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India’s Colonial Charm

In this Independence Day special, we take a peep into India’s heritage hotels that have retained their architectural splendour and ambience

The Verandah in the Forest Matheran


The paths once cleared by the British in the forests of Matheran, making it the last British hill station, have acquired a new identity. Perched atop the Sahyadri ranges, The Verandah in the Forest, Matheran is Asia’s only pedestrian hill resort. Chug up in a toy train, trot, or arrive in a palanquin, past gigantic mansions built by the British, the Parsis, and the Bohras. The Verandah in the Forest was the second house to be built on the isolated Western Ghats, by Captain Barr. Now, with every facility in place, it is reputed to be second to none.

With its proximity to Mumbai, the 19th century colonial home can hold small conferences throughout the year. The property has 11 rooms and suites and they are categorised as Luxury Suite, Suite, Grand Room and Room. Each room is given a different name and an individual persona. The rooms provide facilities such as air-conditioning, attached bath with running hot and cold water, and more.

There are altogether 28 points, two lakes, two parks, four major worship places and a racecourse to visit inside Matheran. It takes about two-three days on your feet for a complete adventure. Important points are Alexander Pt, Rambag Pt, Little Chowk Pt, Big Chowk Pt, One Tree Hill Pt, Belvedere Pt, Olympia Race Course, Lords Pt, Charlotte Lake, Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir, Celia Pt (a water fall mouth), Echo Pt., Porcupine Pt (Sun Set Pt), Panorama Pt (Sun Rise Pt), Khandala Pt, Madhavji Garden & Pt, Matheran Railway Station, Louisa Pt, Mayra Pt, Pisarnath Temple, Matheran Shiv Mandir. There are also view points like monkey and echo, steep cliffs, deep ravines. There are many picnic spots as well.

Clarkes Hotel Shimla


Once the summer capital of the British Raj, Shimla has a rich colonial heritage legacy. Clarkes Hotel in Shimla is one of the oldest hotels in the city. In fact it has served as a hotel since 1898. At a walking distance from the main tourism attractions in Shimla, like Gaiety Theatre, Groton Castle, Museum, Rothney Castle, Viceregal Lodge, it was one of the hubs of the fashionable social scenario in those times. The history of the hotel dates back to the 1920s when Ernest Clarke took over as the manager of the hotel. They started taking a lot of interest in the hardworking and sincere young man Mohan Singh Oberoi. Later as they wanted a break, they handed over the running of the Hotel Carlton (earlier name) to Oberoi. Meanwhile in their six months absence an enterprising Oberoi had doubled the occupancy to 80 per cent. They decided to offer the property to Oberoi for a particular amount as they were keen to return to England. On August 14, 1934, Oberoi became the sole owner of Hotel Carlton, Shimla. He later renamed the hotel after Ernest Clarke.


The hotel that was upgraded from the ‘Heritage’ category to ‘Heritage Grand’ category by the Ministry of Tourism in 2012, offers an old world charm with all the comforts of a modern hotel.   The spacious, elegantly furnished rooms in the hotel offers spectacular mountain views. There are four categories of room. One of the highlights of the property is its impressive pillar-less dining hall. The dining hall offers a panoramic view of the surrounding forests, hills and the city. A wide variety of Indian, continental and Chinese cuisine is served to guests. The Terrace is an ideal location to browse through a book and enjoy tea. The Bar from late 18th century bar is  perfect to enjoy a relaxed drink.

Hotel Du Parc Pondicherry


Hotel Du Parc is a French heritage property in Pondicherry. It was constructed around early 17th century as Heritage Villa Selvo. It was included in Villa Aroume, the 17th French society living in Pondicherry. Numerous esteemed French governors lived in this heritage house, Joseph François Dupleix being one of them. The hotel features a seamless blending of French and Indian traditions in each and every aspect. The best aspect is the hotel’s strategic location, just few minutes away from scenic beach Boulevard, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Bharathi Park and also from the Pondicherry’s museum and shopping district.

Those who stay at Hotel Du Parc often compliment the rooms of the hotel.  The property offers 10 rooms and looks spectacular due to its rich and sophisticated interior decorations. Period furniture and sophisticated drapes add style to these spacious rooms. The environment around every room is reminiscent of age-old traditions of Tamil Nadu.

