Luxury Stays In India (Personal Experiences By CEO & Editors) – Part 2

Note: This is the second part of ReviewItIndia.com series “Luxury Stays In India”.

Whenever we Indians think of a lavish and luxury holiday, we think of places outside of India. But India is full of surprises. Why to go abroad when you can find what you are looking for in our own country? Our CEO has taken upon himself to go and find such places in India with our editors. In this ever growing list of such places, the count has reached 50 plus (in 3 parts of this series so far)!

So many places in India itself where you can enjoy a luxury holiday. However there is a twist. Touted as a luxury holiday destination, many of these places do not meet the criteria of a luxury stay due to the lack of efficient service and various other factors. So here you will learn only the truth about the luxury stays in India. No hype, no selling and no partnerships, we are spending our own money to explore these places to bring out the real truth for you. Its not curated from the web, these experiences are personal experiences.

The first part of this series covered 20 luxury stays in India. Here are 20 more for you, exposing the big names and real truth behind them so you as an Indian consumer can make better choices.

 

21.Taj Kumarakom Resort & Spa, Kerala

Nestled around the backwaters of Kumarakom in Kerela, this property promises you a great relaxing time. However, the cottages and rooms are in need of maintenance, they look old with not enough lighting even though the surroundings are good and calm. The junior staff tried their best however the upper management looks uninterested in ensuring a good stay. For their billing mistake, they even threatened to recover the amount from the junior level associate who initially serves you in room and restaurant whereas mistake in billing was done by the front office staff. Never heard of this before, it was really surprising experience and we ultimately paid even after checking out. Not an enjoyable experience. And this is one of the Taj properties we do not recommend to our users.

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22.The Oberoi Bengaluru

A calming presence in the middle of a crowded city, The Oberoi Bengaluru looks luxury upon arrival. Rooms and suites are equipped with tablets that allows you to control many in room things and also order in room service or open the door lock or view outside the room. A bit small compared to the other Oberoi property suites but considering its a city hotel, its acceptable. Service is good, staff is OK however they miss the real intent that you can get in other Oberoi properties. With Oberoi, we expect the best however this property falls short on overall experience but its still a good option for a luxury stay in Bengaluru.

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23.Ri Kynjai – Serenity By The Lake (Umiam Lake Near Shillong)

Giving spectacular valley and lake views, this resort like property is situated on the banks of the Umiam lake just before the Shillong hill station when coming from Guwahati. For people looking for a luxury stay around Shillong, this might be the only option however for the amount they charge, apart from view, everything else could be made a lot better. The wooden cottages are in need of some maintenance with so many insects inside it along with some electrical points not working. Even though they have a good housekeeping team, we did find dust layers on many things in our cottage. This may be the exception however when you pay for a luxury stay, you expect luxury. Overall can be an option with a view you will not get anywhere else in the crowded Shillong city but definitely not a luxury option.

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24.The Oberoi Sukhvilas Spa Resort, New Chandigarh

Situated outside of Chandigarh in a green belt, this pretty new property of Oberoi group gives you a good option to have a luxury stay besides Chandigarh, a city which is connected by frequent flights from different parts of India. Its also a great option for locals to have a getaway from usual city life. There are rooms and luxury tents in property and some tents have their own private pool. The ipad/tablet technology of Oberoi Bengaluru and New Delhi is also here and tents are similar to the one you can find in Oberoi Vanyavilas in Ranthambore but with more modern fittings. Food is good and staff is also there for you all the time. Overall a good option by Oberoi for luxury stays around Chandigarh.

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25.Jiva Resort Cherrapunjee

Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya still does not have lots of options for a luxury stay however this property is an option with some great views of the valley and with clouds coming directly to you in rainy season, you will feel great staying here except few things that keeps this property from scoring good for a luxury stay. First, no mobile connectivity except Jio which is also not great, Wi-Fi by hotel may or may not work, the staff tries but lacks proper training in everything and most importantly, the restaurant is a mess with delays and no service complaints during breakfast. If they can improve these things, definitely this property will be a good option for anyone looking for a luxury stay in Cherrapunjee.

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26.Taj Ganges Varanasi

Located in the heart of the crowded and holy city of Varanasi, this Taj property along with its sister property Taj Nadesar Palace looks great for a luxury stay. However except for the service at restaurant and food, everything else needs improvement. Wifi never worked for us, front office desk lacked the efficiency and had us waiting for checkout for an already cleared bill. The drivers could be better selected for the in house cars. Rooms are nothing to write about but its OK considering the crowded city. Overall, if you are looking for a luxury stay in Varanasi, you can give this property a miss.

