There is nothing more intriguing than staying at a hotel or a homestay that has a lineage of royalty. With the exquisite touch of history comes the string of stories. That is one of the filter I definitely choose while picking a stay at a destination. So if you’re planning on making your travel more immersive, it’s recommended to choose a stay which transports you into a different era and where for a brief period you can walk grand wooden staircases, marble floors, sink into soft mattresses of four poster beds and feel nothing less than royalty. Here are some of my picks to go to this year:
Bhainsrorgarh, Chittorgarh – Peep down the 200ft towering ramparts of the Bhainsrorgarh fort down at the glistening Chambal River. Apart from this shimmering snake and a sprawling mass of green around, there is nothing much that your eyes can spot for a large distance. This ‘middle of nowhere’ feeling leaves you wonderfully speechless. The royal family-in-residence regales you with stories of the acquisition of the fort and leaves no stone unturned where hospitality is concerned. Expect to be completely spoilt by immaculate hospitality, gourmet meals and tastefully furnished rooms – where none of them look like the other.
|Shivavilas Palace, Sandur|
Shivavilas Palace, Sandur – Tucked away just 40 kms from Hampi’s bouldery ruins, Sandur’s Shivavilas Palace is for those who want to dash to a quiet retreat, stepping out only to see the Lambani nomads embellishing bags and clothes with their embroidery, an ancient Kumaraswamy Temple and the Hampi structures. Brilliant food, spa, a pool, comfy rooms sprinkled with weathered photographs and intricate furniture of the Ghorpade family, vintage cars, snooker games and history in every nook and corner awaits. Stepping away from the expected Hampi ambience to this delightful palace is sure to infuse a fresh vibe to the trip.
Chittoor Kottaram, Kerala – Just 34 km from the Ernakulam airport, Chittoor Kottaram comes from the CGH kitty, one of the most trusted names for travellers who want to experience restored heritage properties. This is a century old palace that belonged to the Rajah of Cochin. It’s best to book this entirely as there are only a few rooms. A lush green garden surrounds the white building at the edge of the backwaters. Quintessential Kerela backdrop with snaking backwater canals, palm tree forming a gentle reflection and fishermen perched on slim boats in the mornings are some of the views from the rooms.
Casa Palacio Siolim House – It’s been on my list forever. Despite hundreds of trips to Goa, this one’s escaped a visit. Built in 1675, the erstwhile Portuguese Palacio has been restored as a home with ten rooms for guests. The colourful floor tiles, chandeliers, antique furniture, artefacts and the 350 years old vibe of the place gives it a decided vintage feel. The house has been delicately restored to and infused with modern amenities. A stay at Siolim House, definitely gives your Goa trip a twist.
Gate House, Tranquebar – The breezy town of Tharangambadi or Tranquebar is sure to lull you into complete relaxation- especially if you stay at Neemrana’s Gate House. The colourful stained glass windows, pillared verandahs and Tamil architectural nuances in every corner give a soothing touch to the ambience. The Tamil house was built in the 17th century – the walls of the hotel still resonate with ancient lores. Tranquebar lies only 113 km from Pondicherry.