Luxury Cottage at The Tamara Coorg, Coorg
Sit out on the sundeck of this swish cottage on the hilltop Kabbinakad Estate and enjoy coffee from the plantation as you look out to a steaming forest. Abstaining from caffeine? No harm getting some on you, with the signature coffee therapy at their Elevation spa. By night, repair once more to the sundeck — this time to listen, not to see. Say hello to your mind’s new happy place.
Rs 8,000 per night; Thetamara.com
Stone Cottage at Pashan Garh, Panna
About 50 km from Khajuraho, next door to the Panna National Park, is this luxe safari lodge. The interiors of the 12 identical cottages are as warm as the exterior is bare, inspired as it is by the dry-packed stone architecture of the area; leather and wood accents warm up the space inside. The lodge’s location in the Vindhya hills gives you sweeping views over the tops of tropical jungle and if you squint a little, perhaps you’ll spot an antelope or three.
Rs 19,000 per night; Tajhotels.com
King Spa Pool Villa at Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa, Pune
Expect to go instantly slack at this sprawling 350-acre oasis on the Pawna lake, between Mumbai and Pune. Your pristine white villa renders the green riot of the surrounding Sahyadris even more startling. Its décor is so Scandinavian-chic, it’s surprising to find that every thing in your room is actually India-sourced: the floor is made of Kota stone, the walls are Shahabad stone and the chairs are cane. Optimise bliss with a slow-burn yoga session and finish with a massage in your private pool.
Rs 28,000 per night; Shillimretreatandspa.hilton.com
Luxury Tented Suite at The Serai, Jaisalmer
Get your first taste of glamping at this super stylish camp in the Thar desert. The Royal Tented Suite with its clean lines and colours drawn from typical Jaisalmer architecture is set in its own walled garden, has a heated dip pool fitted with Jacuzzi jets. Whatever your plans, pencil in time to gaze upon desert scrub for miles in every direction. Come evening, just tilt your head upwards and watch the stars set the night sky on fire.
Rs 45,000 per night; Sujanluxury.com
Premier Mountain-View Room at Oberoi Wildflower Hall, Mashobra
Watching the sun rise from your bed is just one of the luxuries of this room in the old-worldly mountain hotel. The teak and brass interiors, Victorian lamps, antique two-poster bed and humongous bathtub create an air of toasty comfort. Once the sun rises, what it shines on is equally beautiful: the looming Himalayas punctuated by forests of cedars and the glittering Gangotri river. Staying in bed is a good use of your time here.
Rs 23,000 per night; Oberoihotels.com
Waterfront Cottage at Kayal Island Retreat, Lake Vembanad
If you no longer remember what it’s like to be disconnected, take a rowboat (no, really, there is no other way) to this secluded island in the Lake Vembanad lagoon. The two-cottage establishment is built with recycled materials, and shaded by coconut and tamarind trees, amid which you’ll find quiet nooks and your own private slice of the backwaters. Feast on the freshest catch and the flavourful local pokkali rice at the water’s edge. Resist the urge to Instagram.
Rs 11,500 per night; Kayalislandretreat.com
Sanctuary Suite at Le Meridien, Mahabaleshwar
Located in the heart of the Western Ghats, this is the luxury stay option the hill station in Maharashtra so dearly required. The suite itself is sweetly quirky with purple lounge chairs, OTT chandeliers and a freestanding bathtub. It’s almost a pity you’ll be spending all of your time on the private balcony — it's the best place to enjoy the vast valley views.
Rs 47,000 per night; Lemeridienmahabaleshwar.com
Room No 7 at The Hidden Forest Retreat, Gangtok
Set in three acres of woods, the hotel allows you rare solitude in the now-bustling mountain town. Wake up to panoramic views of the Eastern Himalayas, put away quantities of Sikkimise cuisine and stroll through gardens of blooming junipers, magnolias and Himalayan orchids. Ask for the all-wood room decorated with local crafts, and sigh with the contentment.
Rs 3,400 per night; Hiddenforestretreat.org
Lake-facing cottage at Lakshman Sagar, near Pali
A former hunting lodge, this design hotel in Rajasthan is settled around the man-made lake Lakshman Sagar. The lake-facing cottage offers uninterrupted views of the placid waters, whether you’re in the private splash pool or under the covers in bed. Inside too, design duo Sahil & Sarthak’s ingenious adaptation of daily objects makes the room delightfully local: a wind chime installation uses brass objects of everyday life here, like lotas and belans, and pop-coloured traditional textiles offset the earthy tones of the architecture.
