India is multi-faceted. There is so more to this country than the cows in the middle of the road, the holy men with the orange clothes who pose for the cameras, colourful festivals and delicious food. India is also full of amazing cities, locations and properties that will take your breathe away!
Here is a look at 8 beautiful luxe properties in India, from the mountains of Himalayas to the backwater of Kerala, places where you can experience and truly enjoy the blend of culture, traditions, art, architecture, nature and the warmth of the people who call it home.
1. Oberoi Wildflower Hall in Shimla
Let’s start our visit from the majestic mountains of the Himalayas. For many, seeing the Himalayas is a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual experience and even in such remote parts of the world, there are hotels of outstanding beauty and service.
If you make the trip, stay at the Wildflower Hall, part of the popular Oberoi Hotels and Resorts group. Situated at 8,250 feet, Wildflower Hall looks like something out of a fairy tale. For those with an adventurous streak, endless activities such as white water rafting, trekking and mountain biking are available through the hotel, ensuring the most is made from such beautiful surroundings. With stunning mountain views, heated swimming pool and 22 acres of virgin woodland, the Wildflower Hall in the Himalayas is a true escape from reality. Let the staff know and they will pack you a nice picnic to enjoy in the mountains.
2. Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur
In the vibrant center of Rajasthan, Udaipur is home to opulent palaces and beautiful lakes. Enjoy a stay at the Oberoi Udaivilas. The entrance to the Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur is accessed by an enchanting boat ride over Lake Pichola. The waters and beautiful pools that surround the hotel create a sense of calm and luxurious serenity. The courtyards, fountains, reflecting pools, and domed pavilions make you feel as though you’re in a palace.
The Oberoi Udaivilas was constructed in the mold of a traditional Indian royal residence. Relax in your Premier Room and enjoy hand-crafted furniture, a walled courtyard, Victorian bathtub, and all the modern amenities like Wifi. Hit the decadent spa for an Ayurvedic massage, while taking in the scenic views of Lake Pichola and the City Palace. Don’t forget to take the boat across the lake to explore Udaipur, known around the world for its gorgeous lakeside palaces set against the dramatic backdrop of the Aravalli ranges and steeped in the romance of the historic region of Mewar.
3. Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra
No trip to the North of India is complete without stopping in Agra to marvel at the iconic Taj Mahal. The Taj Majal, the ultimate symbol of love, was built by a Mughal Emperor for his favorite wife.
The Oberoi Amarvilâs, Agra, with its incomparable views of the Taj Majal’s domes and spires, is your gateway to this gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s no denying that most of your time here will be spent exploring the Taj and admiring its beauty from different angles. But The Oberoi Amarvilâs, Agra, offers plenty of distractions. With its stone courtyards, fountains, and outdoor pool, The Oberoi itself is an aesthetic gem. Built in a style inspired by Moorish architecture, the fountains, pools and intricate furnishings will sweep you off to an India fairytale.
Rooms feature rich brocades and glossy wood antique-style furnishings, with all the modern amenities. A stay at the Oberoi Amarvilas will ensure morning views overlooking the Taj Mahal at just 600 meters away. With such close proximity, guests can visit the attraction early morning and beat the crowds that gather by midday. After a day of soaking up the Taj Mahal’s glory, retreat to the Oberoi’s spa for a rejuvenating bath in marigold petals. Afterward, indulge in traditional Indian cuisine at Esphahan restaurant and an after-dinner cocktail at the hotel’s bar terrace, featuring – you guessed it – amazing views of the Taj.
4. Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai
The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai takes you back in time to wonderful old colonial surroundings reflective of India’s yesteryear. Located in a stunning location by the Gateway to India and overlooking the bay, The Taj Mahal palace is an ideal choice for travelers looking for a great location and magnificent luxury.
At the center of the hotel lies a stunning swimming pool, perfect for a dip after a hard day of exploring the bustling city of old Bombay. A secluded courtyard filled with exotic green foliage lies within the hotel, providing an inner-city oasis for all guests. Picking up tailored suits and shirts without the on-street hassle and visiting the hotel’s suit shop, Burlingtons, is a must.
Nearby The Taj Mahal Palace lies an array of quirky and interesting shops that are well worth a visit. Bombay Electric sells clothes, jewelry and trinkets that serves perfect memorabilia for any trip to India. The Good Earth is also just a stroll away, selling beautiful home wares. To see Mumbai from a whole new perspective, head to Aer, Mumbai’s highest roof top bar. With chic white furniture and atmospheric lighting, this bar is a hidden gem well worth knowing about. Aer is based on the 34th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in the Worli area of the city and invites non-residents in with a warm welcome.
