In the not so distant past, tourists from the West complained of the lack of luxury hotels in India, but not anymore. Today, India has some of the best luxury hotels in the world. Over time, hotels in India have built a reputation for providing the finest: be it services, interiors, cuisine, or spa – you name it, and these luxury hotels will have it.
In fact, India has become quite an important destination for the rich and the famous who look forward to having a royal experience. Many Hollywood stars and celebrities throng India to avail unparalleled luxury befitting of kings.
Here is the rundown of the five best hotels in India in terms of luxury, reputation, services, settings and tariffs.
1. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur is unique in terms of its incredible setting in the city of Udaipur – often termed as the ‘Venice of the East’. Tucked in the middle of Lake Pichola, it is certainly one of the most romantic hotels in the world; even reaching it is an experience, as you don’t take a motor car but a motorboat to reach it!
Its white architecture has an exquisite feel and gives its guests a treatment appropriate for royalties. The hotel has 66 luxury rooms and 117 grand suites that are exquisitely decorated in ethnic Rajasthani style. The hotel has been host to several celebrities and many Hollywood films, including James Bond film ‘Octopussy’ and mini-TV series, ‘Jewel in the Crown’, were shot here.
2. The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
If there is a hotel in India that is known by its reputation alone, then no one can beat The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai – a property that began operations in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1903. Situated opposite to Gateway of India, it is one of Mumbai’s best-known landmarks and pride of Mumbaikars.
The hotel has 550 rooms which have the unique fusion of history and modernity and provide the best services in the hospitality sector. Its guest list includes dignitaries from across the world – kings, presidents, film stars and top industrialists. The Taj Mahal Palace’s presidential suite has hosted them all. The hotel has a Ballroom that can accommodate 450 guests and is the venue for many prestigious conferences, private events, and weddings.
3. The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra amuses its guests with its fabulous feasts and exquisite architecture, like none other. It gives an experience that can be termed quite literally as “unparalleled”, as it is a stone’s throw from the world famous monument of love, the Taj Mahal.
It provides the romantic setting in Mughal-style architecture and is known for its flawless services and settings. All the rooms face the Taj Mahal. The guests get a chance to travel to the Taj Mahal in the hotel’s golf cart, and in the evening can savour tea with the Taj silhouette in the backdrop.
The Mughal architecture, array of fountains, archways and the magnificent swimming pool add to the glamour of the hotel which serves best Indian and continental cuisine at its restaurant. Guests can also enjoy Oberoi’s Signature Cocktail as well during their stay.
4. Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
Another majestic hotel which gives its guests a taste of the royal treatment of Rajasthan is the iconic Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur. It was built by Maharaja Umaid Singh during 1928-1943 in the desert capital of Jodhpur. Apart from the regular features, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, gives its visitors an experience that they cannot ever forget. It has on display rare antique collection of items from ancient Rajasthan. The hotel is, in fact, very close to Jodhpur’s main attraction, Mehrangarh Fort.
The Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, also offers spa and beauty treatments to its guests. It is equipped for a fitness freak with a yoga centre, a fitness club and also a tennis court. The guests can savour Rajasthani and continental cuisine at its restaurant. The hotel has an elegantly decorated Trophy Bar which serves finest drinks to the guests.
5. The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata
The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata, also known as the ‘Grand Dame of Kolkata’ was built way back in 1880. It was later acquired by Raj Bahadur M.S Oberoi, the founder of the Oberoi Group of hotels. In fact, it was the very first hotel of the Oberoi Group. It is a rare blend of classical settings and modern amenities. It has an aura of the colonial past and freshness of modern India. It has played host to dignitaries and royalties in colonial times and continues to do so even today.
The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata offers best dining experience in its award-winning restaurants and has a colonial style bar. The Oberoi Spa offers Indian and western treatments. The guests love to unwind here after a hectic day in Kolkata.
There is no dearth of luxury hotels in India; a person looking for luxury has so much to choose from. But they have to make an informed decision based on their need and, of course, the budget.
A stay at these luxury hotels comes for a price, with the presidential suite of the Taj Lake Palace costing around Rs. 4,00,000 per night (exclusive of taxes). But then, as it is, luxury does not come cheap.