India's finest… luxury hotels
A land of spectacular palaces and opulent design, India is also home to wonderfully luxurious hotels. Indeed, it will come as little to surprise to hear that, when visiting this country, you can expect not only the finest accommodation, but exemplary service.
Here are some of the finest luxury hotels that India has to offer.
Wildflower Hall, Shimla
Wonderful Wildflower Hall is the crowning glory of Shimla, the former British colonial summer capital, and is an absolute joy to stay in. Situated among 23 acres of virgin pine and cedar forests in the Greater Himalaya, this hotel was once the estate of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum. Now, it provides 85 stunning rooms and suites to guests from across the world.
Each of these rooms and suites is luxuriously furnished. Expect Burmese teak flooring, stunning views (particularly from the Garden View Rooms), and an opulent marble bathroom.
Moreover, it has a host of world-class facilities to complement its sumptuous accommodation and excellent service. These include a magnificent spa, which provides a mix of traditional Indian and international treatments, as well as an open-air whirlpool where you can gaze across the Himalayas while enjoying the bubbling water. Nature walks, yoga and cycling are just some of the other activities you can enjoy in between exploring all that colonial Shimla has to offer.
Vivanta by Taj, Kochi (Cochin)
Kochi is a wonderful part of Kerala to explore, with its multicultural heritage offering a window into the development of India from the 1600s onwards. It also plays host to some indulgent places to stay, such as Vivanta by Taj.
Situated on Willingdon Island, this beautiful hotel has stunning views of Kochi harbour, not to mention the backwaters for which Kerala is so deservedly famous. The hotel promises to offer a balance of the modern and the traditional, incorporating the latest conveniences into its heritage ambience. Indeed, while having an unmistakably chic, classically designed interior, it provides newly renovated rooms and modern facilities including air-conditioning and much more.
Keen gastronomes, meanwhile, will be in their element here, with the hotel's own restaurants including the Rice Boat, which serves traditional Keralan seafood dishes, as well as the town's only Thai restaurant. There is also a spa and infinity pool to help you unwind and relax.
Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace, Udaipur
A lake city nestled in the heart of the desert, Udaipur truly is a magical destination - a land of gleaming buildings, tranquil waterways and beautiful hills. It is only fitting to stay somewhere equally magical during your time here, and the five-star Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace is ideal.
This former palace was built in 1911 by his Highness Maharana Fateh Singh. Now converted into a hotel, this glorious building retains the grandeur and opulence you would expect of an Indian palace and, as a result, staying here evokes the feeling of being royalty in a bygone age.
Restored to its former glory and set over Fateh Sagar Lake, the palace hotel has 55 rooms and suites, with views over the Udaipur skyline, valley or the lake itself. As well as promising luxurious rooms and leisure facilities such as a gym and picturesque gardens, the hotel is able to organise a variety of activities, including camel rides, folk dances and puppet shows, allowing you to get a feel for traditional Rajasthani culture.
India enjoys an excellent reputation for its luxury trains, some of which are in earnest rolling hotels. One such hotel is the Deccan Odyssey, which provides a blend of exemplary service, opulent rooms and public spaces, and the romance of rail travel.
Covering a variety of routes across India, the Deccan Odyssey has spacious cabins complete with ensuite bathroom and air conditioning, two restaurant cars serving Indian, oriental and continental cuisine, an elegant bar and even an onboard spa for extra indulgence.
See all Deccan Odyssey itineraries >
Luxury travelling camps
While not technically a hotel, The Ultimate Travelling Camp offers a level of luxury that few places to stay can match. It was inspired by the royal caravans of 16th-century Mughal emperors, which allowed monarchs to travel in the luxury they were accustomed to.
In addition to giving you the chance to explore remote areas of India, these camps provide individually designed luxury tents complete with air conditioning, ensuite bathrooms and even a private butler service. They therefore provide a wonderful experience of the past, while ensuring the utmost in comfort - a truly wonderful all-round experience.
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