The kings who ruled India in the past were true connoisseurs of luxury. Even after hundreds of years, the palaces they built and their interiors showcase an atmosphere of opulence. While almost all of these palaces are now managed by the government of India, there are a few which are privately owned and are turned into hotels.
These palace hotels give us an opportunity to experience living as the royals did or should we say, this is your chance to live life king-size. Literally! As we take you over to the best palace hotels in India, get inspired to treat yourself to a royal stay.
What better way to begin the list than to mention a palace run by the credible Taj Hotel group? It’s one of the finest palaces in India and the name translates to "Mirror of Sky" or "Like the Sky." The intricate details of the palace stay true to its name and really shoot for the sky! It was built decades back by the Paigah family’s Nawab Sir Viqar-ul-Umra, who was the Prime Minister of Hyderabad, in 1893. It cost around 4 million rupees for its construction and furnishing. This amount starts to make sense when you take a closer look at this palace which is grand beyond belief.
It sits on a land of 32 acres and is laden with stained-glass windows and Italian marble. If the palace looks very European to you, it’s because it is a blend of Tudor and Italian architecture. Its library is home to 5000+ English, Persian, and Urdu books. The palace is embellished with paintings, furniture, Venetian chandeliers, jade decorations and more. You can get a closer sense of the history of the decor as they do offer a guided tour of the palace.
Food Availability: Celeste, a fine-dining option at the property itself serves a variety of meals borrowed from European cuisine. You would also have the option to try Hyderabadi specialties at Adaa, their multi-cuisine restaurant.
Nearest airport: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (18.5 km away).
Rate: The rooms start at around INR 43,000.
Location: Engine Bowli, Falaknuma, Hyderabad, Telangana.
Also read: Luxury Hotels In Munnar
This palace has a history that goes back more than 400 years as it was built in the 16th century as a fort for the Rajputs. It received a transformation in the 19th century that made it into the palace we see today. Nestled in the dreamy hills of the Aravalli Range and surrounded by lush greenery, you’ll truly be in the lap of luxury. It is made of sandstone and designed to be a mesmerizing blend of Muslim and Rajput styles of construction. But the true magic lies on the inside.
Taking a stroll through this palace feels like walking through a carnival of art and colors. The ornamented pillars, fine paintings on the walls, intricately designed carpets, mosaic walls, all tell a story. You can expect this same attention to detail in your room. It doesn’t matter which size room you take, it will be perfectly decorated, will come with a luxurious bed and will offer great views from its windows.
Food Availability: Ensure that you visit both of the two restaurants here. One is excellent at taking its guests on a multi-culinary trip, while the other serves the all-time hits of Rajasthani cuisine.
Nearest airport: Jaipur International Airport (55 km away)
Rate: Rooms start from around INR 26,000.
Location: Tehsil, Village Samode, Chomu, Rajasthan.
Those of you hardcore James Bond fans might recall seeing this palace in the blockbuster movie ‘Octopussy’, so you can anticipate that your stay is going to be a hit! There’s also the fact that the palace sits smack dab in the middle of Lake Pichola, trust us nothing is going to be obstructing your view. Arriving on a boat here is also one of a kind experience. The ride from Taj’s exclusive jetty to the palace takes around just 5 minutes, but it makes you feel like royalty even before you have stepped into the palace.
Coming to its history, the Lake Palace was built by Maharana Jagat Singh II who simply wanted a summer fort that would offer him privacy from the public eye. Well if that ain’t the introvert dream, right? The palace is built using the best traits of Mughal architecture and is studded with fountains, fine interiors, gardens, and more. You have the choice to pick from 65 rooms and 18 suites.
There are many things like these that make your stay more special. It is amazing that this palace is unhooked from the world and it basks in its own peaceful aura, but you are just 5 minutes away from the city streets, so you can switch back and forth as you wish. The best part? You would be guaranteed breathtaking views of the surrounding Jag Mandir, Machla Magra hills, and Aravalli hills.
Food Availability: At the Lake Palace you will be spoilt with choices. You can enjoy the true flavors of Rajasthan at their in-house restaurant Neel Kamal. The restaurant Amrit Sagar is also known for serving top-notch Asian dishes. If you’re craving creamy pasta or a filling pizza of any of the other European classics, then reserve a table at Bhairo. There’s also Jharokha, which is a multi-cuisine-serving all-rounder.
Nearest airport: Maharana Pratap Airport (24 km away).
Rate: The rooms start at around INR 65,000.
Location: Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan.
Also read: Best Luxury Hotels In Pune
Deogarh Mahal is built right in the center of the city in the 17th century. It was the residence and fort of a top personnel in the Mewar aristocracy, Rawat Dwarka Dasji, who once ruled over more than 200 villages in Rajasthan. All of those villagers used to come here for solving their issues, paying dues and for other purposes. The times have changed and this Mahal has now become synonymous with serenity and top-class hospitality. But as soon as you step onto this property, you will sense that this was a place of importance and power.