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27.Radisson Blu Hotel Indore

Our suite at the upper floor gave a good view of the clean city Indore. It was comfortable and had every basic requirement covered for a good stay. The service at the buffet breakfast could have been better and they seemed uninterested in listening or asking for feedback during stay or checkout. Part of a typical global chain of business hotels, this property can work for you if you are looking for a comfortable stay at a good location in Indore. For luxury, look elsewhere.

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28.The Leela Palace Chennai

Located close to sea beach in Chennai, this luxury property of The Leela is definitely close to a real palace! Among the amazing luxurious suites and rooms, we had one grand suite overlooking the backside of the hotel and the rough waters. Everything was great in suite and welcome was even more good with cake in room, decorated bed & bathroom along with our photo frames everywhere in the suite, photos for which they asked in advance. Truly a palace experience. And while the buffet spread of huge, service here was a bit lacking. But this can be ignored considering how much royal you will feel after stepping into this luxury property of The Leela chain of hotels. Good option for a luxury stay in Chennai city. And if you wish to stay a bit out of the city, look at the below option.

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29.Taj Fisherman’s Cove Resort & Spa Chennai

Looking for a luxury stay or getaway away from main Chennai suburbs? Look no further than this Taj property. Situated on the covelong beach, this property is approximately 1 hour drive from Chennai International Airport but still takes you far away from the maddening rush of the Chennai city. With rooms and cottages getting the cool sea breeze, it was a great to get away from the heat of the city as well. With some private cottages overlooking the sea with your own private garden, its a rare luxury experience around Chennai and even though the sea and beach is rough and not completely private, its cool to have long walks alongside sea at early morning or evening or even night. Staff was great and attentive. Even the in house drivers and cars were very good. Everyone ensure a good stay including the F&B staff. Highly recommended for a luxury stay or getaway from the city.

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30.Diphlu River Lodge (near Kaziranga National Park)

Situated nearby the world famous Kaziranga National Park in Assam, this property is at the banks of seasonal Diphlu river and hence the name. The hut like cottages are situated above the grounds giving you staying in a jungle like feeling and some have river view for which the rate is extra (which is not worth it in our opinion). The advantages of the place is that you are half an hour away from start of safari and they have in house jeep and naturalists to take you there every morning and evening which is all inclusive in the cost. The food is also inclusive and served at the bar cum restaurant in another hut built over the grounds alongside river view cottages. The service staff is great and living in a natural setting really gives you peace. The cottages are OK, not so modern but manageable with even an AC for summers and heaters for winters. And the staff comes up when you go for dinner and makes your bed and keep warm water bags in beds to keep it warm for sleeping in winters which is a great way to try and ensure a good night sleep for guests. In the staff service they score as a five star property however, food while tasty and good can be an issue for some as you cannot order your choice or get anything in room. Also, the cottages can be improved and modernized for the tariff they charge. The safari experience can also be improved with a naturalist and a separate driver. Overall you might feel its too costly for what you get. So while its a good option near Kaziranga but there are cheaper value for money options nearby and for someone looking for luxury, this may not fit the bill completely except the lower staff service which is definitely comparable to luxury properties and stays.

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31.The Leela Raviz Kovalam

Search for a luxury Kerela vacation and you will see this Leela property with images of pool and rooms overlooking the mighty sea. The club rooms and suites are the ones where you can view this splendid scenery. The rooms in the other block do not afford these views. There is a private beach which is just a small area hotel has reserved out of the public beach for its customers. This does not make it private and even the beach is also not that great. Add it to the delay in service like no one comes to pick you up from beach entrance to your rooms (despite many requests by us and the beach guard) so you need to walk uphill to reach your rooms on the cliff along with the garbage and rush of the public nearby on beach makes the beach experience pretty ordinary. Then there are delays in the room service orders and even the private butlers looks disinterested in serving the customer. The rooms are OK but seems too old even with the great sea view. The welcome arrangements were great but if the overall stay is not near a luxury experience, this cannot be recommended as a luxury destination.

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32.Taj Green Cove Resort & Spa, Kovalam

Much better experience than the the Leela property in Kovalam. This Taj property feels like a tropical hidden place for luxury lovers. Even though you can only view the sea and not actually go on to the beach from within this property, its a very good experience walking along the private gardens overlooking the sea in evening. The food is great and the staff tries their best even though in the rush they could do better service management. They also have a presidential 2 floor private pool villa where we stayed and enjoyed every bit of it. If you need a luxury stay in Kovalam, this is it. A stay in the private pool presidential villa at Taj Kovalam will make you feel like king.

