Experiencing the Pleasures of Luxury: TheTop 10 Hotels In India

TheTop 10 Hotels In India | Tejpal Hospitality
Tejpal Hospitality

– A detailed account on India’s hospitality landscape
by Amit Tejpal, Founder of Tejpal Hospitality

While all hotels strive to offer the best services to their guests, some hotels go above and beyond. The best Luxury 5 star Hotels in India have been traditionally from the expected Hotel biggies Taj, Oberoi’s, ITC, and Leela Hotels, therefore it should come as no surprise that most of the hotels below are from these companies. These hotels are icons or pillars of Indian Hospitality, and their legendary service with exquisite detailing in every aspect, makes them stand out. However, instead of offering a bland list of just the top most business making hotels of India, we have carefully considered 10 segments of tourism that matter to a traveller, and the best hotel(s) in each class thereof.
Lake Pichola in Udaipur is home to some of the most beautiful hotels in the world. We have 3 of them on our top 10 list and it is because of the global attention they receive. Both these hotels offer majestic views of the lake from the rooms. Prices are upwards of Rs. 25,000 per night at both hotels and these 2 hotels regularly make it to the top 10 Hotels of major tourism publications every year. Fantastically curated, and even better presented, you will find it difficult to witness more grandeur anywhere else.
The Arabian Sea gives India some of the best beaches in the world. Goa and Kerala are crown jewels of Indian Tourism, and these 2 properties are the best known Beach Hotels by the Arabian Sea. These 2 hotels are preferred family destinations, and they offer huge expanses of the ocean at their doorstep. The Leela Kovalam was a government property, until Leela Group took it over. It was popular even back then. Taj Fort Aguada still has remnants of the Portugese Fort from 1612 where 79 cannons stood, and later a lighthouse was added in 1864, the oldest of its kind in Asia. Rates start at around Rs.10,000 per night for both properties. Goa even offers offshore Casinos to hopefully ‘enrich’ your experience.
The Oberoi Motor Vessel Vrinda offers a river cruise experience like no other. The tarmac to tarmac experience is all-inclusive and starts with the reception of the guests at the airport, and evolves into a 3 night cruise with a new waterway explored every day, as well as a new cultural show every night. The MV Vrinda actually comprises of 3 boats of different sizes along with a speed boat. The guests get to experience the local culture by getting on to a new boat everyday to explore the wildlife and waterways of the Kerala backwaters. They return to the main vessel every evening, where the cabins are. Rates start at Rs. 50,000 per night.
Hotel stays not enough? How about staying with an actual royal family! The Umaid Bhawan Palace, completed in the pre-independence era of 1943 and named after Maharaja Umaid Singh, still serves as the residence of the Royal Family of Jodhpur, but is leased out to Taj Hotels to run as a heritage property under their banner, on revenue share basis. This hotel is the current favourite for the biggest weddings of our era, from Bollywood to Hollywood, Umaid Bhawan Palace has seen and served the who’s who of the world for decades. Rates start at around Rs. 30,000 per night.
If the Taj Mahal is the most iconic ‘monument of love’ in the World, then the most befitting place to see it from, is The Oberoi Amarvilas. This beautiful property offers inexhaustive views of the Taj Mahal from every window, and is very popular with guests. The only other hotel which encompasses the spirit of love in a meaningful way is the Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur. The hotel feels like a bed in heaven. Surrounded by water, this surreal hotel stands the testimony of time and was completed in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh of Mewar Dynasty. Prices at these hotels are upwards of Rs. 25,000 per night, but the experience is priceless.
The Palace on Wheels truly embodies the spirit of travel and leisure, all while sitting at one’s window. 5 star luxury on wheels, this experience just cannot be matched by any hotel. It highlights the best of the Golden Triangle, starting from Delhi and ending back there. Travellers on board see many sights and cities of Rajasthan, complete with meals and guided tours. A visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra is also included. Introduced by Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and Indian Railways in 1982, this song has been ‘on-track’ for almost 40 years, and still bedazzles tourists daily with almost all contemporary luxury hotel offerings, from buffets to personal butlers. Rates can be upwards of Rs. 1,00,000 per couple per night for a cabin.
The only hotel in India where one can sit in an outdoor hot air jacuzzi swimming pool and see snow falling on nearby mountain tops. The Oberoi Wildflower Hall is not just a hotel, it’s literally an entire hill. It looks and feels best during the winter months when all the fireplaces are lit up with fresh wood in the evenings daily, and a pianist keeps the atmosphere nostalgic. Most of its suites feature a working fireplace too. Rates are usually upwards of Rs. 25,000 per night. This hotel almost took our spot for the most romantic hotel on this list.
ITC Mughal was the first hotel of the ITC Group, then known as ITC Welcomgroup. It was a collaboration between Oberoi Hotels and ITC Limited, with the former agreeing to manage the property built by ITC. However, that never happened and ITC forayed into hotels full time thereafter. Recently the entire property was rebuilt in parts to suit modern needs, and now includes what could be called one of the finest modern spas in Asia, known under the ITC brand name Kaya Kalpa. It’s the least expensive property on our list and you may find a room here at just the price of a spa, under Rs. 6000 per night in the off season.
Ananda in the Himalayas was a viceregal palace built by the Maharaja of Tehri, Garhwal in 1910. The property is owned by hoteliers belonging to the same family as the Oberoi Group, and most of the management staff here is ex-Oberoi. Ananda started a new category of it’s own when it launched. It is one of the best experiences in the Himalayas for mental relaxation and heavenly peace. Rates at Ananda star at around Rs. 30,000 per night.
Not only is it the best business hotel on our list, The Oberoi Rajvilas found its way on the top of the world list in 2015 when Travel + Leisure, a well known tourism publication, named it as the best hotel in the World. Built on the former hunting grounds of the Maharana of Mewar, this 200 year old land is probably the most revered property of The Oberoi Hotels group. So much so that Vikram Oberoi, son of Oberoi Patriarch PRS ‘Biki’ Oberoi started his career here as general manager, before moving up into corporate management. If you manage to get a room here, expect rates upwards of Rs. 30,000 per night.
Ranthambore National Park near Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan is a vast wildlife sanctuary and home to tigers. On the edge of this National Park is this sprawling oasis, built over 8 hectares in the lap of nature, it hosts only luxury tents, complete with four poster beds, pool, and wifi. Service here is made for the Maharajas. Rates are upwards of Rs.25,000 per night, and the experience is very unique and pristine.
Apart from the alluring list above, there are some honourable mentions, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai is the Largest Hotel in india presently with 600 rooms, Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai which was built in 1903, is the oldest 5 star Hotel, and the Taj Rambagh, Jaipur has the most expensive rooms, going right up to a whopping Rs.6,00,000 + taxes per night (just the taxes of this room could sponsor a 2 night family vacation at a good 5 star hotel). How many of them have you travelled to yet?

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