The graciousness of Indian hospitality is world renowned, which is why India’s luxury hotels offer a truly exclusive experience. For travellers who enjoy the finer things in life, a visit to India is more alluring than ever.
Taj Mahal Palace, South Mumbai
The majestic Taj Mahal Palace sits regally on the waterfront in South Mumbai on the west coast of the country, overlooking the Arabian Sea and what’s known as the Gateway of India. Originally opened in 1903, this grand hotel has hosted maharajas, dignitaries and celebrities, and its refined hospitality is legendary; on any given day there will be more than 1,500 staff on duty and at least three dozen butlers.
The luxury Taj Mahal Palace is the embodiment of old-world glamour, from its high-ceilinged, sea-view rooms to the marble bathrooms, grand chandeliers and lavish gold fabrics. To top it all off, the Taj Mahal Palace offers something quite rare in India: a 5-star vantage point from which to watch the sun set serenely over the shimmering Arabian Sea.
The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
Travel folklore has it that the Taj Mahal is best viewed at either sunrise or sunset when the changing hues of the sky illuminate this iconic monument in all its splendour. At the Oberoi Amarvilas, you can do both. Not only does this luxury Indian hotel offer unrivalled proximity to the Taj Mahal – at around 600m away, it is the closest place to stay by far – the Oberoi Amarvilas is the only hotel to offer uninterrupted views of the Taj Mahal from every single room.
While not an ancient property, the Oberoi Amarvilas in the central north of India reimagines the world of Mughals and royalty in decadent style. Think fountains, terraced lawns, reflection pools, ornate pavilions and lots of marble. The hotel is particularly romantic after sunset, when staff make their way around the grounds and light the many braziers. This is when the softly lit Taj Mahal can be your backdrop to a romantic candlelit dinner at Esphahan, the hotel’s signature restaurant, which is known for its exceptional contemporary Indian cuisine.
During the day, guests wishing to visit the Taj Mahal are escorted to and from the landmark via a private golf buggy. When not exploring India’s most celebrated monument, guests can relax in the hotel’s vast swimming pool or indulge in a pampering treatment in the spa – which has a view of the Taj Mahal, of course.
Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Authentic history and heritage come together with luxury and flawless service at the impressive Rambagh Palace in Jaipur. Popularly known as the ‘Pink City’, Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, a state located in the northwest of India.
Rambagh Palace, just south of the city centre on a 19ha property, has a long and storied history. Since 1835 it has been used by the maharajas of Jaipur, initially as the residence of the Queen’s favourite handmaiden, then as a hunting lodge, and finally, a royal guest house.
As you would expect from a hotel that was once the home of maharajas, opulence is everywhere. The rooms are particularly spacious with soaring ceilings, four- poster beds, walk-in wardrobes and grand furniture such as hand-carved chairs.
The royal gardens are just as grandiose, where peacocks strut during the day and performances by musicians take place in the evenings. This is romantic India on an epic scale with the kind of service that truly is t for a king (or queen). Jaipur is in the north of India, around four hours’ drive west of Agra.
Trident Udaipur, Udaipur, Rajasthan
The magical destination of Udaipur, also in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, is known as the ‘City of Lakes’ and the ‘Venice of the East’. Beside glittering Lake Pichola lies the luxurious Trident Udaipur hotel, just 28km from Maharana Pratap Udaipur Airport. Regarded as one of the finest hotels on the lake, Trident Udaipur was inspired by the architectural and cultural heritage of the Rajasthani region.
Base yourself here and you’ll be surrounded by charming lakeside palaces and temples, gardens, timeless winding streets and bustling, vibrant bazaars. When you’ve explored to your heart’s content, you have the sanctuary of your hotel to return to. At Trident Udaipur, you can unwind in absolute luxury. In addition to relaxing in comfort in your exquisitely appointed room, the Trident Spa is a haven of calm with an extensive menu of therapies inspired by both Ayurvedic and Western traditions.