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Lifestyle: Luxury Break

Whether it’s a weekend getaway or an extended stay with family, here’s our pick of some of the most luxurious hotels in India for you to relax in By Rashmi Pradhan

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By Rashmi Pradhan

At Taj Falaknuma experience the famed Nizam's hospitality, once the sole preserve of royalty

Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
Perched 2,000 ft above Hyderabad, a stay at Taj Falaknuma Palace beckons you to dive back into the past and get a taste of what life must have been like in Hyderabad’s golden era. The former residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad, Falaknuma Palace has been leased by the Royal Family of Hyderabad to the Taj Group of Hotels Resorts and Palaces. As a guest of the hotel you can experience the famed Nizam's hospitality which was once the sole preserve of royalty.
Revel in the grandeur of the large Venetian chandeliers, murals, carpeted staircases, antique furniture, photographic portraits, Corinthian columns and ornate landscaped gardens — conceived personally by the Nizam. The tranquil experience starts from being whisked in a real horse drawn carriage — which incidentally is salvaged from the Nizam’s original buggy. The Palace Library, a replica of the one at Windsor Castle, is home to the rarest books, including one of the most acclaimed collections of the Holy Quran in the country. The palace also houses the longest and the most extravagant dining table in the world, at a staggering 108 feet!

Enjoy the Sufi session each night coupled with the Champagne Palace Walk to get a true feel of living in turn-of-the-century Hyderabad.

Prices start at Rs 38,500 plus taxes

The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
Drawn on the rich heritage and expertise of local craftsmen, The Oberoi Amarvilas’ interiors reflect the refined aesthetics of the Mughal era that reached its zenith during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. Intricate filigree and marble inlay work, gold thread and bead embroidery, wood carvings and hand-woven tapestries, display the rich arts and crafts of the region. Located just 600m from the Taj Mahal, the luxurious ambience of the hotel has a distinct residential quality that is warm and welcoming. Tranquil surroundings, elegant interiors and beautifully landscaped gardens with reflection pools create a soothing and intimate ambience. The classical design of the hotel is a tribute to the legacy of Moorish and Mughal architecture. The spa offers an extensive menu featuring holistic, non-clinical therapies, massages and beauty treatments incorporating ancient Ayurvedic principles, aromatherapy and western techniques administered by skilful therapists.

Prices start at Rs 65,000 plus taxes

The Leela Palace, Udaipur
A stunning modern day palace inspired by the magic and grandeur of Udaipur’s past, The Leela Palace, Udaipur is located on the banks of Lake Pichola and offers a spectacular view of the lake, the historic City Palace and the majestic Aravali hills. The hotel evokes the grandeur and opulence of a bygone era and is an aesthetic blend of contemporary décor and traditional architecture. All the rooms overlook the lake and are finely appointed with specially commissioned art and traditional artisan crafts of Rajasthan. ESPA, the luxury spa is one of the highlights of the hotel, along with a top-of-the-line gym with personal trainers.

Prices start at Rs 32,500 plus taxes

Orange County is set amidst a 300-acre working coffee and spice plantation, flanked by the Cauvery on one side and a forest on the other

Orange County, Coorg
Designed to draw you into the warp and weft of local environments and indigenous cultures without losing out on the finest of luxuries, Orange County, Coorg is set amidst a 300-acre working coffee and spice plantation. Flanked by the river Cauvery on one side and the lush Dubare Reserve Forest on the other, the resort comes equipped with an array of facilities including an infinity pool, a coffee lounge and library and a spa, designed to help you forget the world you’ve left behind. Accommodations set within the plantations are designed to pamper your senses. The ‘Private Pool Villas’ are inspired by the local Kodava architecture and offer luxurious seclusion while the ‘Lily Pool’ series of villas come with a tranquil lily pond. All activities at the resort are inspired by the locals — from joining the estate workforce in harvesting coffee and spices, to visiting the neighbouring Karadigodu village for a glimpse into a way of life that has changed little over generations.

Prices start at Rs 31,000 (valid till March 2016)

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 14-12-2015)