Top 10 luxury hotels of India

One of the world’s great civilizations, India’s multiplicity of cultures and landscapes make it a land of startling contrasts. Experiencing the country’s incredible diversity can be challenging, but luxurious hotels throughout the nation offer the chance to savour its renowned hospitality.
Deluxe room at Deogarh Mahal. Photo: Lodgingeo
Deluxe room at Deogarh Mahal. Photo: Lodgingeo

India’s almost endless variety of peoples and places can have a spellbinding effect on visitors. The nation’s otherness is mirrored by the mesmeric atmosphere of its luxurious hotels. Here is our guide to the top 10 luxury hotels of India.

1. Amanbagh Resort, Alwar

Designed by the renowned American architect Ed Tuttle, Amanbagh is a luxury desert resort on the former site of the Maharajah of Alwar’s pleasure garden and hunting lodge in rural Rajasthan. Inspired by the architecture of the Mughal Empire, the hotel is constructed from warm, pink-hued marble and sandstone and sits in verdant gardens peppered with fragrant eucalyptus and frangipani trees. Serene, high-ceilinged suites and pavilions with domed cupolas are complemented by private courtyards or terraces. Adventurous guests can easily drive to the Bengal tiger sanctuary at nearby Sariska National Park.

2. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur

A stay in the Oberoi Udaivilas offers the opportunity to live like royalty in truly breathtaking surroundings. Occupying an expansive property crowned with multiple cupolas, the hotel is set amongst verdant gardens overlooking Udaipur’s Lake Pichola. All guest accommodation features opulent, traditional furnishings and garden views, while suites add dining rooms, courtyards and private swimming pools. Mewari architecture inspires the decor of the hotel’s luxurious restaurants, while the restful spa offers a full range of Ayurvedic massage treatments.

3. Rainbow Cruises, Kerala

When you picture a luxury hotel in your mind’s eye, it might not necessarily be one that glides gracefully along the tropical backwaters. Rainbow Cruises operates a fleet of exquisite houseboats in Kerala that are among the finest pleasure cruisers in the country. You can relax in luxuriously furnished, air-conditioned rooms and enjoy impeccable service from friendly staff as you explore the region's extensive network of waterways in the most elegant manner possible.

Houseboat on Kerala backwaters. Photo: Shutterstock

4. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

Rising out of Udaipur’s Lake Pichola like a mirage, the Taj Lake Palace makes for a truly remarkable sight. Built as a pleasure palace in 1743 by Maharana Jagat Singh II, it actually fell into disrepair in the mid-20th century before being fully restored as a hotel in 1963. Guests are treated like royalty and can savour the delights of sumptuously furnished rooms and suites, flawless butler service, haute cuisine in four exquisite restaurants, and drinks at sunset in the rooftop bar enhanced by City Palace and lake views.

5. Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur

Surrounded by acres of landscaped gardens, dotted with pavilions and reflection pools, the Oberoi Rajvilas resort hotel captures the regal grandeur of Rajasthan and the storied domain of the maharajas. Elegant restaurants offer international fine dining and seasonal Indian cuisine, while the hotel’s spa, occupying a restored 18th-century mansion, is the place to relish rejuvenating massages and treatments. Guests can choose to stay in refined rooms with sunken marble bathtubs, spacious villas complete with private swimming pools, or luxury air-conditioned tents with teak floors and sumptuous king size beds.

6. Deogarh Mahal, Rajasthan

The upscale Deogarh Mahal heritage hotel is set in a restored 17th-century fortified palace, perched on a hill overlooking the village of Deogargh and the Aravalli mountains beyond. Offering magnificent, beautifully furnished rooms, the establishment features traditional Mewari furnishings throughout, complemented by an elegant outdoor swimming pool, a Jacuzzi and spacious terraces with sweeping mountain views.

Exterior of Deogarh Mahal. Photo: Lodgingeo

7. Vivaana Culture Hotel, Rajasthan

Vivaana is a 120-year-old symbol of crafted excellence tucked away in the unexplored village of Churi Ajitgarh. Unique fresco paintings and traditional Rajasthani architecture make it an intriguing place to stay, and help provide guests with a truly memorable experience. A focus on details in rooms and suites – from luxurious, oversized beds and fluffy goose-down pillows to bathrooms with clawfoot tubs and Jacuzzis – make your stay extra special. There’s a chic, outdoor pool and a spa where you can treat yourself to Indian and South East Asian therapies and treatments. The hotel also hosts a range of activities from camel safaris to bird watching and stargazing.

Vivaana Culture Hotel. Photo: Lodgingeo

8. Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Is there a more opulent hotel in India than the Taj Falaknuma Palace? Without doubt one of India’s most dazzling and grandiose establishments, the hotel occupies a magnificent, fully restored, 19th-century palace offering spectacular views over the city of Hyderabad. Resplendent with chandeliers and marble, the palace houses a vast library, a billiard room and a luxury spa, as well as grand dining rooms and a refined, darkwood hookah lounge. Spacious, lavishly decorated rooms and suites combine splendid traditional furnishings with state-of-the-art contemporary amenities.

9. Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai

While the Taj Mahal Palace may not offer the fantasy flourishes of some of India’s palace-style hotels, it is nevertheless a truly classic establishment. Situated in Coloba, the heart of Mumbai’s old city, the hotel 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 has hosted its fair share of world leaders, business titans and movie stars over the past century – from George Harrison to Barack Obama. The hotel’s guest rooms blend refined traditional furnishings with modern amenities, while its fine-dining restaurants serve a variety of global cuisines in chic, contemporary surroundings.

10. Maidens Hotel, New Delhi

Dating from 1903 when it was built to host dignitaries attending that year’s Durbar, Maidens Hotel exudes old-world grandeur, from its broad driveway and imposing facade to its tranquil gardens and alfresco terrace dining areas. A heritage establishment that has retained its colonial charm and architecture, the hotel offers refined, spacious rooms and suites with garden views, and a large outdoor pool. Escape to the hotel's restful atmosphere as part of Insight Guides' The Essential Golden Triangle trip.

Maidens Hotel in New Delhi. Photo: Trip provider

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