The hotel has been re-modeled as a reflection of the colonial times. The architectural designing of the villa in the architect’s own words has been a ‘search to find an overlaying geometry (form) which can bind values’.


The distinct colour scheme of the sun kissed yellow and shades of pastel turquoise have been inspired from the region of Provence, South France. The contemporary look is a blend of the old and the new, captured well with English drapes, pure fabrics, colonial atmosphere, antique French furniture and local artisan craft in cane weaving and pottery.

The small town of Pondicherry is one of the major attractions in the state of Tamil Nadu. In early years, Pondicherry was ruled over by French authorities. The French rulers have left their mark which can be seen in the lifestyles, architectures and cuisines in and around Pondicherry.

The Lallgarh Palace – A Heritage Hotel Bikaner


The Lallgarh Palace – A Heritage Hotel in Bikaner is one of the most impressive palaces in Rajasthan constructed during the last half of the 19th century. Renowned architect, Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, was commissioned for the proposed residence of the young ruler, Maharaja Ganga Singh. The construction began in 1896 and the first quadrant, Laxmi Niwas, was completed in 1902. Maharaja Ganga Singh named his new residence in honour of his father, Maharaja Lall Singh. The princely abode welcomed Lord Curzon as its first important guest. The Lallgarh Palace is one of the best examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture amalgamating the best of Rajput, Muslim and European styles. The intricately dexterous carving on the red stone is a hallmark of great local craftsmanship. Maharaja Dr Karni Singh, the 23rd ruler of Bikaner, was concerned about the preservation of this beautiful property and created The Maharaja Ganga Singhji Trust in 1972 and transferred two wings of the palace into the trust. In 1974 the trust started running the hotel from those two wings.

The palace has played host to a number of dignitaries from all over the world. Sprawling lawns with dancing peacocks and beautiful bougainvilleas adorn the palace. Open corridors run the length of the halls and rooms and are lined with a rare collection of old prints and vintage copies of etchings. The covered corridors that link rooms are mounted with hunting trophies. The cupolas, domes and balconies were carved by local craftsmen with such delicacy that even today the solid red sandstone has the fragile appearance of lace. The interior of the palace is laid out with a grand reception hall, drawing rooms, a billiard room, card rooms, smoking room, dining rooms and an indoor swimming pool.

The Lallgarh Palace has 56 well-appointed Superior and Standard rooms equipped with a mini bar and CCTV. The palace also provides personalised wedding solutions for its guests ranging from a royal welcome and regal procession to mehendi, sangeet, reception, ceremonies, entertainment, video filming and photography. Built in finely carved red sandstone, The Lallgarh Palace is an imposing and desirable backup for film and ad shoots as well.

Founded in 1488 AD by Rao Bika Ji, Bikaner is located in the north west part of Rajasthan. The imposing palaces, beautiful and richly sculptured temples of red and yellow sand stones display some of the finest creations of the Rajput civilisation. At present the city is developing fast into a tourism centre for its architectural wealth (Junagarh Fort), The Lallgarh Palace, Gajner Palace, Karni Mata Temple) and local festivals and fairs (Camel Festival, Gangaur Festival, Kolayat Fair).

The Taj West End Bangalore


Next to the Golf Club and across the Turf Club track, stands The Taj West End Bangalore, a lush, 20-acre garden, situated in the middle of Bangalore. Every one of the 91 rooms and 26 suites are a perfect blend of luxurious amenities, rich history and modern conveniences. The Taj West End Bangalore is a sanctuary for today’s discerning business traveller and offers an array of cutting edge business technology, and a 24-hour business centre. For the leisure seeker, there is plenty to do – sip drinks under a 125-year old Banyan tree, relax in the sun or linger over high tea. In the mid 1800s, Bangalore was a leafy army base. However, after the Suez canal opened in 1869, more people were coming to Bangalore and the need for lodges was growing. Charming retired English ladies stepped up to fill the need and boarding houses began coming up all over the city. In 1887 Mrs Bronson opened a boarding house with 10 beds. Bronson’s West End, as it came to be known, was very successful and eventually took over a second building that belonged to the secretary of the Race Club and then a third building which belonged to the Grenadier Guards, an elite regiment that was stationed in Bengaluru at the time. Today’s visitors can still see the regiment’s faded firecracker emblem on the side of the building.

