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Mice Net : December 2009
mice.net 81 india Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace According to Indian custom, a guest is to be treated like a God, and at the Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace we could be forgiven if we thought we were. With 347 suites and the second largest palace in the world after Buckingham, we were escorted by two-abreast horse riders in full regalia to the entrance where musicians played and tall moustachioed doormen held aloft a silk canopy for us to walk under. Inside the massive doorway rose petals rained down from above and in the vast, circular lobby, "flowers of the desert" danced as if in a whirling dervish. Fireworks exploded during pre-dinner cocktails overlooking the immense gardens, and dinner was served in the garden pavilion draped with diaphanous panels. To top it off, we had morning tea with His Highness Maharaja Shri Gaj Singh JI 11 of Jodhpur. When Liz Hurley's wedding was held there she took over the entire palace and an additional 250 rooms in the city. His Highness related a story about Mick Jagger and his brother who in order to avoid detection during their stay, wore moustaches. All went perfectly until an Aussie incentive group recognised them. So, with a slab of beer in hand they knocked on his door and asked "How about a party Mick?" and he invited them in. The palace has two imposing function/meeting rooms with a capacity for 150, one for summer and one for winter (no air- conditioning), and any amount of interior and garden space for spectacular events. Jodhpur While the Umaid Bahwan Palace dominates the hillside on one side of the city, the Mehrangarh Fort, founded in 1459, dominates the other. Here Incent report holding spectacular ceremonial salutes to the Jodhpur Lancers. The India Safari Club Clad in colourful Punjabi costumes we drove out to the tented India Safari Club via a brief stopover at a local camel market. Then, after riding camels to a dinner served under a starry sky, we were entertained by folk dancers and musicians. The Safari Club which consists of 51 tents with their own bathroom and amenities hosted a Peugeot incentive from France which included in their program 4WD treasure hunts through local villages. New Delhi/Agra India's capital city New Delhi is a favourite MICE destination with its ancient monuments and bargain shopping. Before proceeding to The Taj Mahal Hotel for our final night in India we paid a visit to the Taj Palace Hotel. Then, the following day after an early morning start, we took the Shatabdi Express to Agra to see the fabled Taj Mahal. An excellent way to arrive in this city famous for the splendour of its Mughal architecture, the Taj is a monument that deserves to be seen at least once in a lifetime. Oberoi Amar Vilas, Agra Our morning viewing of the Taj Mahal was followed by lunch at the luxurious Oberoi Amar Vilas where all of its rooms overlook the Taj Mahal, including the Oberoi's spa suite with its raised bath set in the window. Perhaps something its celebrity guests such as Julia Roberts, Bill Gates and Ricky Martin have surely done. Taj Palace Hotel The executive floor of the Taj Palace Hotel has a butler's hatch. A double storey affair, it is where newspapers, shoes to be cleaned, and requests for in-room dining are placed. This allows you to wander around your room in any state of array you choose without having to grab a comb or a robe to open the door. A bit like the motel breakfast hatches of old except these are locked by the butler from the outside. Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi Located in the exclusive residential area of Lutyens' Delhi, the Taj Mahal Hotel has 294 executive rooms including 28 suites - all rooms with a view. There are six meeting rooms for 20 to 400 auditorium- style and capacities of 20 to 1000 for cocktails and receptions. The hotel's delightful terrace garden and poolside lawns can also be utilised for events and functions. With our rooms on the executive floor, we had dinner in The Chambers, an exclusive dining enclave within the hotel which began with Haleen with Sheermal, dishes that traditionally break the fast, and for us the end of our stay in this incredible country. To learn more about India and Incent Tours contact MHF Marketing via email -- firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact India Tourism in Sydney via www.incredibleindia.org. ABOVE: Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur. OPPOSITE: "flowers of the desert" - Jodhpur.