaming torches and reflection pools. From the moment you arrive at this property you'll be blown away. Note: it is outside of the city, so a bit of drive to get to the action. That said, it is a peaceful retreat away from the hustle of Jaipur.

The Leela Palace Jaipur

The Leela is a "modern palace" unlike so many hotels that are built in actual former royal palaces. It's a resort-like experience, but about an hour from Jaipur so not somewhere I would recommend if you want to be able to easily experience authentic Jaipur. When I stayed here I added it on to a trip with the intention of just staying at the property for two days.

Rambagh Palace

If budget is not an issue and you're seeking the royal treatment, Rambagh Palace is the spot. Peacocks run wild on the grounds and vintage cars circle the property. This property is open to the public and has a fabulous veranda and lawn for drinks or lunch, along with more formal dining options for dinner. I prefer it for an al fresco lunch.

Jaipur

What To See

City Palace Jaipur

City Palace is still occupied by Jaipur's royal family. I recommend opting for the upgraded ticket that includes a private tour of some of rooms that are otherwise closed to the public, they were by far the most beautiful, including some that are still used by the royal family. The tour concludes at a private rooftop café with amazing views.

Hawa Mahal

You will likely drive by Hawa Mahal at some point during your stay in Jaipur, as it's located on a very busy main road. If you can manage to pull over and dodge the traffic it's even more beautiful up close.

Amber Palace

Amber Palace is another beautiful palace worth visiting. I didn't think a guide was necessary here as you can easily explore all the rooms and corridors on your own. It's mostly outdoors and involves some walking so be sure to wear sneakers!

Jaipur Restaurants

The Johri

The Johri might be one of my favorite meals in Jaipur! The gorgeous restaurant is unassuming, hidden off streets only accessible by foot. It reminded me of the riads in the medinas in Morocco which it turns out the owners were inspired by. The Johri is also a five room hotel and the sister property to 28 Kothi.

Bar Palladio

You must go to Bar Palladio if you're in Jaipur! It's pure blue eye candy and the vibe is as trendy as the decor! But still the Italian food and cocktails they serve up are delicious. If you opt for a table outside be sure to take a swing through the gorgeous bar inside as well.

Baridari

Baridari is located at City Palace in Jaipur with entrances from both the palace side and a more accessible back entrance. There is a very cool juxtaposition of a modern glass bar structure inside the historic walls of the City Palace. I loved the energy of this restaurant (even on a rainy night) and thought the pizza was delicious too!

Shikaar Bagh

Shikaar Bagh is located next to Bar Palladio, but we just discovered it recently. The bar-restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating and a really fun, relaxed vibe day or night. In addition to good food, we enjoyed the vintage carriages that had been converted into dining tables and the all around tavern vibes.

Townsend Bar & Kitchen

Townsend Bar & Kitchen is a newer feeling restaurant giving off serious New Orleans vibes. They have a lively outdoor space, a multi-cuisine menu and fun performances. This isn't necessarily a must-visit in Jaipur, but it is a solid and safe option if you're looking for a casual spot and a break from Indian food.

Spice Court

Spice Court has a pretty courtyard garden and indoor restaurant serving up authentic Indian, along with some other multicusinine options (which I didn't dabble in). If you're looking for some solid Indian food with few frills, this is a good place.

JAIPUR

Where to Shop

IDLI

IDLI by Thierry Journo is an overwhelming color explosion of elegant fun, merging the best parts of French design with Indian craftsmanship! With fabulous apparel, accessories and home decor this store is top of my list.

Jaipur Modern

Jaipur Modern has a well curated mix of bags, scarves, bedding, and women's and men's apparel from local designers. Plus a very cute garden cafe.

Soma

Soma is exploding with cute and colorful blockprint apparel, accessories, and home goods at really reasonable prices. There are Soma locations all over India.

Teatro Dhora

Teatro Dhora, is a concept store that collaborates with Indian brands to bring together a very cool mix of unique apparel and accessories. Their pieces are elevated and different and definitely worth checking out!

Anokhi

Anokhi is another store featuring lots of beautiful blockprint pieces at very reasonable prices. This shop also has a cute cafe. I highly recommend the cheesecake!

The Bazaar

I don't really have much advice other than to just dive in. I would recommend starting with the Johri Bazaar and the Bapu Bazaar, they're connected. Be prepared to negotiate!