By 1912, the success of Bronson’s West End had made it an attractive investment for the Spencer empire. The Spencers first found success as wine merchants and then expanded into department stores and hotels as they built their business catering to the need of the English upper class trying to adjust to life in India. Under the Spencers’ care, the West End truly came into its country club atmosphere. A large dining room and billiards room were added along with a stable, racquet courts, croquet and nearby golf course. Some of the inherently charming features of the architecture were the tiled roofs, distinctive gables, dormers, monkey-tops, trelliswork and intricately carved fascias. By 1984, the Spencers called upon the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces to carry on the old world charm of the West End.


The guests have always had their favourite rooms at this property. The Raja of Chettinad was a regular in room number 50, whereas Mrs McCormick always stayed in room number five. Today, the rooms are designed with a sense of openness, warm textures, fabrics and lighting along with a careful choice of artifacts.  The gardens are so intrinsic to the experience that all the blocks are named after flora such as Zinnia, Jasmine, Aster, etc.

Glenburn Tea Estate Darjeeling


Glenburn is a plantation retreat in Darjeeling. Started by a Scottish tea company in 1859, Glenburn then passed into the hands of one of India’s pioneering tea planting families – The Prakashes, popularly known as the ‘Chaiwala family’ . The story of the Chaiwala family began over a hundred years ago, and is closely connected with that of tea plantations in India. Today, the third and fourth generation Prakash family carry almost a century of tea knowledge in their inheritance.

Glenburn tea estate is of particular interest to those tourists who might be interested in knowing about how a tea leaf makes it to their tea cup. Guests are accommodated in one of the two bungalows, each comprising four suites and common areas, gardens, verandahs and terraces. The Burra Bungalow – home to generations of planters, remains the focal point of Glenburn hospitality, with its sweeping main verandah, cozy living room (with fireplace and library) and grand dining room where candle-lit sit-down dinners are held. The four bedrooms have been charmingly decorated, each following a different theme, and are comfortable and spacious, yet cosy. The Water Lily Bungalow, with four more suites and a stunning location on the edge of the Glenburn spur comprises a living room, smaller dining room, two verandahs and garden areas laid out on two levels, and connected to The Burra Bungalow by a stone staircase. It also houses a large recreation and meeting room, as well as massage and steam room. All four bedrooms have direct views of the mountains, with antique furniture, private balconies, bay windows/ or sitouts.


The highlight of staying at Glenburn is the Tea Experience tour where guests are then taken to the tea factory where they go on a guided tour on how the leaf is brought in from the fields, weighed, and then taken through the processes.

Bolgatty Palace & Island Resort Kochi


Amidst the picturesque island of Bolgatty is the beautiful Bolgatty Palace & Island Resort Kochi, an exclusive mansion with four palatial rooms, providing travellers with world-class amenities and wonderful holidaying options. Originally built by Dutch traders in 1744, it is the oldest of its kind that exists outside Holland. The resort combines leisure with business and it is popularly known as a honeymooners’ paradise. The resort has a main block, a mansion block, which houses the palace rooms and a marina block which faces the marina. The marina block has marina on one side and the golf course on the other side. There are six lake view cottages also in the resort. The resort is encircled by a nine hole golf course established in 1925. Guests at the property are spoilt with multitudinous activities offered at the premises like golfing, bird watching and morning and evening walks on Bolgatty Island, ayurvedic wellness programmes, watching ships entering the Kochi port through the estuary, watching traditional fishing activities, and boating in Kochi backwaters.

Overlooking the backwater, Kochi seaport, Vallarpadam container terminal and the Arabian Sea is the Bolgatty Event Centre. The venue can be easily accessed from the heart of Kochi. The venue is ideal for conducting international conferences, conventions, exhibitions, meetings, wedding receptions and theme dinners. The centre is regarded as one of the exotic locations in Kochi.


