The Best Area to Stay in Jaipur
As the capital – and closest city to Delhi – Jaipur is the natural gateway to the historic and fascinating state of Rajasthan, the ‘Land of the Kings’. Around this charismatic and chaotic desert city are majestic palaces, regal forts, and quintessential markets where camels are still used to unload dates and figs. It is part of the extremely popular ‘Golden Triangle’ that includes nearby cities of Agra (home to the Taj Mahal) and the national capital, Delhi.
Jaipur itself is often called the ‘Pink City’, but this more accurately describes the walled Old City which is full of buildings with the namesake color. Dominating this part of the capital is the magnificent City Palace, still used to house the royal family, while the main attraction – Amber (Amer) Fort – is about 10km to the northeast.
With even more attractions in and around Jaipur, no section of the city is entirely convenient for sightseeing. Unsurprisingly, the inner-city suburbs are too crowded and poorly designed to allow spacious hotels (with some notable exceptions) and, except for a few basic guesthouses, there is virtually nowhere to stay within the Old City.
Many of the closest hotels to the Old City are along Sansarchandra and Station roads. These busy thoroughfares are dusty and noisy, but certainly convenient to the inner-city attractions, limited metro services, and train and bus stations. Also handy is Bani Park, a suburban area with decent shopping, wide streets, and a likable middle-class vibe. Around the extensive parks at Rambagh are several top-end hotels featuring the sort of bars and nightclubs rarely found elsewhere.
Offering even more space and superior shopping are the hotels clustered around the low-key airport and along the main road halfway between the airport and Old City. More hotels, including a ritzy resort, can be found near the Amber (Amer) Fort as well as alongside the artificial Man Sagar Lake which is conveniently located halfway between the Old City and the fort.
The Best Places to Stay in Jaipur
- Best Luxury Hotels in Jaipur
The Raj Palace • Alsisar Haveli • Umaid Mahal
- Best Boutique Hotels in Jaipur
Bissau Palace • Dera Mandawa • Pearl Palace Heritage Hotel
- Best Cheap Hotels in Jaipur
Atithi Guest House • Arya Niwas • Madhuban
Best Area in Jaipur for…
- Best Areas in Jaipur for Sightseeing: Sansarchandra and Station Roads
Although the main attraction – Amber/Amer Fort – is 10km away, it still makes sense to stay near the Old City. These two roads may be dusty and noisy, but they offer a decent choice of modern hotels and traditional havelis (guesthouses). Many are within walking distance of the Old City walls and only about 2km by auto-rickshaw from the magnificent City Palace.
- Best Area in Jaipur for Shopping: Old City
Renowned across India for its souvenirs and other products, the most enticing places to shop are the bazaars (markets) and stalls around the 18th-century heart of Jaipur. Old traditions, where some areas only specialize in certain goods, still remain, which is helpful to locals but confusing to visitors. All prices are negotiable and drop further away from the tourist haunts such as the City Palace. Look out for traditional rugs, leather goods, tie-dyed fabrics, Rajasthani shoes called jutti, and gemstones especially.
- Best Areas in Jaipur for Families: Amber (Amer) Fort and Man Sagar Lake
While considerably smaller than Delhi, Jaipur is still afflicted by the traffic, crowds, noise, and pollution found in all Indian cities, as well as annoying drivers and pushy salesmen. These issues are common in the Old City, but can be averted while staying around the artificial Man Sagar Lake, about halfway between the Old City and Amber Fort, or around the fort itself. Tourist facilities are more limited than in the city center, but both areas are quieter, cleaner, and more spacious.
- Best Area in Jaipur for Food & Restaurants: Bani Park
Restaurants are spread all over the city, with few clustered in any particular area. Bani Park, which is centered around Collectorate Circle, is an upmarket area of hotels, houses, shops, and restaurants. Along several roads radiating from this chaotic roundabout are classy vegetarian bistros, Indian-style fast-food outlets, first-class coffee shops, swish restaurants attached to hotels, and even a few bars (which are not common in Jaipur).
- Best Area in Jaipur for Transport: Station Road
This road stretches west from Chandpole Gate, the main entrance to the Old City. Along the road are a few stops for the metro which will be more useful when two more stops in the Old City are opened in 2021. The main bus station (Sindhi Camp) is conveniently just off the namesake road, which also leads to the major railway terminal. About 13km south of the Old City, the airport is easy to reach, so there seems little point staying near there just for ease of access.
- Best Area in Jaipur for Nightlife: Rambagh
Jaipur is not renowned for its range of things to do after dark, so many locals just chat over a coffee at a market in the Old City or enjoy a Bollywood movie at the Raj Mandir Cinema (just off M.I. Road). Western-style bars are rare but many restaurants, especially those in or attached to hotels, serve beer and some liquor. For a sociable bar, outdoor beer garden, and even a hip nightclub, head to Rambagh, an inner-southern suburb with several glamorous hotels.
- Best Area in Jaipur for Vibe & Culture: Old City
Built in the 18th century and mostly painted shades of pink, there is, of course, no finer place to soak up Rajasthani culture and history and a desert-city vibe than the Old City. The pleasingly broad but always chaotic streets lead to the main attraction: the majestic City Palace. Elsewhere, meandering lanes are overcrowded with crumbling houses and market stalls which specialize in certain goods depending on the location. (Handy for locals; confusing for visitors.)
