Travel By Boat
See India from the water! For detailed information on the river tours available, click here.
Travel by Train
India has one of the largest railway networks in the world. We recommend travelling in air-conditioned first or second class for both day and overnight journeys, and in "Executive Chair Car" on a Shatabdi Express, which operate on a number of routes.
When planning to visit Darjeeling, Shimla or Ooty you may take one of the famous "Toy Trains". There are also luxurious "Travelling Palace" trains.
For detailed information on seeing India by Rail, click here.
Travel by Air, Car & Coach
Viv's Travel Bug will be delighted to arrange your international flights. We are your Indian travel specialists and offer competitive fares with all major carriers from Australia including QANTAS, Singapore Airlines, Air India, Emirates and Malaysian Airways.
Similar arrangements can be made for passengers travelling from other countries.
India has a wide choice of domestic carriers. We use IndiGo, SpiceJet, Air India, Jet Airways, and Vistara, all known for superior and reliable service. Business class is available on most routes.
Car & Coach Travel
Travel by road gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore the country in a manner not possible by train and plane. We provide fully licensed, air-conditioned, chauffeur-driven cars for your exclusive use during the trip.
Up-grades include the Toyota Innova, Ford Tempo Traveler and limousines, which are available in some cities.
There are also air-conditioned coaches available for transport, if you prefer mingling with locals and other tourists, for more of a cultural experience.
Camps & Lodges
Camps and lodges are vital to your Indian travel arrangements and play a major role in your enjoyment of your holiday. At Viv's India we provide a wide and varied choice of accommodation, catering for all budgets and needs. We have carefully selected Indian camps and lodges which offer only the highest standards of service, cuisine and hygiene. The majority range from 4-star to 5-star deluxe, some are boutique or heritage listed lodges, as well as grand Maharajas palaces that reflect India's regal history and character.
We have special negotiated rates with many of the camps and eco lodges.
In Bandhavgarh National Park (Madhya Pradesh)
Kings lodge is located ten minutes' drive from the Tala Gate entry to Bandhavgarh National Park in a large natural forested 14 hectare estate. The lodge has ten cottage rooms and eight stilt cottage rooms with ensuite modern bathrooms spread across a natural forest offering great ambience and privacy. Guests benefit from the incredible location, hospitality and an experienced naturalist team, and our commitment towards conservation and local communities.www.kingslodge.in
Mahua Kothi Taj
Matua Kothi has twelve kutiyas or jungle village huts built in the local style of Central India. Each is accessed through private courtyards with shaded seating and traditional mud floors. Interiors include wooden shutters, tapered mud coloured walls in lime and earth washes, open rafters with roughly hewn wooden beams, and handmade pottery roof tiles. Each ensuite bathroom features twin hand basins, indoor shower, bath, and separate toilet. The hotel has a general guest area, an open kitchen, library, shop and swimming pool.www.tajsafaris.com
The Tree House Hideaway consists of five exclusive tree houses merging into the jungles of Bandhavgarh. It is not uncommon to spot animals from the balconies which overlook the tiger reserve and the Bandhavgarh Fort. The tree houses are self-contained, modern and the bedrooms are furnished with understated accessories in natural and earth tones. Specially designed Suzuki jeeps accompanied by a trained English-speaking resident naturalist will ensure a comfortable and knowledgeable visit to the park.www.treehousehideaway.com
In Chitwan National Park (Nepal)
Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge
Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge is built in the longhouse style of Tharu (the local people) architecture and its straw-bale structure blends into the forest adjacent to the buffer zone of the Chitwan National Park. There are twelve basic but comfortably furnished fan-cooled rooms and twelve safari tents that have ensuite shower rooms with water heated by solar panels. No accommodation is permitted inside the national park these days and though Tharu is too far from the park entry gate for safaris in the core zone, it continues to offer the best wildlife experience in Chitwan. The friendly staff from the nearby Tharu Village prepare fresh local meals. There are opportunities for elephant safaris, bullock cart game viewing, long-boat journeys on the Rapti River or visits to the lodge-sponsored village school.www.tigertops.com/tharu-lodge
In Corbett National Park (Uttarakhand)
Jim's Jungle Retreat
Jim's Jungle Retreat is an eco-conscious wildlife speciality lodge located on the southern edge of the Corbett Tiger Reserve. It offers eighteen sophisticated lodges and cottages in 6 hectares of lush refuge, with forest and mountain vistas, countless bird-spotting opportunities, instinct-sharpening walks and safaris, and hours by the pool or on your private verandah. The retreat borders the southern forests of Corbett and a seasonal river that comes to life during the monsoon.jimsjungleretreat.com
