Resplendent, uber-exclusive and customised with VVIP perks, these are the most premium hotel suites in India—designed expressly to romance the pause in the most royally extravagant way possible.
ROMANCE THE PAUSE IN: The Nizam Suite
WHERE: At Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
Built in 1893, the scorpion-shaped palace is a jaw-dropping blend of Italian and Tudor architecture. Amongst the 17 city residences of Hyderabad’s sixth Nizam (once the richest man in the world), this was his favourite—an extravagant showcase of the best in the world: Venetian chandeliers, Italian marble, Turkish furnishings, Czech lanterns, 18th century French Rococo art and landscaped gardens. From its 60 lavish rooms to the world’s biggest dining table with 101 seats, it is a magnificent ode to excess.
The property’s tour de force—one of the most expensive hotel rooms in the country—is the Grand Presidential Suite, also known as the Nizam Suite. A study in refined luxury, the duplex suite comes with its own private landscaped garden, private swimming pool, Jacuzzi, marble fountain and exclusive access to the hotel chain’s acclaimed Jiva Spa. Indulgent royal touches can be experienced in the smallest details—like the cushioned silk lining inside all drawers! The dining room is equipped with custom-designed Versace crockery and Robbe & Berking cutlery. The private guest area is ideal to host business associates over a curated royal dinner of Kheema-Naan, Kachchi Hyderabadi Biryani, Dahi ke Kabab, Gosht Ki Shammi and the Taj Falaknuma’s very own revived recipe from the Nizam’s old records—Pathar Ka Gosht, scallops of kid-lamb marinated over 48 hours and cooked slowly over hot granite.
ENJOY THE PAUSE WITH: A private butler (with his own separate butler pantry) and airport transfers in a Jaguar. You could also request a private qawali session by the poolside, bathed in mystic moonlight!
FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF: The Crown Prince of Germany, the Czar of Russia, King George V, Kumar Mangalam Birla and the President of Zanzibar.
ROMANCE THE PAUSE IN: The Shahi Mahal Suite
WHERE: At The Raj Palace, Jaipur
The Pink City’s oldest mansion, the resplendent Raj Palace, was restored in 1995 by Princess Jayendra Kumari into a heritage hotel. Flush with royal antiques, glittering chandeliers and specially designed frescoes, the 40-room palace is a visual treat—often described by guests as a ‘jewellery box’—and tops the world’s best heritage hotels list regularly.
What catapults it to gargantuan jaw-dropping status though, is the four-storied Shahi Mahal, listed as the world’s most expensive hotel suite. A palace in its own right, the massive 17,000 square feet suite comprises of 6 bedrooms, a private theatre, a museum and a library. Walking in from the private garden, you’ll be enveloped in a magical, opulent world of Rajputana hospitality with swanky Western touches, swathed in ivory and gold. Designed by a team of international architects and decorators, all floors of the presidential suite are connected by a private elevator. Not just one, but a fleet of butlers are on call at the private lounge, bar, dining room, private spa and the room’s intoxicating pleasure pavilion.
ENJOY THE PAUSE WITH: A 24000-square feet landscaped terrace garden, a three-sided infinity pool and 24-carat gold foil walls that come after the Shahi Mahal’s latest renovation blitzkrieg—a 12-year project that ended in 2014!
FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF: Authors Frederick Forsyth and Dominique Lapierre, Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan.
ROMANCE THE PAUSE IN: The Shambhu Prakash Suite
WHERE: At Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
Once described as the most romantic hotel in the world, the Taj Lake Palace is suspended like a mystical jewel on the placid Lake Pichola. Built as Jag Niwas in the 17th century by Maharana Jagat Singh II of the Mewar dynasty, it was a breezy summer retreat with de rigueur royal touches like its own island helipad, Arsi Vilas! The palace was handed over to The Taj Group in the Sixties and it reached the zenith of opulence in the decade thereafter, especially when ‘James Bond’ descended here to shoot for ‘Octopussy’.
