You’ve likely imagined a trip to India to experiences its sites and sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Whether or not you’ve yet been able to take what many consider a trip of a lifetime, did you ever imagine you could stay in a palace? Well, The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts offers up a dozen different properties—all palatial inside and several looking like palaces outside too. As you dream of India and plan a trip there, just imagine yourself staying at these resplendent properties.
The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts
The first Leela hotel opened in Mumbai in 1986 and more hotels were added to the collection over the next 36 years. There are 15 Leela branded properties in India that are open now or soon to come.
The luxury hospitality brand is known for its beautiful properties, five-star level of service, and elaborate culinary and cultural experiences. A new wellness initiative, called Aujasya by The Leela, links mindfulness and restorative foods with traditional and modern treatments and practices. Each hotel has unique art and cuisine as well as immersive experiences linked to its location and culture.
Leela’s tradition of hospitality is “Atithi Devo Bhava,” which translates to “guest is god”—and whether god, royalty, world leader or just a traveler looking to learn more about India—you will feel extra special with a stay at any of its locations.
The flagship Leela property is in New Delhi with gold domed turrets and a golden mosaiced lotus in its central courtyard. While the palatial properties of some Leela hotels are more in the interiors and certainly in their services, it’s Leela’s palaces that really capture the imagination.
A palace in the pink city of palaces
Take Leela’s palace in Jaipur, in northwestern India, for example. Jaipur is known as the Pink City because of the pink stone used for construction of many of its buildings and because much of the city was painted pink—a color associated with hospitality—back in 1876 for a visit of Prince Albert, husband to Queen Victoria. A photographer’s paradise, Jaipur has an abundance of gardens, pavilions and palaces. Since Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan, which means “the land of kings” in Hindi, of course you should stay in a palace here.
The Leela Palace Jaipur is such a palace. Cream colored—evoking white paint mixed with just a drop or two of pink—and with silver roofs, it stands out amongst Jaipur’s buildings. On eight acres of landscaped gardens, it has shaded courtyards, sweeping corridors, sparkling mosaics, and calming fountains. Luxury stays are in suites and villas, some with private plunge pools.
In Udaipur, the former capital of the Mewar Kingdom
Another Indian city known for its palaces, temples and ornate residences (havelis) is Udaipur. At The Leela Palace Udaipur, you can feel like royalty of yesteryear and arrive at the palace by boat on the tranquil Lake Pichola (you can arrived by car too).
The hotel’s latticed balconies and turrets with their rooftop domes immediately make you think of castles. This hotel has been called museum-like and its hallways are decorated with art depicting the Mewar rules of old Rajasthan. Even the views of the lake and Aravalli mountains from the pool are majestic.
Two in Bengaluru
Leela has two properties in Bengaluru (formerly called Bangalore), the city known for its high tech industry, parks and several palaces—including the 19th-century Bangalore Palace which was modeled after Windsor Castle in England. Modern luxury is at The Leela Bhartiya City Bengaluru, with a palatial pool and spa.
For a true palace stay, go for the opulent The Leela Palace Bengaluru. It has a 15th-16th century feel due to its size, ornate pillars and arches, vast corridors, copper domes, and sculptures of mythical Hindi animals. It was inspired by the architecture of the Royal Palace of Mysore. Be sure to look at photos of the Maharaja Suite for what the rooms of a “great king” (the translation of the Sanskrit) were like. It’s where world leaders stay today too so security is tight.
More palaces on the way
There are several other resorts and hotels, and yes, some palaces, under the Leela name too. And there’s more to come: The Leela Hyderabad is coming to the Banjara Hills area near Hyderabad, and the new The Leela Ashtamudi, A Raviz Hotel will be in Kerala. A palace near India’s most famous palace will be The Leela Agra—all of its 140 rooms will have a view of the Taj Mahal.