Top 10 most beautiful hotels in India

Planning a trip to India? Feast your senses on the country's most beautiful hotels, where you can follow in the footsteps of movie stars, rock ’n’ rollers and presidents alike
Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur. Photo: Press release
Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur. Photo: Press release

There are so many ways to see India, one of the world’s greatest civilizations, from backpacking to boutique hotel-hopping. But if you’re willing to push the boat out — in some cases, literally – you can feast your senses on the most beautiful hotels in India, and indeed the world

1. Amanresorts Amanbagh, Alwar

Designed by famed American architect Ed Tuttle, Amanbagh is a luxury desert resort situated where the Maharajah of Alwar’s pleasure garden and hunting lodge once stood. Inspired by the Mughals, the hotel is built from warm, pink-hued sandstone and is dotted with frangipani and eucalyptus trees; the scent, of course, is divine. Adventurous guests can drive to the nearby Bengal tiger sanctuary at Sariska National Park.

2. Maidens Hotel, New Delhi

Maidens Hotel is one of the capital city's oldest, built in the early 1900s. It has retained its colonial charm and architecture and boasts spacious rooms with high ceilings, which are unique when compared to the box-sized rooms of many modern hotels in the area. Every moment brings you a step closer to nature, with sparkling surroundings of calmness, serenity, and tranquility. Escape to the hotel's relaxed atmosphere on Insight Guides' The Essential Golden Triangle holiday

3. Rainbow Cruises, Kerala

When you think of a hotel, it may not be one that moves through the backwaters of Kerala but these houseboats are so beautiful, they need to make the list. Rainbow Cruises are home to the finest cruise boats in the country; luxuriously furnished and complete with friendly staff, they provide the perfect setting to explore the area's extensive 900-km of waterways. These also feature on Insight Guides' Magical Kerala adventure.

4. Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur

Set in 32 acres of landscaped gardens, a-twinkle with reflection pools and pavilions, the Oberoi Rajvilas captures the regal grandeur of Rajasthan – literally, “the land of kings” – and the storied domain of the maharajas. Besides its villas, the hotel offers luxury tents with teak floors and Edwardian claw foot bathtubs for a truly sublime soak.

Spa at the Oberoi Udaivilas. Photo: Press release

5. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur

If feeling like royalty while basking in truly breathtaking surroundings is your idea of a heavenly hotel, welcome to paradise. Guests arrive by boat to the Oberoi Udaivilas, which is set on Lake Pichola, and peacocks roam its grounds. You’ll find butler service and private courtyards in many of its rooms – or you can upgrade to the huge Kohinoor Suite which has its own fountains, fireplaces and private sauna.

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6. Deogarh Mahal, Rajasthan

The Deogarh Mahal, an upscale heritage hotel, is about as close as you can get to living like royalty during your trip to India. The restored fortified palace, originally built in the 17th century, is perched on a hill overlooking the village of Deogargh and the Aravalli mountains beyond. Offering 50 magnificent, beautifully-furnished rooms to guests, this hotel keeps to tradition with its style and tone. But, of course, there's a swimming pool and Jacuzzi to relax in during your stay. See it for yourself: the Deogarh Mahal features on Insight Guides' Rajasthan: The Land of the Kings trip.

7. Vivaana Culture Hotel, Rajasthan

Vivaana is a 120-year-old symbol of craftsmen excellence and grandeur hidden in the small, unexplored village of Churi Ajitgarh. The unique fresco paintings and typical Rajasthani architecture make it an intriguing place to stay, providing visitors with an unforgettable, magical experience. This place focuses on the intricate details – from gigantic, over-sized beds to fluffy goose-down pillows –  to make your stay extra special. The hotel also hosts activities for all types of traveller, from an extensive spa to horse or camel safaris. Stay at the Vivaana Culture Hotel on Insight Guides' Unmissable India adventure.

Interior of Taj Falaknuma Palace. Photo: Presse release

8. Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Is there a more opulent hotel in India? We’re confident that the Falaknuma Palace is India’s most dazzling, grandiose establishment. You’ll be picked up from the airport in a Jaguar, then whisked up in a horse-drawn carriage for your arrival, where you’ll be showered with rose petals. Resplendent with chandeliers and marble, the hotel also houses a vast library, billiard room and luxury spa. The hotel is 2,000 feet above Hyderabad, so the sunsets are truly spectacular.

Taj Lake Palace. Photo: Press release

9. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

Rising out of Lake Pichola like a mirage, the Taj Lake Palace is a truly jaw-dropping sight. Built as a winter palace in 1743, it has a truly remarkable history, even falling into deterioration in the mid 20th century, before being completely restored. Its adoring guests over the years have included Vivien Leigh, Queen Elizabeth, the Shah of Iran and Jacqueline Kennedy, and it features in the James Bond movie Octopussy.

Taj Mahal Palace. Photo: Press release

10. Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai

While the Taj Mumbai may not offer the fantasy flourishes of some of India’s palace-style hotels, it is a true classic. Situated in Coloba, the heart of the old city, it stands next to the iconic Gateway of India and offers a stunning view of the Arabian Sea. The Taj first opened in 1903 and as such, it has seen its share of world leaders, business titans and movie stars over the past century – from George Harrison to President Obama. 

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