14 November 2017 by Alison Nicolle
With everything from rustic-chic safari lodges to world-renowned city landmarks, Taj offers a truly unique collection of experiential hotels. However, while each is deeply rooted in its local heritage, they all share the same passion for world-class service, whether that’s enjoying some of India’s finest food, taking afternoon tea in a grand ballroom, or simply browsing the complimentary newspaper delivered to your door. And, while there are over 100 Taj properties to choose from, Wexas India specialist, Alison Nicolle, has picked out four of her favourites.
White sand, infectious spirituality and a mesmerising blend of Indic sensibilities and Portuguese heritage – there’s nowhere else quite like Goa. And, there’s nowhere else quite like the Taj Exotica Resort. Tucked away among 56 acres of lush greenery on the state’s pristine southwest coast, it enjoys a sense of quiet seclusion, wrapped up in old-world architecture, flower-lined patios and pillarless banquet halls. But, the relaxation isn’t just limited to the resort’s golden slice of beach, with everything from yoga and meditation classes to a full suite of spa therapies available. For something more active, the resort offers badminton, tennis, watersports, a golf course and, this being India, a cricket ground. At the end of it all, you’ll retire to the quiet sanctuary of your luxury accommodation, with the choice of sea-view rooms or garden villas. Whichever you decide upon, you’ll be treated to soaking tubs, pillow menus and a flawlessly contemporary style, characterised by crisp linens and soothing colours. And, your private verandah – or the beach itself – is the perfect spot to enjoy an intimate dinner of just-caught seafood.
Taj Exotica, Goa
Surely among the world's most romantic hotels, the Taj Lake Palace is a 250-year-old summer palace framed by Rajasthan's Magra Hills and Aravalli Mountains. But it's not this backdrop that makes the location unique. Surrounded on all sides by the millpond-still waters of Lake Pichola, the palace's shimmering white façade has played a starring role in everything from James Bond's Octopussy to The Jewel in the Crown. And, it all looks back across Udaipur's storied cityscape, where ornate temples and grand lakeside palaces sit alongside bustling markets and haveli-filled laneways, all reached by a lazing boat ride. Rooms and suites are a showcase for richly patterned fabrics and delicate frescoes, with suites in particular offering the last word in Rajasthani opulence; expect panoramic lake views and 24-hour butler service. Dining, too, is nothing short of spectacular. There’s everything from multi-course Indian banquets to European classics served to rooftop views. And, although the Jacuzzi, sauna and fitness centre all stand out, it’s services such as the expert-led heritage walks, astrologer sessions and the ever-so-indulgent Jiva Spa that make this such a special place to stay.
Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
Since its turn-of-the-century opening, the Taj Mahal Palace has been a Mumbai landmark, its iconic spires, graceful domes and arching colonnades a jewel amongst the city’s colonial architecture. And, it’s entertained a guest list of past presidents and captains of industry, each undoubtedly impressed by the truly opulent rooms. Expect pillow menus, rich fabrics and bathrooms of Italian marble paired with spectacular views of the city, harbour or the next-door India Gate – the colossal arch built for the 1911 landing of King George V. But, the indulgences don’t end with the room, with everything from harbourside cocktail bars and a superb spa to a state-of-the-art gym, morning yoga held by the pool and afternoon tea taken overlooking the Arabian Sea. It’s all paired with some of the city’s – if not India’s – finest restaurants, from contemporary Indian innovations to light bites served poolside to guests lounging on rattan furnishings. Further highlights include live-kitchen Chinese delicacies and the rooftop Souk restaurant where Mediterranean classics are served up to views of Mumbai’s twinkling lights.
The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
Set among tropical gardens and fronted by a truly impressive pool, the Taj Mahal New Delhi is an oasis of calm amid the chaos of India’s vibrant capital. Indeed, it’s perfectly positioned among the leafy boulevards, with India Gate, the Presidential Palace and the National Museum all within easy reach. Delhi’s grandeur is also invited in; the hotel’s dramatic façade of pink Dolphur sandstone sets the tone for rich interiors dressed in antiques, priceless art and traditional accents. It’s a sense of style that continues to the rooms, each of which feature stunning aerial views of Delhi’s skyline. In turn, upgrades mix in butler service and club access, which confers a full spread of complimentary extras, from afternoon tea and welcome drinks to evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. In fact, it’s perhaps the dining where the Taj New Delhi really shines, with highlights including gourmet Indian delicacies, award-winning Japanese cuisine and the spectacular rooftop views of the Grill. Then, after all this indulgence, relax in the spa’s sauna and Jacuzzis, or burn off the calories with the state-of-the-art fitness centre.
The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi