Top picks of luxury Indian hotels for post pandemic travel
These 5 leading Indian properties have reopened post lockdown with stringent health and safety precautions in place
By Pallavi Mehra
Ahilya by the Sea is a 20-year-old seaside haven in Goa
After spending months in lockdown in our homes, our eyes are aching to see sprawling greenery, expanses of golden sand beaches and majestic rolling hills. Here are our favourite Indian luxury hotels that offer a slice of paradise, inspiring design and quietude. These properties are all currently taking reservations and are open for business.
Elgin Hall features seven well-appointed suites
Elgin Hall, Dalhousie
Elgin Hall is a charming boutique hotel situated in Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh. This quaint, historic property sits amid a lush green natural landscape. Think majestic waterfalls, picturesque deodar trees and a bed of clouds dotted with the Himalayan ranges. Named after a British diplomat - Lord Elgin, this property was built in 1857 as a summer residence for British aristocrats. The hotel’s interior has an old-world charm with modern amenities. Featuring seven well-appointed suites, Elgin Hall’s intimate atmosphere and spectacular service assure an unmatched level of comfort. Each suite showcases luxurious design and is decorated with crisp-white furniture and accents inspired by Victorian heritage. Besides its seven luxurious suites, the hotel houses a formal living room, a classic tea lounge, a reading room, a kids play area, a game room and a courtyard.
Elgin Hall has an old-world charm with modern amenities
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Elgin Hall has launched a safety initiative called 'We.care' to ensure that proper and increased sanitization and hygiene measures are being taken around the property.
Ahilya by the Sea serves a scrumptious blend of Goan and French cuisines made from the freshest local ingredients
Ahilya by the Sea, Goa
Situated an hour from the Goa airport, this property features a spectacular Arabian Sea backdrop. The hotel is tucked away from the busy city and is located at the confluence of the Mondovi and Nerul Rivers, where they spill into the Arabian Sea. A sun-kissed sandy beach, blue skies, crashing waves and soft ocean breeze all come together as a picture-perfect setting at Ahilya by the Sea. Set near a fishing village at the entrance of Old Goa, this seaside haven is a 20-year-old boutique hotel.
Ahilya by the Sea features a spectacular Arabian Sea backdrop
Ahilya by the Sea showcases a distinctive blend of famous architecture styles from Indonesia and Goa. At this tropical paradise, sophisticated design, graceful architecture and charming interior decor add to the magnificent scenery. The hotel boasts of three Portuguese style villas built with hand-hewn local red laterite rock, one tower room that is intertwined with an age-old beachfront banyan tree and a small partial sea view room known as the Music room. This beach retreat also features two swimming pools and a number of shaded verandahs to unwind in. Ahilya by the Sea serves a scrumptious blend of Goan and French cuisines made from the freshest local ingredients. The hotel has reopened after the COVID-19 lockdown maintaining all recommended health and safety measures.
Hilton Shillim features only villas spread over a serene natural landscape
Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa
Perched amongst the Western Ghats, Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa is a sprawling 350-acre-retreat. This property is a 3-hour drive from Mumbai and houses villas spread over a serene natural landscape. It’s Forest Villas exhibit exquisite architectural designs and is surrounded by verdant greenery, while the Valley Villas provide panoramic views of the Sahyadri mountain range. Guests can immerse themselves in the wilderness by going on walks, hikes or having breakfast set up for them in nature. Furthermore, the property serves food based on the Dharana Food Philosophy of utilising locally sourced produce and ingredients from organic farms. It also features a Dharana Wellness Centre offering wellness packages encompassing preventive medicine, exercise physiology, nutrition and dietetics, conflict resolution, and spiritual wellbeing.
Hilton Shillim guests can immerse themselves in the natural surroundings by having breakfast set up for them in nature
Hilton has announced a worldwide roll-out of a new program to deliver an industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection to Hilton properties called Hilton CleanStay™. Elements of Hilton CleanStay™ will greet guests from the moment they enter Hilton Shillim and will be present throughout every aspect of the stay.
RAAS Chhatrasagar is an embodiment of “glamping”
This luxury tent-only boutique hotel is located amid 1,500 acres of nature on the shore of a pristine lake. RAAS took over management of the property in 2019, and since then has given it a major upgrade. A 4-hour drive from Jaipur, RAAS Chhatrasagar is an embodiment of “glamping.” It showcases the opulent Rajput tented lifestyle from a bygone era. The hotel features 16 tents, a spa and an eatery. The tents, built by modern architects, are soundproof and are furnished with materials like Jodhpur sandstone and teak wood, and fabrics that illustrate local flora and fauna. Each tent features air conditioning, en suite luxury bathrooms with bathtubs and heated pools and outdoor verandahs overlooking the lake or the forest.
RAAS Chhatrasagar is tent-only boutique hotel
The adjoining scenic lake is home to over 200 species of resident and migratory birds, such as pelicans, snipes, golden orioles, and green-winged teals. The verdant forest around the lake attracts animals like nilgai, jackal and wild hogs. Moreover, RAAS Chhatrasagar’s lakeside restaurant serves Rajasthani and international fare in a modern dining room. Most of the ingredients for the dishes are sourced from the property’s own organic green patch. The hotel also offers Ayurvedic and Tibetan wellness therapies along with yoga sessions and guided nature walks.
Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa houses the Jiva spa with a temperature-controlled infinity pool
Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa, Coorg
This hotel is nestled amid a 180-acre rainforest in Madikeri, Coorg. Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa, a 5-hour drive from Bangalore, is located in the Western Ghats. The property exhibits local, traditional South Indian architecture featuring gentle sloping roofs, tall pillars and a central courtyard. This 62-room retreat houses suites and villas that showcase luxury interior design and offer panoramic views of the hills and untouched nature. The surrounding rainforest is dotted with more than 200 species of plants including rudraksh trees, cardamom, coffee, wild jasmine and eucalyptus.
Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa houses suites and villas offering panoramic views of the hills
This hotel offers well-furnished amenities such as Taj’s signature restaurants and the Jiva spa with a temperature-controlled infinity pool. Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa serves traditional Coorgi cuisine at Nellaki, while Ferntree is the all-day diner. The property also houses a Buddha garden, a strawberry farm and a banquet hall called Soiree for weddings and events. In addition, the resort provides personalised experiences such as nature walks, treks, coffee tasting, concierge tours and even cooking lessons. Post the Coronavirus lockdown, Taj Hotels has launched an initiative called ‘Tajness – A Commitment Restrengthened’ ensuring a reinforced commitment to safety and hygiene.