It’s a massive structure designed beautifully with jharokhas, domes and grand gateways and colored in eye-catching yellow. It features a total of 55 rooms and each of them embellished with colorful linens, vintage wooden furniture, decorative arches and more. The rooms can be described as a perfect mix of simplicity and luxury. The hotel arranges various kinds of activities to encourage its guests to explore the beauty of Deogarh city and its people.
Food Availability: Authentic Mewari dishes made using homegrown ingredients are served here. You should also try their range of jams and juices that are made from fresh locally sourced fruits.
Nearest airport: Marana Pratap Airport of Udaipur (139 km away)
Rate: Rooms start from INR 6,500.
Location: Deogarh Mahal Road, Deogarh Madaria, Rajsamand, Rajasthan.
Also read: Best Luxury Hotels In Goa
Situated in one of the most happening cities in India and just a stone's throw away from the Arabian Sea is the famous Taj Mahal Palace. It’s named after the eponymous palace in Agra. The founder of the world-famous Tata Group, Jamsehdji Tata, was the man behind the inception of the hotel in 1903. He thought of it as an ode to the city of Mumbai, a gift of 560 rooms and 44 suites which was built beautifully in the Saracenic Revival style. The business tycoon paid around 2.34 crore rupees for it in 1903! Taj was the first hotel in the country with electricity, German elevators, English butlers, a discotheque, and a licensed bar!
The standards and expectations it built for itself in that era have only heightened over time. This hotel is considered one of the best in the country and has been the resting place for notable personalities from all over the world- Bill Clinton, Obama, The Beatles, Prince Charles, Tom Cruise, and the list could include you next!
Food Availability: There are plenty of restaurants here. Masala Kraft serves Indian cuisine. Golden Dragon and Wasabi By Morimoto are favored for their Chinese and Japanese offerings. Souk brings Eastern Mediterranean flavors right to your table, while Aquarius and Sea Lounge present an interesting mix of lip-smacking food. Don’t miss out on the sweet delightful desserts and other sweets available at La Patisserie.
Nearest airport: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (26 km away)
Rate: Rooms start from around INR 30,000 - INR 34,000.
Location: Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Also read: Best Budget Hotels In Bangalore
One of the gems in the crown of Jaipur is the Rajmahal Palace. It was built in 1729 and then eventually evolved into its prime form. The palace was the residence of Maharaja Sawai Man ‘Jai’ Singh and Maharani Gayatri Devi till 1958 after which it was turned into a hotel. To preserve the true essence of royalty for the hotel guests, many things owned by the Maharaja and his family, like their old photographs, a classic 1950s Ford Thunderbird, and more, are kept here.
The palace is a gleaming example of fine Art Deco architecture. It features 13 rooms and suites that range from small and intimate to super spacious and swanky. Even though this might not be one of the biggest palaces out there, it is every bit as royal and beautiful as the rest. More than the size, what matters is what the palace symbolizes, its history, its looks, its interiors, and its past residents. You might also get more of the place to yourself because of the limited rooms.
Food Availability: No matter what your preferences are, you’re bound to have a foodgasm here thanks to array of food options you’ll have at The Collonnade, 51 Shades of Pink and Orient Occident.
Nearest airport: Jaipur International Airport (10.5 km away).
Rate: Rooms start at INR 28,000.
Location: Sardar Patel Marg, Shivaji Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Also read: Best Budget Hotels In Delhi
Maharaja Umaid Singh, Rathore ruler of Marwar built this palace because he wanted a grand residence. But his priority was also to provide employment to the farmers under his rule in drought-stricken Jodhpur. He hired them for the palace’s construction which continued from 1929 to 1943 and at the time of completion, it was one of the biggest royal palaces in the world. In total, it has 347 rooms, a gigantic banquet hall capable to fit a party of 300, 15 acres of gardens and the palace itself takes up 26 acres! The palace is a perfect blend of Western Art Deco, Indo-Saracenic and Classical Revival styles of architecture.
Along with being a hotel managed by Taj, a part of this palace is a museum showcasing the history of the Jodhpur Royal Family and the rest is used by the royal family as their residence. It sits high up on Chittar Hill, overlooking the beautiful blue city and Mehrangarh Fort. Guests can stay in any of the 70 rooms of this palace and soak in the grandeur of this place just like Maharaja Umaid Singh used to do.
Food Availability: Risala’s menu is made of assorted dishes from the realm of Continental and Indian fusion food. Take your taste buds on a journey around the globe at Pillars or enjoy some finger food at Trophy Bar.
Nearest airport: Jodhpur Airport (4.4 km away).
Rate: Rooms start from INR 61,000.
