You don’t have to be a member of a royal family to enjoy the grandeur of staying in a palace. Palace hotels are speckled throughout the world, and you’ll find a large concentration in India, particularly Rajasthan. The converted regal abodes rank highly as some of the best hotels in the world because of the opulent suites and imperial amenities that come with staying at an ultra-luxury accommodation. Because of the number of well off and noble families in the Indian state, you’ll find over a dozen airports in which to land your private jet.
Raj Palace | Jaipur
Winning numerous awards for its majestic suites and fine restaurants, the Raj Palace is one of the only places that was restored to its original splendor. It is also the first hotel in the world to have a museum within its wall. The palace is 300 years old—older than the city in which it sits. One of the most notable suites in the Raj Palace is the four-story Maharajah’s Pavillon, which 16 generations called home. It won the title of “Best Suite in Asia” in 2011. The Vastushastras-style suite is gilded with gold leaf on its ceilings and walls, and features oversized crystal chandeliers, gold and silver furniture, a library, traditional artwork, rooftop terrace, ivory accents, soft sitting areas, separate staff quarters, and an elevator.
In 2009, the Durbar Mahal Palace Suite was recognized as the “Best Suite in Asia,” and was once the ruler’s private apartment. The suite overlooks the inner courts and Charbagh garden, and contains a private museum of Thakur Sahib’s throne and bolsters.
The Leela Palace | Udaipur
The only palace hotel on Lake Pichola, The Leela Palace Udaipur in the region’s “Venice of the East” welcomes you with a ferry to private jetty a shower of rose petals upon your arrival. The hotel, an impressive example of Rajasthani architecture, offers views of the city palace, placid lake and the Aravalli Mountains. Guests achieve the best royal Mewar experience with a stay in the 3,585-square-foot Maharaja Suite. The fine art and artifacts throughout the accommodation complement the plush interiors, which include a study, living room, dining room, plunge pool, courtyards and massage parlor. The suite’s master bedroom features separate walk-in closets and king-size bathtub. Notable amenities that come with booking the Maharaja Suite include a complimentary foot massage and a personal butler.
Umaid Bhawan Palace | Jodhpur
One of the largest private residences in the world, the Umaid Bhawan Palace on Jodhpur’s Chittar Hill has 347 rooms that continue to host royal family members. It is not unusual to see the Maharaja himself walking around the palace grounds with his dogs. The magnificent palace walls are made of carved stones that interlock without mortar or cement. It took 5,000 workers 15 years to build the fortress.
One of the best rooms in the palace is the Maharaja Suite, which was Umaid Singh’s personal accommodation. In it, you’ll find chrome torches, art deco finishes, original artifacts and Stefan Norblin murals. If you seek a room fit for a queen, the Maharaniu Suite will enchant you. The presidential suite is decorated with pink accents and has a private terrace with panoramic view of the Mehrangarh Fort and palace gardens.