04 January 2018
India has enchanted travellers for centuries and continues to do so with a new generation of hotels housed within former royal residences and palaces. Living like royalty may not be possible back at home, but when travelling in India booking into a deluxe hotel that once served a palace is a great way to enjoy a slice of the high life. If you’ve got India travel on your mind then here are some properties worth putting your list:
Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
Lovingly restored to its former glory, this 19th Century palace features 60 rooms that welcome guests from near and far. Behind the striking white façade lies opulent rooms and suites appointed with luxury bathrooms and all the mod cons of a contemporary hotel. Guests can choose to take a walking tour with palaces butlers to learn about the history of the building and its former inhabitants. Other experiences include dining al fresco on the picturesque terrace, hanging out in the Hookah Lounge with a cocktail, limbering up during a private yoga class or enjoying traditional Indian wellness therapies in the Jiva Spa.
Jai Mahal Palace, Jaipur
A sense of mystique can be found in every corner of the Pink City, however the Jai Mahal Palace has more than its fair share of magic. At an impressive 270 years old, the Jai Mahal Palace is filled with stories of years gone by. Guests arrive to a Maharajah’s welcome of rose petals, folk songs, blessings, a welcome drink and refreshing, warm towel. Beyond that, all guests receive the best of everything - from luxury bed linen to 24 hour in-room dining. With all rooms, suites and common areas decorated with traditional Indian flair, this evocative hotel treats every guest like royalty.
Nadesar Palace, Varanasi
Ancient Varanasi is a city people flock to in order to cultivate inner peace, and Nadesar Palace is one of the best places to find peace in India. Consistently rated as one of Varanasi’s best hotels, guests can slip into the Nirvana Lounge to enjoy warm pots of chai and snacks, watch dinner being cooked at an outdoor barbecue, or spend time lazing by the hotel pool when the sun is out. The warm, contemporary interiors give the inside of the palace a modern feel while the all-white exterior evokes a sense of old-school grandeur befitting for a former palace. While there are plenty of things to do while staying at Nadesar Palace, doing nothing at all is highly recommended.
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
Completed in 1943 this magnificent palace enjoys an enviable location sitting high up above the desert city of Jodhpur. Perched on a hill, this lofty residence is home to 26 acres of manicured gardens (complete with roaming peacocks), a sunken swimming pool, museum, a spa, several bars and restaurants and 64 Art Deco-style rooms and suites. While all accommodation options are of the highest of standards, the Historical Suites offer unique insight into the lives of royals. Once dedicated to housing visiting royalty, these themed suites feature a private sitting area affording idyllic views of the lush lawn and surrounding courtyard. From beginning to end, everything about this palace is about enjoying the finer things in life….just as the Royals would have done.
Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
As one of the world’s most recognisable hotels the water-bound Taj Lake Palace has featured in everything from James Bond movies to Bollywood films. Built in 1746, this former palace is now a must-stay heritage hotel on many a bucket list. Guests enjoy all the trappings of a royal life including signature cocktails at the opulent bar, European delicacies at the open-air restaurant, pampering treatments at the spa and a private tour of Udaipur in a car selected from the palace’s own vintage car collection. A popular spot for honeymoons and weddings, the romance and over-the-top decadence of the Taj Lake Palace make it a destination worth saving for.