The Blue City

Jodhpur

Jodphur, "The Blue City" feels much smaller than Jaipur. There are less must-see destinations or trendy restaurants, but it has it's own culture and character and worth a visit if you're in Rajasthan.

The RAAS Jodhpur

Jodhpur Hightlights

Stepwell

The Stepwell is a beautiful ancient well that has recently been restored. There are a couple cute shops and cafes clustered around the Stepwell. Grab a coffee or cocktail at Stepwell Cafe and watch the locals below swimming. Another restaurant next door was in the process of opening while we were there and it also looked really cute!

Antique & Handicraft Shopping

What Jodphur lacks in fashion it makes up for with tons of cool antique and handicraft shops! We hired a tuk tuk through our hotel for the day to take us around and we discovered some very cool stores that way.

Mehrangarh Fort

The Mehrangarh Fort sits 400 feet above the city of Jodhpur and offers really beautiful views of The Blue City. Wear your walking shoes.

Jodhpur

Where to Shop

Lake como of India

Udaipur

If you make it all the way to India, do not miss Udaipur, a city built around a lake with glistening palaces in any direction you look!

PATTERN & PRINT OVERLOAD

Udaipur City Palace

Udaipur Hotels

The Taj Lake Palace

It's hard to say one of these three hotels is better than the others, because they're all magical, but my vote is 100% for Taj Lake Palace. Located in the middle of the lake, this hotel was the former "pleasure palace" of the Udaipur royals and is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Book the spa for a couple massage if that's your thing!

The Oberoi Udaivilas

The Oberoi is just as impressive as the Taj, but it's a newly built. It is a sprawling resort oozing luxury, lush gardens and top notch service, but doesn't have the authentic quality that the Taj does, having served as a real palace in the past.

The Leela

The Leela is also located on the lake with gorgeous views. Also more recently built, the Leela has a more modern vibe than the Taj and Oberoi, with a beautiful waterside restaurant.

WHERE TO EAT in Udaipur

Ambrai

A BUSY BUSY CITY

Delhi

I have spent the most time in Delhi because that’s where Sidd’s family lives and where our factory is located. It’s one of two or three airports that you’ll fly into, and a host of experiences await, from the uber sophistication of the Style Mile to the hustle and energy of the Kahn Markets.  But be warned, Delhi is noisy and congested.  Keep your head on a swivel in this chaotic Indian city! 

Delhi Hotels

The Leela

The Leela is synonymous in India with luxury and the one in Delhi is certainly that, but at the same time there is nothing exceptionally memorable about it.

The Imperial

The Imperial doesn't pop as the most popular hotel in Delhi, but it is by far my favorite. Every restaurant is top-notch and memorable and the spa is incredible. Each detail feels special and grand, but also comfortable. It's hard to explain but it is opulent and boutique at the same time.

The Oberoi

If diplomats stay at The Leela then international businessmen stay at the Oberoi. It is modern and lux and has everything you'd want in a 5 star hotel, but like the Leela in Delhi it isn't a hotel I feel compelled to go back to.

Delhi Restaurants

Chica

Chica is sceney. The food is really good, but we requested a table outside because we couldn't hear each other inside. It's worth checking out if you're looking for a trendy almost clubby vibe.

Tonino's

I love Tonino's. It's such good Italian food in a really cozy place. If you're looking for a break from anything skewing Indian this is the spot. If you're looking to reset into a comfort zone in the middle of Delhi chaos this is it.

The Spice Route

Every restaurant in The Imperial Hotel is 10/10, but the The Spice Route is an experience. The decor is over the top and the food only makes it better. Definitely a must if you're staying at The Imperial, but even if you're not it's worth the visit.

HIGH END SHOPPING

Style Mile

Delhi Restaurants in Style Mile

Olive

Olive has restaurants all over India and I love every one that I've been too! The Olive in Delhi is really special. I've been a few times and it never disappoints! Go on a night when you can sit outside in their beautiful courtyard.

ROOH

ROOH is a great vegetarian restaurant. Make a reservation as it is really popular, but for good reason. We sat on the ustairs level patio with a gorgeous view of Qutab Minar illuminated at night.

QLA

If you're in Style Mile and can't get into Olive or ROOH then try, QLA. I was underwhelmed but people seem to really like it, so we may have just ordered wrong. The atmosphere outside was great, so I would give it another try in the future.

