20 Best Heritage Hotels In India
India is the land of rajas, maharajas and all sorts of royal opulence. From north to south to east to west, the country is dotted with the regal grandeur and stunningly magnificent palaces showing off the oozing luxuriousness of the imperial splendor. Years after the country got independence from the colonial rulers and the democracy was established, several sensational palaces, forts and residential buildings of the erstwhile kings, feudal lords and all the other important title-holders across the country were given up by their families to the hoteliers to mainly avoid the immense upkeep cost.
Now, India has a flourished hotel business sprawling over the whole county and moreover, thanks to the royal families, we know possess some of the most luxurious heritage hotels in the world. Here is a list containing the best heritage hotels in India.
1. Taj Falaknuma, Hyderabad, Telangana
A mere three mile from the iconic Charminar
and the lavish Chaumalla Palace there lies the country’s one of the finest and the most heritage hotels, Taj Falaknuma Palace. The Falaknuma Palace
was once resided by the Nizams of Hyderabad and thus witnessed the grandeur and opulence of royalty. The palace also hosted numerable Indian and European kings, high-profile officials from Britain and so many other celebrated figures uplifting the glamour of the palace. Today, the Taj group of Hotels has refurbished the 60 distinguished rooms of Falaknuma to set it up as the grandest Heritage Hotel in India.
2. Oberoi Grand, Kolkata, West Bengal
Known as the 'Grand Dame of Kolkata', the Oberoi Grand is not only the pride of the city of joy, it is also one of the finest heritage hotels in India. Situated at a prime location at the heart of the city at Jawaharlal Nehru Road (previously known as Chowringhee Road) and surrounded by the beautiful Victoria Memorial, the busiest market place, the lush green Maidan and some other iconic landmarks of Kolkata
, the Oberoi Grand has been offering the most luxurious and royal treatment
to its visitors sine the British imperial era. Commonly known as the Grand Hotel, the Oberoi Grand is still the most preferred choice for any national, state level or the International affairs taking place in Kolkata.
3. Umaid Bhavan Palace, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Umaid Bhavan Palace, one of the most luxurious hotels in India is also one of the best heritage hotels in the country. Interestingly, this palace was not just built as the lavish residence for the Jodhpur royal family; the then Maharaja of Jodhpur Umaid Singh benevolently accredited an all new royal palace to replace the Mehrangarh Fort as a new symbol of a new Jodhpur in 1923. Not only that, the philanthropic Maharaja also employed thousands of people of Marwar during the times of the great famine.
The Umaid Bhavan Palace
is a marvelous piece of great architecture sprawling at a huge 26 acres of lush field. Now, the Taj Group of Hotels has taken over its 64 rooms and renovated them to be the parts of a luxurious heritage hotel. When it comes to a celebrity wedding, a posh international meeting of the government delegates or any other glamorous and important occasions to celebrate, Umaid Bhavan still remains one of the hottest choices in the country.
4. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan
A real piece of floating fantasy, Taj Lake Palace
is exactly what you call a royal escape. Set among the picturesque series of hills and located at the middle of the beautiful Pichola Lake
as if a fully bloomed lotus is floating gorgeously, the Lake Palace is a medium sized hotel offering some most luxurious services at a royal inherited place. The Taj Lake Palace is one of the enchanting four islands in Lake Pichola was formerly named as Jag Niwas
and probably was also the picnic place for Maharana Jagat Singh Ji II with her princes and the other beautiful ladies of the Zenana. He built his pleasure palace 1746 along with the famous Jag Mandir and other two islands. And what a young prince set up for the purpose of pure ecstasy is still glorifying the royal heritage of romance in a beautiful way!
5. Hotel Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Located at just behind the idyllic Gateway of India
, the Taj Mahal Palace
is undeniably one of the most iconic landmarks of Mumbai and of course one of the topmost plush heritage hotels in the country which has been the proud host of several high-profile national and international guests since its inception in 1903. The hotel is a part of the Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces and is one of the most important flagship properties of the Taj Group which contains 560 rooms and 44 suits serving with the utmost luxurious facilities.
