Top 10 best luxury hotels in India

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (September 2, 2019): Top 10 best luxury hotels in India.

India is a delightful destination to visit, offering a plethora of travel experiences. Stretching from the mighty peaks of the Himalayas in the north to the tropical beaches in the south, India’s expansive borders encompass an incredible range of contrasts, landscapes, cultures, and religions. The country is home to many UNESCO World Heritage sites, from the 7th wonder of the world Taj Mahal to majestic palaces and forts that were built hundreds of years ago, still standing upright to narrate the testimony of time of India’s rich culture and history. The nation also features vast wilderness areas, national parks and nature sanctuaries that are home to exciting wildlife, such as elephants, lions, and tigers. Here’s my roundup of the 10 most amazing hotels in India, where you can stay in lavish luxury.

There is more information (with reviews and Youtube clips) below the slideshow. Which one is your favorite hotel in India? Leave a comment or take my poll below.

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10. UMAID BHAWAN PALACE JODHPUR

Built by Maharaja Umaid Singhji as a symbol of the “new” Jodhpur, Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of India’s largest private hotel residences. Today this 64-guestroom Indo–art deco marvel treats its guests to bespoke Taj Hospitality that mesmerizes with an array of experiences like Royal Butler Service, unique dining options and retail therapy. Guests can stroll the lush English gardens beautified by bougainvillea, play squash with the Royal Trainer, visit the on-site museum, sip fine brandy over a game of snooker, or experience India’s ancient healing wisdom at the Jiva Grande Spa, which offers holistic ayurvedic treatments and yoga classes.

UMAID BHAWAN PALACE JODHPUR


9. THE OBEROI NEW DELHI

Reopened in 2018 after an extensive refurbishment, The Oberoi New Delhi hotel reflects the spirit of India’s capital city in a harmonious blend of tradition and contemporary sophistication. The property offers spacious, light-filled rooms and suites with cutting-edge technology and sweeping views of Delhi Golf Course and Humayun’s Tomb. Restaurants include Threesixty for all-day fine dining, a contemporary Indian specialty restaurant and a rooftop Chinese restaurant. There is also an open-air rooftop bar, a wine cellar and a new cigar lounge. Wellness facilities include The Oberoi Spa, temperature-controlled indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and a 24-hour fitness center.

  • Hotel website: The Oberoi New Delhi
  • Tip: get complimenary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and one complimentary lunch).
  • Review: read my review of The Oberoi New Delhi here.


8. AMAN-I-KHAS, RHANTAMBORE NATIONAL PARK

A safari outpost on the threshold of Ranthambore National Park, Aman-i-Khas opens minds, and hearts, to the prospect of living well in the midst of incredible nature. Daily Jeep safaris promise glimpses of tigers among myriad wildlife encounters, while back at camp, spa therapies, sleeping and dining take place under soaring, candlelit canopies inspired by Mughal hunting parties of old. Each tent is assigned an experienced batman, who accompanies guests into the jungle, along the River Chambal and to temples and cultural sites – all rich material for storytelling come nightfall, when the firepit glows under a magical starlit sky.

  • Hotel website: Aman-i-Khas
  • Other accolades: Aman-i-Khas also features in my top 10 list of the world’s most exclusive glamping sites.
  • Tip: get complimenary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a 60 min massage for two).
  • Review: read my review of Aman-i-Khas here.


7. THE TAJ MAHAL PALACE MUMBAI

Established in 1903, this magnificent hotel resides in the heart of Mumbai. Art lovers can marvel at the collection of paintings and artifacts at the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai. A rich blend of styles enthrals the senses, from Belgian chandeliers to works of legendary Indian painters. One of India’s most famous hotels, the property is an architectural wonder, combining Moorish, Oriental and Florentine styles. Wander the many corridors and galleys before settling in to your room to enjoy the tranquil views. No visit is complete without visiting the Jiva Spa, surrounded by a swimming pool and offering Indian rejuvenation therapies and holistic healing treatments.

  • Hotel website: The Taj Mahal Palace
  • Tip: get complimenary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD hotel credit).

THE TAJ MAHAL PALACE MUMBAI


6. ANANDA IN THE HIMALAYAS

Ananda in the Himalayas is a peaceful oasis tailored for spa enthusiasts and one of India’s best hotels. The highly-acclaimed destination spa is located on the 100-acre palace estate of the Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal and offers luxurious rooms and private villas with magnificent views. The 24,000-square-foot spa features more than 80 body and beauty treatments, including traditional ayurveda, yoga, meditation and contemporary international spa experiences. Ananda is best known for its signature wellness programs, like Ayurvedic rejuvenation, detox and weight management. The active can enjoy golf, rafting, trekking, wildlife safaris, temple tours and more.

  • Hotel website: Ananda in the Himalayas
  • Tip: get complimenary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade at the time of booking, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a transfer to the banks of Ganges River for an evening Arti ceremony; for stays of 3 nights or more: A complimentary 50-minute spa treatment for up to two people, once during the stay).

ANANDA IN THE HIMALAYAS


5. TAJ FALAKNUMA PALACE, HYDERABAD

Taj Falaknuma Palace was the royal residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad, and today’s guests live like royalty in this thoughtfully restored palace. Guestrooms are rich in color and such details as Hyderabadi embellishments and English frescoes. Guest can unwind by strolling the palace’s breathtaking Rajasthani Garden or basking in the heavenly Jiva Spa. There are dining choices abound, from fine Italian cuisine, to pit-grilled feasts in the gardens, to an Indian-Hyderabadi-inspired fine dining restaurant Adaa, voted 85th best restaurant in the world by Elite Traveler in 2017, where six-course dinners are served.

