Five Best: Indian heritage hotels

Leave the backpack at home - these grand retreats are pure luxury


The Writers' Bungalow, Uttaranchal

The Writers' Bungalow is one of two 19th-century bungalows built in Ramgarh - in the foothills of the Himalayas - for British and Indian officers. Since then, the building has harboured numerous Indian literary stars, including the Nobel Prize-winning Rabindranath Tagore. It is also popular with foodies, since this is the heart of the Kumaon region, known for its apricots, plums, peaches, pears and apples (and its fantastic marmalade). If you don't want to eat, or to write, it's also great walking territory.

Ramgarh Bungalows, Kumaon Hills, Nainital District, Uttaranchal (00 91 11 2435 6145; www.neemranahotels.com). Doubles in The Writers' Bungalow start at 2,625 rupees (£31), including morning tea but not breakfast.

The Malabar House, Kerala

Grande dame of Keralan renovation projects, The Malabar House is an 18th-century Dutch colonial house that was transformed into a 17-room hotel a decade ago. It's decorated in lovely spicy colours, with antiques and art collected by its German owner, but the best thing is the welcome. I checked in with an upset stomach and, without asking, was brought coconut water (it worked!).

The Malabar House, 1/268 Parade Road, Cochin, Kerala (00 91 48 4221 6666; www.malabarhouse.com). Doubles start at €240 (£171), including breakfast.

Judge's Court, Himachal Pradesh

The Indian answer to a diminutive Scottish castle, this fairy-tale building sits 2,000ft up, surrounded by orchards, in the Kangra Valley. Built in 1918 for Justice Sir Jai Lal, it was nicknamed "the Judge's Court", and the name stuck. Now carefully restored to provide modern plumbing while preserving its ancient character, the result is more homely than you might expect. Guests can stay in one of 10 rooms in the main house, or rent a 300-year-old cottage within its grounds. Both are just outside Pragpur, a 16th-century village that was officially classified as a heritage zone in 1997.

Judge's Court, Pragpur, Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh (00 91 19 7024 5035; www.welcomheritagehotels.com). Doubles start at 3,190 rupees (£38), room only.

Chettinadu Mansion, Tamil Nadu

Built by a wealthy Chettiar trader between 1902 and 1912, this huge mansion - extending over 40,000 square feet - may boast 126 rooms, but only seven of them are given over to paying guests. Like the rest of the property, with its succession of quiet, pillared courtyards and grand halls, the rooms boast their fair share of Burmese teak and Italian marble. Staying at Chettinadu is more like being in a stately home than in a hotel: quirky rather than conventional.

Chettinadu Mansion, SARM House, TKR Street, Kanadukathan, near Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu (00 91 48 4232 1518; www.chettinadumansion.com) Doubles start at 4,400 rupees (£52), room only.

Taj Lake Palace Hotel, Rajasthan

Of all the Taj Group heritage properties in India, this white-marble wedding cake in Udaipur, built in 1746 by Maharana Jagat Singh II, is the most extraordinary. Not because of its decadently furnished suites, or its elaborate spa, but because of its setting. The hotel spreads across a four-acre island in Udaipur's Lake Pichola but, from a distance, appears to float on the water (especially this year, as the monsoon has provided plenty of water). You'd have to have a heart of stone not to find this place romantic.

Lake Palace Hotel, Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan (00800 4588 1825; www.tajhotels.com). Doubles start at US$715 (£397), including breakfast.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Wakefield Deal...

    Guru Careers: .NET Developers / Software Developers

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: our .NET Developers / Software Dev...

    Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

    £25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?