The 5 Most Luxurious Places to Stay in Northern India
Featured destinations: India, Ranthambore, Shimla, Agra
Published 22 July 2016
India has no shortage of wonderfully atmospheric and luxurious accommodation. Whether you travel the Golden Triangle or the Thar Desert, where you sleep can turn your bog standard India holiday into the holiday of a lifetime. From plush desert lodges and sleek safari camps to mountaintop retreats and palaces dripping with tradition, whatever your style, you can find it here. Here’s a selection of our favourite places to stay in northern India:
View of the Taj Mahal from the Oberoi Amarvilas
The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
Top of the wish list for most visitors to northern India is of course Agra’s magnificent Taj Mahal. And topping the list of places to stay in Agra is without a doubt is the Oberoi Amarvilas. As with all Oberoi properties, the service is impeccable and the interior lavish yet tasteful, but this place stands out for its fabulous views of the Taj Mahal, visible from both the lobby and the balconies. Inside, rooms are modern and stylish with a hint of tradition, with the luxury suites having views of the Taj Mahal from the bathtub.
Angela on the swing at Khem Villas (image: David Smith)
Khem Villas, Ranthambore
If you’re searching for the mighty Bengal tiger, search in style with a stay at the delightful Khem Villas in Ranthambore. I stayed here on my honeymoon, and was quite taken with the understated luxury of the place. Not only does it have a romantic, natural setting among trees and crocodile-filled lakes, but the spacious tents and cottages feature wonderfully comfortable beds, plush bathrooms with warm and powerful rain showers and plenty of peace and privacy. Khem Villas is also renowned for its excellent vegetarian cuisine, created using vegetables and herbs grown on-site.
Gajner Palace, Bikaner
Gajner Palace, Bikaner
If you’ve ever fancied being king or queen for the day then India’s the place to try it out, with the country offering a wide variety of former palaces and royal residents now tastefully transformed into well-appointed hotels. One of our stand-out favourites is the beautiful Gajner Palace Hotel, built on the edge of a Bikaner lake surrounded by woodland. A former maharajah hunting lodge, it was converted to a hotel in 1976, and has been sympathetically renovated in a slightly old fashioned, colonial style. Think huge, soft sofas and sweeping, gold-tassled curtains, well-tended formal gardens and candlelit rooftop dining. It’s a relaxed place where you might spot deer or migratory birds on an afternoon boat trip on the lake.
Experience Gajner Palace on our Royal Rajasthan Journey. Camel in the Thar Desert
Camel in the Thar Desert
The Serai, Thar Desert
If you’ve got visions of riding camels across the desert, watching the sun set over endless sand dunes or sleeping out under a blanket of stars, then the Thar Desert is the place. The world’s seventh largest desert is a beautiful spot to get away from it all, and the minimalist-style Serai by Relais & Châteaux is the perfect place to escape to. Here in luxury, air-conditioned tents, some with their own plunge pools, you can indulge in dusty desert drives and chilled sunset cocktails before flopping into huge double beds and dreaming of desert sands.David on the breakfast deck at Wildlfower Hall (image: Angela Griffin)
Wildflower Hall, Shimla
For the crème de la crème of mountaintop accommodation, try the ultra-luxury Wildflower Hall in Shimla. I stayed here for the final few nights of my honeymoon and absolutely loved it. Not only did it command fabulous views of the Himalayas from the rooms and breakfast deck, but from the hot tub and swimming pool too. Inside, an old-fashioned snooker room and neighbouring bar provided us with much evening entertainment, while the Indian-western fusion food was simply to die for. We tucked into the batter-fried Bay of Bengal bekti fillet with fries, an Indian version of fish and chips. There are plenty of activities here too, from gourmet picnics in the mountains to white water rafting and archery.
To stay in any of these hotels, give your Expert a call today, or take a look at our India Journeys.