The world’s best hotel for 2015 is a palatial resort fit for a maharaja, built on the edge of a fairy tale lake in Western India.
Coroneted with the illustrious title by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine in their latest “World’s Best Awards” released this week, the Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur was given a near-perfect score of 99 by readers of the US publication.
Located in a city widely described as the most romantic destination in India, the Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur capitalises on its lake-front setting and the city’s old-world mythology — historic palaces, forts, temples and bazaars — to offer a dreamy stay in a domed, marbled and lavish setting.
Designed to harken Udaipur’s royal past with decorative fountains, private courtyards and manicured gardens, guests arrive at the property by private boat and are greeted with lush purple bougainvillaea trees and sweeping views of the Aravalli Hills across the lake.
Modern conveniences and room décor are offset by touches of local Rajasthani accents and colours.
Activities at the hotel include culinary classes, yoga, Henna lessons, art classes, lake cruises, camel rides, sightseeing tours and luxury on-site spa treatments.
The property, which served as hunting grounds 200 years ago, also features a wildlife conservatory that is home to Indian spotted deer, wild boar and peacocks.
The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur is no stranger to accolades. Conde Nast Traveler readers and TripAdvisor users voted the palatial resort the best hotel in India in 2014.
Here are the world’s top hotels of 2015, as voted by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine:
1. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India
2. Hotel Castello di Casole — a Timbers Resort, Casole d’Elsa, Italy
3. Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Ireland
4. Triple Creek Ranch Darby, Montana, US
5. Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, India
6. Four Seasons Hotel, Istanbul at Sultanahmet, Turkey
7. Singita Sabi Sand, Kruger National Park Area, South Africa
8. Farmhouse Inn, Forestville, California, US (three-way tie)
8. The Peninsula Shanghai, China
8. Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Luxury Collection Resort, Key West, Florida, US. — AFP
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 10, 2015.