Located on the eastern coast of Bolgatty Island is the Kochi International Marina, the first full-fledged marina of international standards in India. The marina provides berthing facility for 34 yachts and also offers services like water, electricity, sewage pump-outs, etc. Marina House, built in traditional Kerala architectural style, serves as a station for vessels to refuel and to replenish their stores.

Kochi, the prominent travel destination of Kerala, has always been an exotic location on a traveller’s list. The sea, backwaters, monuments, heritage is what Kochi is all about.

WelcomHeritage Golf View Pachmarhi


Surrounded by lush greens with an undulating jogging track, WelcomHeritage Golf View is the pride of Pachmarhi, one of India’s most scenic hill stations, the discovery of which is credited to Captain Forsyth, a British soldier who discovered this picturesque plateau on Mahadeo hill.

It was constructed by the Roman Catholic mission in 1927 and is famous for its architectural finesse. The name ‘Pachmarhi’ can be translated to mean five shelters referring to five caves with sculptures located in the heart of the hill station. Legend has it that the five Pandava brothers (of Mahabharata fame) lived for sometime in these caves during their years of exile.

Nestled in the lap of Satpura hills, Pachmarhi, the hill station of the central provinces is situated on an isolated plateau in the Mahadeo hills of the Satpura range in the south eastern corner of the Hoshangabad district. The characteristics of Pachmarhi scenery are its forest glades, ravines, waterfalls, bathing pools, caves, rock paintings, sacred places and Satpura National Park. The entire plateau covers an area of 13 sq km, providing 74 km of cross country trek at a stretch in and around.

It has 20 known water places with about half a dozen waterfalls, a string of Khuds and hill tops and there are view points at about 61 places. WelcomHeritage Golf View overlooks the golf course of Pachmarhi and is spread over four acres of land.

The resort is known for its historical colonial ambience along with modern facilities. Decorated with period furniture, the resort offers a beautiful view of its lawns with a convenient jogging track.

Casa Palacio Siolim House Goa


A 350 year old heritage hotel in Goa, Casa Palacio Siolim House was built in 1675. It is a Palacio that dates from the earliest times of the Portuguese occupation of Goa, restored as a home which, now doubles as a private seven room heritage boutique hotel in Goa. The house understates its stature as one of Goa’s most unique and oldest manor houses. There are very few examples of the aristocratic late 16th century ‘casa do sobrado’ style of Goa-Portuguese architecture remaining in North Goa. The manor once housed the governor to Macau, and a family of administrators that included a governor to Mozambique. The property is classified as a ‘Heritage’ boutique hotel in Goa by the department of tourism, and situated in the quiet coastal village of Siolim, Goa. The property is in close proximity to beaches just to the north of Morjim, Ashwem, Arambol and Mandrem beaches and the action of the Candolim – Calangute – Baga – Anjuna beaches to the South.


The Siolim Collection – a curated set of exceptional properties (mostly in the village) which includes the annexe to our boutique hotel, called ‘Little Siolim’, a three room restored annexe villa to our boutique hotel in Goa that you can also rent as a villa;  Frangipani – a heritage village home restored with a modern touch with with a beautiful modern annexe, designed by a renowned architect, and during certain times only The Writer’s Retreat – a massive four bedroom country home in north Goa.

The company aims to show guests what Goa really is all about – an aromatic distillation of Indian and old European Portuguese cultures,through our family-oriented approach to hospitality. In 2001, Siolim House was a finalist for the UNESCO Heritage Prize. In 2009 we completed a second renovation to bring back more detail and more features to this heritage hotel in Goa.

Fortune The Savoy Mussoorie


Mussoorie was known as the ‘pleasure capital of the Raj’ and was a popular retreat for the British. One of the highpoints of the cultural milieu of those times was to either stay or be seen at one of the society do’s at The Savoy hotel. Now an ITC Fortune property, The Savoy in Mussoorie, built in English Gothic architectural style, has hosted many dignitaries in its centuries old history including Queen Mary and Nobel Prize writer Pearl S Buck. The hotel was opened in 1902 opened by Cecil D Lincoln, an Irish barrister, in 1902. It was a summer resort in the heydays of the Raj. Built in English Gothic architecture style, Fortune The Savoy takes great pride in its regal history.