Located in the buffer zone of the Jim Corbett National Park, Vanghat Lodge consists of four comfortable private cottages with ensuites, and an on-site restaurant. It can only be reached by a two kilometre cross-country walk and a bamboo raft trip across the Ramganga River, making it one of the most isolated lodges in India. However, it is worth the effort as it is a wilderness paradise, with all varieties of wildlife passing through the grounds. Activities include walking safaris, birding, fishing and wildlife safarishttp://www.vanghat.com/
In Dudhwa National Park (Uttar Pradesh)
Jaagir Lodge is a former hunting lodge built in the 1940s for use by the British governors. Newly refurbished, it boasts three luxury rooms, four luxury suites, four pavilion villas, 2 brick villas (Jhaalas) along with The Pavilion (dining area), a library bar, a spa and a swimming pool. Activities include jungle walks, big-game safaris, bird-watching trips, and visits to local villages.https://www.tutc.com/jaagir-lodge-dudhwa
In Gir National Park (Gujarat)
Lion Safari Camp
Lion Safari Camp is a riverside camp resort at Sasan Gir (Gujarat), specialising in wildlife experiences. The camp is in natural setting in a private mango plantation overlooking the Hiran River. The camp is eco-friendly with twenty-one a/c luxury tents, each with a large ensuite (hot/cold running water), and all the tents are beautifully furnished with natural materials and open out to an extended deck There is a recreational lounge with indoor games and television and an air-conditioned conference hall.campsofindia.com
Asiatic Lion Lodge
Asiatic Lion Lodge has sixteen eco-friendly cottages with modern en-suite bathrooms and amenities, including a verandah to relax on. It is a premium jungle lodge built between forested hills of the Gir National Park and Sanctuary. The lodge is close to the park gate as well as Sasan Gir. There are many activities available including jeep safaris, bird watching and tribal dances and village visits.www.asiaticlionlodge.com
In Kanha National Park (Madhya Pradesh)
Singinawa Jungle Lodge
Singinawa Jungle lodge is an eco-friendly 5 star world class resort spread across 22 hectares of grassland. It has twelve luxury a/c cottages, each in its own setting with ensuite, private verandah, fireplaces, and mini bar. There is a large dining area which serves both continental and Indian cuisines, made from produce of the organic farms in nearby villages. In addition, there is a swimming pool, a spa and a library as well as a communication centre, audio-visual facilities, souvenir shop, in-house naturalists, airport/railway transfers available, travel desk facilities, taxi services, emergency medical evacuation facilities, doctor on call, facilities for the handicapped, games room, babysitting services, laundry services, health club, as well as visits to the local villages, schools and markets, as well as options for jungle safaris, bird walks, nature trails and cycling.www.singinawajunglelodge.com
Kanha Earth Lodge
Kanha Earth Lodge has twelve luxury a/c bungalows with ensuites (hot/cold running water), all built in the local tribal style. There is a restaurant, swimming pool and library. The lodge is situated in 6 hectares of natural forest in the buffer zone surrounding Kanha, close enough for easy access to the National Park but isolated from the remainder of the hotels: allowing guests a wilderness experience on-site. There is the opportunity for nature walks, with guides, and birding and cycling trips in the surrounding forest.www.kanhaearthlodge.com
Kipling Camp has accommodation lodged in comfortable cottages with views of the surrounding forest. There is a central lounge/dining room and 15 double-rooms in two-to-four room cottages, as well as a private cottage. A waterhole close by provides the opportunity for game viewing and other activities popular with the guests include nature walks and interacting with Tara, the resident elephant, who is bathed nightly in the nearby river.www.kiplingcamp.com
Flame of the Forest
The Flame of the Forest is a boutique lodge consisting of four luxury cottages on the banks of the Banjar River. Each cottage is tastefully decorated and has its own verandahs and courtyard. There are intriguing views of the forest and even a day bed outside where one can consider spending the night under a starlit sky. Activities include jeep safaris, walking safaris, and tribal village and market walks.http://flameoftheforest.in/en_GB/
In Kaziranga National Park (Assam)
Diphlu River Lodge
Diphlu River Lodge consists ofeight private bungalows and four semi-private bungalows, set along the river or overlooking farmland. All the comfortable facilities are raised on stilts and have air-conditioning and private bathrooms. The lodge is located overlooking the Diphlu River, which forms the boundary of Kaziranga National Park. In the main building there is a library, a restaurant which serves both Assamese and continental cuisine, and a well-stocked bar and verandah, where guests can enjoy an evening drink while watching for birds or scanning the opposite bank for wild animals. Diphlu River Lodge is ideally located close to one of the park entrances; and jeep and elephant safaris are easily organised, accompanied by resident trained naturalists.www.diphluriverlodge.com