Rs 17,000 per night; Sewara.com
Block 14 at Moksha Himalaya Spa Resort, Solan
This beautiful hotel in a not-so-beautiful Himachal town can be reached by an eight-minute gondola ride; the suite makes the best of the location, with big picture windows and a private sit-out. But the real winner is the view from your full-sized tub (made more special if you’re joined by Messrs Moët & Chandon) — the bathroom has glass walls on three sides offering a view of the Himalayas that will knock the breath out of you every single time.
Rs 18,000 per night; Mokshaspa.com
The Bakery at Elsewhere, Goa
It is possible to really get away in party capital Goa, and go (to) Elsewhere. But getting the booking might cost you some good karma. Separated from the mainland by a saltwater creek, the somewhat secret North Goa resort was the home of the Sequeira family since the 1880s. The Bakery is a minimal yet cheery Portuguese villa fringed by palm trees and it used to be, yes, a bakery so there are no bad vibes here. Sit in your private verandah with a pot of tea, watch the creek, and be serenaded by the wind and silence.
Rs 12,000 per night; Aseascape.com
Down’s Edge Villaat Primrose Villas, Chikmagalur
The airy glass-walled villas are seated in the lap of the Baba Budan hills of the Western Ghats. Dotted with Victorian and Jacobean antiques, they are designed to ensure the area’s stunning topography is never out of view. Once you enter the Down’s Edge Villa, through a 100-year-old door, you’re faced with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the rolling mountains; doubly impressive given the ceiling is 20 feet high. A fireplace, sunken bathtub and little details like coffee soap, courtesy the local plantation, will sweeten your stay.
Rs 20,000 per night; Primrosevillas.com
Tranquilitree at Tranquil, Wayanad
Treehouses were first made popular in Wayanad by Vythiri Resort (Vythiriresort.com), now a honeymoon favourite, but for a quieter stay, book yourself into this plantation hideout instead. Tranquilitree, at a height of 35 feet, is spread across three trees — including a giant gulmohar, which branches into the room — with a silvery stream running under it. Take a cup of local coffee to the balcony of your luxury treehouse and soak in the fabulous views of the surrounding plantations, or get out and explore the 400-acre property along one of the 13 nature trails.
Rs 18,500 per night; Tranquilresort.com
Presidential Suite Tent at Chamba Camp Thiksey, Ladakh
The five-star travelling camp’s Chamba edition (operational from June to September) offers magnificent views of the historical Thiksey monastery, apart from the glorious mountains that form its backdrop. The luxury in the Presidential Suite Tent is invisible: it’s in the Bandit Queen linen, Ayurvedic toiletries and recycled paper for your notebook. If you want to rev things up a bit, sign up for a rafting session on the fierce currents of the Indus.
Rs 70,000 for an all-inclusive three-night package; Chambacampthiksey.com
Heritage Bungalow at Wild Mahseer, Sonitpur
The charming colonial homestay in the Addabarie Tea Estate offers an intimate view of Assam’s rolling tea plantations. Their three-bedroom Heritage Bungalow, a 100-year-old villa in the middle of the estate, is full of Victorian antiques: a games table, tiled floors, plantation chairs and peacock door handles. Like the visiting British inspector back in the day, you can settle into a cane chair on your verandah and admire the vast lawn in the front of you as you light up a pipe.
Rs 25,000 per night; Wildmahseer.com
Star Cottage at Hampi’s Boulders, Hampi
This eco resort blends right into the landscape: boulder-shaped cottages, wholly local menus and a primitive rock pool mirror the rugged charm of the heritage town. The single-bedroom Star Cottage opens onto a roomy balcony that stands above Tungabhadra river, and makes a great spot for bird-watching (or photographing visiting otters). Treks to the nearby waterfall, bonfire nights and sunsets atop the surrounding boulders will make good the absence of a TV.
Rs 16,000 per night; Hampisboulders.com
Narmada Suite at Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar
On the banks of the sacred Narmada, the 18th-century Ahilya fort is now an pretty boutique hotel and the Narmada suite is special for its generous views of the river. Take in the slow pace of life in this 4000-year-old Madhya Pradesh town as the musical cacophony from the ghats below wafts up to your private sit-out. Ahilya Bai Holkar, iconic Maratha matriarch, used to survey her kingdom from here, and you can tell that this perch was built for a queen.