Location: Circuit House Road, Cantt Area, Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
Also read: Best Budget Hotels In Mumbai
The palace was originally named Gulab Bhavan and its construction began in 1910 with the orders of Maharaja Pratap Singh who wanted a grand summer palace. Later in 1956, the resident at the time, Maharaja Hari Singh, shifted to Mumbai and Gulab Bhavan became the Grand Palace hotel. It received its latest name change in 2008 when it was rebranded as LaLiT Grand Palace Srinagar. Since then it has been one of the most sought-after destinations in Srinagar for those who seek class-leading hospitality. It is placed perfectly to offer a panoramic view of the Dal lake and the Himalayan mountains.
But it is said that its true beauty lies on the inside. That is where you will find antique furniture, top-level amenities, fine ethnic carpets, a gigantic banqueting area and many touches of luxury. Guests can experience all of this by staying at any of the 113 spacious rooms and 10 cottages.
Food Availability: Experience the true Kashmiri taste like never before at the Chinar restaurant.
Nearest airport: Sheikh Ul Alam International airport (14 km away)
Rate: Rooms start from INR 25,000.
Location: Gupkar road, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.
Also read: Best Luxury Hotels In Udaipur
It was created in 1835 as a humble garden house for prince Ram Singh II’s wet nurse. Then it transformed into a hunting lodge in 1887. The final phase of transition arrived at the beginning of the 20th century when it was turned into a full-fledged palace. Maharaja of Jaipur used this as his residence before Taj Hotels Group came in and turned the private palace into a five-star delight featuring 78 uber-luxurious rooms and 47 acres of serene greenery.
Everything you see here is up to the royal standards of the Rajasthani culture and heritage- the carpets, furniture, paintings, chandeliers, beddings and more. Lord Louis Mountbatten, Jacqueline Kennedy, Prince Charles, and Anderson Cooper are some of the notable people who have been a guest here.
Food Availability: Satisfy your sweet tooth while sipping that refreshing tea at Verandah Cafe. Grab some drinks and finger food at the Polo Bar. Go on a food binge at Suvarna Mahal which is known for its authentic Indian dishes. You can also indulge in the multi-culinary offerings of Rajput Room and Steam.
Nearest airport: Jaipur International Airport (9 km away)
Rate: Rooms start at INR 65,000.
Location: Bhawani Singh road, Rambagh, Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Also read: Best Budget Hotels In Chennai
Neemrana fort’s layout gives it a unique look as it is very different from all the other palaces. Its construction dates way back to 1464, but the tides of time were not kind to it and the palace was desolated by 1947. But the fate of this structure changed entirely after it was purchased by the Neemrana hotel group in 1986, who breathed life into it through drastic restorations and opened its doors for guests in 1991.
This palace has 77 unique rooms and suites which are spread across 14 levels on Aravalli hill and feature almost all of the amenities one could ask for. The presence of an amphitheater, gardens and swimming pools add a lot to its unique beauty.
Food Availability: Get spoilt for choice as freshly prepared French, Chinese, Thai, Italian and South Indian delights are served here at the hotel's multiple restaurants- Holi Kund, Jalgiri Mahal and Uncha Bagh & Mukut Bagh.
Nearest airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport (105 km away).
Rate: Rooms start from INR 5,000.
Location: 122nd Milestone, Delhi-Jaipur Highway, Neemrana, Alwar, Rajasthan - 301705.
Also read: Best Budget Hotels In Jaipur
Staying at a heritage palace hotel can be slightly costlier than the regular hotels, but you get your money’s worth. You’re not just paying for a comfortable stay, you are paying for an experience like none other. All of the hotels listed here makes sure you’re a short trip away from having a memorable time. So make your pick and get ready to have a great time amidst the walls of these palaces that have countless stories to tell.
Which Is The Biggest Palace In India?
Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan is a grand luxury hotel and among the biggest in India.
Which City Is Known As The Palace City Of India?
Kolkata is famously known as the ‘City of Joy’ but its also known by some as the ‘Palace City of India’ because of the number of architectural structures built here during the British era.
Which Is The First Luxury Hotel In India?
The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai opened in 1903, is believed to be the first luxury hotel in India.
Who Built The First Palace In India?
It is believed that Neemrana Fort Palace is the oldest palace in India. Prithviraj Chauhan III built Neemrana Fort Palace in 1464.
Which Is The Best Hotel In India?
There is not just one best hotel. There are many. Taj Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur, the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur and The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai are considered to be some of the best hotels in India.
What Are Heritage Hotels?
Heritage hotels are properties that operate in buildings like palaces, castles, hunting lodges, forts and traditional period buildings or havelis. It is mandatory for these buildings to have their own distinctive architecture, ambiance and history. These properties must, immaterial of their size, have been built prior to 1935.
Which Is The First Heritage Hotel Of India?
Ajit Bhawan Palace in the city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan is the first Heritage Hotel in India. It was built in 1927.
Who Was The Richest Indian King?
Mir Osman Ali Khan of Hyderabad. He passed away in 1967. He was not just the richest king in India. In 1937, he was named the richest person in the entire world.