Inspired By The Vicky+Katrina Wedding Venue? Check Into These Palace Hotels

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    If you dream of fountained courtyards, arched balconies and perhaps kissing Prince Charming or Nick Jonas, like Priyanka Chopra, and now Katrina Kaif as she marries Vicky Kaushal, then you best set off to these palace hotels for a slice of the royal life. While we don’t promise a seat in the throne room, a blast from the past at palace hotels across the country should make you feel regal enough. Even if you don't have bae, these fantanstic hotels will more than make up for it. Go check into our pick of the best palace hotels in India. 

    Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur

    Now under the Taj banner, this one was originally owned by the Mewar of Udaipur. A vision in white marble, with the Aravalli Mountains looming behind, the interiors are as grand as the guilded roof tops. We suggest you check into The Shambhu Prakash suite, kitted in European splendour with high arches and pillars. You can also sail on an antique gangaur, or the royal barge, while the sunset makes for a romantic setting. Or lounge by the magnificent pool with a butler at your service.

    Samode Palace

    Skip the city life for this lavish treat which blends royal and relaxed, just an hour from Jaipur. Steeped in the hills, and in about 500 years of heritage, here is where you go for solitude and splendour. Four-poster beds, florals walls, intricate carpets and a royal kitchen await, and if that isn’t enough, perhaps their mosaic swimming pool, will do the trick.

    Taj Falaknuma Palace

    Taj Falaknuma Palace

    Falaknuma, Hyderabad

    If there is one thing the Nizams got right, among various others, was their opulent lifestyle. Named for Mirror of the Sky, its cascading gardens, Venetian décor, and Europeans interiors transport you to the Renaissance ages. Fitted with marble flooring and facing the courtyard as the tradition demanded ages ago, the well-preserved luxury rooms here will make your squeal with delight.

    Amar Mahal

    One of the lesser-known palaces, this one at Orchcha is set in the hills and smack in the middle of a wildlife sanctuary {Orchha Wildlife Park}, you’ll be in the lap of luxury throughout. Without burning a hole in your pocket (comparatively), the Amar Mahal palace offers rooms built according to the Bundela kings’ ways of life. Think open courtyards, large windows to take in fresh air (and why not as it’s a zero-pollution zone) and a large swimming pool, reminiscent of a Roman bath.

    Usha Kiran

    Known for its lavish lifestyle and hospitality, the hotel exudes true Gwalior tradition from the welcome, the food and suites. The regal, though smaller palace is set amidst nine acres of rolling lawns with stone carvings and intricate filigree work. Divans, silk drapes, mirrors lamps and mosaic walls mark the luxury rooms, while the suites take it up a notch or two with Chanderi curtains, canopied beds and historic artefacts decorating the shelves. Opt for the villa for sheer luxury and lounge in your private pool, just like King George VI, perhaps did when he visited the palace.

    Neemrana Fort-Palace

    Set off on a magical ride to the 15th century heritage hotel on the Delhi-Jaipur highway. With seven palace wings, it really is one of the most interesting hotels to be created from what was a warrior’s fort. Built on several levels, the architecture means you can swim out of your room to join the larger pool or just wade in the cove around your private space. Hanging garden walks, historical and mysterious hikes take you nine floors underground, while upwards treks see you conquering sand dunes that have stood the tests of time. For the adventurous ones, they have the first zip line tour in the world, and you can have an aerial view of the town below.

    Shivavilas Palace Hotel

    Nestled in the quiet Sandur valley, along the Tungabhadra river, the luxurious Shivavilas Palace Hotel, is still belongs to original owners — the Sandur Ghorpade’s of the earstwhile kingdom. Whist retaining it’s grandeur, what we love about the palace is that is homely, and not really intimidating. Pick from 12 rooms here, including a fancy Maharani suite or even the Maharaja suite. They also have manicured garden with benches to take a book and read, or just float about in the swimming pool.

    Raas Boutique Hotel

    Set in the fortress town of Jodhpur, the Raas Boutique Hotel is a beautiful paradox – swanky new buildings set against the old red sandstone fort. Almost takes you back to director Christopher Nolan’s version of Nanda Parbat from the DC Comics universe. The new parts of the hotel merge with age-old carvings (typical of Jodhpur) and it’s quite exciting to wake up in a contemporary bedroom but be able to draw the curtains to a glorious past of the Mehrangarh Fort. There are luxury rooms, each with a balcony for privacy and view. All in monochrome, the chic look is a fabulour contrast to the bright red sandstone jharokha windows. But if you want to live it up and spend some extra moolah, pick the suites. Our favourite spot at this hotel is the swimming pool, made of the original fort walls and red sandstone. It may just be your favourite too!

    Six Senses Fort Barwara

    While we would love to have our wedding here just like Katrina Kaif & Vicky Kaushal, what with all the hidden staircases and marble arches, what we really, REALLY would love more, is just relaxing at this stunning, and uber luxurious spa in Barwara. Just as it opened, in the middle of 2021, we had an opportunity to check it out, and it is beautiful. Unlike some other palace hotels, this one is all about open space and vastness. The Sanctuary Suit is the most simple room you can check into, and it comes with living room, bedroom and two showers - one, outdoors, of course. The Fort Suite is all that plus a terrace for you to gaze out into the distance from, while the most fancy room here is the Raja Man Singh Suite which is designed with Rajasthani interiors and overlooks the lake, Chauth ka Barwara Mandir Temple and Aravali range with a pool and a dining pavilion to boot, it's a little bit expensive (or however expensive you call INR 65,000 per night in lean period, and INR 90,000 during peak time!). 

    When you are not exploring the fort, relaxing in the massive spa, getting massages with their own range of indigenous essential oils, muds, clays, gels, and vegetable oils, then maybe zip off the Ranthambore National Park in search of those majestic yet elusive tigers. They also organise heritage walks, and gorgeous sunset drives. Sign up for those, for sure!

    Umaid Bhawan Palace

    If opulence and a once-in-a-lifetime experience is what you're after, then you HAVE to check into the Umaid Bhawan Palace. With all the trappings of a modern hotel, but set in heritage art deco buildings, this one is a grandest mix of old and new. There are two swimming pools, billiards room, tennis courts and of course, the JIVA spa by Taj. So either soak up the luxury of the INR 50,000 a night, or maybe take the erstwhile Maharaja's car for a spin. And not just any car! Pick from his personal heritage collection including the 1927 Silver Ghost Rolls Royce! 

    All palace bedrooms are done up in the Art Deco style, while the suits are a blend of Western and Indian grandeur, so really, you'll be feeling like a king in all of them. Just that the Royal Bedroom Suite has a view of the nearby Mehrangarh Fort which makes for stunning photographs during the night.