10 Spectacular Palace Hotels in India

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces

Overlooking mirror-like lakes and sun-drenched sand dunes, India's palace hotels will make even the humblest traveler feel like a Maharaja. From Mumbai to Jodhpur, here are 10 regal retreats that are sure to impress.—Kate Springer

Oberoi Hotels & Resorts

Oberoi Rajvilas

WHERE: Jaipur

Stretching across 32 acres of manicured gardens, The Oberoi Rajvilas has long been the go-to address among celebrities, officials, and diplomats. Spacious rooms at this princely address feature teak four-poster beds, walk-in wardrobes, marble bathrooms, and round-the-clock butler service.

Insider Tip: Spring for one of the luxury tents. Far from a romp in the mud, these camping accommodations come fully air-conditioned, with king-size beds, a claw-foot tub, private patios, and teak floors.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Jaipur Guide

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces

Taj Lake Palace

WHERE: Udaipur

Guests approach this stark white vision, nestled on an island below the Aravali Mountains and above glittering Lake Pichola, by boat. From the marble to the mosaics, it's as if the time stopped in the 1740s. Chandeliers, silk drapes, and antique furniture give the 66 rooms and 17 suites a regal feel, while candlelit evening walks and sunset ceremonial cruises make the Taj Lake Palace an unforgettable retreat.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Udaipur Guide

Sujan

Sujan Rajmahal Palace

WHERE: Jaipur

Hailed as one of the most romantic and photogenic hotels in the world, the SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace is not to be missed. Originally home to the Maharaja of Jaipur Sawai Jai Singh II, the exquisite escape pays tribute to its regal history in details and decor throughout the grounds. Expect verdant gardens with private nooks, and interiors with unique hand-crafted wallpaper, mirrored doors, ancient heirlooms, graceful marble staircases and soaring ceilings. Distinguished guests from all over the world have visited the 250-year-old palace, including Queen Elizabeth II and Jackie Kennedy, to name a few. The celebrated cuisine is worth mentioning, too: dine like royalty at The Orient Occident or start your day on the right foot in 51 Shades of Pink. The overtly upbeat room is nothing if not eye-catching, featuring vibrant all-pink wallpaper that pays tribute to the “Pink City.”

Insider Tip: This royal garden retreat is home to just 14 meticulously refurbished apartments, suites and rooms—so book ahead if you want to stay.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Jaipur Guide

Neemrana Hotels

Neemrana

WHERE: Alwar

Built across six acres of gardens en route to Jaipur, the 15th-century Neemrana Fort-Palace is as comfortable as it is photogenic. Guests staying in one of the seven palace wings tiered along the mountainside can head to the ayurvedic spa to unwind, or speed above the landscaped grounds on India's first zip line.

Insider Tip: As the rooms can vary dramatically in decor and views, you should also try to see rooms in person if possible.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Rajasthan Guide

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces

Rambagh Palace

WHERE: Jaipur

Many of India's oldest palace hotels are in Jaipur, and one of the most grand is the Rambagh Palace, the former home of the maharaja of Jaipur, now owned by the Taj Hotel Group. Much of the property's history is maintained, including its many courtyards and arcades, as well as the original indoor pool. Inside, you'll find opulence at every turn, from the fabrics and furniture to the gilded dining halls.

Insider Tip: Indulge here in some once-in-a-lifetime activities modeled after the way the royal family once lived. Chat with the resident astronomer on the front lawns every evening at 8 pm or hire a vintage car for a royal tour of the Pink City.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Jaipur Guide

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces

Taj Falaknuma Palace

WHERE: Hyderabad

Talk about royal digs: the Taj Falaknuma Palace has seen a string of VIP visitors, from heads of state to European royalty to India’s royal family. Perched about 2,000 feet above the city of Hyderabad, the luxurious address has been leased by the Royal Family of Hyderabad to the Taj Group. Stretching across 32 acres of carefully planned gardens, Taj Falaknuma Palace was originally built for a nobleman in 1894, later changing hands to the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad before becoming a royal guesthouse for visiting dignitaries. Beginning in 1995, the palace underwent a massive restoration to bring the 60 beautifully appointed guest rooms to their former glory. Elsewhere on the premises, soak up the old-world charm—look for Venetian chandeliers, marble staircases, countless fountains, and stained-glass windows alongside ancient manuscripts and artwork from the Nizam’s personal collection.

Insider Tip: Take the hotel's complimentary Heritage Walk for a trip through the past and a holistic understanding of how the palace evolved over time. Bookworms will also appreciate the Palace Library, which houses more than 5,900 books and rare manuscripts.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s India Guide

Samode Hotels

Samode Palace

WHERE: Jaipur

History weaves itself through this 475-year-old royal retreat. From the courtyards to the arching doorways, Samode Palace's hand-painted halls and mirrored mosaics, the splendor of centuries remains alive and well. Outfitted with four-poster beds, deep bathtubs, and antique furniture, the 24 suites and 19 rooms seamlessly blend old-world India with modern luxury. All that's missing is your crown.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Jaipur Guide

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces

Taj Mahal Palace

WHERE: Mumbai

One of the most iconic hotels in India, the 560-room Taj Mahal Palace has held the attention of VIPs since its construction in 1903. From turrets to domes, chandeliers and artifact-laden corridors, the mammoth hotel could have been plucked straight out of a fairytale.

Insider Tip: Order the signature “Since 1933” cocktail from the white marble counter of Harbour Bar, which opened in 1933 as the first licensed bar in the city.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Mumbai Guide

Ramathra Fort

Ramathra Fort

WHERE: Ramathra

Built in the 17th century, Ramathra Fort was once a stronghold of the ruling Jadoan Rajput clan. In 1656, the Maharaja of Karauli offered Ramathra as a land grant to his son, and today the 12-room fort is owned by descendants of the royal family. It’s impossible to argue with its grand appearance; sitting atop the highest point of Aravali hills, the stone-clad hotel offers beautiful views of Kalisil Lake and the surrounding forests below. As for the rooms, it’s a charming mix of custom-built luxury tents that open into lush courtyards and opulent suites complete with fireplaces, teak furniture, hand-woven rugs, and private terraces.

Insider Tip: Beloved for its tranquil, off-the-beaten track location, Ramathra Fort is home to several worthwhile excursions, including a Village Trail through Ramathra village, lakeside picnics, a sunset rowboat experience, bird watching, a night safari in Kaila Devi National Park, and camel cart rides through town.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Rajasthan Guide

Jodhana Heritage Resorts

Bal Samand Lake Palace

WHERE: Jodhpur

An elegant example of ornate Rajput architecture, the 36-room Bal Samand Lake Palace stands out against the Jodhpur landscape with its red sandstone facade and vibrant gardens. The heritage address was originally built as a summer home for the Jodhpur royal family, and today is a popular getaway for travelers dreaming of a majestic holiday at reasonable rates. On the grounds, look for a romantic rose garden, croquet lawn, alfresco restaurant, and great views of the sparkling Bal Samand Lake. The palace hotel is surrounded by an expansive park, which includes a nine-hole golf course and even a bird sanctuary that's home to some mischievous monkeys.

Insider Tip: Bal Samand Lake Palace is an excellent choice for outdoorsy types, thanks to a long list of activities like horseback riding, bird watching, sand dune experiences, natural walks, cycling, and more.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Rajasthan Guide