India

7 Beautiful Palaces and Hotels in India, Where You Can Stay Like Royalty


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India was once a land of royals. The era of kings has long gone, but their legacy remains across the nooks and corners of the country. The monuments and memorials they had built and the palaces and mansions where they lived are a part of the culture and heritage of India. Many palaces, courts and private mansions owned by the wealthy and the royals are now open to tourists. So if you’d like an exotic, luxurious, and special stay for your India trip, here are seven palaces you can stay during your visit to India.

Note: To really appreciate the beauty of these hotels we’d recommend clicking through to see more pictures. Details and features mentioned below may have changed since publishing so please check before booking.


1. Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

Jodhpur is a popular tourist attraction and is also called the “Blue City” because of its array of houses painted in the hues of blue. To experience the city’s magnanimity, you can book accommodation in one of the world’s largest private residences, the Umaid Bhavan Palace. The architectural opulence of the Ummaid Bhavan is second only to the Taj Mahal. The castle is perched at the city’s highest point and is divided into three sections: the residential, the museum and the hotel.

The rooms of the palace are furnished in classic Art Deco style. Spend your day strolling in the sprawling gardens and have your meals at the Risala restaurant and Pillars- the colonnade serving European and Mediterranean delicacies. The Trophy Bar is decorated like a hunting lodge, houses a vast selection of alcoholic beverages and cigars, and is a perfect setting for enjoying your evenings.

Umaid Bhawan Palace
Photo © hiteshsinghstock | depositphotos.com

2. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

Few places are more romantic in India than in Udaipur. With numerous lakes, the city is called the “Venice of the East” for a reason, and your experience of Udaipur will surely go to the next level if you stay at a palace inside a lake island. The Taj Lake Palace was designed to be a summer palace for the royals and over the years has hosted many esteemed guests, such as Queen Elizabeth, the Shah of Iran, and Jacqueline Kennedy, and has also been the shooting location of the James Bond movie Octopussy.

Your experience starts when you hop on an exclusive jetty to reach the palace. The arched entrance and white spires clad with bougainvillaeas amidst a panoramic view of lake Pichola are as dreamy as possible. Check in to rooms with a view of shimmering waters, laze around at the swimming pool or saunter at the courtyard gardens. There is enough inside the palace island to keep you entertained. In the evening, you can watch a cultural performance in the courtyard and have dinner at the Neel Kamal restaurant.



3. Rambagh Palace, Jaipur

if you fancy a place where Prince Charles, Lord Mountbatten or Jacqueline Keneddy have once stayed, then consider the Rambagh Palace to spend a night or two when in Jaipur. Pink city is a part of the golden tourist triangle of India. This palace will be a perfect opportunity to experience Jaipur’s magical past and splendour. The grand entrance lobby is packed with antiques, and the rooms are richly furnished with mahogany wood. The gardens of Rambagh are an oasis to enjoy the summer breeze or the winter sun, but the central courtyard bags the limelight with its geometrical Mughal patterns, peacocks, and fountains, creating a picture-perfect setting.

Start your day at the yoga pavilion and pamper yourself with a lavish buffet spread in the Rajput room later. Try your hand at golf putting during the daytime. Enjoy your afternoon beer at the Polo Bar and participate in a cultural evening at the front lawn pavilion. The Suvarna Mahal serves fine Indian cuisine, and a restored steam engine train parked on the premise of the palace is suitable for pizza and wine.

Rambagh Palace
Photo by Raj Rana on Unsplash

4. Brij Rama Palace, Varanasi

This 18th-century mansion is one of the oldest landmarks of the eternal city of Varanasi. There are over 80 ghats (staired pavilions that lead to the river) along the bank of the river Ganges, and this hotel comes with a private ghat to have a genuine vibe of the city.

The place retains an ancient vibe but is furnished with all the modern and luxury amnesties for a comfortable stay. The mornings at the Brij Rama Palace begin with the flute sound, and the day ends with classical Indian music performed at Bada Aangan, the central court. You can sign up for a guided tour of Saranath and the Ramnagar fort, eat at the Darbhanga restaurant and enjoy the sunset with a river view from its terrace.

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5. Pilibhit House, Haridwar

The 100-year-old courtyard mansion connects the past and present threads of the spiritual city of Haridwar. It is situated on the banks of the river Ganges inside one of the city’s narrow lanes. You may even fail to notice it while casually strolling by until the colossal door opens to a grand entrance with a river view. The place has a few rooms on the banks of the Ganges and a pool alongside the river. The rooms are luxuriously furnished and have personal touches, including complimentary food and cookies.

The staff here welcomes you with mantras and chants. Begin your morning with yoga meditation and explore life along the river with a guided walking tour early morning. Once you are back all woken up, then enjoy local artists’ flute playing. The breakfast is all about the local flavours of Haridwar. The evenings here start with praying and lighting the candles on the river at the private ghat of the hotel. After the devotional ceremony, the courtyard echoes with classical music. Overall, Pilibhit hits all the right spiritual chords for people trying to find peace and solace in India.

6. City Palace, Jaipur

You can Airbnb, one of the royal bedrooms of the palace where the maharaja of Jaipur still lives when you choose to stay at the City Palace. Although it comes with a hefty price tag, the experience is one of the most exclusive ones that you can have in the country. Your trip starts to get personalized when you land at Jaipur, where a chauffeur from the palace will come to receive you. A private butler is there to take care of all you want, including sightseeing, shopping, and dining recommendations.

The city palace is part museum and part residential. There is a personal guide to take you across the history and culture of the region while showing you the castle and narrating the sagas of valour and glory. Be sure to see the armoury, which displays weapons of the bygone era. In the evenings, unwind at the Baradari restaurant featuring hearty local cuisine and exotic wine and champagne.

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Mubarak Mahal, Jaipur City Palace
Photo © YURY7TARANIK | depositphotos.com

7. Narendra Bhawan Bikaner

If you are looking for an offbeat royal experience in a desert hinterland, head to Narendra Bhawan Bikaner. This grand residential palace is furnished with velvet tapestries, Art Deco interiors and travel memoirs of the maharaja of Bikaner. Once you check-in, you will be treated with complimentary flower-infused lemonade, a local favourite. The guest rooms are large and plush, befitting an authentic maharaja experience.

The palace has many cosy corners where you can read, sip your cuppa or soak in the interiors to spend a day of laze and leisure. The terrace pool is where you can begin. The central courtyard, Diwali chowk, dotted with canopies, fruit trees and low Indian-style seating, is an ideal setting to experience the regional cuisine. The P&C; the timeless and utterly elegant dining room, demands an exquisite fine dining experience and a curated wine list to satiate your need to indulge.



Summary

Only a few countries can boast of having palaces and forts as retreats. A vacation in India can be customized for the ultimate budget to uber luxury. Still, if the price is not the criterion and you are looking for immersive and private experiences, you may squeeze a day or two into one of these properties in your itinerary; after all, your accommodations largely define your overall experience of your vacation and is well worth the money spent.

Author
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Written by

Shalbha Sarda

Shalbha is passionate about exploring places off the beaten path and discovering unique cultures and experiences that may be unknown to the broader world. From Cambodia to Kazakhstan, she documents her experiences across countries and genres for well-known publications. Writing for the likes of BBC, CNN, CondeNast, Fodors, and Condenast, among others, is a testament to her skill and expertise in the field. With over 150 articles published in print and online, Shalbha's extensive portfolio demonstrates her dedication to her craft.

Follow her on tripoto.com/profile/shalbhasarda and Instagram at @shalbhasarda to see more. [Read full bio]

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