TUTC Chamba Camps have introduced glamping (camping in luxury tents) to a beautiful part of India. Mobility has allowed The Ultimate Travelling Camp to introduce clients to unsurpassed destinations in the mountains, jungles, deserts and countryside as well as festivals and to such activities as white-water rafting and polo.www.chambacampthiksey.com
In Nagaland (NE India)
TUTC Chamba Camp coincides with the ten day Hornbill Festival. TUTC (The Ultimate Travelling Camp) is a super luxury camp (en-suite bathrooms, butler, etc) which caters for the opportunity to see the gathering of 16 Naga tribes at their colourful annual pageant. There are daily performances, religious ceremonies, food fares, sports (archery, wrestling, etc) and games.www.kohimacampnagaland.com
In Nagarhole National Park (Karnataka)
Orange County - Kabini
Orange County - Kabini is a world class luxury resort, boasting eight pool huts (each with their own swimming pool) and twenty-eight jacuzzi huts. Each of the traditional mud and palm thatch huts is luxuriously presented and there is a spacious living area, ensuite and private courtyard. The resort has a scenic reading lounge and an infinity swimming pool. It is surrounded by the Kabini River so there is an opportunity for a coracle or boat ride as well as guided birding trips, elephant rides, vehicle safaris or a local tribal village visit, as well as an ayurvedic spa.www.orangecounty.in
The Serai Kabini Lodge is luxury accommodation set in 30 hectares of river front jungle wilderness. The eight cottages and twelve villas are spacious and luxurious with each providing views of the Kabini River. This relaxing getaway also has a swimming pool, gym and a spa. There is not only the opportunity to relax but also to embark on game viewing, boating and birding activities, and mant more.www.theserai.in
In Panna National Park (Madhya Pradesh)
Ken River Lodge
Ken River Lodge is situated on the Ken River in a forested estate adjacent to the Panna Tiger reserve. There are six village-style thatched deluxe huts and six cottages, all with ensuite bathrooms and hot and cold running water. The raised machaan (viewing platform), popularly known as the Tree House, is also a restaurant offering fresh home cooked meals. The resort offers jungle safaris in the park and the reserve, boat rips on the river or fishing.www.kenriverlodge.com
Pashan Garh Wilderness Lodge Taj
Pashan Garh comprises of twelve luxury dry-packed stone cottages in the local Panna style overlooking both forest and a large waterhole, home of many antelope. The guest areas are haveli style with a central courtyard and cascading waterfall and there is a fort-like guest area with lookout tower, a swimming pool, as well as in-room massage, and a Safari Shop. The lodge is set in an 80 hectare private reserve with a raised game-viewing platform (machaan)www.tajhotels.com
In Pench National Park (Madhya Pradesh)
Baghvan has twelve bungalow suites, surrounded by shady forest trees, set alongside a dry riverbed on the edge of Pench National Park. It is only ten minutes from the park entrance. The suites are spacious with the main feature being an upstairs machaan (covered jungle rooftop platform) which can be an ideal place for an overnight sleep-out. Meals are served on a shaded deck alongside the swimming pool. There are guided nature and culture walks and twice daily jungle safaris in this birdwatcher's paradise.www.tajsafaris.com
Jamtara Wilderness Camp
Jamtara Wilderness Camp is a brand new refuge, hidden in the jungle near Pench National Park. Situated in the village of Jamtara, it is the only camp on the Jamtara side of the park, which makes it a more relaxed and tranquil place to explore Pench NP. The twelve luxury tents, each with their own bathroom, overlook the jungle. There is a large dining area and a library. The camp offers a 'Star Bed' experience (sleeping out in a farmer's field on a machaan [raised platform]) as well as game-viewing safaris and local village visits.www.jamtarawilderness.com
Chhatra Sagar is a luxury tented camp set on the banks of a Rajasthan desert oasis created in the late 19th century by Chhatra Singh and named after him. The camp offers 13 luxury tents with all amenities, including privacy, and a magnificent view overlooking the lush green oasis.www.chhatrasagar.com
Jawai (between Udaipur and Jodhpur)
Jawai (formerly Jawai Leopard Camp) has 10 luxury 5 star tents, set in a stunning location, as well as a dining and a relaxation area which includes a swimming pool. With local tracker-guides there is every opportunity to see one of the dozens of leopards that inhabit the nearby rocky hills.www.sujanluxury.com
Bera Safari Lodge
