By Sarah Bruning
July 08, 2020
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Courtesy of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts

This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.

Visiting India continues to be the trip of a lifetime for many T+L readers. As such, they keenly research every aspect of the journey, especially where they want to stay. And in that arena, travelers to the subcontinent are spoiled for choice. Whether they be sprawling former royal palaces or glamorous tented camps, the best resorts in India pamper guests and provide welcoming home bases from which to explore the country’s abundant cultural riches, precious wildlife, and so much more.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

Rajasthan dominated once again, with four out of the top five hotels. Jaipur, dubbed the Pink City for its rose-hued buildings, claimed second and third place. At No. 2, the Oberoi Rajvilas wowed one T+L reader with “incredible service.” The staff here clearly goes above and beyond to show travelers the magic of their country, both on property and on excursions throughout town. Guests raved about basking in the sunset at Naila Fort with an Oberoi-calibre cocktail in hand and learning how to cook regional specialties during classes organized by the hotel.

As the former residence of a maharajah, Rambagh Palace, which was voted No. 3, is infused with a sense of history and glamour. “The grounds are immaculate, with peacocks strolling about and grand fountains,” recalled one reader, who also noted that rooms at the Taj property “are large with amazing appointments.”

But the hotel that seemed to best combine all the facets T+L readers love — superlative service, grand accommodations, and cultural touch points — is a repeat winner, the Leela Palace Udaipur. Read on to find out more about what sets it apart and which other hotels joined it on this year’s list of the best resorts in India.

1. The Leela Palace Udaipur

Courtesy of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts

Score: 97.64

Holding down the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row, this Rajasthani hotel knows how to give guests a memorable stay — starting with the iconic approach from Lake Pichola. “One is brought to the hotel from a launch on the lake,” described one T+L reader. “When we landed at the pier and walked up the ramp to the portico, a shower of roses fell from the ceiling above us as two hotel attendants, in their full Indian regalia, stood by, bowing and welcoming us!” And that’s not the only way the staff here impressed travelers. As another World’s Best voter wrote, “You are treated like royalty without being smothered. The only 'negative' about staying here is that it's hard to match the expectations set by the hotel with any other future travel experiences.”

2. The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur

Courtesy of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 97.33

3. Rambagh Palace, Jaipur

Courtesy of The Indian Hotels Company Limited

Score: 96.50

4. The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

Courtesy of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 96.45

5. The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur

Courtesy of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts

Score: 94.80

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2020.