Our top picks for luxury hotels in Mumbai and New Delhi.
Taj Mahal Palace
Ever since this grande dame opened its doors in 1903, the property has played host to the good and the great. Located in south Mumbai and offering spectacular views of the Arabian Sea, its handsome Florentine dome sets the scene for the extravagance that follows inside. Sweeping arches, Belgian chandeliers, and 4,000 works of art path the way to the 550 sumptuous rooms and suites. And the hotel’s five restaurants are equally impressive; Wasabi by Morimoto, in particular, was voted one of Asia’s 50 best restaurants by The World’s 50 Best in 2016. There are also 15 different yoga and meditation classes on offer, a private jet and luxury yacht for rent, and a pool ringed by palm trees.
Tucked away in central Mumbai, the city’s first “art hotel” is a quirky visual wonder. With an exotic Eastern theme, Le Sutra offers 16 uniquely designed rooms packed with contemporary murals, abstract drawings and more — providing a great education in Indian art, culture, myths and philosophy. Sculptures, installations and literary quotations scribbled on the walls decorate the space, courtesy of 150 artists from across the subcontinent. Don’t miss the “living tree” in the backyard, embellished with a flock of carved parrots.
A small, contemporary hotel that packs a punch. Set slightly out of town in the well-heeled New Friends Colony, far from the noise and pollution of central Delhi, The Manor offers serenity on tap. Its look is slick and sharp, with terrazzo floors, cherry wood paneling, green granite bathrooms, and contemporary chrome fittings throughout its 16 rooms; be sure to request one that opens out onto the landscaped gardens. Best of all, though, is the award-winning food at the hotel’s restaurant, Indian Accent. Arguably the hottest ticket in the city, the restaurant serves up a seriously good, Michelin-worthy affair, from tandoori-glazed Scottish salmon to blue cheese–stuffed naan.
Simply the most famous hotel in India. Designed in 1931 by Blomfield, an associate of famed British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, this property in central Delhi represents colonial elegance at its very best. Featuring white marble floors, rosewood furniture and high ceilings, the colonnaded veranda overlooking the manicured gardens presents the true pièce de résistance. Inside, the 233 rooms and suites boast massive bathrooms and all its guests could ever want, right down to a pillow menu. Superb artwork by various British lines the corridors, and the hotel’s resident curator regularly offers tours throughout the sprawling spaces. Three restaurants, shopping (the hotel hosts a Chanel boutique), a huge pool and a fantastic spa round out the luxuries available to enjoy.
The Leela Palace
A relatively new arrival in Delhi, this opulent “green” hotel in the prestigious Diplomatic enclave is raking in all the awards — and for good reason. Glittering high in the sky with its gold-leafed domes, the hotel represents life on a grand scale, offering every luxury possible: 254 huge rooms, Murano glass chandeliers, handwoven Turkish carpets, and a spa with a rooftop infinity pool. Guests flock to The Qube for dinner — a square glasshouse with a “live kitchen,” allowing guests a perfect view from which to watch the chefs at work. Alternatively, there’s Jamavar for Indian specialities, Japanese food at Megu, or New York’s Le Cirque Signature, serving Italian and staggering city views from the 10th floor.