Situated 140 kms from Udaipur and 175 kms from Jodhpur, Bera Safari Lodge is a small, boutique property with three luxury cottages with private sit-outs. The lodge offers a unique wilderness experience and the opportunity of seeing and learning about the leopards of Bera. Other activities include a visit to the fascinating Rabari herdsmen; bird-watching at Jawai Dam; a tour to nearby Kumbhalgarh Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; a visit to the town of Ranakpur and its famous Jain temple; wilderness cycling; and a munia (unique bird species) photographic safari.http://www.berasafarilodge.com/
In Ranthambhore National Park (Rajasthan)
The Oberoi Vanyavilas
The Oberoi Vanyavilas is a high-end resort situated ten minutes' drive from Ranthambhore National Park. The 25 luxury tents are temperature controlled and triple canopied to keep the rooms cool and are furnished with four-poster beds and standalone baths. Each tent has a private walled garden and separate deck for maximum privacy. The resort offers twice daily game drives, and every luxury expected in a 5 star resort including complimentary yoga sessions and spa therapies. Guests can view the eighty bird and one hundred plant species on the property and may take a morning or evening guided walk with the in-house horticulturalist to learn more about the biodiversity of the area.www.oberoihotels.com
Nahargarh Fort in the beautiful Aravali Ranges close to Ranthambhore NP is a luxurious hotel with sixty-eight large aristocratic deluxe and super deluxe air-conditioned rooms. Surrounded by a 16th century fortress, Nahargarh is built like a traditional Rajput hunting palace complete with a vast "Char Bagh" or formal Mughal garden. Rooms on the second floor have private terraces that provide a stunning view of the National Park. The hotel provides all the necessities of luxury travel.www.nahargarh.com
In Satpura National Park (Madhya Pradesh)
Forsyth's Lodge consists of twleve independent cottages set in 18 hectares of reclaimed jungle at the edge of Satpura NP. The cottages are designed to blend unobtrusively into the local environment. The main lodge is a two-storey building, with the dining room and a library on the ground floor and a lounge bar with a terrace overlooking the jungle and the mountain vista. There is also a swimming pool and deck. The eco-focus of this lodge is primarily based around wildlife and the wilderness experience, but a huge interaction with the local villages and community are at the forefront of their ideology.www.forsythlodge.com
Reni Pani Jungle Lodge is close to Satpura National Park. There are twelve luxury cottages and a central meeting place, called the Gol Ghar, spread over twelve hectares of forest. The emphasis is on conservation and wildlife, with water holes, meadows and trees on the property. Common facilities on the site include a swimming pool, a lounge, a bar, a dining room and a library. This secluded resort is relatively unknown so there are few crowds at animal sightings. Satpura is the only park of its kind in Central India that offers walking safaris as well as jeep, boat and elephant safaris.www.renipanijunglelodge.com
Denwa Backwater Escape
Denwa Backwater Escape, so named because it is on the upper reaches of a dam on the Denwa River, is a deluxe luxury lodge built in four hectares of forest. There are eight air-conditioned cottages and two tree houses as well as a swimming pool. Across the river from the lodge lies Satpura National Park with access from the lodge by boat followed by jeep for a safari.www.denwabackwaterescape.com
In Sunderbans National Park (West Bengal)
Sunderban Tiger Camp
Sunderban Tiger Camp is located on Dayapur Island in the heart of Sunderbans in the Ganges delta. Situated amid 4 hectares of forest opposite a tiger forest reserve this 2 star resort of twenty-one rooms offers four types of accommodation including two tents, four bamboo huts, seveb deluxe mud cottages, four executive a/c rooms and four executive cottages, all designed with a focus on comfort, art and relevance to the local culture and history. The rooms have attached clean bathrooms with running hot and cold water. There is a common dining hall and conference facilities. Guests are encouraged to go game viewing (by boat)(overnight two or three day departures are encouraged), visit land-based caged watchtowers, go fishing or birdwatching, interact with local villagers or experience cultural interaction with local dance and theatre groups.www.waxpolhotels.com
Tora Eco Resort & Life Experience Centre
Tora Eco Resort is a unique community-based tourism project, surrounded by fertile paddy fields, on Bali Island in the Sunderban. It offers rural style accommodation in nine village cottages, each with an attached shower and toilet with hot and cold water. Although there is no air-conditioning, rooms are quite cool and fresh. There is a community centre and a central dining area, with a large open kitchen overlooking a fishing pond. Guests are encouraged to visit the local market, purchase produce and even learn the Bengali way of cooking. The resort is partially powered by solar energy with safe drinking water. Activities at the resort include boat trips into the tiger reserve; village walks, activities, and dances; and fishing.
