12 of the Best Palaces and Heritage Hotels in India
India has an incredibly long and rich history and one of the highlights of a trip to India is exploring this historic architecture in the mesmerising temples, historical monuments, imposing forts, opulent palaces, havelis and colonial buildings. Some of India’s most opulent royal palaces have been converted into luxury heritage hotels so you no longer need to just admire the architecture from afar, nowadays there are so many magnificent palace hotels and heritage hotels in India where you can really soak up the history, ambiance and character and even feel like a Maharaja for a few nights!
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But don’t worry, even if you do not have the budget of a Maharaja you don’t need to miss out on staying in a palace or historic hotel. Heritage hotels in India cater for all different budgets and are spread all across the country.
The best (and most expensive) hotels I’ve listed first but you will also find more affordable heritage hotels nearer the end of the article. Prices can change depending on season so I’ve added links to booking.com so you can check out the prices for your dates.
By the way I’ve included links to Booking.com so if you find my blog helpful and want to book one of these amazing hotels I also earn a small affiliate commission at no extra cost to you which helps me to keep this site going. So thanks! 🙂
These are 12 of my favourite palaces and heritage hotels in India.
The lake city of Udaipur is the most romantic city in India. Sitting in the middle of Lake Pichola, this magnificent palace was originally built in 1746 as a pleasure palace for Maharaja Jagat Singh II. Today, the floating palace is one of the most romantic hotels in the world and one of the very best heritage hotels in India, what with its sumptuously decorated rooms, majestic architecture and breath-taking views.
Everything from the rose petals thrown at you upon arrival to the fairy tale dining room oozes luxury, which is matched by the exceptional service, extremely elegant rooms and spectacular grounds. This heritage hotel is well worth the money if you want to be treated like a Maharaja in a unique and extraordinarily beautiful setting.
The Taj Lake Palace Hotel is one of the most famous palace hotels in India, it has even been the setting of many films including James Bond’s Octopussy. Look no further for a truly special stay. Click here to check out reviews and prices and to book.
The most desirable address in Mumbai is the amazing heritage Taj Palace Hotel. This is one of the oldest, finest and most famous heritage hotels in India, in fact its not only a hotel but is also one of the most popular landmarks in the city and is without a doubt the best place to stay in Mumbai (Bombay).
The hotel was built in 1903 and is the most iconic hotel in Mumbai and is situated right on Apollo Bunder facing the iconic Gateway of India and overlooking the Arabian Sea. It’s also right in the heart of Colaba where all the best colonial architecture and most interesting sights of Mumbai are located.
There are over 600 elegant rooms all super stylishly decorated with Indian-inspired decor and architecture, a beautiful swimming pool, luxury boutique shops with brands like Dior and Louis Vuitton, an excellent spa and no less than 10 restaurants to choose from!
Don’t miss having High Tea in the Sea Lounge. Click here to see the reviews, photos, prices and to book
The spell bounding Samode Palace Hotel is over 475 years old and is one of the most elegant palace hotels in India where you can really feel like a Rajasthani Maharaja. The palace, which lies 40kms away from Jaipur, was once the residence of the royal family but since being converted into a hotel has hosted many celebrities and royalty and is undoubtedly one of the most amazing palace hotels and heritage hotels in India.
The interiors are just stunning with so much detail to take in – you really must see this palace for yourself! Each of the 43 rooms is uniquely and exquisitely decorated in royal Rajasthani style with antiques and fine art whilst still having all the modern luxuries, comforts and amenities.
The swimming pool area is also gorgeous and there is a great courtyard restaurant, ayurvedic spa centre and yoga classes. This is definitely one of the most amazing places to stay in all of India. Click here for more photos, reviews, prices and to book.
Samode actually have a couple of properties, the Palace Hotel offers a great escape in the countryside, if you want to stay in the city of Jaipur check out 175 year old Samode Haveli and wildlife lovers can stay at the Samode Safari Lodge in Bandhavgarh where your chances of sighting a wild tiger are high!
The massive Umaid Bhawan Palace is set in 26 acres of gardens and is one of the largest royal family residences in India and one of the most famous palace hotels in India. Completed in 1944, this grand and imposing palace took 15 years to build and was designed by renowned British architect Henry Lanchester. It was once one of the largest residences in the whole world and was one of the last big palaces to be built in India (hence the rooms are a bit more modern in style than many other heritage hotels)
In 1972 just part of this sprawling stately palace was converted into a heritage hotel featuring Art Deco and Renaissance design with over 60 elegant rooms, 2 swimming pools, many recreational facilities, including libraries, a whispering gallery and lovely terraces with city views. There’s also an excellent spa and a variety of bars and restaurants.
The royal family of Jodhpur still live one part of this massive palace and another section is now a museum. The hotel is managed by the Taj Group – one of the very best luxury hotel groups in India and was voted as the World’s Best Hotel by Tripadvisor users in 2016. Click here for more details, prices and to book.
The award-winning Imperial Hotel may not look the most impressive from the outside but it is the best of the best in India’s capital city. Built in 1931 by the British Raj, The Imperial Hotel is an iconic property that seeps old-style class that has won numerous awards and makes everyone who stays here feel like royalty.
