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Authored by Sai Karthik Reddy Mekala 

India is a magical destination, known for its grand architecture and rich cultural heritage. And one of the best ways to experience both is with a stay in a magnificent palace hotel.

Before the Republic of India was born, this was a region divided into 565 kingdoms. So there were (and still are) many opulent palaces, which have been converted into luxury hotels today.

The following is a list of the most incredible palace hotels in India, which will make make even the humblest traveler feel like a Maharaja. These hotels were actually once home to India’s royalty, and in some cases still are.

Incredible Palace Hotels in India: Stay Like a Maharaja in These Heritage Hotels!

Umaid Bhawan Palace

Palace stay in Jodhpur

Imagine yourself living with the royals, as a part of this palace is still occupied by the Maharaja of Jodhpur.

Built by the Rathore dynasty, Umaid Bhawan is a relic of the past that still oozes inspiration and grandeur of the royals of Rajasthan. Built on the highest hill of the desert city, the palace has been converted to a 5 star luxury hotel by the Taj group.

The hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Risala, is the place to be if you want to enjoy the dishes from the royal kitchen.

Umaid Bhawan Palace

Why Jodhpur? Umaid Bhawan Palace is an integral part of why Jodhpur is a popular tourist destination. Jodhpur which is the second largest city in the state of Rajasthan is a popular tourist attraction sprawling with a lot of temples, palaces and other interesting sites.

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Taj Lake Palace

Palace stay in Udaipur

Another palace hotel you will find if you happen to be in Rajasthan is the Taj Lake Palace. This luxury hotel that has featured in a James Bond movie, Octopussy, is on an artificial island in Lake Pichola. The scenic lake is the reason why Udaipur is known as the City of Lakes.

The hotel’s suites features both lake and palace courtyard views. Some suites even have panoramic view of the whole like, ceiling frescoes and balconies & terraces where you can stroll like a Maharaja.

As far as heritage hotels in Udaipur go, this is an incredible property which you don’t want to miss!

Taj lake palace in Udaipur, IndiaTaj lake palace in Udaipur, India

Why Udaipur? Udaipur is a popular tourist destination due to its scenic history, culture and forts. It is home to several Rajput era palaces of which the City Palace and the Shiv Niwas Palace stand.

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Taj Mahal Palace

Palace stay in Mumbai

The Taj Mahal Palace hotel, an icon of Mumbai, overlooking the Arabian Sea, has all the features that are identified with a top luxury hotel – refined rooms, marble bathrooms and private lounges.

Unfortunately, this hotel was the venue for 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. But a Mumbai landmark, it reopened in 2010 after 18 months of restoration work.

The palace hotel is just a six minute walk from the Gateway of India monument and short stroll from the Marine drive. While it was built to be a hotel, and not as a royal residence, it certainly emulates a palace!

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

Why Mumbai? An estimated 18.4 million people live in the city of Mumbai. It is the richest and most economically viable city in India. Most of the millionaires and billionaires of India are based in Mumbai. Mumbai is a crucial political, economical and cultural center.

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Gajner Palace

Palace stay in Bikaner

Another destination palace that you could consider in Rajasthan is the Gajner Palace located in Bikaner. The Gajner Palace is a lakeside palace that is peaceful & serene as it is situated in the middle of the Thar desert.

Stretching over 6000 acres, the palace was once hunting grounds of the royals of Mewar dynasty and the English. The daily light and sound show, brings alive splendor and grandeur of the Mewar royals.

Gajner Palace

Why Bikaner? Bikaner is a cultural center of Rajasthan that features legendary Karni Mata temple, Bhandasar temple; Laxmi Niwas palace and the Junagarh Fort.

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Oberoi Grand

Palace stay in Kolkata

Since the 1880’s this huge white palace has been the resting place to the high ranking colonials during the British era. Located in the central business district of Kolkata, the Oberoi Grande still hosts the highest dignitaries from around the world.

The hotel’s Thai restaurant, Baan Thai, features traditional Thai dishes, that you might not find in the modern Thailand.

Since the 1880’s this huge white palace has been the resting place to the high ranking colonials during the British era.

Why Kolkata? Kolkata, once the capital of te hnow extinct East India company, is a destination for people who are seeking to look at civilization, culture and human endeavor from a different perspective. Its people, its culture, its infrastructure and the overall vibe of Kolkata make it a desirable destination.

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Taj Falaknuma

Palace stay in Hyderabad

The last but not the least, Taj Falaknuma. Once the residence of famous Nizams, but now beautifully restored into a heritage hotel, the property is located on a hill overlooking the City of Pearls.

Your arrival to the palace building from the gate is via a horse carriage as no motorized vehicles are allowed on the premises. To this date, only a selected few have had the chance to experience the grandeur of Falaknuma.

Taj Falaknuma

Taj Falaknuma

Why Hyderabad? Hyderbad features interesting landmarks like Golconda fort, Charminar and the Qutub Shahi Tombs. For shopping enthusiasts the city has bazaars like the Laad Bazaar and the Begum Bazaar.

The city is a cultural center as relics from previous times litter the old part of the historic city. In fact, the second largest film producing industry in India, the Telugu film industry is based in Hyderabad.

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There you have it. The top palace hotels of India that all represent the culture and tradition of the colorful India.