The M.V. Paramhamsa is a modern four-decked vessel designed for cruising in the Sunderbans and along the Hooghly and Ganges Rivers. It has 30 air-conditioned cabins each with an ensuite, eighteen of which are deluxe and twelve are luxury. There is a library, a conference room, bar-cum-restaurant, and gym, spa and massage facilities. The top or sun deck has been designed for nature viewing, sun lounging and general relaxation.
In Tadoba National Park (Maharashtra)
Svasara Jungle Lodge
Svasara Jungle Lodge is a luxurious conservation-focused wilderness lodge, situated 300m from the Kolara Gate at Todoba, offering wildlife enthusiasts an educational and immersive jungle holiday. Set in a 5 hectare property, the lodge features twelve spacious air-conditioned suites with modern amenities. Multi-cuisine dining can occur in the lodges or in the central dining room. Lodge activities include jeep safaris, nature treks, lakeside sunset picnics, local tourist attractions and conservation talks with expert naturalists. Business customers can combine the retreat with conference facilities. Svasara Jungle Lodge aims to promote sustainable eco-tourism and is committed to conservation, local community development, and green practice
Tiger Trails Jungle Lodge
TigerTrails Jungle Lodge is adjacent to the entry point to the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, arguable one of India's best protected tiger reserves. The lodge has air-conditioned rooms with en-suite and reliable electricity backup. All rooms are rustic deluxe and have a view over waterholes. Activities from the lodge include walking safaris, jeep safaris, elephant safaris, boat and canoe trips, bike tours and cookery classes, as well as a visit to the nearby traditional tribal community called Gonds.
In Uttar Pradesh
Chambal Safari Lodge
Seventy kilometres south of Agra, the Chambal Safari Lodge consists of eight independent cottages with private verandahs in the woodland around the restored Mela Kothi (lodge). The lodge is an ideal base for exploring the Chambal Valley and surrounding areas, with excursions designed to appeal to everyone from the serious birder (a sanctuary), to animal lovers (river safaris, camel safaris) to the culture enthusiast (nearby Bateshwar Temples). The lodge kitchens serve authentic 'home cooked' meals with fresh produce from its own farms or procured directly from the local farmers.
Hotels & Palaces
There are thousands of hotels in India and some very well know, high quality hotel chains. Our preference is to put our clients, where possible, into hotels that are exceptional and 'different', making an overnight stay in India a unique experience on its own.
We have special hotel rates - competitive to online bookings - and here are some of the hotels that we like to use:
PUGDUNDEE SAFARI LODGES
TAJ PALACES AND RESORTS
OBEROI VILLAS AND RESORTS
Samode Haveli is a 175 year-old traditional city mansion that has been converted from a palace into a modern hotel. Its features include luxury rooms, spacious courtyards, gardens and a swimming pool.
Narain Niwas Palace
Narain Niwas Palace was once the country home of the Kanota royalty. It is now a luxurious heritage hotel featuring fascinating Indian décor.
Castle Kanota is a heritage hotel created by converting the last castle built during the British Raj. Located 15 kms from Jaipur, it boasts large rooms, a spacious courtyard, a swimming pool and a fascinating museum.
