Okay, so a disclaimer is called for right at the beginning. There is actually no definitive rating system in place to rank hotels as 7 star hotels in India. Or anywhere else in the world for that matter. The Burj al Arab in Dubai is universally albeit informally hailed as the only luxury accommodation in the world that comes close to 7 star standards.
But don’t be dismayed. There are enough hotels in India whose mind-boggling array of luxury services and breathtaking architecture and decor will meet the expectations of even the most finicky and world-weary traveller. For our purposes here, we are going to look at the five most luxurious, most expensive, most exclusive hotels that India has to offer. That’s what you were looking for in the first place right?
Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur
Udaivilas tops our list for the simple reason that it features on almost any list out there that claims to rank 7 star hotels in India and also on the entire planet. Perched on the foot of Lake Pichola, it is spread over 50 acres, a significant portion of which is a wildlife sanctuary with deer running freely about. The smallest rooms are 600 square feet, and they go right up to 2500 square feet. The service is discreet and subtle, for the simple reason that they don’t aim to make you feel like royalty–they simply assume you already are royalty. That’s how exclusive it is. The grandest suite in the house is the Kohinoor suite, which comes with a hefty price tag of 2.5 lakh rupees per night.
Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur
This might not be as exclusive as Udaivilas, but boy is it the poster child for 7 star hotels in India. It sits right in the middle of Lake Pichola, and even if you can’t afford to go inside this luxury accommodation, you can still take a boat ride around it, and peep inside at what your life could have been like in an alternative universe. Here’s what it looks like:
You can’t see it in the picture, but the Aravallis form the backdrop on one end, and the City Palace on the other, offering spectacular views from every one of the 66 rooms in the hotel. This was an actual Maharaja’s palace for the longest time, and the last time he held court here was as recently as the 1930s! The most expensive suite in the house is 6 lakh rupees a night.
Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
Not located in Hyderabad proper, it is actually perched 2000 feet above the city, making this hotel an accommodation fit for the gods. It used to be the official residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad, a ruler whose opulence and wealth was widely known throughout the world. The Palace Library is home to rare manuscripts, including an extremely valuable copy of the Holy Koran. Stay here for a taste of the life and world of one of the richest rulers of India.
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai
Another regular feature on lists of 7 star hotels in India, the Taj Mahal Palace is an iconic landmark for Mumbai and for India in its own right. The management is very aware of this fact because a stay here almost makes you feel like you are the one that’s being obliged with the privilege, not the other way around. The claim is that all its rooms look out to the Arabian Sea and the Gateway of India, so any room is as good as the other. Unless of course, you’re talking about the Tata Suite, which comes for a whopping 7 lakh rupees a night. Nicholas Sarkozy and Barack Obama are rumoured to have stayed at this suite. To give you an idea of its grandeur–it has masterpieces by M.F. Hussein adoring its walls! Need we say more? For the rest of us mere mortals, the hotel has two wings as you can see in the picture above, the heritage wing and the tower wing. Hands down a stay at the heritage wing is a far more memorable experience.
Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra — the dark horse of 7 star hotels in India
There were many contenders for the fifth spot on our exclusive list of 7 star hotels in India, and perhaps more worthy in some aspects. But we settled on this one because…the picture says it all:
No it’s not Photoshop, that really is a view of the Taj Mahal from the hotel! The property sits a mere 600 metres from the iconic structure, and every room boasts a view of the Taj Mahal. If that’s not a 7 star experience then we don’t know what is. The best part is at night–the hotel has an open-air restaurant that offers candlelight dinner under the moon with an uninterrupted, breathtaking view of the Taj by moonlight! The Kohinoor suite has the best views of course, including from the bathtub. For the privilege of enjoying the beauty of the Taj while you soak in your own relaxing beauty bath, you pay 2.5 lakh rupees a night. Not a bad deal, huh?
Make sure to leave us a comment below on which of these hotels you would most love to stay at!