TripAdvisor’s #1 hotel in the world

There’s nothing like the royal touch for bringing in tourists — or for providing the glitz needed to be named number one. It certainly hasn’t hurt the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, India, listed by TripAdvisor as the best hotel in the world in 2016. As in the UK, where the royal family in 2015 brought in tourism revenues of $760 million, India’s regal past is also proving profitable. That’s a relief for the palace’s founding family, who turned to tourism after India’s government de-recognized royal titles and ended their privileges in the 1970s. Stripped of an official income, they decided to turn the palace — originally built between 1928 and 1943 as a private residence for Maharaja Umaid Singh — into a hotel. But not before almost losing it.

“It was considered wrong for a king or royal family to indulge in business,” Gaj Singh, Umaid Singh’s grandson, tells CNN. “You enforce business and you run the state. When independence came, and we didn’t have a state, we had no source of income.”

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