The white marble and mosaic elegance of the palace reaches a crescendo at the Grand Presidential Shambhu Prakash Suite. Named after the reformist Maharana Shambhu Singh, the suite is a luscious blend of Indian and European interiors. High ceiling curves, statuesque pillars and jewel-toned inlays play with light and shadow, exuding passion and power. As a resident of the suite, you’ll be settled in by your personal butler with a rose petal bath and champagne flutes. Your staff will include a personal chef whipping up bespoke lunches and dinners and a personal masseuse, who’ll initiate you into the hotel’s signature ‘Mewar-e-Khas’ treatment on the Jiva Spa boat.
ENJOY THE PAUSE WITH: A cruise on Lake Pichola in the palace’s 150-year-old royal Gangaur boat, featuring a bespoke menu for two and a private cultural performance. You can also avail of a personalised champagne heritage walk of the property and a 30-minute consultation with the resident astrologer.
FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF: Actors like Abhishek Bachchan and Dia Mirza.
ROMANCE THE PAUSE IN: The Kohinoor Suite
WHERE: At Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
A mere distance of 600 metres from the world’s greatest monument of love is enough to place any hotel in the rarefied list of India’s best. But this magnificent property is a treasure in itself—a fine example of luxury that speaks softly of a genteel and truly elegant time. Bathed in earthy shades of browns, tans and teal, it is inspired by Moorish and Mughal architecture and features terraced lawns, fountains, reflection pools and pavilions. The rich interiors pay tribute to local culture with intricate filigree and marble inlay work, jaalis (screens), gold thread and bead embroidery, wood carvings and hand-woven tapestries.
Ensconced on the fifth floor of the hotel, the majestic Kohinoor Suite is as incomparable as the legendary diamond it is named after. Step inside the entrance foyer and you’ll feel like a Mughal emperor gliding into his residence—a symphony of marble, a golden-domed ceiling and mirrored walls. Besides a stately study, private dining room and pantry, the bedroom (furnished with a hand-woven carpet, a teak-panelled floor, an emperor bed and two walk-in closets) opens out to a distinct view of The Taj Mahal. The suite has a total of three such open-air private terraces, each offering a different dimension of The Taj Mahal in all its glory.
ENJOY THE PAUSE WITH: 24x7 butler services, besides the most luxurious vantage point for The Taj—the suite’s standalone bathtub in the sprawling glass-panelled marble bathroom looks right out at one of the most poetic Seven Wonders of the World.
FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF: Actor Ben Kinsley and politicians including Bill Clinton, Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy.
ROMANCE THE PAUSE IN: The Maharaja Suite
WHERE: At The Leela Palace, New Delhi
A grand throwback to Edward Lutyen’s Delhi—and befitting its proximity to India’s most politically potent real estate—the butterfly-shaped Leela Palace is the custodian of magnificent architecture, aristocratic elegance and graceful Indian hospitality. Blending European charm with Mughal flamboyance, this 260-room property offers the most decadent living in the capital. Right from the looming stone elephant sculptures at the entrance to the gold-plated 1,000-lotus mural by artist Satish Gupta, the hotel boasts of an enviable Indian art collection featuring masterpieces by Satish Gujral and Paresh Maity.
The Maharaja Suite, of course, is the crown jewel amongst the hotel’s many enviable comforts. Located on the eleventh floor, the 4500-square-feet, two-bay suite enchants with vaulted ceilings with gold-leaf work and handpicked silver objets d’art. It boasts of a dedicated elevator, bulletproof glass, gym, spa and round-the-clock butler. From the Bulgari toiletries to the Ad Notam mirror television next to the bathtub, no detail has been overlooked.
ENJOY THE PAUSE WITH: A temperature-controlled plunge pool and Jacuzzi, offering a view of Delhi’s skyline. There’s also a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce Phantom at your service!
FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF: King Juan Carlos I of Spain, the Crown Prince of Morocco and Hollywood star Tom Cruise.
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