As India marched forward towards the development route, many forts and palaces were rebuilt and embellished into luxurious hotels and resorts. Past kings and their kingdoms left behind numerous citadels for us to cherish and gifted us perfect examples of rich Indian kingdoms and their families.
Still garnished with lustrous chandeliers and royal ceilings, long corridors and sublime rooms, dazzling accessories and elegant furniture, these palaces are absolute joy to look at and mull over. So, if you believe in the old saying “Live like king size”, these forts can make your dream come true maybe for a day or two.
Have a look at some of the most famous palaces and forts that now serve as larger than life resorts and heritage hotels.
Taj Lake Palace –Udaipur, Rajasthan
Built in 1743 and 1746, Taj Lake Palace floats on the lake of Pichola and was earlier known as the Jag niwas. Taj lake palace is now termed as a luxurious hotel with loads of exotic and alluring amenities to offer. Taj palace has 83 rooms and suites surrounded by white marble walls.
Also, The palace turned resort escorts you via a speedboat for a regal arrival and you are pampered with royal rituals as soon as you deboard. To conclude, this palace turned resort is the place to be if you’ve been wishing for some quality romantic time with your beloved one.
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Umaid Bhawan Palace – Jodhpur
Located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of the world’s largest private residences with 347 rooms. Formerly a residential of Maharaja Umaid Singh of Jodhpur, this establishment is now a property of Taj Hotels. Built with sandstone and marble, this palace has a visible blend of western and Indian architectural cooperation. Not to mention, the palace has lavish ball rooms, private dining rooms, sumptuous halls, a grand swimming pool to beat the heat, a museum, exotic spas, billiards room, tennis courts and the list goes on.
Umaid Bhawan Palace has 64 royal guestrooms and suites along with a ‘Maharaja suite’ and a ‘Maharani suite’ equipped with royal amenities and services. Not to mention, this hotel has been awarded the world’s best hotel at the Traveller’s Choice Award.
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Naini Retreat – Nainital
Nestled at the height of 2000 metres, the Naini Retreat is a luxurious hotel in Nainital that was formerly owned by the Maharaja of Pilbhit and is only a kilometer away from the Naini Lake. This hill-top resort offers loads of modern and world class amenities. Colonial relics can be seen in the resort reminiscent of the erstwhile era. The resort provides an unparallel view of the Naini Lake in the whole of Nanital and comes with various guestrooms, suites, duplex rooms, lake facing rooms and garden rooms.
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Enjoy a nice breakfast or brunch at the Garden Cafe and Grill and dine at the exquisite lake view restaurant and bar for an exclusive evening around the glittering waters. Stress reducing spas and treatments with fully equipped gym, steam rooms and saunas ensure you a serene and easy stay.
Chapslee sits on top of the Elysium Hill situated in northern Shimla. The house was originally built in 1830 for the Secretariat for the Governor General of the East Indian Company, however, it later became the summer residence of Raja Kapurthala in 1938. Keeping the essence of Indo-European architecture intact, currently, this boutique hotel’s European touch is widely appreciated by many guests staying there.
The resort has a grand hall with five beautiful bedrooms with shimmering chandeliers, antiques and family portraits. Chapslee is indeed one of the finest establishments in Shimla. And it is indeed worth visiting Shimla simply to stay here.
Rambagh Palace – Jaipur
Also famous as the jewel of Jaipur, Rambagh Palace is is one of the most prominent hotels in Rajasthan. This palace turned hotel used to be the residence of the Maharajah Sawai Man Singh II. The palace was initially a garden house for the wet nurse of prince Ram Singh II in 1835. But this palace became as the principal residence of the Maharaja in 1931. Rambagh Palace was later permuted into a luxurious heritage hotel in 1957 and is now owned by the Taj group of hotels.
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Ranked amongst the world’s 50 best hotels by Conde Nast Traveller, this flamboyant palace has nearly 80 rooms each equipped with world class amenities and flashes vibrant glimpses of royal lifestyle within the palace. The palace also has services like spa, a golf course, open swimming pool and a fitness center. The heritage hotel has three variant of restaurants, Suvarna Mahal (Indian), The Rajput Room (multi-cuisine) and The Verandah and each restaurant posseses a bar.
Fort Jadhavgadh – Pune
This 300 years old historic fort of Jadhavgadh dates back to the 18th-century that rests on a mount of a hill on the old Pune Satara road. The moment you enter the fort through its cobblestone steps, you can see the magnificence of the then thriving Maratha regime sprawling proudly across 25 acres of carefully manicured landscape. The fort now serves as a resort where the Maratha excellence is still very much adorned.
The rooms of this fort have strong stone walls, open bathrooms with rain showers and all rooms have modern day amenities. Definitely, one of the best heritage hotels in India. Also, the Jadhavgadh fort offers a restaurant with open-air dining, a courtyard cafe and a good looking poolside bar. For recreation, the fort has an in-house museum, an outdoor pool and a full-service spa. More importantly, it has also become a favorite destination for pre wedding shoots and royal weddings.
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Jehan Numa Palace- Bhopal
Jehan Numa Palace is a royal residence that dates back in the 19th century that serves as the ideal example of Nawabi and Lucknawi conviviality. The Palace belongs to female Sultan known as Jehan Begum, the only longest ruling female in Bhopal’s history. In addition, the palace turned resort exudes a rich architectural mix of British colonial, Classical Greek and European style.
Quite brilliantly transformed into a hotel in 1983, the palace boasts about 100 luxurious rooms with lavish amenities, colonial décor and green gardens to start your mornings with. Accommodations include patio rooms, regal rooms, imperial rooms and various suites as well. Not to mention, a fine dining experience is quintessential in the Nawabi culture and hence this palace’s dining amenities are otherworldly.
Lalitha Mahal – Mysore
The Lalitha Mahal is one of the largest shimmering palaces in the whole of India. Located in the state of Karnataka, the palace was built in 1921 for the Maharaja of Mysore. Also, the imperial white palace embellished with a stunning Italianate palazzo was termed as a heritage hotel in 1974. Ashok group of hotels owns this majestic palace.
The opulent palace has a banquet hall (now dining hall), a dancing floor and adorned by Italian marble. Similarly the staircase have ornamentation like Belgian crystal chandeliers, Persian carpets and European styled furniture. While here, you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the gentle slopes at the foothills of the Chamunda hill. Subsequently, serves as a perfect setting for film shootings, weddings and grand corporate events.
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Samode Palace, Samode- Jaipur
The Samode Palace lies amidst the hills of Aravalli Range and has been a host to many celebrities and artists. Formerly a residence of the families of Maha Rawal, the palace a hotel with a rich architectural mix of Mughal and Rajasthani culture.
Certainly one of the most splendid looking heritage hotels in India. The palace is about 40 kms away from Jaipur. And has all set of numerous world class amenities. All the rooms are accompanied by luxurious courtyards and lounges with velvety linen and flowers at your feet. In addition, it also has two restaurants that offer fine royal dining and sublime European cuisines. To conclude, recreations include sun bathing near poolside, a swimming pool and spas to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.