Legend has it, when Jamsedji Tata, the pioneer Indian industrialist and the founder of Tata Group was denied an access to the classy Watson’s Hotel as it was open to the ‘whites only’, he decided to set up a hotel with the equal measures and thus this great palace hotel came up in existence. Another story denies the first one and suggests that JN Tata was actually requested by the then editor of The Times of India to establish a hotel that suits the grandeur of Mumbai. Whatever the reason be, the Taj Mahal Palace hotel was, is and will always be one of the finest heritage hotels in the country.
6. Jahan Numa Palace, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
Jehan Numa Palace is an important part of Bhopal’s royal history. The palace was built in 1890 be general Obaidullah Khan, son the then ruler Nawab Sultan and the Commander-in-Chief of the erstwhile State of Bhopal. The current hotel was actually a dream of the grandsons of Gen. Obaidullah Khan who finally gave the palace its new and renovated look as a world-class heritage hotel with 101 luxury rooms and suits and several other plush features. Today, Jenhan Numa Palace is considered among the topmost ‘grand heritage’ hotels in India.
7. Taj Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan
The former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the Rambagh Palace is now a posh, elegant and considered one of the best heritage hotels in India currently taken over by the Tata Group of Hotels. The palace which was initially a mere house for the wet nurse of the prince Ram Singh I and was built in 1887, but later passing so many phases and occasions, the royal family at that time felt it was too heavy for them to upkeep the huge palace and the adjacent land; therefore it was in 1957 the family give away the palace and the gardens to convert it into a luxury heritage hotel. Rambagh Palace has now 79 beautifully restored rooms and suits which offer all those lavish services only the royal families were meant to experience.
8. Maison Perumal, Pondicherry
An ancient wooden house has now turned into a plush heritage hotel keeping all its olden appeals quite the same. Snuggled with the natural beauties of the Coromandel Coast and the French influence surroundings of Pondicherry, Maison Perumal is a sure and scenic way to have trip to the bygone era of an of Tamil tradition and hospitality.
9. Rawla Narlai, Pali, Rajasthan
Close to a thick forest, the Rawla Narlai Fort at Pali
is a living remnant of remnant of Rajasthan’s glorious royal past. The Hotel Rawla Narlai is an ancient 17th century property belonging to the royal family of Jodhpur. After a long historical association with the family, Maharaja Swaroop Singhji of Jodhpur finally nodded in approval to get the fort converted into a heritage hotel. Nestled on the lap of Mother Nature, Rawla Narlai is also used as a hunting bungalow. The total 25 rooms were refurbished in a way that they give you a complete medieval royal feeling with all those old fashioned yet elegant furniture, decors and the overall hospitality.
10. Chapslee, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Shimla being the erstwhile summer capital of the colonial rulers must be boasting some of its historical heritages. Chapslee is exactly among those few oddments keeping us remembering the glorious past of the beautiful city. Chapslee used to be the summer residence of the late Raja Charanji Singh Ji of Kapurthala and now is one of the most refined heritage hotels in the country keeping up the ever-enchanting legacy of royal traditions and hospitality inviolate.
11. Nadesar Palace Hotel, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Nadesar Palace is another thing to rejoice about one of the most ancient living cities on the earth that is Varanasi. Located on the bank of Ganges, Nadesar Palace has an association with royalty since 1835. The stunning palace which is now an elegant heritage hotel under the flagship of the Taj group has a majestic collection of artifacts from around the globe personally belonging to the Maharaja of Benaras. Apart from all those traditional royal luxuries inside the hotel the pictorial locations, mango orchards, acres of lush verdant garden etc are the elements which make the staying even more regal.
12. Samode Palace, Jaipur, RajasthanSamode Palace
is one of the oldest structures in India which has been witnessing the glorious royal yesteryears for more than 475 years now and still majestically welcoming guests from all over the world to experience the magnificent royal grandeur of Rajasthan. The palace is particularly significant for the reason that actually it belongs to a noble feudatory using a hereditary title of ‘Maha Rawal’ of the Amber and Jaipur principality in the state.
It is a stunning example of unified Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. Once it was a lavish residence of the feudal lords with opulence and splendor and now is a luxurious heritage hotel, Samode Palace has once again restored its extravagance with utmost sincerity.