OUR FAVORITE INDIA TRAVEL GUIDES: CLICK TO LOOK INSIDE ↓

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After completing MBA in 2012, Sai, the wizard beyond Romancing The Planet, decided to travel the world instead of finding a desk job at the office.

Five years later Sai is India’s well known travel and luxury bloggers. Sai is now traveling in India and sharing his experience on his new blog Add Some Curry.

Photo credits: Umaid Bhawan Palace courtesy of property management. Taj Lake Palace by Saurabh Chatterjee of SIA Photography. Taj Mahal Palace Hotel by Ph | JunVR. Gajner Palace courtesy of property management. Oberoi Grand Kolkata courtesy of property management. Taj Falaknuma by Saurabh Chatterjee of SIA Photography.

    26 Comments

  1. I haven’t been to India yet but when I do finally visit, I am definitely staying in one of these palaces! The history and luxury are amazing. I love the idea of taking a carriage ride to get to the Taj Falaknuma. It looks absolutely beautiful.

    • Awesome to hear Lois! The carriage ride at the Taj Falaknuma definitely adds a whole new level of history authenticity. Hope you have the chance to travel soon!

  2. OMG, these places / palaces look so amazing! They’re a far cry from my usual hotels (hey, I travel on a budget) but I love to look at the photos and dream. I especially love the look of the Taj Mahal Palace – so grand. Would love to explore that building!

    Jane M

    • If they’re out of budget you can definitely still take in the buildings as a sight to see – totally agree that their grandiose makes them an attraction in their own right!

  3. Already falling in love with India. Should be on my next bucket list. Taj Lake Palace seems like a cool hotel to visit with a loved one especially watching those light reflections at night.

    • It’s a pretty magical place! Hope you have the chance to take in a Palace hotel sometime soon!

  4. Best thing the Kings and his descendants did with the palaces is convert them into hotels. Today common man is able to have a glimpse of the interiors and experience the grandeur. Of course one has to save a bit for all this. I am yet to experience any of them. 🙁

    • Totally agree with you – it’s incredible to have such an insight into the way of the royal life. Hope you have the chance to experience one or two soon 🙂

  5. These palaces are stunning – and serious travel inspiration. I love that they all seem to be located in unique environments (some urban, some desert, some right on a huge lake), so you’d never have to worry about having the same experience twice. Both the architecture and history behind these places is wonderful, and when we finally make it to India, I think we’ll have to make a stop 🙂

    • Absolutely – the nice thing about resorted palaces is that no two will ever be the same – they reflect the cultural differences and unique history of the previous kingdoms 🙂

  6. Dear Megan

    Thank you so much for publishing my piece on your blog.

    • You are most welcome – thanks for the great guest post!

  7. So nice to read of all these beautiful hotels one can stay in India. You’ve got the best guide. I’m sceptical about where I stay when I travel and I guess my worries with India is put to rest with these glamorous palaces cum hotel. They are all beautiful.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Lydia! No need to be skeptical about India – there are some truly beautiful places to stay. And the service and hospitality are just as incredible as the buildings.

      Hope you have the chance to travel soon!

  8. I love India and spent considerable time there in my younger days. Unfortunately these palaces were way out of my budget range in those days. But, it doesn’t hurt to dream of visiting them sometime in the future. They are so stunning, it’s great this part of India’s history is being restored and saved in this way.

    • So glad to hear you had a fabulous time in India on your first trip Yasha. Maybe you’ll have the opportunity to head back at some stage, with a bigger budget to splurge this time 🙂

  9. India is such a beautiful country with lots of wonderful hotels and condominiums almost everywhere. Thanks for sharing with us all these wonderful advice from India itself! 🙂

    • Absolutely – glad you enjoyed the post Tristan!

  10. Haven’t been to India but I’m absolutely sending this article to my boyfriend so that he’ll have ideas where to stay when we visit India in the near future! I love all of them actually but this could be my top favorite Hyderabad..

    • The Taj Falaknuma in Hyderabad is an amazing choice – hope you both have an amazing trip – a palace hotel is an awesome choice for a romantic stay 🙂

  11. I didn’t know that India also has palaces renovated as hotels – each one as grand as the last. I’m sure it’d be nice to stay a night or two just to explore the interior and (maybe) feel like royalty at the same time! 🙂 The views at the Umaid Bhawan Palace is super romantic, btw. Loving the candles perfectly arranged and the lights of the palace as a background. Taj Falaknuma also sounds really exclusive! A stay on any of these palaces is definitely going to my bucketlist!

    • Glad we could introduce you to a couple then Marvi! Yes absolutely, each one is just as grand as the last, it’s almost a difficulty knowing where to start!!

      Let us know how your stay goes if you stay in any on an upcoming trip!

  12. Oh wow, I’d love to spend a night in one of these hotels and live out a fairy tale fantasy. Gorgeous photos! Had fun reading this.

    • I hope you do have the chance Mizhelle! So glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  13. I feel like Europe is missing out on an amazing opportunity here. They should turn some oftheir old palaces into hotels

    I would be willing to stay in any and all of these. I would love to explroe the 6000 arces of Gajner Palace

    • Totally agree – Europe has some amazing castles, they would make for incredible hotels!

      Gajner Palace is a great choice – let us know what you think on your next India trip!

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