Best Hotels in India

Taj Umaid Bhawan


Even the most jaded jaws drop on arrival at Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace, the imposing royal residence turned luxury hotel in the northern Indian city of Jodhpur. as it is one of the best hotels in India. Ironically, a 1920 famine across Rajasthan motivated then Maharaja Umaid Singhji to build his Art Deco aid project, creating work for three thousand people, among them descendants of the Taj Mahal carvers who chiseled the exquisite yellow sandstone façade here. Today, the royal family lives in one wing while guests pretend stay in the other. Take a worthwhile detour to the on-site museum, filled with photos and memorabilia cataloguing the bejeweled lives of Jodhpur’s elite. Since 1972 the palace has operated as a heritage hotel. All 64 sizable rooms are equipped with WiFi and round the clock butler service, though they add more Raj pomp than actual assistance. Dine at least once in the marble pillar pavilion where views of Mehrangarh Fort and the palace itself accompany an outstanding Tandoori chicken without the tangy vinegar aftertaste of the American interpretation. Village visits begin with a traditional opium ceremony before guests venture into the sand dunes for champagne at sunset.

Oberoi Udaivilas


Oberoi Udaivilas a traditional Mewari palace planted along the shore of Lake Pichola, is simply breathtaking a destination unto itself. This magnificent maze of massive, cream-colored domes and arches, situated just a mile and a half from Udaipur attractions including the Jagdish Temple and the City Palace Museum, ranks consistently among our far-flung readers: With checkerboard-tiled pools stretched out along the length of the complex, grounds at once overgrown with heaps of vibrant bougainvillea bushes and dutifully manicured gardens, and service so good that you’re as likely to remember the staff’s names as they are yours, we wouldn’t blame you for overstaying your visit. It’s not just the fresh flowers and fruit baskets received on arrival that have us hankering for more, but the inimitable opulence of the experience. Rooms are gorgeous and exclusive, with private walled courtyards, Victorian bathtubs, Indian decor, and views of the Aravalli hills. With a chandelier-lit inner courtyard, a 20-meter private pool enshrined in Frangipani trees and miniature wall paintings, gold-domed ceilings, and carved marble privacy screens, the suite is a study in how to live like a royal. Chandni, the largest of the three restaurants, serves Rajasthani specialties with views of the lake and the city palace.


Oberoi Rajvilas


Considered to be one of the best hotels in India and amid 32 acres of purple jacaranda and yellow gulmohar trees, this fort-style hotel recalls the days of the Rajputs, with architectural details like blue tile and brass doors. "The grounds are beautiful. It's as if you're at your own private palace." But it's "a bit far from the center of town." Accommodations are in clustered buildings or stand-alone luxury tents; the former have gold-leaf murals and sunken baths, the latter teak floors and walled gardens.With its pink stone facades, gorgeous palaces, and rose-hued sunsets, Jaipur looks like the set of a movie about Indian princes of yore. This vibrant, exotic destination in India's interior is home to a luxury resort that is nothing short of magical: The Oberoi Rajvilas. Spread out in a fort setting, on landscaped gardens dotted with pavilions and reflection pools, this hotel will make you feel like royalty. A full 54 deluxe rooms and villas and 14 fully air-conditioned luxury tents await your arrival at the The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, all of which are spacious, unique, and exquisitely elegant. And if the peace of your room isn't quite restoring your inner balance, perhaps a yoga session near an ancient Shiva temple will do the trick. Afterward, indulge in fine Indian cuisine under the stars in the Surya Mahal courtyard and let yourself be swept away by the evening's music and dance performances.

Taj Rambagh Palace


This absolutely beautiful restored 1835 palace was built for the queen's favorite handmaiden, and later used as a royal guest house and hunting lodge. Its rooms have four-poster beds and walk-in wardrobes; the Sukh Niwas Suite comes with arched stonework, textured drapes and fabrics, crystal chandeliers, gold-leaf frescoes, and large windows that open onto the gardens and views of the Aravalli hills. Enjoy an evening of champagne, moonlight, and candles in a private dining tent illuminated by flaming torches and pitched on the palace greens. The Steam bar is in a restored train.

The gorgeous Rajasthani motifs, stonework, carved pillars, and rich silks are sure to make you at home in your temporary kingdom. And though you may never want to step outside your palace, it's your royal duty to explore the picturesque Pink City of Jaipur, an historic city of holy temples and ornate palaces. After a day of navigating the labyrinthine city streets, Rambagh Palace, Jaipur offers a decadent respite for tired feet. Book an Indian aromatherapy treatment at Jiva Spa, and enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail in the stylish Polo Bar. Then wine and dine under a crystal chandelier in the grand dining hall, Suvarna Mahal, where gold-plated tableware and pristine china are de rigueur.

The Oberoi New Delhi


This white block is located "a little out of the city center," between the Delhi Golf Club and Humayun’s Tomb. The "fabulous staff" include "waiters who make a point of knowing what you like after just one seating." Travertino offers an extensive Italian wine and cheese selection, and Threesixty’s Sunday buffet lunch serves up more than 100 international dishes, plus unlimited champagne and martinis. The 9,000-square-foot spa has hydrotherapy rooms in Turkish marble. Though overall the "size and decor of the rooms could be better," the minimally furnished 3,500 -square- foot Kohinoor Suite, decorated in hues of beige, champagne, and caramel, comes with its own treadmill and massage bed.

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