Book yourself an Airbnb stay at Jaipur’s City Palace, home to the billionaire Indian royal family, for S$10,546 a night

By South China Morning Post 14 July, 2020
Jaipur’s City Palace

Decades after they were stripped of their official role, Jaipur’s Maharaja and family continue to live a life of riches and privilege. Here’s what you need to know about them before booking your post-COVID-19 Airbnb stay at the city’s historic City Palace – for just US$7,774 (S$10,546) a night

Editor’s note: See other Escape Plan stories here.

Long after they lost their official role as rulers of Jaipur, the remaining members of the state’s erstwhile royal family continue to live extraordinary lives.

The immediate members of the royal family consist of the dashing Maharaja Padmanabh Singh; his mother Princess Diya Kumari, Maharani Padmini Devi; and the Maharaja’s siblings Princess Gauravi Kumari and Lakshya Raj Singh. The 21-year-old Padamanbh, who was adopted by the late Bhawani Singh (his grandfather) as his heir, controls a fortune that is estimated to be worth between US$697 million (S$970.98 million) and US$855 million (S$1,191 million), while the combined family’s wealth sits somewhere between that figure and US$2.8 billion (S$3.9 billion), according to Business Insider.

An impressive portfolio of properties sustains the family’s wealth

Bhawani Singh’s only daughter, Princess Diya, keeps busy by running the family’s vast portfolio of properties. These duties include looking after the City Palace in Jaipur, the Jaigarh Fort, and a summer residence called Jaipur House, while juggling the management of two family-owned schools: The Palace School and the Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh School. The family calls the 300-year-old City Palace their home, though it is also typically open to the public.

Maharaja Padmanabh Singh and Princess Gauravi Kumari received a world-class education

The Maharaja left for Ajmer’s Mayo College boarding school at the age of four, went on to Millfield School in the UK, then enrolled at New York University for college, before leaving for Rome to study art. His younger sister, Princess Gauravi, also studied at NYU, and has been vocal about her love for the city. Like her brother, she went on to study art in Florence in the summer of 2018.

The family is accustomed to a life of constant travel

The royals – Maharaja Padamanbh especially – are constantly on the move. But despite their status, the Maharaja claims that their lifestyle has been modest: “I’ve had an upbringing like any other kid – not entitled or privileged. So, I don’t experience any culture shock when I travel,” he said in Architectural Digest. He also confessed to being drawn to Rome for its similarities to Jaipur.

Jaipur royals play polo, appear at fashion shows and take part in charitable and cultural events

It’s not difficult to spot the members of the family out and about. The Maharaja is often playing polo as he is a member of the Guards Polo Club in Windsor, UK. Meanwhile, Princess Gauravi is no stranger to fronting magazine covers. Perhaps busiest of all is Princess Diya, who is present at book launches, at the occasional art exhibition or charity events.

Want to know how they live? Rent a room at the City Palace

Maharajah Padamanbh is officially the first royal host on Airbnb. He’s listed the Gudliya Suite at the City Palace of Jaipur for US$7,774 (S$10,546) a night, and proceeds from this will go to the Diya Kumari Foundation, which supports local women and artisans.