  • Hotel website: Taj Falaknuma Palace
  • Tip: get complimenary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, welcome amenity, Royal arrival experience, Champagne heritage walk of the Palace, and one lunch or dinner for two).

TAJ FALAKNUMA PALACE, HYDERABAD


4. THE OBEROI AMARVILAS

Situated less than 2000 feet (600 meters) from the Taj Mahal – the world’s most exquisite testimony to undying love – it is easy to rekindle romance at The Oberoi Amarvilas. The hotel – one of the finest in India – stands amidst nine acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, minarets, pavilions, fountains, reflection pools and terraced lawns inspired by traditional Mughal designs. The resort has 102 exquisitely appointed rooms and suites, each with uninterrupted view of the Taj Mahal and complemented by Oberoi’s warm, personalized hospitality. Many rooms of this elegant five-story building have private terraces. The fine dining restaurants serve pan-international and authentic Mughlai cuisine.

  • Hotel website: The Oberoi Amarvilas
  • Other accolades: Oberoi Amarvilas also features in my top 10 list of the world’s most phenomenal honeymoon hotels.
  • Travel tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and one complimentary lunch for two).
  • Review: read my review of The Oberoi Amarvilas here.


3. TAJ LAKE PALACE, UDAIPUR

Rising like a mirage from Lake Pichola, the white-marble-and-mosaic Taj Lake Palace beckons to travelers. The palace itself dates back to 1746, when it was built by Maharana Jagat Singh II. Today, guests are treated like royalty by an entourage of palace butlers who ensure that every creature comfort is provided. The Jiva Spa draws rich idioms from millennia-old Indian wellness and healing therapies, resulting in a menu of aromatherapy massages, body scrubs and wraps that are sure to rejuvenate even the weariest body. From mid-October to mid-April, the hotel’s rooftop Bhairo restaurant is open and serves contemporary European cuisine with spectacular palace lake and views.

TAJ LAKE PALACE, UDAIPUR


2. AMANBAGH, RAJASTHAN

Once used by the Maharajah of Alwar as his base for tiger-hunting expeditions, today Amanbagh’s lush compound shelters guests in a modern-day Mughal palace, carved out of local pink marble and sandstone, with scalloped arches and cupolas paying homage to India’s golden age. A sanctuary in the arid Aravalli hills, 90 minutes from frenetic Jaipur, the property is surrounded by mature palm, fruit and eucalyptus trees, which shade the emerald-green pool. Beyond the palatial Suites, spa and gardens, guests will discover welcoming villages, majestic forts and ruins, and the jungle of Sariska National Park, where tigers still roam free.

  • Hotel website: Amanbagh
  • Tip: get complimenary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and one a la carte lunch for two persons).
  • Review: read my review of Amanbagh here.


1. THE OBEROI UDAIVILAS, UDAIPUR

The phenomenal Oberoi Udaivilas is spread over 50 acres on the banks of Lake Pichola, on the 200-year-old hunting grounds of the Maharana of Mewar. The resort offers unique experiences that include private lakeside dining, traditional boat rides, private cooking sessions and fun activities for children. The indoor and alfresco restaurants have lake and garden views, and serve fine international and Indian cuisine, while the spa offers signature Oberoi treatments. I recommend to opt for a suite with a private pool, or for a premier room with comes with direct access to a unique 240 ft (73 m) long semi-private pool and a bath tub with uninterrupted lake views.

THE OBEROI UDAIVILAS, UDAIPUR



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3 Comments

  1. I have been to 5 hotels you mentioned here. I liked The Taj Mahal Place because it is such a grand old lady, the Oberoi New Delhi as I consider the renovation as so successful and the Umaid Bhawan Palace due to its splendor (I fell so in love with the beautiful central dome). I found the Oberoi Amarvilas not so good because the only thing that was outstanding here, is the view. The Oberoi Udaivilas is a stunning property but I found the international restaurant underwhelming, the Indian one however was very good. Another hotel you did not not mention was a highlight of our trip, and this is the Oberoi Rajvilas, where the service quality was impeccable. For more details, here a link to my India posts: https://www.swisstraveler.net/search?q=india
    India is a fascinating place, isn’t it?

  2. My list:
    1. The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
    2. SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace
    3. Taj Lake Palace
    4. The Oberoi Rajvilas
    5. Ananda In The Himalayas
    6. Amanbagh
    7. The Oberoi Amarvilas
    8. Taj Falaknuma Palace
    9. RAAS Jodhpur
    10. Umaid Bhawan Palace

  3. Well perhaps I am a trifle cynical as I do think you need really great spots like these to recover from the intensity of India. The question though is how to experience, discover and enjoy India? India is perhaps best approaches more as a continent of cultures than as a country. To simply enjoy spa treatments and fine dining at great hotels interspersed with curated visits to the iconic sights surely misses the point. Far better I think to focus on a state or region, perhaps a theme to explore. Tamil Nadu and its temples would do for a start. Or Nagpur and it’s music festival. You can always add a few days in Delhi to either of these or pair the latter with other Rajasthan locations. I have travelled with louisenicholsonindia.com and had great times with wonderful group and individual travel.

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