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5 of India’s top luxury experiences

If you’ve been to India – or even if you haven’t – it’ll come as no revelation that the country is jam-packed full of unforgettable and luxury experiences, the likes of royal palaces and luxury lodges forming the base for everything from spotting tigers to exploring world-famous monuments. See below for our selection of the ultimate luxury experiences in India. Stay at the Taj Lake Palace A stay at a luxury hotel makes a holiday extra-special, and it’s hard to find one that fits the bill better than the 18th-century, marble-sculpted Taj Lake Palace. Floating on the shimmering waters of Lake Pichola and charmingly only reachable via boat, the hotel itself provides plenty of delights – among them a rooftop pool, spa boat and Jacuzzi – but the spectacular temples and lakes of Udaipur lie just moments away, explored on included day tours with an expert guide on hand throughout. Returning to a shaken-not-stirred cocktail in the lavish bar – the hotel, perhaps unsurprisingly, once featured in a Bond movie – finish your days with an exquisite meal in the fine-dining restaurant before a nighttime stroll among the palatial colonnades. Spot tigers on a luxury safari With two thirds of the world’s tigers roaming in its jungles, there’s nowhere better than India to catch sight of these extraordinary creatures in their natural habitat. It’s a true highlight of world travel. And, after days spent following one of the world’s most magnificent species with top trackers and guides, you’ll return to some of the country’s most luxurious safari lodges. Perhaps enjoy a sundowner by the private watering hole before spa treatments and soaks in outdoor baths in your private villa, before indulging with only the finest Relais & Châteaux fine dining. Sail on a private houseboat in Kerala Between tiny jungle-framed villages and vibrant terraced rice paddies lie the houseboats of mist-shrouded Kerala or, as it’s often referred to, ‘God’s own country’. And, a sailing through the backwaters in private luxury is rightfully one of India’s most revered experiences. As you voyage among palm-lined waters, spotting rice farmers and fishermen, you’ll enjoy the likes of opulent suites and private-chef dining, from three-course meals to expertly-mixed cocktails. Sleep in a palace The five-star Umaid Bhawan Palace, formed from the same marble that was used to build the world’s greatest monument to love, the Taj Mahal, is wrapped in landscaped gardens that frame palatial columns and spectacuarly-lit courtyards. It comes as no surprise, then, that it’s in fact still home to Jodphur’s maharaja family – and is the sixth-largest private residence in the word. From the peacock-dotted grounds and Art Deco rooms to the expert spa treatments, fine dining private dinners and traditional dance performances, one could easily spend days exploring – but it’s worth tearing yourself away, as the magnificent forts of Jodphur such as Mehrangarh, one of India’s largest, lie just moments away. Journey on the Maharajas’ Express A journey on what has been voted “The World’s Leading Luxury Train” in the World Travel Awards seven times is one that will stay with you for years to come. After traditional music and dancing make for a charming welcome, guests step onboard among intricate frescoes and gold-gilded features, enjoying personal butler-served cabins and free-flowing drinks in the opulent leather-clad lounges. Disembark for all-inclusive excursions, ranging from champagne sunsets by the Taj Mahal to dinner with a royal Rajasthani family, before returning to sommelier-paired gastronomic delights among the glittering crystal and gleaming wood of the restaurant cars. Dave Warne is Product Director at The Luxury Holiday Company. The Luxury Holiday Company offers completely bespoke holidays designed to deliver unrivalled luxury, arranged by specialists who have more than 200 years of collective travel experience. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. India is one of my favourite countries in the world. I love a place that is colourful, chaotic and teeming with life. Unfortunately my wife doesn’t. She is something of a pampered Princess. When we have visited India she is fascinated by the distinctive grandeur of Indian decor and ironically is very interested in Indian political history too and has read a lot of books about the 1930s and 1940s. Sadly, though she never wants to venture too far from the sanctuary of our hotel. I’ve just got a sneaky feeling that the Maharaja Express could be the answer to our problem. The dancing and musical welcome would bring India to us and my wife could have her luxury.

    1. It is a truly special country! And yes agreed, the Maharajas’ Express would be a wonderful choice – it means you can enjoy the height of luxury while still discovering everything India has to offer.

  2. I have an Indian friend who goes on a tiger spitting expedition most years. She says that you have to be very patient and quite philosophical too. You may not see a tiger but she says when you do it is such a wonderful feeling that you soon forget about all the previous waiting.

    1. Very true, some safari and wildlife holidays take a bit of waiting, but it’s always worth it! And, it’s truly a special experience to see such an animal in the wild.

  3. No surprise that the Taj Lake Palace is so James Bond. It’s both romantic and sophisticated. It must be an absolute dream to stay there, really living the dream. The ultimate place for a cocktail on the terrace.

    1. The problem with James Bond locations is that there’s usually an evil villain lurking intent on world domination!

  4. Wow, the Taj Lake Palace sounds too good to be true. It’s almost like a sacred tourist location that’s so exclusive you couldn’t take photographs. I love the idea of having to take a boat to get there, how cool is that! I’m not surprised it was a feature in a Bond flick. The Umaid Bhawan Palace also sounds incredible. Is it actually open to the public to stay in then, considering the Jodphur’s maharaja family resides there? It’s described as the 6th largest private residence, so can you only tour it or can you actually stay in one of the rooms? The luxury trainloads very fancy, I bet that’s far more punctual than the Cross Country services in the UK!

    1. The Umaid Bhawan Palace is actually so big that it’s divided into three sections – the family’s area, a museum, and the hotel, so you certainly can stay there, alongside the royals!

  5. A few years ago I was stood in a very long immigration queue at Delhi airport (far too long in the opinion of most of us queuing) and it struck me what a range in types of tourism India sees.

    Eventually when we got through the queue it was obvious that a few of the visitors were heading off into extreme luxury. One representative from a grand hotel was there to meet one well dressed couple. Next to him stood a man in a uniform with a silver platter of chilled drinks. Remember that this was still in Arrivals!

    Yet, in the same queue were two Aussie backpackers going around the country with a food budget of just $2 (Aus) per day. What a contrast with the Maharajah luxury that many visitors to India enjoy.

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