Living in Jaipur, I have grown up visiting royal palaces and forts all my life, but there really isn’t anything that could match the experience that is The Belgadia Palace. I mean, it’s one thing holidaying at an international luxury hotel that was once a royal mansion, but getting to stay in an ancestral royal home with the royal family itself(!!), is a gushy feeling that I cannot put into words.
Located in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, The Belgadia Palace is a residence of the erstwhile Royal family of Mayurbhanj, who have just this year opened the gates of their centuries old home to guests across the globe. With 10 renovated rooms redesigned to accommodate modern taste and comfort, The Belgadia Palace is nothing but a perfect amalgamation of the bygone era and modern-day nuances.
From the moment I got my very first glimpse of this Victorian-styled double-storeyed manor nestled on top of a beautiful hill, to the time I had to pack my bags and bid goodbye to the lush green areas and waterfalls that surrounded it; my entire three-night stay at The Belgadia Palace was so special throughout that I would constantly yearn to stay a little longer. In other words, it really was an experience that would remain etched in one’s memory for the longest of time.
Disclaimer: I was kindly invited by The Belgadia Palace for a three-night stay but as always, all opinions stated here are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links.
How to reach The Belgadia Palace?
Located in an off-beat destination called Baripada, The Belgadia Palace is approximately 3.5 hours away from the closest cities with an airport. Kolkata, being one of them, is at a distance of 220 km and is a perfect place to start your east India adventure in my opinion. Bhubaneshwar is also 3.5 hours away by road while Ranchi and Puri are a bit further.
A friend of mine and I combined our staycation at The Belgadia Palace with two days in Kolkata and travelled between the cities via a private taxi that we booked online. The entire highway connecting the two states is so beautifully scenic that the nature lover in me couldn’t help but get engulfed in its magic.
Arriving at The Belgadia Palace
Standing in front of a sumptuous entrance that opened to a seamless driveway covered in greenery, I was filled with an overwhelming emotion of how staying with the Royal family would be like. You see, while most of the palace is open to guests old and new, present day descendants of the Bhanjdeo family still have their private wings and live in the palace itself.
But as we got closer to the shining white mansion that was going to be our home for the next three nights, we were welcomed with the warmest of smiles (and a few barks from their wonderful dog, Sebastian) that made us feel content in no time. Guided up the dark mahogany staircase, we were shown to our suite and it is then that I realised how compelling our time there is going to be.
While the room was a masterpiece in itself, the picturesque corners of The Belgadia Palace beckoned to me every moment I was there. All I wanted to do was go out and learn about the stories that these walls have beheld since years. The only concern I had during my stay was that everything was too beautiful and no number of days there were ever going to be enough.
Our Suite at The Belgadia Palace
Very rarely do you step into a hotel room and feel right at home in an instant, but when that happens, you know you are surrounded with infectious energy, utmost hospitality and all the comfort in the world. The Bengal renaissance suite (or the red room) at The Belgadia Palace is no different and I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am to have stayed there for three nights and experienced life like Royalty.
From vintage tchotchkes that are brilliantly placed all over the room, to the original furniture and velvet upholstery that have been refurbished to their former charm; every single detail in the room made me feel like I was living in a Wes Anderson movie instead. Not to forget, the luxurious bathroom, Persian carpets, lavish curtains and old-world chandeliers were straight out of a royal fairy-tale too.
I was also told by one of the kind staff there that most of the artefacts in the room and other collections of artwork displayed throughout the palace have been in the Bhanjdeo family for generations and are actually from their travels around the world. As if all of this wasn’t impressive enough, each room at the palace has its own character and a personal story to tell; both of which are signified by a distinctive colour theme.
The food at the palace was one of my favourite things about it, second only to the grandeur and architecture of the property itself. Not only was it 100% freshly cooked, but was also sourced locally or grown at their very own organic garden. How can one not love a farm to table concept, right?
Offering dishes inspired from their own culture, every meal we were served was a delicious ode to Odia and Nepalese food. Dining there was just like having a meal at home, only that it was a much grander affair that involved embossed cutlery and a room big enough to fit all my friends. With three to four main course options along with some appetisers, salads and sweets; we really were spoilt for choice throughout our stay.
Continental and Indian breakfast options were available daily at the property, a menu of which is usually showcased the night before at dinner. Guests can have a look at that and inform the staff what they would like to eat the following morning as everything is specially made to order and can be customised.
What I also loved about the service here was that you pre-decide the time you would like your meal at and then once its ready, the manager would give you a call to let you know that the food has been served. Having served a freshly cooked meal like this is such a luxury in the world of reheated or pre-prepared food, if you ask me.
Supporting the idea of Purposeful Travel
Being believers of a better tomorrow, the royal sisters Mrinalika and Akshita M. Bhanjdeo, have personally trained people from the local community and hired them as the staff here. And not only are they both directors of The Belgadia Palace, but also take guests around on tours where one can choose anything from a tribal and art tourism to a wildlife and nature adventure.
As for me, I really wanted to visit the Simlipal national park nearby, which is an Elephant and Tiger UNESCO Biosphere in India. But unfortunately, due to heavy rains we couldn’t explore that and now all I can do is, dream of coming back one day. If you are a nature and adventure lover who enjoys splurging a little on luxury, then combing your visit to Simlipal national park with a stay at The Belgadia Palace may be the right thing for you.
In their vision of giving back to the environment and uplifting the local community, the Bhanjdeo sisters have wonderfully established a boutique homestay that is more substantive than any other place I have stayed at yet. I personally loved spending three nights there and would definitely recommend you to put this off-beat palace that allows you to live like royalty on your bucket list.
As always, I am happy to answer all your questions and read what you think about the property in the comments below! If you missed my Instagram stories from my stay at The Belgadia Palace, then you can have a look at my story highlights sections here too.
Hope you like it as much as I do,
Want to keep reading? You might like “Staying at Samode Palace: a luxury hotel near Jaipur” and “Staying at Kumarakom Lake Resort in Kerala” too.
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