Where to stay: INDIA
For people who care where they stay. Authentic. Soulful. Charm. Design. Indie. Local.
National Capital Territory
Six Senses Fort Barwara | Sawāi Mādhopur, India
Set in what was once the original home of Indian royalty, Six Senses Fort Barwara is centered around spa and wellness practices rooted within local cultural traditions. Encompassing two palaces and two temples, the fort has been sensitively restored by Six Senses to reimagine the 700 year-old regal atmosphere in modern times. Throughout the restoration and development of the resort, the wellness brand worked very closely with architects, artisans and suppliers who lived in the surrounding area.
La Villa | Pondicherry, India
Two French architects, Tina Trigala and Yves Lesprit, harmoniously extended La Villa’s colonial facades, creating an interplay with horizons of white walls. The spacious and cool rooms are veiled in precious fabrics and furnished with contemporary designs made from old wood. A custom- made swimming pool borders the shady, lush garden. Here is an elegant interplay of infuences and eras, just as you’d find in old Pondicherry.
Taj Connemara, Chennai | India
Originally the Imperial Hotel from 1854, after several name changes, extensions, revamps and a fire, since 2018 it is a luxury Taj Hotel again with Classic Colonial, Art Deco and distinctive elements from architect Geoffrey Bawa's "Tropical Modernism" styles.
Maidens Hotel | New Delhi
The Maidens Hotel from 1903 is one of the earliest heritage hotels in Delhi. The luxury hotel is an imperial survivor of the British rule. Every corner in the hotel has a story to tell, about the princely states and the British Raj. The pearl-white hotel (which used to be red) is set in oasis of calmness of lush greenery, while peacocks roam and birds chirp sweet songs.
The Imperial, New Delhi
The Imperial – the city's most feted colonial-era hotel (circa 1931) – offers a tangible connection to its self-proclaimed 'halcyon days of the Raj'. If you enjoy nostalgic, old-fashioned elegance – vintage rattan furniture, wheeling fans, photographs and artworks of the city from the 20th century – this is certainly the most delightful hotel in Delhi, with a real sense of history, but it also feels disconnected from India's current and future prospects as a burgeoning powerhouse.
Rambagh Palace | Jaipur, India
Given that the Maharaja of Jaipur once called this place home, it’s predictably opulent. Rooms, each with extraordinarily high ceilings, mahogany to spare, and packed with antiques, are arranged around a beautiful courtyard; there’s a croquet lawn, strutting peacocks, and fountains that wouldn’t look out of place in an Roman piazza. Dinner in the astonishing main restaurant feels like one has snuck into Buckingham Palace.
Taj Lake Palace | Udaipur, India
Built in 1743 as a summer escape and pleasure resort by the royal dynasty of Mewar, it was converted into a hotel when the Maharana started accepting paying guests in the 1960s. The transition to hotel has been seamless, with the original fountains and fretwork expanded to include 66 luxury rooms. Lake Palace was used as a key location in the Bond film, Octopussy, and it still oozes glamour and decadence.
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel | Mumbai
Cosseting guests in old-fashioned grandeur, Mumbai's most iconic hotel is much loved by its well-heeled and glossy locals. Generations have celebrated life's milestones here, making this more than just the city's best luxury hotel, but part of its beating heart.
The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata | India
Kolkata’s Oberoi is the grand old dame of hotels in north-east India. Opened in 1888, this luxury heritage hotel is a palatial landmark in the City of Joy and offers well-appointed rooms, excellent dining, great facilities and truly wonderful service a stone’s throw from the main sights.
The Oberoi, Gurgaon | India
A luxe-business heaven - its lobby and largest restaurant are contained in a glass box, divided by strips of shimmering steel, overlooking a royal-blue lake-large pool and pea-green living wall. Set in nine acres, it’s glamorous and contemporary, and rooms are among the city’s biggest.
Trident, Gurgaon | India
Behind its bougainvillaea lined walls, the Trident is a veritable urban oasis. Everything here is slightly larger-than-life: cavernous colonnades and double storey doors, with polish brass snakes for handles, add a touch of the exotic. Sweeping marble hallways and enormous bouquets of flowers create a sense of grandeur and the overall feel is contemporary Mughal splendour. By night, shimmering waterways are incandescent, lit by glowing torches, as the smell of incense fills the air.