Interestingly, the hotel is famous for its resident ghost – Lady Garnet Orme, who is believed to still walk the corridors of the grand mansion. The story goes that Lady Orme died of poisoning and more than a century later continues to search for her murderer.

20150815eh42Guests in the hotel can enjoy the awe-inspiring view of the hills and the snow clad Himalayan peaks along with an enchanting view of the Doon valley.  The guest rooms and Suites at Fortune The Savoy have been specially created to make a statement with soft colours, unique design and all the elements of comfort and convenience. The 50 well-appointed rooms include 26 Savoy Chambers, 12 Fortune Exclusive Rooms and 12 Fortune Suites. All the rooms have the quaint, rustic warmth of traditional English design and are all set to charm the guests. The accommodations have been enhanced with the latest technology and the finest modern amenities.

The hotel is located at the Library end of the Mall Road at Gandhi Chowk, around 32 km from Dehradun Railway Station and 55 km from Jolly Grant Airport. For those who want to come by car, the property is about a seven hours’ drive from New Delhi. Located 34 km from Dehradun at an altitude of 2500 metres above sea level in the beautiful Gharwal Hills, Mussoorie is one of the most frequently visited hill stations as it provides the perfect getaway to those who want relief from the hot, sultry conditions of the plains, especially since it is close enough to the capital to make just a weekend trip.

Banyan Grove Resort Jorhat


Located in the heart of the Gatoonga Tea Estate, Banyan Grove is a heritage bungalow in Jorhat, Assam. With a history of more than 100 years, the bungalow exhibits a colonial décor with carpets and sylvan flooring. It was the residence of the tea factory assistant manager. Accommodation in the Banyan Grove is made available in terms of seven spacious and well designed bedrooms with high ceilings, sloping roofs verandahs and a host of modern amenities. Each room is equipped with geysers, fireplaces, sitting room, dining room, kitchenette and 24 hour water supply through tubewell. The floor and compound area of this bungalow is more than 9000 sq ft and two hectares respectively.

Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisines are served at the  Banyan Grove. Recreational facilities include swimming pool, a baby pool and indoor games such as carrom, chess, Chinese checkers, scrabble, solitaire and computer video games. Croquet and fishing can be arranged on request. The property is also well-equipped with conferencing facility. This place is ideal for travellers looking for plantation bungalow experience.

Jorhat is a base town for many a plantations around the area. Gibbon Sanctuary and Majuli Island can be accessed from here. Guests are required to take a boat ride to visit Majuli Island at a point about 30 km from Jorhat. Jorhat is also home of the Tocklai Research Association (TRA), which is one of the oldest and the largest tea research stations of its kind in the world.

Guests can visit the ancient remnants of the Ahom dynasty in the surrounding areas. The Temple of Buri Gohani and the two burial vaults (maidam) of the great kings, Lachit Borphukan and Purandar Sinha can be visited from here.

Bell Guest House Surendranagar


An Indo-European building that once hosted European visitors to the Sayla princely state, the Bell Guest House is an ideal stopover for those travelling from Rajasthan or Ahmedabad to destinations like the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Junagadh, Porbandar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Dwarka, Somnath, etc. Set in lush green gardens with shady trees and lawns, this heritage house has now been renovated and opened as a heritage homestay offering the personalised hospitality of the erstwhile Yuvraj and Yuvrani of Sayla.

Accommodation includes spacious air conditioned rooms. The dining room serves home-style meals, largely Indian food and some western dishes. Guests can also opt for a traditional rural Kathiawadi meal with the local people in their farms. On prior appointment, you can also dine with the owners, the Yuvraj and Yuvrani of Sayla, and get an insight into the princely era, Rajput culture and local lifestyles.


This heritage property is an ideal place to kick back and relax, and experience rural Gujarat in the village of Sayla with its historic buildings, old houses, temples, ashrams, lake, weavers and handicrafts. Those with a bent for community activities and causes can even volunteer for work at the social development and welfare centres in the village. The owners of Bell Guest House arrange for guests to visit several birdwatching sites, wildlife reserves, handicraft and weaving centres, holy places and historic monuments in one-and-a-half hours radius of the property.