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33.Taj Corbett Resort & Spa, Uttarakhand

A Taj property in Ramnagar along side Jim Corbett National Park should be a great way to enjoy a fun filled wildlife vacation. However, if you are looking for luxury in Corbett, this is not the place. Its OK overall but definitely not a luxury resort. Rooms seem old (this property was under some other management before Taj), food is strictly OK, staff is good at F&B trying their best with what they have, front desk could have been better but the biggest let down was the safari. Every naturalist seemed uninterested or focused on some particular group of people they must be knowing. The biggest and best experience of jungle resort should be its safari. They need to hire better people for it. Overall the stay at this property will make you only say its OK all around, nothing great and definitely nothing for someone looking for a luxury stay.

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34.Taj Swarna Amritsar

One of the newest property of Taj group, this is more like a business hotel rather than the great experience it could have been along with Golden temple and Wagah border visit. The rooms are quite cramped so if you wish a good in room stay, you must book a suite (executive or presidential) which is good. The staff seemed strictly business oriented and could have been more proactive in making stay more comfortable. The food is a let down considering its part of Punjab state where you get lip smacking north Indian food. So if you wish to enjoy a luxury stay in Amritsar, this property while looking good, scores just 3 stars out of 5.

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35.Lemon Tree Hotel, Dehradun

The only good option for luxury travelers in the city of Dehradun, this property is just OK. The best part is that its in the same building as of a good shopping mall so you can step out anytime to do shopping, get variety of foods and even view movies in the theater of the mall. The rooms are OK for a comfortable stay and food is also good. The staff tries their best but could have been better. Still, the only option in the city for a good stay for someone looking for luxury.

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36.Hotel Swissôtel Kolkata

The only property of Swissotel chain of hotels in India, this five star hotel is very nearby the airport offering a comfortable transit stay for luxury travelers. The rooms and suites are good however the staff service can be improved, seems way too professional without actually caring about customer’s comfortable stay. Also its part of the City Center 2 shopping mall so you have plenty of options for shopping and eating. A good transit option nearby airport for luxury travelers however if you need five star service and closeness to the main city, look for some other option.

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37.Taj Bengal Kolkata

Another option in Kolkata for luxury travelers is Taj Bengal Kolkata. However situated in Alipore, the traffic can hamper you a lot if you have to go a bit away from the area or even if your flight is during day time. That is not a mistake of Taj. When you step inside, no one is there to welcome you or guide you to the reception area for check in formalities. You open the door and walk in yourself to try and find the area besides the gate itself. Then the check in process is quick. The whole property seems aged. Staff also seems reluctant to help or make your stay better. The all day dining experience is not exactly what you would expect from such a big brand. We had a suite and while it was comfortable, it does not match the standards of the even older Oberoi Grand Kolkata. So if you are looking for a luxury stay in Kolkata, stick to the Oberoi Grand.

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38.Renaissance Lucknow Hotel

Situated besides Taj Mahal hotel in Lucknow, this five star property is a modern alternative to the royal Taj hotel along side it. The corner suites even though a bit cramped to be called suites, provide good views of the Ambedkar Park on one side and Gomti riverfront on the other. The bed is comfortable and you have everything for a comfortable stay in your room. Now if they just started taking customer feedback more seriously, this property would top the luxury stay list in Lucknow. However, the staff at the front desk is not interested in listening about your feed back anytime during your stay or during your checkout. During check in also, you don’t get a warm welcome except for the guards at the gate. They need to hear what their customers are saying to get better. Overall an option for luxury travelers but can be skipped for another option.

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39.Fairfield by Marriott Lucknow

Standing tall opposite the new high court of Lucknow, this sister property of Renaissance hotel above provides better service even though its ranked lower. The fact that staff listens to you and work hard to rectify the issues and tries their best to ensure your good stay makes this property our top choice for luxury travelers in Lucknow. The rooms are OK however the service is fantastic and whatever complain you have, they will ensure its resolved quickly once you let them know. Lower staff seems lacking the training but tries their best. Overall a great option in Lucknow.

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40.Vivanta Guwahati, Assam

When the capital of Assam got this Taj property, we felt the need to check it out for luxury travelers as Guwahati is basically the gateway to the beautiful north east of India. The check got delayed by an year or so but when we visited, we had a good impression. We had a suite overlooking the mountains however due to the recent constructions, the view has been spoiled. The suite was spacious with all the amenities needed for a comfortable in room stay. We also felt safe with the security on gate during some protests that were happening in Guwahati. The food and staff were good. Overall we had a good stay if not great. This property can be considered for luxury stays in Guwahati.

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So that was it for the second part of this series. In our next part, we will continue to look for properties for a luxury stay in India. Stay tuned for real truth behind some of the biggest properties in India including the The Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi & Mayfair Lagoon Bhubaneswar.

 

Now Live: Click here to read the next part of this series.

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