13. Usha Kiran Palace, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
Usha Kiran is a beautiful palace set amidst a picturesque landscape of Gwalior. The palace is 120 years old royal one which played proud hosts to several national and international high-profile personalities including none other than the King of England. The palace is beautiful architectural marvel boasting with some of the most intricate artistic works at both inside and outside. The Usha Kiran Palace is now overtaken by the Taj group and renovated as a luxury heritage hotel with its 40 revamped rooms and all the royal treatment for the self-indulgence.
14. Hotel Lake Palace, Kumarakom, Kerala
Located on the pristine bank of the serene Vembanad Lake in Kumarakom; the hotel Lake Palace is another example of great heritages hotel in the country. The Lake Palace hotel is a beautiful amalgamation of the traditional architecture of Kerala
and all the modern amenities featuring the luxurious treatments making it one of the most coveted heritage hotels globally. The scenic beauty around the hotel, ways of complete self-indulgence and the sybaritic lavishness reminiscing the old flavor of royal highness; the Hotel Lake Palace stands out as a highly sophisticated name in the business.
15. Udai Bilas Palace, Dungarpur, Rajasthan
Laden with the exquisite Rajput architecture, beautiful miniature paintings, delicate murals and carvings, Udai Bilas Palace is a place where the royal Rajputana is reconstructed keeping all the royal splendors and majestic charms intact. The palace is located amidst the natural affluence, the azure water of Gaibasagar washing away a side of the palace where a private reserve forest makes the place even more rejuvenated.
The Udai Bilas Palace at Dungarpur lwas started off as a piece of art by the then Maharana Udai Singh Ji II who was a great sponsor of fine-arts and make his palace a collection house of superior artistic elements. The Palace is now a beautiful heritage hotel serving the same grandeur and luxury that were the part of the royal culture two century ago.
16. The Rohet Garh Palace, Rohet, Rajasthan
Another olden building which was revamped and redecorated as a beautiful heritage hotel, Rohet Garh Palace is a place you want to come back again and again. With a idyllic natural setup of lakes, forests and complete tranquility, Rohet Garh Palace near Jodhpur has everything that a royal palace may offer you. The hotel has a total number of 35 superbly refurbished rooms and several other luxury facilities to get you indulged in pleasure and royal splendor. Rohet Garh Palace Hotel has been a proud host of numerable national and international guests including names like historian Patrick French, distinguished author William Dalrymple, journalist Simon Winchester and many more.
17. Neemrana Fort Palace, Rajasthan
The Neermana Fort
is another impressive example of forts turned into heritage hotels. Situated at the Delhi-Jaipur highway the Neemrana Fort was particularly setup to establish the third capital of the Rajput Descendants of Priviraj Chauhan III in 1464 just after his sad defeat by Muhammad Ghori. After witnessing several important measures of history the infrastructural condition of the fort started to dwindle and finally in 1986 when the present day hotel was established after restoring the dilapidated fort and now is considered one of the best heritage hotels in India.
18. Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore, Karnataka
Located on a low hillock, on the outskirt of the royal city of Mysore, the dazing white architecture, a stunning Italian Palazzo with double-column, is standing with sheer royal authority and is called the Lalitha Mahal Palace. The beautiful palace was principally established in 1921 to host none other than the then Viceroy of India. Now, Lalitha Mahal is one of the foremost heritage hotels in India offering all the royal treatments to make you feel like an important guest at the Maharaja’s own palace.
19. Devi Garh by Lebua, Udaipur, Rajasthan
The Devi Garh Palace is a stunning palace setup on a hilltop and surrounded by a picturesque natural splendor. The Palace was once resided by the rulers of Delwara principality, Udaipur between the mid-18th century and mid-20th century. And now according to several international surveys, it is considered as one of the leading luxury heritage hotels in India.
20. The Lalit Grand Palace, Srinagar, J & K
This meticulously restored and refurbished palace in Srinagar overlooking the enchanting Dal Lake
was once the regular residence of the Maharajas which was originally built by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1910. The Palace is now a grand heritage hotel and has been a proud host to guests like Lord Mountbatten, the Maharajas of several princely states of India and many such important figures.