Bell Guest House is an excellent place to stay for those who want to see architectural monuments including medieval stepwells, 12th century temples, fortified towns and palaces, all of them within 50 km radius of the property. Guests can visit centres for handicrafts like stone carving, metalwork, jewellery making, beadwork and embroidery. They can visit khadi and handloom clusters, and see rare weaves like the Tangaliya and the Ikat.

The property is conveniently situated on the National Highway 8A making it as an ideal place to break journey while travelling from Rajasthan/North Gujarat/ Ahmedabad to destinations of Saurashtra like Rajkot, Gondal, Junagadh, the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Somnath, Veraval, Porbandar, Jamnagar or Dwarka. The property is also popular with long-staying business visitors to Surendranagar district in which it falls. This district is a major economic centre for several industries and also an important agricultural zone.

Heritage Hotel Mahamaya Sravasti


From the capital city Lucknow to the little known townships, the state of Uttar Pradesh has a wealth of colonial heritage legacies that have immense tourism potential. The erstwhile United Province was considered a rich buffer state by the British with the successive Nawabs of Awadh little interested in confrontation, but all that changed after the First War of Independence in 1857. After taking over the whole area in 1858, they set about to transform the skyline.

Built in 1880 as a European guest house, Heritage Hotel Mahamaya, Sravasti has a proud history of housing many dignitaries, governors and prime ministers like Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, etc. It is a heritage hotel having 28 rooms. Sravasti is an Buddhist place of worship and attracts many international tourists. Realising the need to provide comfortable lodging to tourists the European guest house was converted into a hotel. In 1979 the erstwhile European guest house was renamed as Heritage Hotel Mahamaya and was opened to visiting pilgrims. The heritage property is spread over seven acres of lush turf and offers comfortable accommodation with state-of-the-art-facilities to its guests.

The nearest airport is in Lucknow – 176 km, from where Sravasti can be reached by rail upto Balrampur via Gonda. Sravasti, the capital of the ancient Kosala kingdom, is sacred to Buddhists because it is here that Lord Buddha performed the greatest of his miracles to confound the Tirthika heretics. These miracles include that of the Buddha creating multiple images of himself, this henceforth has been among the favorite themes of Buddhist art. Sravasti was an active centre of Buddhism even in Buddha’s lifetime. Buddha himself spent many summers here, and delivered important sermons. It was here that Anathapindaka built, in the garden of Prince Jeta, a large monastery for the reception of the Buddha. Later, several shrines and other monasteries arose at this sacred spot. Sravasti has been identified with the remains at Saheth – Maheth on the borders of the Gonda and Bahraich districts. It is situated on the banks of the River Rapti.

Mumtaz Palace of Mahjong Group of Deluxe Houseboats – Super Deluxe – Dal/ Nageen Lake Srinagar


The Grand Mumtaz Kashmir, promoted by Lets Hotels, Resorts & Camps, offers luxury accommodations across Jannatul Firdaus-Kashmir Valley and Jammu with sister concerns in New Delhi and Dubai (coming soon) which are fine boutique properties built on an environmental friendly concept – eco, sustainable and responsible tourism with the basic common theme being Atithi Devo Bhavah. Mumtaz Palace of Mahjong Group of Deluxe Houseboats – Super Deluxe – Dal/ Nageen Lake (Srinagar) caters to leisure, family, honeymooners, adventure sportsmen, students, pilgrims and corporates.  It offers spacious four-bedroom boats and two-bedrooms boats; all feature attached bathrooms, electricity and modern plumbing. The cedar interiors are intricately carved and display the consummate artistry of Kashmiri craftsmen. The furnishings include embroidered native rugs and fabrics, local objects d’art, and solidly comfortable Victorian and Edwardian furniture. These luxurious boats also feature rooftop sundecks from which guests can take in the Himalayan views and enjoy the fresh air.


This unique Kashmiri tradition of waterside living originated with the first British residents of Kashmir. In order to prevent them from assuming power, the Maharaja of Kashmir forbade the British to own land; their solution was to build their residences on water, with the houseboats evolving from modest floating homes to veritable floating palaces.

