Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

India's palace hotels fit for a king

May 21, 2013 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
The spectacular sandstone exterior of the Umaid Bhavan palace in the state of Rajasthan, northwest India. Still the primary residence of the royal Maharaja of Jodhpur, a third of the facility was transformed into a hotel in 1972. The spectacular sandstone exterior of the Umaid Bhavan palace in the state of Rajasthan, northwest India. Still the primary residence of the royal Maharaja of Jodhpur, a third of the facility was transformed into a hotel in 1972.
HIDE CAPTION
Umaid Bhavan, Jodhpur
Umaid Bhavan, Jodhpur
Raj Palace, Jaipur
Raj Palace, Jaipur
Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
Devi Garh, Delwara
Devi Garh, Delwara
Deogarh Mahal, Deogarh
Deogarh Mahal, Deogarh
Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Some of India's most spectacular royal palaces are opening up their facilities to paying tourists
  • The practice provides an authentic way for travelers to experience India's rich cultural heritage
  • It also ensures the upkeep of some of the country's most spectacular historical buildings

(CNN) -- Drawbridges, moats and towering turrets that bear menacing defensive positions -- royal households have traditionally taken to fighting off outsiders with an array of medieval deterrents.

In the Indian city of Jodhpur however, one regal residence has parted with ancient convention and opened its doors to visitors from across the globe.

See also: What the world spends on business travel

For the princely sum of $450 a night, travelers can snap up a basic suite in the spectacular Umaid Bhavan.

The elaborate 347-room palace is home to the Maharaja of Jodhpur, and is one of the largest private residences in the world.

Maharajas play host
The golden child of Indian aviation

After the Indian government abolished privy purses (a regular allowance the state gave royal families) in 1972, the Maharaja sought to cut costs and converted a third of the palace into a luxury hotel.

Discover more: India's boom in planes, cars and trains

Rapid urbanization is the future

This section of the building now contains 64 luxury suites operated by hotel giant, the Taj Group.

"It's as if you are stepping back in time and you can have that same experience but with air conditioning, with WiFi and your Grohe shower head," said Raymond Bickson, managing director and CEO of the Taj Group.

See also: Are hotels the offices of the future?

Across India, many other former royal households and stately buildings have opened up in a similar way, taking advantage of the country's burgeoning tourist trade.

The practice has helped maintain the architectural splendor of the palaces in question whilst providing an authentic way for travelers to experience India's rich cultural heritage -- if they have the money.

Check out some of the most spectacular Indian palace hotels in the gallery above.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 0339 GMT (1139 HKT)
Few airline routes are as cutthroat as the one between London and New York.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 1515 GMT (2315 HKT)
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, the old adage goes; Airbus unveils revamped A330 airliner.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Show us how you travel with twitpics and instagram via #howipack
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 0923 GMT (1723 HKT)
Could airlines drop fossil fuel in favor of cooking oil?
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
How do you kill time during flight delays?
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 0800 GMT (1600 HKT)
Fancy stripping off before a flight and getting sweaty with fellow passengers? Head to Helsinki.
June 19, 2014 -- Updated 0255 GMT (1055 HKT)
The skies are under threat. Not from terrorists or hardened criminals, but from everyday passengers who seem to go a little loco.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
A German entrepreneur claims to have found a way to buy 1 million air miles for as little as $6,500.
June 12, 2014 -- Updated 0213 GMT (1013 HKT)
These days, no fashion house portfolio is complete without a hotel -- or at the very least, a luxuriously designed suite.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
Is sky the limit for green aviation? Take our quiz and find out.
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 0319 GMT (1119 HKT)
Some collect spoons from their travel, others collect a whole lot more.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
There is no shortage of adjectives one can apply to airline seats; no wonder that many carriers are looking to make a change.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 0558 GMT (1358 HKT)
Etihad Airways has unveiled new cabins that are more like suites complete with butler and chef.
ADVERTISEMENT