A formally feudalistic country, in almost every state you look you will find palaces ensconced by crumbling forts, opulent abodes owned by ruling Thakurs and art deco new builds home to modern maharajas. Today such dwellings can be more of a burden than a blessing and almost financially ruinous to maintain. Luckily for the rest of us, many a maharajah turned to hospitality and unbolted the gates to tourism. Some of India’s best palaces are now the country’s best hotels and providing mere mortals with a truly unique experience.
Nothng amongst our pick of India's best palace hotels that fits the bill? Check out our recommendations for Rajasthan's best palace hotels, expand your search to include all our India collections, or contact a friendly guru for advice.
If you are a fan of Taj palaces then this is the cream of the crop. Sitting 2000 feet above the city, resplendent amidst 32 acres of manicured lawns, Falaknuma takes your breath away. Perfect pastel bedrooms are brimming with antiques and India's finest silks. Foodies will love the grand dining.
The only way to experience the real magic of Jodhpur. This exquisite Maharaja's palace is the ultimate in grandeur and luxury. Elegant rooms with Art Deco trappings, swimming pools, spa, billiards, yoga - the list goes on. A truly romantic and old-world setting.
A beautiful, luxury hotel built in the 1880s. It is easy to see why it was the choice of leading historical figures. Even now it hosts grand functions for Heads of State. Elegant, lavish rooms, a lobby known for its 200 year old handmade piano and iconic chandelier, spa, pool, gym. Indulge yourself.
Royal treatment in the home of the former Maharaja of Jaipur. The interior decoration and surrounding grounds echo the magic of a bygone era - marble floors, beautiful colonnades, and acres of luscious gardens. A fabulous place to stay.
Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir)
Built in 1910, Grand Palace was the former residence of Kashmiri royal family. True to its regal roots rooms are decorated in an opulent, yet not ostentatious style: quilted bedspreads, artwork and some four posters and fireplaces. There's a walnut clad bar and North Indian cuisine at The Chinar.
Jaipur (Village Samode)
A traditional Rajput palace just outside Jaipur. Wonderfully romantic rooms and suites, all individually decorated, but each as magical as the next. Terraces, pools, tennis courts, camel safaris, fantastic Rajasthani and European food. Regal and luxurious.
As iconic as Udaipur. A shimmering white and gold vision located on Lake Pichola it is accessible only by hotel boat. Rooms are quite literally fit for a maharajah: stained glass windows, plush velvets, gilt work, and intricate murals. Plus a pool, famous rooftop restaurant and novel 'spa boat'.
Maheshwar (Madhya Pradesh)
An 18th century fort overlooking the Narmada River. Thirteen chic bedrooms with private balconies are spread across six buildings plus there is romantic tented accommodation with a private pool and garden. Continental and Indian dishes are served and what's more the hotel is all inclusive.
A rose tinted palace in The Pink City. Eight desirable rooms have stylish interiors courtesy of the acclaimed Adil Ahmed. Rooms are decorated in chic palettes of contrasting colours: turquoises with pinks, blue with white (so photogenic). Dining is an equal parts aesthetic and tasty affair.
Majestic Five Star 18th century palace restoration outside Udaipur. Minimal interior designs frame original historic architecture. Luxury boutique suites combine stone floors, marbles, hot tubs, balustraded terraces with all the mod cons. Fabulous views, excellent restaurant, extensive spa and pool.
A great place to stay when visiting the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri, without having to stay in chaotic Agra. Boasting an impressive dining hall, manicured grounds and rooms decorated with traditional furnishings. Largely North Indian dishes are served, plus a continental breakfast. Well priced.
Dindigul, Tamil Nadu
Ingenious and utterly charming. An 18th century palace constructed by the Maharaja of Travancore and re-erected in the Western Ghats by Jeremy Fry in the 1990s. Enjoying a cool climate there is no AC - just large sliding doors. Understated chic reigns supreme. Communal dinners are delicious.
Bhopal,, Madhya Pradesh
Owned by the royal family of Bhopal and providing easy access to the wildlife parks of Madhya Pradesh with all the comforts of a palace stay. Featuring a large outdoor pool, simple yet modern rooms and neat grounds. Italian dishes are available at La Kuchina whilst Under the Mango Tree is Indian.
Seventeenth century charm; twenty-first century luxury. This lovingly restored hilltop hideaway provides lavish accommodation for those prepared to venture the extra mile. Choose from palace or tented accommodation. Impossibly romantic, guests can enjoy candlelit dining and spa treatments.
Built in 1820, Stok Palace is still the abode of the remaining Namgyal dynasty. Now open to the public it houses a fascinating museum filled with family heirlooms. Rooms are decorated with authentic Ladakhi furnishings including hand painted mandala paintings. One of a kind.
Following a twenty year renovation by the Maharajah of Jodhpur this collection of havelis is a chic oasis in the heart of the Thar desert. Film set worthy rooms and impossibly romantic candlelit dinners make it ideal for couples. One of the best places to embark on a horse or camel safari.
One of a kind. Handed down the generations each of the reigning maharajas has added their own twist - giving each room and wing a unique feel. There is a picture perfect outdoor pool, with lake views, plus two dramatic dining halls. Decor ranges from traditional Rajasthani to art deco chic.