Architecture Bangala Chettinad Destinations - India Hampi Heritage Hotels and Palaces Sandur udaipur

10 Wonderful Heritage Hotels to stay & explore India’s Heritage!

Written by Poorna & Brinda

India is home to some excellent heritage hotels. Palaces and havelis which has been restored and renovated into fine boutique hotels.

Winter is the best time to explore heritage spots in India. It is that time of the year when the days are pleasant and nights are cold. Since visiting heritage sites means walking around in open spaces, winters are the best time.

We thought of listing these lovely heritage hotels we have stayed in while visiting these magnificent heritage destinations. These are not prohibitively expensive palace hotels like Lake Palace in Udaipur or Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad. These are small boutique hotels. We have listed the heritage destination next to the hotel. You are welcome to add to this list.

Please click on the picture to see it in larger size.

1 Shiv Vilas Palace – Hampi

We chanced upon this gem of a palace hotel few years back in unexplored wonder called Sandur. After that we have returned few times!

Built by Ghorpades, this small but well-managed palace hotel is the place to stay if you are planning to visit Hampi and Sandur. Spread over 30 acres of palace estate, it is also a birders paradise. Apart from lovely and huge rooms, good food, the palace has a huge library and a nice swimming pool too.

The palace hotel as seen from the entrance gate….

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The plaque on the wall says it all…

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The lovely court-yard.

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More on the palace and Sandur can be read in this post on this blog – Sandur – The unexplored wonder!

The website for the hotel – http://www.shivavilaspalacehotel.com/

2 Jhira bagh Palace hotel  – Mandu

This was again a rare find. When we arrived in this small boutique heritage hotel in restored palace of Maharaja of Dhar on our road trip to central India it was late in the evening. We were the only guests on a weekday in October! Palatial and lovely rooms. A big living room with lot of memorabilia. This is small palace is located outside Dhar town. An excellent place to stay and explore Mandu.

The lovely palace hotel in a huge estate.

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Spacious and neat rooms

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The living room lounge

More on the hotel can be read here in this post – Jhira Bagh Palace Hotel.

For detailed post on heritage experience in Mandu, don’t miss reading this post on this blogMandu – A Mesmerising Heritage Experience

3 Jagat Nivas Palace hotel & Hotel Amet Haveli – Udaipur

Udaipur has fabulous heritage hotels including the beautiful Lake Palace hotel. But Jagat Niwas palace and Amet Haveli  are cute and nice.

The rooms are not palatial.  But neat and elegant. Take the lake view room and you can just laze around in the room looking at the tranquil waters of the lake! The view from the lake facing rooms of Amet haveli is awesome, especially at night!

Food on the roof top restaurant in Jagat Nivas is excellent along with gorgeous views of lake! Amber, the lakeside restaurant in Amet Haveli is rated as the best in Udaipur! You need to book in advance if you want to dine here!

A panoramic view of Jagat Niwas Hotel

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The roof top restaurant. Watching sun set from here is a lovely experience.

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The couch overlooking the lake! The white building on the opposite bank is Amet Haveli

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Front facade of Amet Haveli

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Lovely rooms!

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Most romantic setting in Amber restaurant!

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More details on the hotels can be read here – Jagat Nivas Palace Hotel            Hotel Amet Haveli

4 The Bangala – Chettinad

Chettinad was brought on the tourist map by Bangala and Mrs Meenakshi Meiyyappan, the lady who has passionately built this place. Immaculate details has gone into making of this gem of heritage hotels in Chettinad. The rooms are aesthetically done and cuisine is to die for! This is the best place to stay in Karaikkudi and explore the mansions of Chettinad at leisure!

The entrance facade

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The lazy lounge!

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Beautifully done rooms

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Explore Chettinad and The Bangala by reading this post in this blogChettinad – Magnificent Mansion and Spicy Cuisine!

5 Tea Bungalow – Kochi

Tea bungalow is not big and that is a big plus point among many heritage hotels in Kochi. It is cosy. The pool under the tree is lovely. Rooms are huge and have a character. Named after port towns in Indian Ocean. The food is great too. Located in fort area, you can walk around to many places of interest in fort Kochi.

Entrance to the lovely hotel

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Pool under Champak tree!

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Beautifully done rooms

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More details on the hotel here – Tea Bungalow

6 Usha Kiran Palace hotel – Gwalior

A lovely palace turned into hotel by Taj group. When it is Taj, you know the standard. Yes, this is the place you should stay to explore Gwalior. Similar to Shiv Vilas Palace, it is located in a huge palace estate. Palatial and neatly done rooms and great food!

The palace in full glory at night

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Very spacious and beautifully done rooms

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More details on the hotel – Usha Kiran Palace Hotel

7 House of MG – Ahmedabad

A heritage house in the heart of World Heritage city of Ahmedabad was restored into a lovely boutique hotel by Mangaldas family. The details are striking.

The passion of the owners shows in the way the heritage house has been lovingly restored. Large rooms with antique furniture. Excellent staff. The best vegetarian restaurant in Ahmedabad on roof top! You don’t need any excuse not to stay here!

An aerial shot of the heritage hotel! 

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Beautiful indoor pool

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Spacious and aesthetic rooms

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More details on the hotel – House of MG

8 Hotel Ganges view & Varanasi

It is difficult to get accommodation in Ganges view! This shows its popularity among travellers coming to Varanasi. A heritage Haveli is converted into a boutique hotel on Assi Ghat. Rooms are neat and clean. The sit-outs on first and second floors are the place you can just laze around looking at slowly flowing Ganga. Baithaks of Hindustani Music still happens in the haveli in winter. Food is excellent too.

The lounge area.

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Small but elegant room….

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The first floor’s sit out with beautiful views of the river

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View of the river from the sit out!

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More details on the hotel here – Hotel Ganges view

We have a series of lovely posts on Varanasi in our blog. We invite to check them here – Varanasi in Travel Twosome

9 Ranjit’s Svaasa – Amritsar

This is another cute heritage bungalow belonging to Punjab’s royal family in the heart of city. Once you enter the hotel, you are transported to 19th century! The place has interesting memorabilia. The rooms are nicely done. The food is good too!!

The entrance to the haveli

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The corridor filled with memorabilia

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Lovely rooms

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More details on the hotel – http://svaasa.com/index.php

Please don’t forget to read about experiencing retreat ceremony at Wagha Border near Amritsar – Wagah Border – A Retreat ceremony not to miss!

10 Svatma – Thanjavur

We discovered this recently when we went to Thanjavur. Fantastic is the word! An old heritage bungalow has been renovated and upgraded to a lovely boutique hotel. The rooms are very spacious and aesthetically done. The swimming pool is just too good. The food is delicious.

Entrance facade. Beautiful.

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The lovely indoor pool!

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More details on Thanjavur can be read in this post on this blogThanjavur Brihadeeshwara temple – Big, beautiful and Divine!

More details on Svatma can be read here – http://www.svatma.in/

Plan a trip to any of the places and heritage hotels in the list for a memorable experience to understand the heritage of this great country.

What do you think about this list? Have you stayed in any other place that you want to add to the list? Looking forward to hear from you. Please leave it in the comments box.

Disclaimer – We have stayed in all these places and vouch for them. We have stayed there at our cost and we never had anyone giving us free of cost!

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About the author

Poorna & Brinda

We are Brinda and Poorna from Bengaluru, the “Silicon city” or “Garden city” of India.

We travel together. We caught the travel bug 20 years back. On our honey moon, we traveled over the sea, in the train, by bus and in an aircraft! Our adventures probably started in that year. It continues, ever since.

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