India has a rich historical past and is full of forts and palaces. Interestingly, there are many palaces that have now been converted to luxurious hotels, retaining the old charm and yet providing all modern amenities. If you love travelling and living in heritage properties, here is a list of some of the best heritage hotels in India that define luxury in its true sense!
1. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
This heritage hotel has 66 luxurious rooms and 17 grand suites. The Lake Palace is located on the island of Jag Niwas in Lake Pichola, Udaipur, India, and its natural foundation spans 4 acres (16,000 m2)
The incomparable location provides the perfect backdrop for the exquisite cuisines at the elegant restaurants of Taj Lake Palace. This palace continues the tradition of grand soirees and formal levees which were hosted here by the royal family of Udaipur. Meetings and Incentives at Taj Lake Palace are like nowhere else in the world. Where else can you meet at a palace in the middle of a lake and this most romantic of hotels, is the ideal venue for fairy tale weddings and magical honeymoons.
Known as the Venice of the East, the city of Udaipur, with its elaborate palaces, serene lakes, exotic temples and resplendent gardens, has a lot to offer.
1. Taj Lake Palace was awarded The Best Luxury Hotel in India at the Lonely Planet Magazine Awards in 2015.
2. Taj Lake Palace was rated the fifth Best Luxury Resort in the World by Booking.com guests at Booking's Best in 2015.
3. Taj Lake Palace was featured in the Gold List and the Platinum Circle by Condé Nast Traveler USA in 2014.
4. Taj Lake Palace was featured in the Top 10 Hotels for Service list and the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in India list in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards USA in 2010.
2. Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
Perched 2,000 feet above the city of Hyderabad is Taj Falaknuma Palace. Overlooking the twinkling City of Pearls, this enchanting palace exudes romance and grandeur that take one back to when the Nizam ruled Hyderabad.
The five-star luxury hotel, spread over 32 acres, allows you to journey to the gilded ages, where opulence and excess is celebrated and savored in equal measure. The 60 rooms and suites are beautifully refurbished and lovingly restored by Her Highness Princess Esra, the Nizam’s Turkish wife. Each provides marvellous views of the palace courtyard and the 400-year-old city of Hyderabad.
The stunning Durbar Hall, Jade Room and massive 101- seater dining hall bedecked with Belgian chandeliers, and assorted gardens and terraces lend royal decadence to celebratory events and elegance to business meetings.
1. Being honoured amongst the top ‘3 Best Heritage Hotels in India’ at the Travel Leisure (India & Southeast Asia) India’s Best Award.
2. The signature Jiva Spa at the Taj Falaknuma Palace, which resides in the 32-acre manicured gardens, recently won an award for the Best New Spa (Hotel) at The GeoSpa Asia Spa Indian Awards.
3. The Palace is recognized by the influential New York Times as among the 20 places in the world to visit once during your lifetime.
3. The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur
A palace fit for a maharaja, The Oberoi Udaivilas is nothing short of an oasis amidst the country’s frenetic energy. Located on the bank of Lake Pichola, it is unique amongst luxury hotels in Udaipur. It stands on the 200 year old hunting grounds of the Maharana of Mewar and is spread over 50 acres, which includes a twenty-acre wildlife sanctuary with deer and wild boar.
This luxury hotel in Udaipur has an intricate layout of interconnecting domes and corridors that reflects the layout of Udaipur itself; whose seven lakes are linked by canals. These domes and walkways are flooded with sunlight, caressed by balmy breezes and offer magnificent views of the lake and gardens.
1. Top 100 Hotels (Ranked 1st) - Travel + Leisure, World's Best Awards, Readers' Survey 2015
2. World's Top 100 (Ranked 2nd) - Condé Nast Traveller, UK, Readers' Travel Awards 2015
3. Top Resorts in Asia (Ranked 1st) for five consecutive years - Travel + Leisure, World's Best Awards, Readers' Survey 2015
4. The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra enjoys an unrivalled position amongst luxury hotels in Agra, being located just 600 meters from the iconic Taj Mahal. Each of the 102 rooms affords uninterrupted views of this ancient monument to love, while elements of the layout and design pay homage to its Mughal splendour.
The hotel is approached along a sweeping driveway, verdant with native trees and lit by flaming torches. Just inside, a Mughal style quadrant is ornamented with cascading fountains and framed by an arched passageway and gold leaf frescoes.
By day, guests can travel in the private golf buggies to the Taj Mahal. At night, they can savour a candlelit dinner beside its soft silhouette. They offer a range of specially curated Oberoi Experiences designed specifically for this luxury resort in Agra and this majestic Mughal city.
1. Top Resorts in India (Ranked 5th) - Travel + Leisure, World's Best Awards, Readers' Survey 2016
2. Top 25 Hotels for Romance - India (Ranked 2nd) --TripAdvisor, Travellers' Choice Awards 2016
3. Top 15 Hotels in India (Ranked 4th) - Condé Nast Traveler, USA, Readers' Choice Awards 2013
4. Top 15 Resorts in Asia (Ranked 3rd) - Condé Nast Traveler, USA, Readers' Choice Awards 2012
5. Ahilya Fort, Madhya Pradesh
Ahilya Fort is located in Maheshwar, overlooking the Narmada River. It is a beautiful heritage property, over 250 years old, and perched on the edge of a cliff. Within the massive walls of the fort, Ahilya fort has staggering views over the Narmada River and the ghats below. Within the Fort there are pretty courtyards and verandas on different levels and linked by stone walkways. Guests are offered a taste of vintage splendour, and settled in regal accommodation. All rooms are air cooled in the traditional manner, with natural evaporative coolers perfumed by khas vetiver. For those wishing a quiet sit out, the battlements offer many spots overlooking the broad Narmada River. Each room is quite different, retaining its 18th century ornamentation with concessions made to comfortable beds and luxurious baths. No more than two rooms are in any one building, ensuring privacy and variety. Dining is a movable feast, either outside under the grand neem trees, on one of the terraces overlooking the river, or in the Chamber of Winds, overlooking the Narmada River.