The Luxe List 2011, India: Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

  • Taj Falaknuma Palace: hotel exterior

    Taj Falaknuma Palace: hotel exterior

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Once the residence of the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, Falaknuma Palace is an extravagant medley of 19th- century European design, with Renaissance, Art Deco, and Baroque elements woven in. Set on a stony knoll overlooking Hyderabad, the sprawling white palace was derelict and falling apart before undergoing a meticulous decade-long restoration at the hands of India’s Taj hotel group.

Guests now arrive by horse-drawn carriage, sleep in one of 60 period-furnished guest rooms, and in the evenings, watch tribal dances on the elaborately canopied Gole Terrace. But the real star of the show here is the ornate main palace building, which guests are free to use as their private living quarters, taking high tea in the Jade Room—a dazzling sweep of geometric parquet floors and lime-green walls—or flipping through antiquarian books in the carved-walnut library.

Ask to sit in King George V’s favorite chair—the British monarch was one of many royals who bunked here in Falaknuma’s heyday.

Engine Bowli; 91-40/6629-8585; tajhotels.com; doubles from US$765

See more from The Luxe List 2011.

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