What traveler hasn’t fantasized about staying in a domed palace, and having one’s needs tended to in the most thorough yet subtle manner? At the best resorts in India, such dreams can happen.
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 lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotels on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value. Properties were categorized as city or resort hotels based on their locations.
Udaivilas, the Oberoi’s landmark property in the charming lakeside town of Udaipur, has been a World’s Best Awards heavy-hitter for the past decade — and last year was named the top hotel in the world. This year, it tops our debut Best in India list.
Readers were taken by the combination of Oberoi’s legendary service — “If you want to feel like royalty, this is the place for you,” one respondent wrote — and the property’s spectacular location on Lake Pichola.
It's all spread over 50 acres of landscaped garden, formerly the hunting grounds of the Maharana of Mewar. The 90-room resort, which opened in 2003, was designed to reflect Rajasthan’s Mughal history — hence its grand chandeliers, floral murals, and use of mirrored inlay.
Oberoi properties performed well across the board, with four of the five best resort hotels in India belonging to the brand. (Vanyavilas in Ranthambore National Park came in second place, Rajvilas in Jaipur came in third, while Agra’s Amarvilas came fifth). Also in Udaipur, the Taj Lake Palace — immortalized in the James Bond film Octopussy — took fourth place.
The Oberoi Udaivilas' fairy-tale-like domes and corridors echo the city of Udaipur, which is arranged around seven main lakes. Rooms are the largest in the city, ranging from 600 to 2,650 square feet. There’s a dramatic, black-and-white checkered pool and an expansive spa specializing in Ayurvedic treatments. Guests can take a sunset boat trip on the lake, or a private tour of any of Udaipur’s many historical sites. “The rooms (especially those with private swim-up pools) are spectacular,” one reader wrote. “Yes, it's expensive, but it's worth every penny.”