These hand-built houseboats, boasting all the amenities of five-star hotels, are one of Srinagar’s stellar attractions. These residences range from 60 to 150 ft long, are 15 to 20 ft wide. Each houseboat is unique. and has two/ three/ four rooms.

The Imperial Delhi


The Imperial in New Delhi is an iconic heritage hotel in India’s capital city. Built in 1931 by Blomfield, one of Sir Edwin Lutyen’s associates and inaugurated by Lord Willingdon in 1936, it is located on Janpath, the erstwhile Queensway. The Imperial has a rich and glorious history. It was Lady Willingdon who gave the name ‘Imperial’ to this hotel for its majestic and regal presence. She also conferred the lion insignia on the hotel.

Shining marble floors, high ceilings and Burmese teak furniture attract the guests immediately when they enter the hotel. The property takes great pride in its award-winning restaurants that offers wide ranging fares – from South-East Asian at The Spice Route, multi-cuisine/ all-day dining at 1911, Pan Indian at Daniell’s Tavern to Italian at San Gimignano. Each restaurant has an interesting tale to tell on account of its origin or inspiration. The two bars namely the historic 1911 Bar and the Royal Bar- Patiala Peg feature an impressive and extensive range of beverages and one of the most extensive wine lists in the city.


The hotel has 235 guestrooms, including 43 suites, each with a distinct interior, overlooking the lush, verdant gardens. The property has two separate wings; Heritage wing and the Art Deco wing. The Heritage rooms have a classic vintage aura and are decorated with wooden armoires of Victorian style, Persian rugs and lithographs by the Daniell brothers. The Art Deco suites have a contemporary look which has a combination of wood and leather and are furnished with light fabrics.

The Imperial Spa is nestled amidst the serene surroundings of the hotel’s landscaped gardens. Sprawling over 16000 sq ft, it is exclusive for resident guests at the hotel featuring authentic ayurvedic/ international rituals. One can also indulge in an exclusive range of nail, skin and hair rituals at The Imperial Salon, open for non-residents too while rejuvenating at the state-of-the-art Health and Racquet club or even sit by the serene swimming pool during the stay. The hotel has a stand alone business centre, One Imperial Place, that offers luxurious meeting spaces and conference room facilities.

King’s Cliff Ooty


Once an imposing ancestral mansion, King’s Cliff, is a charming hotel that reminds its guests of civilisation at its laziest, offering a panoramic view of the hills around the town of Ooty while remaining withdrawn from the hustle and bustle of life down below. It is where time stands still, where tradition meets luxury, where one can take an early morning trek across the town, or emerge from the calm void of sleep to a breakfast in bed. Looking back into the annals of history, ‘King’s Cliffe’ – as it was known at the turn of the last century, was the former mansion of Lord Reginald and Lady Maybn. It was a playground for the rich and famous of the British Raj. Marriages and parties were attended by British officers and the visiting aristocracy. Some parts of its alleged past have been maintained, and are captured by anecdotes that are as unusual as inspiring.

There are nine stately rooms, all with a working fireplace. Although equipped with modern amenities, each room has its own distinct charm and is named after a theme from Shakespeare. Cosy Prospero and Verona are equipped with two single cots each, while Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet and Lago have cosy double beds. Both feature luxurious baths. Windsor Midsummer and Tempest are provided with a classic double bed and a bathtub. Whenever required, some of these can come together to form suites.


Also integral to the mansion is the Hall of Candles, the Lounge Room, and the restaurant – Earl’s Secret. The Earl’s Secret is favourite of those who prefer fine dining, all in the ambience of lazy historic luxury. Earl’s Secret serves Continental, Mughlai and Chinese cuisine. Guests can sit inside, where the earls sat or in the glass house on the lawn.

For the young at heart, there is plenty to do in Ooty. Such as a journey to the Destiny the Farm Resort, a trek across the hills on a horse or on foot, an open jeep jungle ride or fishing, a journey of discovery to a tea estate or the tribal village. Ooty also has its botanical parks and lakes to enjoy.


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