Tree of Life Resort & Spa
Tree of Life Resort & Spa (Kacherawala) lies in a beautiful setting in the Aravalli Hills about a 50 minute drive to the east of Jaipur. The resort is a destination in itself with 14 luxury villas, all facilities and a swimming pool.
Raas is a lovely boutique hotel situated close to the shadows of the historic Jodhpur fort. It consists of a haveli and three other refurbished historic buildings as well as three modern facilities.
Overlander India is an adventure company that specialises in 4x4 off-road experiences in Rajasthan (and other parts of India). Activities can be tailor-made to suit everyone as can the length of the experience.
Ranvas is a unique heritage hotel with ten fully-restored havelis once owned by the Maharaja of Jaipur for his queens. There are 33 luxury rooms, a swimming pool, spa, library and two restaurants, with the nearby Nagaur Fort definitely worth a visit.
Bhainsrorgarh Fort has been rated as one of the best heritage hotels in India. The hotel is located within a restored fort that dominates a 60m cliff above the Chambal River. There are five suites and four deluxe rooms. The hotel is renowned for its authentic Rajasthani meals.
Mountbatten Lodge is an exclusive four-suite property in an exquisite location. Guests have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities - desert camel safaris, wildlife sanctuary, etc. - as well as explore nearby the World Heritage-listed Kumbalgarh Fort and the famous Ranakpur Jain temples.
Ramathra Fort is a boutique hotel located in a 350-year-old fort which dominates the surrounding area. The hotel has two suites, four rooms (all in the fort), and six tents (which are also located within the ramparts of the fort). There are jeep safaris to various destinations and the local area boasts a variety of wildlife.
Shahpura Bagh (midway between Jaipur & Udaipur)
Shahpura Bagh is a beautiful heritage hotel which was once the home of the local rulers. It was built within a manmade oasis of wetlands and gardens and is a great place to relax during one's travels in Rajasthan.
Narendra Bhawan is a 4.5* heritage hotel which originally was the home of the last reigning Maharaja of Bikaner. It has 82 rooms, including 27 suites, and is well-located in this interesting city. The hotel features air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant, an outdoor pool, a 24-hour health club, and local evening entertainment. In addition, there is a bar/lounge, a poolside bar, and a coffee shop/cafe.
In The North
Mary Budden Estate
Mary Budden Estate is classified as an experiential heritage retreat, occupying the cottages of an historic mission station in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, carefully refurbished. It is situated on two hectares at almost 2500m (8000') in the middle Himalayas. Each cottage has its own dining and living rooms as well as wifi. Activities include birdwatching and spotting the Himalayan wildlife.
Tree of Life Grand Oak Manor
This 150-year-old, former residence of a British High Commissioner, has been converted into a comfortable 9 bedroomed hotel. The mountain top retreat is set high on a hill with views that take in the nearby snow-clad mountain ranges. The hotel is in 40 acres of private estate surrounded by the forest of the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kumaon Hills. The food here is 'amazing' and the host and hostess even more so! Activities include trekking, a village walk, an excursion to the 12th century Jageshwar Temples, or yoga and meditation
Glenburn Tea Estate
Glenburn Tea Estate consists of two colonial-style planter's bungalows (8 suites) in the middle of a 650 hectare working tea estate near Darjeeling, with breath-taking views of Kanchenjunga (8586m), the world's 3rd highest mountain. There is forest and a tea plantation on rolling hills to explore in relaxing surrounds.
Aalia Hotel and Resort
Aalia Hotel and Resort, situated on the banks of the Ganges River, is a 12 luxury villa complex in a two hectare property close to Rajiji National Park. It offers all the luxuries of a 5 star resort with the addition of such activities as Africa-style jungle safaris, white water rafting at nearby Rishikesh or riding 4WD trail bikes.
The Himalayan is an old-fashioned, but modern, boutique hotel consisting of a 'castle' (8 suites) and eight exceptional, 2-bedroomed cottages. The ambience is relaxing and the views of the Himalayas are stunning.
Stok Palace Heritage Hotel, Leh
Stok Palace was built in the 1830s but its six suites are beautifully preserved and maintained with modern facilities. The current king lives in residence and is a welcoming host. There is an in-house shrine where monks perform their daily rituals. Also on the property are the three Chulli Bagh villas, each with 2 bedrooms, living room, kitchen and garden. There are spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Activities include walks, cycling, river rafting on the Indus River, cultural shows, and horse and camel riding.
