History lies in every nook and corner of India, so how can the scenic hills of India remain untouched? Trace the roots of heritage and charm of olden days with heritage hotels of India. Located in the beautiful hill stations of India, these heritage hotels help you bask in the days of the yore. From ancient times to the days of the British Raj, the hill towns have witnessed quite a vast and interesting history. Take a peek into the past with palatial mansions equipped with royal facilities. Get away with your family, partner or friends and walk through history at these breathtaking locales.
Here is our list of the best heritage hotels in India located in the scenic hill stations of the country.
Ananda in Himalayas, Narender Nagar, Uttarakhand
Named among the best spa resorts in India, Ananda in the Himalayas is also a witness to ancient Indian legacy. The resort occupies the grounds former royal palace of Narendra Nagar, of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal, in Uttarakhand. The princely summer home the Shah family, the residence has witnessed history in the making.
In the days of the British Raj, the luxury property had welcomed Viceroys and people of eminence including Mahatma Gandhi and Mira Ben. Post-independence, and the removal of princely titles, the royal family opened their home to a spiritual retreat for guests. The thought of transforming into one of the premier relaxing spa resorts in the country, came from Ma Anandmayi -the well-known spiritual guide who often visited the palace and is marked by her holy presence. The blessed environs helps rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit.
Highlights: The heritage hotel cum luxury spa resort is one of the best options to bask in the bliss of mountains. Ayurveda therapies, yoga and various wellness programs enhance the delight.
Kasmanda Palace, Mussoorie
Kasmanda Palace easily makes it name of the list of heritage hotels at the hill stations of India. Originally a part of the Christ Church complex built in 1836, it is one of the oldest buildings in Mussoorie. The historic landmark of charming hill town of Uttarakhand, was designed by Captain Rennie Tailour of the Bengal Engineers.
From being a retreat for the British forces to one of the first schools to be set up at Mussoorie, Kasmanda has witnessed history in the making. In 1915, the royal mansion became the summer retreat of the royal family of Kasmanda, one of the premier Taluqdaris of Awadh. Finally in 1992, the 6-generation residence was transformed into a Heritage Boutique Hotel under the name of the Kasmanda Palace. The lavish retreat in the mountains calls for a break from schedules and for a rendezvous with the hills.
Highlights: Experience elegance of another time. Whispers of forest-clad hills, 150-year old architecture, old-world charm, and host of luxury amenities take you on a relaxed holiday.
Fortune the Savoy Hotel, Mussoorie
Built on the turn of the 20th century, The Savoy Hotel of Mussoorie is epitome of old-world charm. Since it has opened its guests in 1902, high-ranking officers of the British Raj, many renowned Raja-Maharajas to politicians, writers, famous persons and even India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru have been guests of the heritage hotel.
Envisioned by Irish Barrister, Cecil D. Lincoln, The Savoy Hotel was built to be a retreat for pleasure at Mussoorie, the upcoming hub of the British Raj. The fine specimen of Gothic architecture was equipped with Edwardian furnishings, Steinway pianos, billiard tables, champagne crates, cider barrels and oak floor furnishings. Bullock carts traveled through the winding mountain roads from Dehradun to make the hotel a vision. If the idea of your holiday is a mix of the bliss of the hills and the charming heritage, then this is harmonious setting is truly unrivalled.
Highlights: The very setting of Savoy is enamoring. Having inspired writers, painters and so many more, the luxury hotel takes you back to the days of the yore.
Naini Retreat, Nainital
Naini Retreat, nestled in the beautiful hill town of Nainital is one of the charming heritage hotels. The strikingly beautiful palatial building was once the residence of the Maharaja of Pilibhit. Built on the picturesque Ayarpatta Slopes at 1,995 meters, the palace enjoys a breathtaking view of the Naini Lake. If the charm of the hills excites you and the olden times appeal to you, then Naini Retreat combines them both creating a holiday at a historic luxury hotel.
Intended to merge natural beauty with grandeur, the palace has been lovingly maintained and enhanced with contemporary facilities. A tryst with history with new-age pleasures, get away for a memorable holiday in the charming hill town of Uttarakhand.
Highlights: Relax in the lap of nature with royal hospitality. Comfy lodging, lavish dining, pampering wellness programs and excursion provide cherished experiences.
Amber Vermont Estate, Mussoorie
Moving on, Amber Vermont Estate in Mussoorie is one of the charming options of stay in the hills. The beautiful retreat in Himalayas, Vermont is one of the oldest estates built by a Britisher.
In the early 1800’s, Vermont was part of a grand estate called Logie Estate, which was owned by the famous Dr. Hugh Falconer known to discover the remains of fossil mammals in the Siwalik Hills of India. In the latter half of the 19th century, Vermont was built- a charming traditional English cottage in the lap of scenic Himalayas. Read More…
Highlights: Breathe in the beauty of the lush hills, marvel at the charming English-style architecture, enjoy the lavish hospitality and experience bliss like never before.
