India’s vast empires and royal history have left a legacy of incredible palaces and mansions. While many structures have been ruined, some still stand to tell the tale of India’s rich history. Best of all, some have been converted into luxurious palace hotels, each with their own unique charm and character. Every visit to India should include at least one indulgence; here are a few of our favourites.
Grand Royal Suite, Sajjan Niwas
The Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
Set in the middle of Lake Pichola with the Aravalli Mountains as a backdrop, the Taj Lake Palace presents a picture-perfect scene. Built between 1743 and 1746 as a royal summer palace, the Taj Lake Palace serves as the perfect conclusion to a journey around Rajasthan. The rooms are just as stunning as the exterior. The Chandra Prakash Suite boasts decorative gilt mouldings, sculpted marble columns, and fine fretwork screens which impressed even the Maharaja who held court in this very room in the 1930s.
The Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
The grand architectural masterpiece that is the Rambagh Palace was once a residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Set in the heart of the Pink City, the palace is an oasis from the hustle and bustle, with 47 acres of perfectly manicured gardens. Wind up the day’s activities in the sophisticated charm of the legendary Polo Bar!
Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
Perched high above the desert capital of Jodhpur stands the golden sandstone Umaid Bhawan Palace. Still a residence of the royal family of Jodhpur, its 347 rooms mean there is plenty of space to also house an opulent hotel! Relax in your sumptuous suite, or enjoy a spot of tennis, a swim in the indoor pool or enjoy the impressive spa. Vintage car enthusiasts can visit the gallery showcasing the royal family’s prized collection.
Nadesar Palace, Varanasi
Located in one of the oldest inhabited cities on the planet, Nadesar Palace has hosted royalty and statesmen since 1845. With just 10 rooms it has an air of exclusivity, and if you’re feeling regal you may wish to arrive at the entrance in the hotel’s traditional horse and cart. Given its size, the service is very personal, and a haven to retreat to after viewing the chaotic nightly Ganga Aarti down by the sacred River Ganges.
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai
Opened in 1909, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is not strictly a historical palace but it is still a grand hotel with a rich history and an interesting architectural design. Walking through the hallways of the hotel you can check out the many famous faces who have stayed here before, from prime ministers and presidents to rock stars and Bollywood actors.
There are many other less grand but equally delightful converted palace hotels in India, which offer a unique level of character second to none. We highly recommend you stay in at least one. Soak up the atmosphere and you’ll be transported to the days of the Raj. Gin and tonic anyone?