Rs 28,000 per night; Ahilyafort.com
Cosmos Room at Mary Budden Estate, Binsar
Named after the daughter of a colonial missionary, this luxury estate is high in the Kumaon Himalayas, tucked inside the Binsar wildlife sanctuary. The 120-year-old pinewood room in the heritage Mary Budden cottage is decorated with exquisite kilms and fitted with a bukhari, making it perfect for cold evenings. Out the windows, stare at misty vistas of the middle Himalayas, if the cloaking rhododendron forests don’t hinder your view, that is.
Rs 22,900 per night; Marybuddenestate.in
Grand Presidential Suite at Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
If you’re going to break the bank, you may as well do it in style at the best room in the storied palace hotel. The Grand Presidential Suite was the private chamber of the Nizam himself, once considered the richest man in the world, and to go by the in-room pool, Jacuzzi and marble fountain, there may have been a solid basis for that distinction. The hotel sits 2,000 feet above Hyderabad, so prepare for surreal sunrises and sunsets, apart from sprawling views of the city. Ask your butler to draw you a rose bath and can you even return to normal life after this?
Rs 1,32,000 per night; Tajhotels.com
Sloth Bear Cottage at Singinawa Jungle Lodge, Kanha
This Madhya Pradesh hotel seamlessly incorporates the essence of Kanha into its aesthetics. The Sloth Bear Cottage is made of locally sourced stone and is almost hidden by droopy sal, saja and jamun trees. Inside, Bastar artefacts and Gond murals adorn the walls and there’s a fireplace to sip your scotch by. Settle down at the reading desk whose picture window looks out to vast swathes of deep green. Here, the cheetal are probably going to be your only visitor, apart from room service, of course.
Rs 19,990 per night; Singinawajunglelodge.com
Bougainvillea Cottage at Malhar Machi, Pune
The Bougainvillea Cottage (not to be mistaken for the Bougainvillea Suites), approached by a pretty tree-lined passage, is set aside from the rest of this quiet hillside retreat. Nod off for hours at time to the steady swishing of the waters of the Mulshi dam as the Sahyadris loom in the distance. A thatched roof, cane and wood furniture and a small adjoining farm make the whole experience pleasantly bucolic, even while a well-equipped spa and a pool to keep things comfortably real.
Rs 8,500 per night; Malharmachi.com
Nishat at Butt’s Clermont Houseboats, Srinagar
If you can’t decide between the stunning houseboats on Dal Lake in Kashmir, just go with George Harrison’s choice. The Beatle is among a long list of illustrious guests that old Mr Butt has hosted on his range of houseboats. Choose Nishat, a single-bedroom boat with views of the 400-year-old Naseem Bagh on one side and the lake and mountains on the other. Built of cedar, this houseboat is moored on an isolated corner of the Dal, so you have minimum intrusion or noise.
Rs 12,000 per night; Buttsclermonthouseboat.com
Premier Balcony Room at The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg
Gulmarg’s beauty has the force of a sock to the gut, more so from the vantage of this elevated room. Despite its warm, woody interiors littered with exquisite namdas (Kashmiri throws), the real luxury is taking your drink of kahwa on the balcony. Meadows and forests stretch out under it and in the distance the perennially snow-capped Apharwat Peak is a white ghost. Not dreamy enough? Take the Gulmarg Gondola, the world’s second highest ski-lift, to sugary Kongdoori mountain.
Rs 15,000 per night; Khyberhotels.com
Premier Room at the Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
In this landmark hotel, and specifically this room, there is no escaping Shah Jahan’s majestic ode to love. Role-play royalty in this luxurious cocoon crammed with hand-knotted rugs and dark teak Mughal-inspired furniture; the bathroom, in contrast, is all sleek modernity in its Greek marble and glass. Take dinner on your balcony as the moon casts the Taj Mahal in shadows. Love is grand.
Rs 75,000 per night; Oberoihotels.com
Shambhu Prakash Suite at Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
Named after the well-loved 19th-century royal Maharana Shambhu Singh, the room is predictably opulent in its mix of Mewari and European luxuries, and from its private terrace you can watch the most glorious sunsets over lake Pichola. Among its many small and big comforts are a pillow and quilt menu and a private library. If you must venture out, book a massage on your spa boat.
Rs 6,50,000 per night; Tajhotels.com