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Palatial India – India’s top palace hotels  

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India is a spectacular and alluring country with so much to offer the luxury traveller. From the sights, sounds and tastes of the cities to beautiful beaches and incredible wildlife experiences, it captivates the senses right from the start. For a taste of India dating back to the days of the maharajah, opt for a stay in a luxury palace. There are some incredible palaces in India, many of which now operate as luxury hotels, exuding the elegance, style and service of a bygone era. Take a look at our pick of the best luxury palace hotels in India.  

Rambagh Palace, Jaipur 

Dating back to 1835, Rambagh Palace is not just a hotel; it’s a majestic testament to the opulence and grandeur of Rajasthan’s royal heritage. The property is the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur, this exceptional property is located just outside the walled city of Jaipur. Today it is part of the Taj Hotels group and is a stunning heritage property renowned for its grandeur, opulence, and historical significance. The property has been through several transformations over the years, starting life as the home of the queen’s favourite handmaiden, to royal guesthouse and hunting lodge, and later as the residence of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and his queen, Maharani Gayatri Devi. 

The palace exudes an aura of regal splendour, with its intricate architecture, lush gardens, and majestic courtyards. Spread across 47 acres of lush green land, it is an architectural masterpiece. Verandahs, symmetrical layouts, and lush lawns adorned with graceful peacocks welcome visitors. 

The property offers 78 grand rooms and suites, once the chambers of the maharaja. Elaborate features include hand-carved marble jalis (latticework), sandstone balustrades, cupolas, and cenotaphs, all evoking the bygone ere of royal India. 

Guests can dine on traditional Indian cuisine, enjoy champagne and afternoon tea on the verandah or a signature cocktail in the Polo Bar.  

This is one of India’s best hotels, perfectly capturing the spirit of a bygone era. 

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur 

The Taj Lake Palace is an 18th-century former royal abode situated on Lake Pichola in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Originally built between 1743 and 1746 for Maharana Jagat Singh II, it has since been transformed into a luxury hotel. The palace’s captivating architecture and its unique location on the shimmering waters of Lake Pichola make it a truly enchanting destination. Legends surround the creation of this palace: one story suggests that Jagat Singh II built it as a secluded retreat after his father forbade him from living in another nearby island palace with women he was entertaining at the time. Another version claims that Jagat Singh II simply wanted a more private place than the main Udaipur City Palace for moonlight picnics with his female guests. 

The palace was restored and transformed into a luxury hotel in the 1960s by Maharana Bhagwat Singh. Its most famous moment in the limelight occurred in 1983, when it featured in the film “Octopussy” as the home of the title character, Octopussy. 

Udaipur, often considered one of the most romantic cities globally, owes part of its allure to the Taj Lake Palace. Each room at the Taj Lake Palace is a unique masterpiece, no two are alike. The decor is princely inspired, featuring wooden lattice work on ceilings and traditional Indian silks and dark teak furniture. 

The palace’s location by the lake ensures breathtaking views. Manicured gardens surround the palace, adding to its allure. The stunning architecture, with its domes, arches, and intricate carvings, transports guests to a bygone era. 

Guests can choose from two restaurants at the hotel.  Jharokha offers dining with a 360-degree panorama of Lake Pichola, with the majestic City Palace and Jag Mandir in sight. Neel Kamal serves traditional Mewari dishes surrounded by the grandeur of authentic royalty. 

Enjoy the magic and mysticism of this spectacular hotel.  

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur 

The Umaid Bhawan Palace is a stunning architectural marvel that seamlessly blends history, luxury, and grandeur. Perched on Chittar Hill, it offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Construction started in 1928 when it was commissioned by Maharaja Umaid Singh, the 37th Rathore ruler of Marwar, during a period of severe drought and famine. Initially, the palace served as a means of providing employment to famine-stricken farmers in the region. Despite initial criticism for the expensive project, the palace fulfilled its purpose by providing employment and helping the citizens of Jodhpur during challenging times. 

The Palace exhibits a blend of Indo-Saracenic architecture and is constructed from golden yellow or sandstone, giving it a warm and regal appearance. Nowadays it serves as a luxury hotel, part of the Taj Hotels group. It offers 347 rooms exquisitely embellished with Art Deco interiors, blending period décor with modern amenities. A portion of the palace now functions as a museum, preserving its rich heritage. 

At the Risala restaurant, dine on continental and Indian fusion cuisine based on royal recipes. Relax with a cocktail in the Trophy Bar or enjoy a light snack in Pillars café with spectacular views of the city, Baradari Lawns, and the majestic Mehrangarh Fort. 

This is the true definition of a palatial luxury hotel, capturing the essence of the Maharajas of India. 

Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur 

The Oberoi Udaivilas, situated in the enchanting city of Udaipur, is a luxury resort that epitomizes opulence, elegance, and regal charm. Spread over 50 acres of meticulously landscaped gardens, the hotel stands on the banks of Lake Pichola and occupies the 200-year-old hunting grounds of the Maharana of Mewar. The property appears as if it has always been there but in fact was purpose-built as a hotel. However, it is steeped in history as the architecture and design recreates the style of the palaces of the Mewari princes who ruled the area some 300 years ago.  

The resort offers 87 rooms and suites, each a masterpiece of luxury and comfort. Huge bedchambers with private terraces, marble bathrooms, and walk-in closets create a sense of royalty. Some suites even feature private swimming pools. 

Guests can enjoy continental and Indian fusion cuisine based on royal recipes in Risala restaurant with a setting as enchanting as the food. Wellness is a focus here and guests can indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments, practise yoga amidst the serene surroundings or take a dip in the heated outdoor pools.  

Ranked as the world’s best hotel by Travel + Leisure in 2015. Today, the Oberoi Udaivilas continues to be a beacon of luxury and impeccable service. 

Lalit Grand Palace, Srinagar 

The Lalit Grand Palace is a luxurious 5-star hotel in beautiful Kashmir. The property has a rich history – it was designed and built by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1910, and today proudly continues the royal legacy with élan. Encircled by the majestic Himalaya mountains, the property overlooks the picturesque Dal Lake. 

The Lalit Grand Palace exudes an air of opulence and elegance with 113 palace guest rooms. Handcrafted pieces by local artisans add authenticity and charm to the interiors. Special Kashmiri carpets, woven with care, grace the floors, bringing warmth and colour to the spaces. Additionally, there are 10 charming cottages, each a private haven of luxury. These cottages feature magnificent decor, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir. 

The hotel offers a gastronomic experience that seamlessly blends local Kashmiri culture with global culinary concepts. The Chinar restaurant is a warm and elegant setting for lunch or dinner. Expect a delightful array of dishes, from traditional Kashmiri specialties to contemporary creations. 

Wellness is a focus at this gorgeous property. The Rejuve Spa offers a complete holistic experience, embracing various healing modalities. Choose from Ayurveda to aromatherapy, herbal remedies and even colour healing to enhance your wellbeing. There is of course yoga on offer too, the perfect way to achieve relaxation in this stunning setting.  

Simon Williams

Simon Williams is Director of Humboldt Travel. Humboldt Travel is a luxury travel company specialising in tailor made holidays to Latin America, Africa and Asia. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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