If you want to be surrounded by luxury while in Delhi, this is the place to do it, as you will experience true colonial elegance and service right down to the finest detail. All rooms and suites are pure lavish, from the posturepedic spring mattress to the beautiful marble baths. Add in the award-winning restaurants, atrium tea lounge and holistic spa and you might never want to leave. Click here to check out reviews and prices and to book.
Since the 1880s The Oberoi Grand has hosted some of the country’s most influential people. Even today there are functions held at this phenomenal heritage hotel for India’s Heads of State. The Oberoi Grand is a gem in the heart of the city centre and a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Kolkata, while still being close enough to its main attractions.
After a day of exploring the city, relaxing in the tastefully decorated, colonial-style rooms, pampering yourself in the therapeutic spa and lounging by the fantastic swimming pool surrounded by palm trees and beautiful gardens is just blissful. And don’t miss finishing the day off in the Oberoi’s award-winning restaurant. See here for reviews, more photos, prices and to book.
Kerala has some fabulous luxury resorts and this former shipyard that has been converted into a grand colonial heritage hotel that takes guests back to the 19th century is one of the very best. Like Kerala history as a major part of the spice trade, the hotel’s interior is inspired by English, Dutch and Portuguese design, while the exterior keeps its Victorian shipbuilding yard look. The minute you step into the Brunton Boatyard you can sense the history of the spice trade and the days of the British Raj.
The 26 beautiful rooms are adorned with antiques, with most offering spectacular views of the sea. These views are not only from the room, but also from the ensuite bathroom. Add in the three magnificent in-house restaurants, the tranquil spa and the oceanfront pool and you can see why this is one of the top heritage hotels in India.
I really love all the CGH Earth properties as they are not only luxurious and tastefully designed but they are also eco friendly, preserve the local history and culture and often offer cultural activities within the hotel grounds.
Click here to check out the reviews, photos, prices and to book for Brunton Boatyard and if you are heading to the Kerala backwaters also check out the blissful Coconut Lagoon Resort also by CGH Earth
The magnificent French architecture of the Palais De Mahe matches this heritage hotel’s surroundings. The hotel is located in the French Quarter of Puducherry/ Pondicherry and is designed in the French colonial style of architecture.
It is a small, stylish hotel, run by the excellent CGH Earth group, with elegant rooms that boast fantastic views of the outdoor pool or the French district.
The super cute courtyard pool is one of the hotel’s main features and where many guests choose to spend a lot of their time, well, apart from their room of course, which all have high-ceilings and simple, but historic and extremely comfortable furnishings. Click here for reviews, prices and to book.
Shimla is famous for being the British Raj’s Summer capital. Chapslee was once the summer residence of the late Raja Charanjit Singh of Kapurthala, today this chic heritage hotel is known for its warm hospitality, exceptional Indian food and picturesque location.
The property was originally built in 1835 and opened its doors as a hotel in 1976. Since then, it has won numerous awards as well as being ranked as one of the top 5 heritage hotels in India.
There are only 5 elegantly decorated suites in the Chapslee so you’ll need to book well in advance. There is also an elegant drawing room, lots of wood features, a cosy library and a beautiful dining room that can seat 14 people. The grounds are just as incredible as the rest of the property. Click here for reviews, prices and to book.
This colourful and prestigious heritage hotel looks a lot like a Tibetan monastery as it was built in the late 15th century as the residence of a prominent politician called Gellong Netuk Lama. It has since been turned into an exceptional hotel, complete with authentic Sikkim hospitality and views over to the snow capped mountains beyond.
The Netuk House Hotel is heaven for those interested in the colourful Tibetan culture and for nature lovers thanks to its magnificent mountain surroundings.
In fact, most rooms boast spectacular views of Khangchendzonga and the town below. It is a home away from home, with incredible Sikkimese furniture and Sikkimese artwork painted on the ceilings, comfy rooms and amazing hosts. Click here for reviews, photos, prices and to book.
The Green Hotel proves that you don’t have to break the bank in order to stay in heritage hotels in India. Built for Mysore princesses, the former Chittaranjan Palace has been restored as a heritage hotel surrounded by extensive gardens and decorated with traditional Indian crafts. The Green Hotel is truly an oasis with beautiful courtyard seating areas, exceptional hospitality and 31 cosy themed rooms.
Most furniture throughout the hotel is antique, including in the drawing room and the library. But one of the best things about the property is that it is passionate about sustainable tourism, incorporates energy saving initiatives and runs off solar power. They even distribute some of the profits to charitable and environmental projects around the country.
Mysore’s Green Hotel may not be as fancy as some of the other heritage hotels in India but it’s more affordable, better for the environment and oozes character and history. See here for reviews, more photos, prices and to book.
Goa is not just about the beaches and parties – the colourful Portuguese heritage is also a highlight of visiting Goa. Panjim Inn was originally built as a Catholic home by a successful businessman in the 1880s and was one of the first mansions to be built in the area. It has since been renovated and restored to bring back the elegant old-world charm of Goa’s past.
This affordable heritage hotel has 24 spacious rooms, each of which is decorated with its own character. They all have period furniture with modern amenities like WiFi and air-conditioning. Fine art and collectables can be seen all over the property, so you never forget about the history or heritage of the building, which is apparent both inside and out.
The hotel is located in the heart of Latin Quarter of Fontainhas and close to all the sights in Goa’s capital. See here for reviews, more photos, prices and to book.
Have you stayed in an amazing palace or heritage hotel in India? Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your experience and recommendations.
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