Indian palaces you can actually stay in

Step back in time at these spectacular palaces for the stay of a lifetime.

Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Spread over 32 acres, this opulent hotel was built in 1894 and was home to the famous Nizams of Hyderabad. Falaknuma night mean ‘mirror of the sky’, but the palace was built in the shape of a scorpion, with the wings acting as the scorpion’s two stings. The palace’s luxurious interiors reflect its decadent past and give guests the opportunity to live like kings and queens if only for a few nights.
Photograph: The Indian Hotels Co Ltd

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

This exquisite white marble palace floats in the middle of Udaipur’s Lake Pichola and is a synonymous with opulence and exclusivity. Built in the 1700s, the hotel was once the winter palace of the royal Mewar dynasty and became famous around the world when the Bond move Octopussy was filmed there. With 18 grand suites and 65 lavish rooms, the hotel offers breathtaking views of the surrounding lake and the sparkling city of Udaipur.
Photograph: The Indian Hotels Co Ltd

Samode Palace, Jaipur

This splendid palace was built in the early 19th century, but it is surrounded by an outer structure, ie a fort, built in the 16th century. Designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, the hotel is known for beautifully melding both Rajput and Mughal design elements. Admire the breathtaking Sheesh Mahal, the mural-lined rooms, hand-painted walls, crystal chandeliers, regal silver armchairs, and then lounge around the rooftop infinity pool to catch a sunset that shows off the Aravalis in all their glory.
Photograph: Vladimir Varfolomeev / Flickr

Neemrana Fort Palace, Alwar

This exquisite resort, built on the Aravalli hills, is one of the oldest near Jaipur. Work on the palace started in 1464 and it was abandoned almost 500 years later in 1947. In 1991 it was opened to the public in its current avatar and is now a massive property spread over 14 levels, with stunning views of the surrounding landscape and town down below. The hotel boasts 17 rooms/suites restored to their former glory, plus hanging gardens, an amphitheatre, and a roof-top restaurant where you can immerse yourself in history and step back to medieval times.
Photograph: Neemrana Hotels

Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur 

Perched at the highest point in Jodhpur, this magnificent hotel was once the residence of the royal family of Jodhpur, making it the sixth largest private residence in the world. The palace was completed in 1943, and was constructed using the same beautiful palm court marble that was used in the Taj Mahal. Surrounded by 26 acres of sprawling lush gardens, the hotel, which is only a wing of the palace, has 64 luxury rooms where guests can experience the royal life.
Photograph: Ajajr101 / Creative Commons

Laxmi Niwas Palace, Bikaner

Commissioned in 1904 and built entirely of red sandstone, Laxmi Niwas Palace was the stately residence of Bikaner’s maharaja Ganga Singh and has hosted the whose who of royalty and dignitaries, including King George V and Queen Mary. The hotel retains the palace’s regal charm and grandeur, with antique artworks, period- style rococo furniture, hand-painted friezes, four-poster brass beds, and ceilings with gold inlaid carvings that make the past come alive. 
Photograph: Notnarayan / Creative Commons

RAAS Devigarh, Udaipur

Strategically nestled in the countryside of the Aravali range, this palace fortress overlooks one of the three main passes that provide access to the valley. Completed in 1760, the palace was constructed using local marble and features decorations of semi-precious stones in all the suites. The exteriors feature ornate traditional designs that provide an interesting juxtaposition to the modern and minimalist design seen in the interiors. This hotel offers stunning views of the surrounding hills, making it a great option for those looking to live closer to nature, but without sacrificing on modern amenities.
Photograph: RAAS Devigarh

Ananda in the Himalayas, Tehri Garhwal

Perched 3,000 feet up above on a hill, this former-palace-turned-into-luxury-resort is famous for its spectacular views, which include the the River Ganges and the ancient city of Rishikesh. The Viceregal palace was built for the Maharajah of Tehri Garhwal and has been restored to its former majesty, including the maharaja’s billiards room, which is home to India’s oldest billiards table (over a 100 years old).
Photograph: Ananda in the Himalayas

Taj Rambagh Palace, Jaipur

Another stunning palace in Jaipur, Rambagh Palace was built in 1835 as a hunting lodge and royal residence for the then maharaja of Jaipur. To say this upscale palace hotel that stands on a 47-acre plot is opulent is an understatement. Think spacious rooms with extremely high ceilings, bathrooms full of marble, grand furnishings, antiques and artwork around every corner, majestic gardens where peacocks strut, a croquet lawn, and a restaurant that gives you the feeling you’re dining with the queen.
Photograph: The Indian Hotels Co Ltd