Snow Leopard Lodge
Snow Leopard Lodge is in the village of Ulley, in west Ladakh, remotely located 2 hours driving time from Leh, at a height of nearly 4000m. The lodge consists of 6 comfortable but basic bedrooms, built separately from the main house with a dining room and kitchen - all in the same low stone-built building. There is plenty of wildlife to be viewed including ibex, Himalayan fox, snow cock, lammergeier, Himalayan Griffon, golden eagles and, of course, snow leopards.
In the Centre
The Claridges is an iconic hotel, known for old world excellence and modern-day luxury, conveniently located in at the heart of New Delhi. The rooms and suites are comfortable, the dining options are renowned and there is a temperature-controlled swimming pool
Raj Niwas Palace
Raj Niwas Palace is an unusually well-preserved heritage hotel. Guests have the choice of eight Royal Palace rooms or eighteen luxury villas set in extensive gardens, each with their own swimming pool. For those who wish to experience the opulence and grandeur of the old Raj, the Palace Rooms have been restored and offer interesting Dutch ceramics amongst European designs
Khajuraho and Panna National Park
Sarai at Toria
Sarai at Toria consists of eight cottages, each with private courtyards, bathrooms and verandas. The inn spreads over four hectares on the banks of the Ken River which flows through the Panna Tiger Reserve. Activities include boating and fishing as well as excursions to the nearby Khajuraho Temples, the Panna Reserve and other sites.
In the South
Anantya Resorts is on the border between southern Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where the Western Ghats give way to lakes. It is a premium plantation resort, part of a 400 hectare rubber plantation that overlooks the Chittar Lake region. There are 21 cottages with spectacular views built around the lake. The resort provides Ayurvedic massages and is a quiet getaway for romantic holidays amongst Kerala's tropical rivers, backwaters, lakes, and famed beaches; as well as Tamil Nadu's Tamil culture.
Niraamaya Surya Samudra
Niraamaya Surya Samudra has 31 luxurious heritage cottages featuring open-air bathrooms and spacious balconies with sea views. The resort has a swimming pool and spa and specialises in providing ayurvedic medicine, yoga and wellness treatments for its clients as well as relaxation on the beaches or in the private gardens.
Villa Shanti is located in the old French quarter of Pondicherry. The big 19th century building has been tastefully modernised into fifteen expansive rooms, a restaurant and a café bar. This boutique hotel is well-positioned to visit the sights of Pondicherry.
Svatma is a wellness resort established around a meticulously restored 100 year-old building and ample grounds. There are 38 rooms, all very different. The name Svatma translates as "one's own soul" so on-site jacuzzi, spa, yoga, massage, gym, and swimming pool cater for tailor-made programmes.
In the East
The BrijRama Palace Hotel has been transformed from an 1812 palace into a luxury 5* hotel. Situated on the Ganges River, it has 32 rooms and suites all air-conditioned and with private en-suites, and 4 restaurants (one on a boat, one vegetarian). It is a 2-minute walk to the Dashashwamedh Ghat, a site for important Hindu rituals. The hotel offers yoga, riverside prayer ceremonies, traditional music, dance and guided tours.
The Rajbari Bawali
The Rawali Bawali hotel is a refurbished 300-year-old palace, situated in the countryside 40 minutes from Kolkata. This 5* hotel has 30 spacious rooms, private dining rooms (serving authentic Bengali cuisine), a spa, a swimming pool and a conference room. The hotel has a strong emphasis on showcasing and supporting the local village communities and their arts and crafts.
In the West
Aashyana Lakhanpal Villas & Casinhas
Aashyana Lakhanpal Villas & Casinhas is a boutique hotel set right on Condolim Beach and the Arabian Sea. It features a lush tropical garden, two 3-bedroomed villas and three casinhas (Portuguese for cottage)
The Abode is a luxury boutique hotel situated in Colaba, at Mumbai's southern tip (with the Gateway of India, the Prince of Wales Museum and the Taj Mahal Palace nearby). The design - twenty luxury rooms - pays homage to Bombay's heritage with carefully restored vintage furniture, etc.
Anahata Retreat is an elegant, beach-front, eco-resort set amidst palm trees and lush tropical plantations on a quiet and secluded part of Ashvem Beach, North Goa. The resort prides itself on providing comfortable accommodation, total relaxation and privacy. Healthy and delicious food is provided and there are resident yoga instructors.