Once the exclusive domain of India’s royal families, many palaces and royal homes have morphed into luxury heritage hotels in India but retained their grandeur, artefacts and personalised hospitality
India has always been known for its rich history and imperial lifestyle. Its royal palaces were once the official residences of the royal family but over time have been converted into luxury heritage hotels that still retain their old-world charm, while providing modern amenities.
Part of the charm comes from the legends and folklore that are an intrinsic part of the palace ethos. Everyone loves a good story and India has its fair share of stories to narrate.
Visit any one of these heritage hotels and you will find that they have a story to tell. What separates these hotels from other luxury hotels is that they offer a sense of history and a unique. Legacy and tradition blend impeccably with state-of-the-art services albeit with a local flavour in the cuisine and cultural vignettes in these luxury heritage hotels in India.
A section of these palaces has been converted into a museum and is open for guests. Staying in one of these palaces is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and is akin more like a journey through time and space into an era that redefined grandeur, luxury and royalty.
The Imperial, New Delhi
Built in the year 1931, this is one of the best luxury heritage hotels in India. The Imperial is one of the oldest hotels and the first luxury grand hotel in New Delhi. Earlier, known as Queensway, The Imperial has the largest collection of colonial and post-colonial artefacts anywhere in New Delhi, with an in-house museum and art gallery and is well-known for its heritage and legacy.
This heritage hotel, located in Central Delhi, close to Connaught Place, has several restaurants serving delectable delicacies from a by-gone era, a pool-side bar, a health club, spa and sauna. The restaurants and bars at The Imperial have a Victorian charm and ethos from the days of the Raj, infusing classic, colonial influences.
The 235 spacious rooms sport white marble flooring, sport rattan furniture, original period art and photographs. Illustrious personalities like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten are believed to have held official meetings here.
Taj Umaid Bhawan, Jodhpur
As one the premier luxury heritage hotels in India, Chittar Palace, built in 1943, is named after Maharaja Umaid Singh and is the last of the great palaces of India and one of the largest private residences in the world. The palace is divided into three functional parts – the residence of the royal family, a luxury Taj Palace Hotel, and a museum focussing on the 20th-century history of the Jodhpur Royal Family.
The hotel wing of the palace, called ‘Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur’ and run by Taj Group of Hotels, has 70 rooms that include the luxurious Regal and Vice Regal Suites and the spectacular Maharaja and Maharani Suites. Fine restaurants, charming lounges and fine dining are not only romantic, but an experience in itself.
The Oberoi Cecil, Himachal Pradesh
Regarded as one of the finest luxury heritage hotels in India, The Oberoi Cecil, located in Shimla was built in 1884 and is located 7000 ft higher in the mighty Himalayan range. Guests can immediately feel the elegance and grace of the Colonial era.
The hotel reopened after restoration in 1997 to its original majesty with wooden floors and period furniture and spectacular views of the valley. The 79 centrally heated rooms have all the facilities that can make guests’ stay memorable and comfortable.
The hotel has a heated swimming pool, billiards rooms and children’s activity centre and a well-stocked library with many opportunities for nature walks. For couples, the hotel provides a private dining room for a romantic dinner. Each room is furnished with Burmese teak floors, and colonial touches from the Ottoman Empire.
WelcomHotel the Savoy, Mussoorie
If you seek a comfortable stay with luxury and heritage thrown in for good memories, Fortune the Savoy is your one-stop destination. Located in Mussoorie, it is an ideal destination for a vacation. The hotel is ethnic in style and boasts style modern amenities, perfect for honeymooners, heritage and hill resort lovers.
This royal heritage hotel, which is counted among luxury heritage hotels in India is a perfect place for honeymoon couples, heritage travellers or hill lovers. The 50 elegantly furnished rooms include 26 Savoy Chambers, 12 Fortune Exclusive Rooms and 12 Fortune Suites that provide an old-school charm and incredible view of the valley.
Guest can relax at the spa or workout at the state-of-the-art gymnasium. Picnics and excursions are also organised by the hotel. A fine dining restaurant, The Grand Dining Room, allows guests to indulge in delicacies or pamper their palates at Fortune Deli. The Writer’s Bar is a place to spend a relaxed evening with premium drinks.
Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore
Built in 1921 by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, this palace, located on top of a small hillock amidst terrace gardens is one of the leading luxury heritage hotels in India. It is the second-largest palace in Mysore and was built to exclusively accommodate the then Viceroy of India.
Designed in Renaissance-style, the palace, meant for special royal guests, has now been transformed into a heritage 5-Star. The palace has maintained its original grandeur. The 54 suites which include period furniture and gilt framed Belgium mirrors. The multi-cuisine restaurants have live instrumental music during Lunch and Dinner and traditional grandeur.
The royalty factor cannot be downplayed and it’s something guests are accurately conscious of this majestic double-storey building. The Dining Room is the original ballroom of the palace and is in Baroque style. The palace also has a well-stocked library that is open for all guests who enjoy reading.
Brunton Boatyard, Cochin
One of the luxury heritage hotels in India is at the historic Fort Cochin. Heres is an elegantly styled colonial hotel for the urban traveller. All 26 rooms are sea-facing, overlooking working fishermen and huge boats that pass by.
A terrace restaurant, Terrace Grill serves authentic Portuguese, Dutch, Arabic, Kosher, British and local Kerala dishes made with local ingredients that will take guests back into the time of the Raj. Fresh and authentic seafood is available here. The hotel also has a well-stocked bar, Armoury where guests can indulge in new cocktails every evening.
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