- Most Romantic Areas in Jaipur: Amber (Amer) Fort and Man Sagar Lake
Jaipur’s prime attraction is the stunning 16th-century Amber Fort set majestically on a hilltop overlooking a picturesque lake about 10km northeast of the Old City. Staying around the fort – or near the artificial Man Sagar Lake halfway between the fort and Old City – allows several visits to the fort, e.g. for the Sound & Light Show and after dark, when the fort is so romantic. With far less traffic, noise, and crowds than the city center, the fort and surrounding village streets can also be visited by donkey or even elephant.
- Best Areas in Jaipur for First Timers: Amber (Amer) Fort and Man Sagar lake
Like all Indian cities, Jaipur suffers from noise, crowds, pollution, and traffic – all exacerbated by frequent desert winds and occasional dust storms that only settle during the wet season. All this can be overwhelming for those visiting the city or country for the first time, so the best place to stay is around Amber Fort or Man Sagar Lake, about halfway between the fort and Old City. It’s relatively easy to experience Jaipur, and India in general, without all the hassles of staying in the city center.
- Safest Area of Jaipur: Amber (Amer) Fort and Man Sagar Lake
There is nothing particularly unsafe about Jaipur, but like all Indian cities, the main danger is the relentless traffic. Always remember: pedestrians do not have the right of way in India, except (usually) at a red traffic light. The safest areas to stay are the quieter village streets near Amber Fort or around the lake halfway between the fort and Old City. These areas are distant from the traffic, dust, and noise of the busy inner city and possible petty crime along the crowded streets.
The 6 Best Neighborhoods in Jaipur for Tourists
1. In and near the Old City
Designed and built in the 18th century, there are surprisingly few places to stay within the walls of the Old City. The handful of traditional havelis (guesthouses) and hostels are convenient and atmospheric, but certainly noisy outside and, often, claustrophobic inside. There are no upmarket options within the walls but two excellent choices are very close by: The Raj Palace (north) and Bissau Palace (west), as well as a few mid-priced hotels just past the northern gate.
- Best Luxury Hotels: Bissau Palace • The Raj Palace
- Best Cheap/Moderate Hotel: Jaipur Haveli
2. Sansarchandra Road and Station Road
These two major inner-city thoroughfares head south in slightly different directions from Chandpole Gate, the main entrance to the Old City. Both roads are noisy, dusty, and crowded, as is expected in this part of the desert city, but are always fascinating. Some havelis (guesthouses) are close enough to walk to the entrance of the Old City but it’s still worth using an auto-rickshaw to get further inside the walls. Other reasons to stay in this area are proximity to the main bus station and railway terminal, and convenience to several stops along the metro system (which will be more useful when two more stops in the Old City are opened in about 2021).
- Best Luxury Hotels: Alsisar Haveli • Dera Mandawa
- Best Cheap/Moderate Hotels: Arya Niwas • Dera Rawatsar
3. Bani Park
One of the nicest areas in Jaipur, but still convenient to the Old City, is this upmarket area of middle-class housing in the inner western suburbs. Along (mostly) wide and shady streets are several appealing mid-range hotels and enchanting guesthouses, all offering space and serenity rarely found elsewhere in the city center. Bani Park is also home to a few low-key malls and a better range of places to eat.
- Best Luxury Hotels: Umaid Bhawan • Shahpura House
- Best Cheap/Moderate Hotels: Om Niwas Suite Hotel • Madhuban
4. Near the Airport
Being only 13km from the Old City, there doesn’t seem to be a huge advantage staying near the airport just for a quick transfer, but the suburbs around it and nearby Jawahar Circle Garden are spacious enough for several international-brand 4 and 5-star hotels. The wide roads are packed with upscale shopping but the area is devoid of the sort of history and ambiance dominant elsewhere in Jaipur.
- Best Luxury Hotels: The LaLit Jaipur • Radisson Blu Jaipur
- Best Cheap/Moderate Hotels: Clarks Amer • The Fern – An Ecotel Hotel
5. Amber (Amer) Fort and Man Sagar Lake
The main attraction in and around the Rajasthan capital is the magnificent 16th-century Amber (Amer) Fort, about 10km northeast of the Old City. Staying near the fort allows more than one visit, e.g. after dark when it’s particularly romantic as well as for the Sound & Light Show. A flashy resort (Trident) and a few havelis (guesthouses) are clustered around the manmade Man Sagar Lake, about halfway between the fort and Old City. These areas are distant from the traffic, dust, and pollution of the claustrophobic inner city, and offer enough tourist facilities nearby to satisfy most.
- Best Luxury Hotel: Trident Jaipur
- Best Cheap/Moderate Hotel: Hotel Crimson Park Jaipur
This inner southern suburb is home to several expansive parks and upmarket hotels, including the extraordinary Taj Rambagh Palace. This hotel – and most others nearby – offer rarities such as beer gardens, boutiques, and nightclubs. The area is more convenient to the Old City than near the airport, and cleaner and more spacious than anywhere in the city center, but it is not particularly atmospheric or historic.
- Best Luxury Hotel: Taj Rambagh Palace
- Best Cheap/Moderate Hotel: Treebo Trend Woodsvilla Suites Bapu Nagar