10 royal experiences across India to book now | Condé Nast Traveller India


If you’ve been watching The Crown, wondering what it’s like to live like royalty, there’s good news for you. You may not have to travel too far. These hotels in India promise luxury and magnificence.

Top Experiences to have at India’s place hotels

HERITAGE WALK AT RAMBAGH PALACE, JAIPUR 

Vintage car experience at Rambagh Palace.
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The Pink City’s most luxurious address, the Rambagh Palace, impresses you with its picture-perfect courtyards, colonnaded galleries and marble terraces. Take a stroll around the former royal palace to trace the footsteps of one of the property’s most famous residents, the late Maharani Gayatri Devi. The hotel’s staff will gracefully show you the intricacies of Mughal and Rajput architecture that dot this 19th-century palace, following which you can enjoy a decadent high tea experience on the terrace of the Verandah Café. Doubles from Rs29,660; tajhotels.com 

KASHMIRI HERITAGE AT THE LALIT GRAND PALACE, SRINAGAR

Dating back to 1910, The Lalit Grand Palace in Srinagar was the summer home of the erstwhile Kashmiri royals. Following a period of abandonment and then a lengthy restoration, this heritage property, with sweeping views of the mountains, now offers guests a chance to experience the finesse of the Kashmiri royal culture that once prevailed here. When you’re not strolling through the vast gardens flanked by chinars or enjoying a sunset shikara ride, sit by the bay windows of your cottage with a glass of fine Chardonnay and admire the Dal Lake in the distance. Doubles from Rs15,000; thelalit.com

NIZAM’S FEAST AT TAJ FALAKNUMA PALACE, HYDERABAD

Jade Terrace, Taj Falaknuma

A former home of the Nizams, the Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad is known for its magnificent gilded dining room with its enormous 101-seater table, believed to be the world’s largest permanent dining table. Here, 101 Dining is a unique royal experience, where you can sit with your loved one at this sprawling table under magnificent chandeliers and enjoy a lavish, multi-course meal paired with high-end wines. A feast for a king, quite literally!Doubles from Rs21,000; tajhotels.com

MUSEUM LUNCH AT LAXMI NIWAS PALACE, BIKANER 

At this sprawling palace, home to the royals of Bikaner, guests are treated to a sumptuous lunch at the lavish Gold Room. A modern recreation of the banquet Maharaja Ganga Singh once served to kings and queens, this lunch features seven courses of French gastronomy and the Plat de Bikaner (the royal Bikaneri thali). Doubles from Rs10,000; laxminiwaspalace.com 

ROYAL DINNER AT SAMODE PALACE, JAIPUR 

Traditional Rajasthani food served in traditional brass thalis in the Grand Durbar Hall of Samode Palace. Photo: John Henry Claude Wil

This extravagant palace’s Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) is the very definition of Rajput elegance and is truly Insta-worthy. The hotel offers a royal dining experience within the Sheesh Mahal, and the meal is entirely tailor-made for the guests, ranging from five to eight courses. Liveried staff serving you on silver crockery and regaling you with stories behind some of Rajasthan’s most favourite delicacies are just what you can expect from this experience. All the recipes served during this meal belong to the family that lived here, passed down generations. Doubles from Rs23,000; samode.com

PRIVATE DINING EXPERIENCE AT RAAS DEVIGARH, RAJASTHAN

Raas Devigarh. Photo: Divia Thani

Situated on a rocky outcrop just outside Udaipur, the understated RAAS Devigarh is housed in an 18th-century Rajput palace that was painstakingly restored over 15 years. Today, guests at this luxe property can not only enjoy its gorgeous marble rooms but also a unique gastronomic experience set in the palace’s Sheesh Mahal, where the former royal occupants of this property wined and dined. Sample a traditional Rajasthani thali in the dining room adorned with handcrafted mirrors, candles and exquisite floral décor.Doubles from Rs15,640; raashotels.com

COOK WITH THE MAHARAJAS AT AHILYA FORT HERITAGE HOTEL, MAHESHWAR 

At this gorgeous riverside property in Madhya Pradesh, Shivaji Rao Holkar (aka Richard Holkar), son of the last Maharaja of Indore, refers to himself as the envisioner-in-chief of every dish that is served to guests. Discover heritage recipes with ingredients from the fort’s own farms, from the noteworthy Quail Survedar to the Shikari Maas. Guests can enjoy this experience to understand the fort’s royal lineage as well as to learn about cross-cultural culinary references from the royal houses of Sailana and Gwalior.Doubles from Rs18,000; ahilyafort.com

FOLK DANCE AT BELGADIA PALACE, ODISHA 

One of the country’s often-overlooked palaces is the grand Belgadia Palace, home to the former royal family of Odisha, where they continue to live and engage with guests. Located in Mayurbhanj, a five-hour drive from Kolkata and Bhubaneswar, Belgadia Palace hosts performances of Mayurbhanj Chhau, a local martial arts dance, officially recognised by UNESCO as the state’s intangible heritage. If you have time to spare, check out the palace’s onsite Artists’ Residency, which showcases interactions between traditional and modern art. Doubles from Rs10,840

VINTAGE CAR COLLECTION AT GONDAL PALACE, GUJARAT 

Gondal Palace Gujarat

This elegant complex, once home to the royal families of Gondal, now houses three residences—Orchard Palace, Riverside Palace and Naulakha Palace. With well- equipped suites and period furniture, these offer a glimpse of the royal life of yore. Guests can enjoy a slice of the Gondal lifestyle by checking out the vintage car collection. Come close to a pre-1910 New Engine that belonged to Maharaja Bhagwat Singh, as well as other vintage beauties like a 1959 Jaguar, a 1935 Mercedes and a host of Cadillacs from the 40s. Doubles from Rs6,350; heritagepalacesgondal.com

PALACE BREAKFAST AT NILAMBAG PALACE, BHAVNAGAR 

Nilambagh Palace

Another one of India’s lesser-known jewels tucked away in the heart of Gujarat, Nilambag Palace was once the seat of the former royal family of Bhavnagar. Today, it is a heritage boutique hotel in an emerging destination. While you enjoy the lavish rooms, don’t miss the royal breakfast experience. Fresh Gir cow milk from the palace’s dairy is served along with a host of delights like waffles, pancakes, fresh fruit and eggs to order. (The Maharaja of Bhavnagar was the first Indian monarch to have acceded his kingdom to democratic India. He also initiated the breeding of the Gir cow in Brazil.) Besides these, you and your gang can even buy out the entire palace for a specialised fitness retreat on the premises. 

Doubles from Rs15,000; nilambagpalace.com



Updated: January 12, 2021 — 10:23 am

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