Khan Market

Delhi Restaurants in Khan Market

Town Hall

Town Hall is sushi and really really good, maybe the best sushi I've had in India, though that isn't saying much. It's located upstairs in Khan Market and you could easily miss it if you we're looking for it.

KLAP

KLAP has really good seasonal tapas, everything we tried was excellent. The restaurant is new and well designed, though a bit noisy, so a little tough if you're with a group, but still worth a visit!

Latitude°28

Latitude°28 is the cafe upstairs at Good Earth (a must visit shop!). It's a great pitstop for a coffee or snack and a calming break from the hustle and bustle of Khan Market.

Shopping in Kahn Market

Good Earth

Good Earth has locations all over India. The Khan Market locations is three levels with home decor on the first floor, apparel and jewelry on the second and the cafe on the top. It is pricey compared to a lot of shopping in India, but so unique and special, I always end up making a splurge here.

Manan

Manan is a beautifully designed store, selling mostly easy breezy linen pieces that are perfect for the Indian climate most of the year!

Ranna Gill

I loved stumbling across the Ranna Gill shop in Khan Market. We picked up this line for Beau & Ro a year ago, so it was fun to see it in all it's glory.

What to See in Delhi

Lodhi Garden

Lodhi Garden is suprisingly peaceful considering it's in the middle of busy Delhi. Interesting tombs and seasonal gardens make it a lovely place to spend a morning.

Qutub Minar

It's a great place to visit at night before dinner from 7 until 10 pm. The Qutub Minar and other monuments are entirely lit up.

Dilli Haat

Dilli Haat is a colorful market with lots of artisans. There is a small entry fee which makes it slightly touristy but also less crowded and more manageable than some of the other markets.

SIDENOTE ON

Olive Workshop

While it's not a destination to visit in Delhi, let's take a moment to talk about our factory! Olive Workshop, founded by me and my fiancé Sidd, was launched to increase transparency in the production process and offer a supportive and inspiring environment for stitchers in India.

Wherever Beau & Ro’s designs take you, we hope they make you feel like your best self along the way... and if it's back to India we love that!

shop beau & ro

The Tech & Factory District

A note on Gurgaon

SUNSETS & BEACHES

Goa

I've been to Goa twice. Once many years ago and then again this past January. Both visits were very special, but very different. Southern Goa is more chill and northern Goa is full of trendier restaurants and hot spots.

A VERY FUN HOTEL RECOMMENDATION

W Goa

Goa Restaurants

Palm Grove

The concierge at W recommended we hire a car to take us up the coast to Palm Grove and it was worth the drive. A hard to spot sign on the side of the road led us down a path to a quaint beach resort and restaurant. We enjoyed a dip in the ocean in between cocktails.

Olive

The Olive in Delhi holds a special place in my heart, but the Olive in Goa takes it to another level! The same delicious food with a more coastal flair paired with insane sunset views. We went for dinner and loved it so much we went back for lunch.

Thalassa

Thalassa is a big Greek restaurant on the beach. Make a reservation because it gets jam packed. The food is okay, the sunset is incredible, the scene is lively.

SO MUCH TO SEE

Day Trips Around Rajasthan

There are lots of palaces and cool destinations just a day trip away. Here are some of my favorites around Rajasthan.

The Taj Mahal

SHOP BEAU & RO APPAREL

Neemrana Fort

Tijara Fort-Palace

Snaps from our photo shoot at Tijara Fort-Palace

Other Tips!

  • Do not drink the water. Brush your teeth with bottled water. Complimentary bottled water will be offered anywhere you stay. 
  • And on that note, do not eat street food. It is just not worth the gamble. Trust me, I have lost. 
  • Get a driver, it's inexpensive and will save you so much headache. 
  • Consider hiring guides when visiting tourist destinations. They provide context, avoid crowds, and take great photos
  • Monsoon season isn't necessarily a bad time to visit. Fewer crowds than peak season and less heat than late spring and summer. 
  • India is big country, but in general summers are hot and winters are chilly. Pack accordingly. 
  • Be prepared to experience extreme luxury and extreme poverty. 
  • Make eye contact with drivers when crossing the street, or just don't cross the street. 
  • However long you think you should allow for the airport, double it.