Alpha Old Court House | Fort Kochi, India
Having acted as a courthouse, banking office and tea and spice warehouse in its two century existence, the new art-deco design is complemented by one of the largest collections of contemporary Indian art, paying year-round homage to the city’s annual Kochi-Muziris Biennale Art Fair. With striking colours and checkerboard tiled floors serving as the foundation for each room, the finishes espouse a classic elegance with understated touches of high-tech comfort.
amã Stays & Trails Tea Estate Bungalows | Munnar, India
Located in the Kanan Devan Hills, a scenic drive from Kochi, on an estate spanning over 58,000 acres of lush plantations and thick forests, the seven original tea planters' bungalows offer an experience like no other: breath-taking landscapes, pristine lakes, unending expanses of tea plantations, and blankets of mist.
The Leela Palace Jaipur
With intricate latticework, glittering thikri and colorful murals beside the villa pools and hotel lawns, The Leela Palace Jaipur is every inch a palatial resort. The homegrown brand is known for its exquisite interiors and razor sharp, traditional hospitality with properties in places like New Delhi and Udaipur.
RAAS Chhatrasagar | Nimaj, India
Rajasthan shows off its natural beauty at Raas Chhatrasagar boutique camp. A series of luxury tents perched on the dam of a reservoir: the retreat recaptures bygone days, pastimes and dining experiences in a rural setting far removed from the bustle of India’s large cities. Kitchen staff prepare local and international dishes using ingredients grown on-site and locally hired staff can plan bespoke day-trips to take in off-the-beaten-path villages.
Mateus Boutique Hotel | Panjim, Goa | India
New York-based architect Jonathan Fernandes renovated an abandoned colonial mansion in his ancestral Goa to create the 9-room Mateus Boutique Hotel. Fernandes maintained the layout of the original building – a mansion built by wealthy colonial merchants in 1879 – but broke into certain walls to create more openness and light. Many of the original hand-painted clay tiles remain in the flooring, while Bharat Floorings created a new, bespoke range of tiles to fill the remaining spaces.
Ahilya By The Sea | Nerul, Goa | India
This home-turned-boutique-hotel, with eight rooms and three villas, is perched on Coco Beach in peaceful Nerul in North Goa. It combines quintessential old-world Goan charm with Balinese influences, providing a contemporary luxury experience.
The Oberoi Sukhvilas Resort & Spa | Chandigarh, India
Located in the outer Himalayas, The Oberoi Sukhvilas is enveloped in 8,000 acres of the Siswan Forest range in New Chandigarh. An oasis that is just 30 minutes from the city centre and 45 from the city airport, the resort and accompanying spa is ideally situated for exploring the highlights of the local area or a place for guests to unwind amongst landscaped gardens, Rajput and Mughal architecture and glorious views.
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans | India
This Taj outpost is set on Havelock, an Indian island closer to Myanmar than its mother country, with dense forests and beautiful beaches. And this hotel has both: In front of it, two miles of pale, floury sand drops gently into a sapphire sea, and soaring above it are jungles of giant mahua and padauk trees that have stood here for centuries.
Devi Ratn | Jaipur, India
- former Lebua Resort. Located a short distance from the city centre, the resort is spread over 20 acres of lush green landscapes. Each of the spacious 60 rooms and suites offer a view of the Aravalli hills. Devi Ratn takes its name from the Nav Ratn - the nine gems symbolizing cosmic energy. Inspired by the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory, the hotel's modern architecture weaves in Rajasthan's vibrant tradition and culture.
28 Kothi | Jaipur, India
This boutique guest house with just five individually-styled rooms makes a virtue out of its quirky minimalism. The Instagrammable interiors are dotted with thoughtful design touches. There are the obligatory yellow marigolds floating in water in the bronze uruli (container), but there are also amusing touches: parrots that are cut-out from metal adorn landings and walls, star-shaped marble trays hold candles, glass tables with golden corn-sheaf like trunks mimic real-life sheaves.
Nanendra Bhawan | Bikaner, India
Built for the last monarch of Bikaner, his death without an heir in 2003 brought the rule of the Maharajas in Bikaner to an end. The Queen Mother gave her assent for the building to be revived as a boutique hotel. Its redstone facade is in local style but the opulent interiors are an eclectic mix of Bombay Art Deco coupled with contemporary Indian furniture, rich velvet fabrics, tribal artworks and a vast collection of antique curios from around the world amassed by the Maharaja himself.
The Kumaon | Almora, India
Originally intended as a private estate, this parcel of land in the Himalayas would have been quite simply too stunning not to share. Sri Lankan architects Pradeep Kodikara and Jineshi Samaraweera, disciples of the modernist master Geoffrey Bawa, have built something absolutely extraordinary. Vast floor-to-ceiling windows frame unforgettable views, and materials like stone walls and raw concrete beams are warmed by bamboo cladding and hardwood floors and ceilings.