The pandemic and the resulting lockdowns ensured that we were all stuck at home for a large part of the past year. However, things are better now and hotels are going out of their way to ensure the safety of their guests. While international travel is still restricted, we suggest you check into one of these luxurious suites in holiday destinations such as Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur and Goa for the experience of a lifetime.
Imagine waking up and having a luxurious breakfast in bed while you feast your eyes on the Taj Mahal. Soak in the tub with a glass of wine as you admire the Taj. Move to the living room for high tea and continue to have the magnificent Taj right in front of your eyes. It is this constant view of the Taj Mahal from every nook and corner of the Kohinoor Suite at The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, that makes it unique, and also the suite of choice for the likes of Prince William and Kate Middleton, as well as former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and wife Carla Bruni. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, too booked it on his visit to see the monument of love. The 275-sq.mt. suite has a large living room, study, dining room and a spacious bedroom (with attached bathroom), each offering unparalleled views of the Taj Mahal. There’s an interconnecting room option available (for families), as well as accommodation for accompanying valets and maids. You also get a private butler to look after all your needs round the clock. Our favourite part: a specially-positioned brass telescope in the study that provides stunning views of each architectural detail of the Taj. The suite can be booked for Rs 11 lakh per night plus taxes.
Thanks to Airbnb, you can now stay at Jaipur’s famous City Palace as a guest of the Maharaja of Jaipur. The Gudliya Suite is located within one of the private sections of the royal palace which, until now, was used for the royals and their guests. The suite has its own lounge, kitchen, a luxurious bathroom, as well as a private indoor swimming pool. A member of the royal staff will be assigned to escort you on a private shopping trip through Jaipur’s retail treasures. Not just that, you will get a private butler who will arrange curated city experiences such as museum tours, guided walks, etc. You will dine at Baradari, the in-house restaurant of City Palace, with the chef playing your host. Our favourite part: a tour of the 300-year-old palace with a member of the royal staff who will regale you with historic sagas of war and love. The suite can be booked for $5,000 (indicative price in India Rs 3.70 lakh) per night plus taxes.
The Nizam of Hyderabad was once acknowledged as the richest man on earth. No wonder, then, that his private abode—a duplex—at Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad is one of the largest and most magnificent presidential suites in the country today. The Nizam Suite is a self-contained oasis of luxury, with a large private swimming pool, Jacuzzi, ornate furnishings and a marble fountain. Perched 2,000 ft above the city of Hyderabad, Falaknuma Palace was built in 1894. The Nizam Suite has a grand marble staircase and a large master bedroom the size of three rooms. Evidence of Princess Esra’s (the Nizam’s wife) dedication to its restoration can be seen everywhere, from the custom-designed furnishings from Turkey to the Cararra marble floors, which make up the bathrooms. Our favourite part: a personal dining experience with a qawwali session. The suite can be booked for Rs 6 lakh per night plus taxes.
Raffles Udaipur is the latest entrant in Indian luxury hospitality. Having opened its doors in August, the luxury hotel, part of the Accor group, is the first Indian outpost of the iconic hotel brand created in Singapore in 1887. Nestled on a 21-acre private island in the middle of the serene Udai Sagar lake, the hotel offers a memorable experience. While every category of room is special with spectacular views and huge bathrooms, the Presidential Suite is the most luxurious. Spread across 2,825 sq. ft, it offers incredible views of Udai Sagar lake and the Aravalli Hills. Adorned with European and Mughal art, with intricately-designed interiors, the suite comprises a living room, master bedroom, attached twin bedroom and private balconies. Our favourite part: a sauna and personal spa bed where an experienced Raffles Spa therapist revitalises the body with a host of relaxing massages. The suite can be booked for Rs 7.50 lakh per night plus taxes.
If you live in Delhi and want to experience luxury not too far from home, the Presidential Villas at ITC Grand Bharat in Gurugram are ideal. The four villas, named after four great dynasties of India — Chola, Maratha, Maurya and Mughal — are inspired by their architecture and showcase the best of their art. Spread over 5,400 sq. ft, these double-storied villas have a huge living room, dining room, three bedrooms and a liveried personal butler and chef in attendance. And just so that you don’t forget to focus on your health surrounded by all this luxury, there is a dedicated workout area in the villa as well. Our favourite part: the private pool and Jacuzzi, and a dedicated sauna and steam cubicle. A villa can be booked for Rs 5 lakh per night plus taxes.
An elegantly designed three-bedroom villa with personalised 24-hour butler service, the Presidential Suite at The Leela, Goa, is spread over 3,121 sq. ft. It’s a perfect place if you are looking for privacy and safety as you can keep your interactions with the outside world to a bare minimum. The villa comes with a plunge pool and Jacuzzi, and overlooks manicured gardens, a golf course and the Arabian Sea. Located at the edge of a lagoon, the villa has a master bedroom, two adjoining bedrooms, a living room, dining room and marbled bathrooms. It can be booked for Rs 3 lakh per night plus taxes.
The rugged beauty of Jaisalmer has its own charm. If you are looking to explore the desert wonderland, the 2,750-sq.-ft, three-bedroom Thar Haveli at Suryagarh is where you should be staying. The Haveli has its own infinity pool and butler service. The sandstone edifice, with each stone handcrafted and hand-chiselled, reflects the indigenous desert culture. Though built recently, it gives the feel of the 17th century. It’s opulent, but comes with all modern-day facilities. Suryagarh in itself is a modern-day palace built to match the landscape with salient design features and curated F&B experiences. Our favourite part: views of the desert from the infinity pool with peacocks for company. It can be booked for Rs 1.40 lakh per night plus taxes.
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