5. Park Hyatt in Goa
Located in the most idyllic area of Southern Goa, Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa offers unparalleled hospitality and exotic appeal. Relax in the most extensive spa in Goa or practice yoga in its birthplace. Lounge under a brilliant white umbrella on the sweeping curve of the wooden deck. Visit one of the pristine beaches for which Goa is renowned, perfect for sunbathing and water sports.
Head out of the hotel to explore the region’s rich cultural heritage and spend the day at the Anjuana Flea Market, bargaining over local crafts. Or, visit the nearby spice plantation to whet your appetite for authentic Goan food at Casa Sarita, traditional Indian cuisine at Masala, fresh pasta at Da Luigi, or seafood in the open-air Palms. From the lagoons and gardens that surround it and the traditional Indian art and dark-wood furniture of your room, to the scent of spices hanging in the air, Park Hyatt Goa offers a home away from home you’ll never forget.
6. Leela Palace in Bengaluru
Bangalore, as it used to be called by the British, is the third largest city in India. Bengaluru is one of the few metros in the country with an expansive green cover—it is hard for one to miss the many gardens, and joggers’ parks in the city.
An adopted home to a large number of people coming from various parts of the country, Bengaluru is the IT hub of India and has become a preferred destination for various kinds of individuals including college students and IT professionals. To fully enjoy the idyllic calm of the hotel, insist on a Garden View suite. The garden, with its small waterfall fed lagoon, is outstandingly soothing. The Leela Palace Bangalore’s location, once on the edge of the city, is now very urban, with bustling energy just outside the door.
Once inside the hotel, the pace of Bangalore slows. Another way to retire from the bustle of India’s IT capital is to visit The Leela Palace Bangalore’s Library Bar. With dark wood, leather interiors, and a great collection of books and cigars, this charming room is where the gentlemen of yesteryear would surely choose to unwind. While you are at it, add to your list Tipu Sultan’s summer palace—an Indo-Islamic fortress that serves as a museum for historic insights. Complete your visit to Bengaluru by picnicking or walking around the lavish gardens of Lalbagh and Cubbon Park. Start your shopping adventure from the 100ft Road, a stone’s throw away from The Leela Palace Bengaluru, where international, national and local brands come together, making it a shopaholic’s paradise.
7. Leela Palace in Chennai
The largest of the four metropolitan cities in India, Chennai is a vibrant gateway to the south Indian culture. Chennai is known for the infectious exuberance of its Tamil-speaking people and its wonderful cosmopolitan way of life. Also known as the Detroit of Asia—the auto hub of India—Chennai displays a mix of cultural heritage blended in by the Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British.
Chennai has a tropical climate, but being on the coastline, it is humid throughout the year. With mainly two seasons in a year, Chennai can get hot in summers; however, monsoons (October to December) bring respite. Places to visit in and around Chennai are many. Pick from a colonial fort, its beaches, churches and temples, water sports and amusement parks, shopping centres and street markets, fine-dining and luxury hotels.
The new Leela palace, the only property in Chennai by the sea is a perfect place to experience Chennai from. Among the tourist places in Chennai, Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO Heritage Site, is a must-visit. Head to the 6th century Hindu temple for Lord Shiva at Mylapore, the early 19th century Thousand Lights Mosque or the 16th century Roman Catholic Church at Santhome. Fort St. George, the first British fortress in India, promises an assortment of stories—real and fictional—for the history buff.
8. Vivanta by Taj in Kovalam
Fondly referred to as the ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala is a paradise from a travelling point of view. Voted the best destination in Asia by World Tourism Awards, Kerala tours offer breathtaking diversity. There are bounties to be discovered and explored in Kerala.
Kerala is renowned all over the world for its pristine backwaters. A ride on board the pampering Kettuvallams (the houseboats) is a serene yet luxurious experience. Kerala is also one of the important ecotourism destinations in India. With salubrious hill stations, beach, backwaters, Ayurveda and rich cultural and architectural heritage, Kerala is certainly a dream destination.
Indulge in a fusion of pleasure of luxe and beauty of nature at Vivanta by Taj in Kovalam. Savor the view of backwaters of playful waves of the sea. Munch in culinary delights in the restaurants or rejuvenate in the Spa. While you are there don’t miss out on a boat ride on the backwater in a houseboat.
(Pictures courtesy of above mentioned hotels’ websites)