The Claridges Nabha Residence, Mussoorie
Another beautiful memory of the olden times in the heart of the mountains, next on our list, we have The Claridges Nabha Residence in Mussoorie. Once upon a time, the residence of the Maharaja of Nabha, it has hosted and entertained British officials, Nawabs, Rajahs and Maharajahs. Though time has changed this heritage resort still pampers its guest’s similarly.
Lost in the passage of time, the property was neglected for long. Fully restored by Claridges, the Nabha Residence has been transformed into a relaxing getaway in the hills. It is named among the top heritage hotels in India.
Highlights: Experience unmatched stay in the beautiful town of Mussoorie. Overlooking the pictorial beauty, the historic property has been equipped a range of modern comforts. Cozy rooms, lavish dining, soothing spa treatments that range from ancient India therapies to practices from around the world. Recuperate in natural harmony in the palatial residence.
Ferrnhills Royale Palace, Ooty
Settled in the beautiful environs of Nilgiris in Ooty, Ferrnhills Royale Palace is a luxury heritage hotel with ancient legacy. Reverberating with the charm of the bygone days, the royal resort has the roots of the British Raj and the extravagant glory of the Wadiyar dynasty.
Built during the British Raj in 1844 by Capt. F. Cotton, the Fernhills has witnessed history in the making. Till the mid-1860s, the estate has changed several hands. Temporarily named Moonesami, it was one of the earliest club hotels in Ooty. Another fascinating story of the heritage hotel is, the twelve-year old Prince, His Highness Chamarajendra Wadiyar X had bought the 40 acres of Ferrnhills property for Rs. 10,000 in 1873. Now, the property is successfully run by Her Highness Promoda Devi.
Highlights: Spread over 50 acres, the luxury WelcomHeritage property enjoys views of sprawling forests, tea gardens, lawns, valleys and misty hills. Finished with Burmese teak, the resort features a magnificent ballroom, ornate ceiling, royal suites, lavish dining and cherished experiences.
Taj Savoy Hotel, Ooty
A beautiful retreat in the Nilgiris, the Savoy Hotel Ooty is a memory of the British Raj. Now a luxury property of the Taj Group of Hotels, the property is counted among the luxury properties in the hill station in India with historic roots.
Built during 1834 – 1865, the cottages of Savoy Hotel exudes an old-world charm. Refurbished with modern facilities, the old English allure is not amiss. The pleasant Victorian cottages done in rich wood-work are surrounded by huge manicured lawns and colorful flower beds. Cozy furniture, plethora of old artefacts like wooden spears, glass chandeliers, closets and a well-maintained heritage car parked under the shade of a well-manicured tree add to the colonial bliss.
Highlights: The Savoy Hotel enjoys the breathtaking view of Ooty-its lush tea gardens, misty hill tops, lush valleys and natural splendor. The charming setup is the ideal retreat for families, couples on honeymoon, nature lovers and people who would want to experience history.
Lymond House, Ooty
Nestled in the ‘Queen of Hills’ Ooty, Lymond House is a property where time has stopped. Standing as the testimony of the British era, the property spells of old world charm. The addition of modern conveniences, the breathtaking location and experiences simply makes Lymond House one of the best options to enjoy a holiday in Ooty.
Dating back to 1855, the mansion was owned by a British gentleman who was enamored by Ooty. Even 150 years later, when guests from all over the world pay a visit here, they can experience the love for the pictorial hill town with the elegance of the bygone days at the heritage hotel. Opulent décor, fireplaces, graceful furnishings, sprawling lawns, antique beds, dressers, floorboards and more take you back to the days of the yore.
Highlights: Soak in the 150-year old charm. The rooms are named after beautiful cities of Ireland, England and other fascinating names. The slow pace of Ooty combined with a stay at the mansion will be therapy from grueling daily schedules.
Kluney Manor, Ooty
Taking forward with our list of charming heritage hotels in the hill stations of India, we have Kluney Manor. Nestled in the lap of scenic Ooty, surrounded by panoramic views, the Victorian Suite Hotel lovingly retains the olden days, making for a cherished stay for all.
Starting with the history of Kulney Manor, it was built way back in 1800s. A Captain Macpherson of the British Army and team were entrusted the job of building a road to Ooty, then Ootacamund ‘Queen of Hill Stations’. After years of toil, pleased with their work, the British Queen rewarded them with vast tracts of land in the area. Many sold their lands and returned to England but Captain had fallen in love with Ooty and built Kluney Manor. Later the manor became the Maharaja of Patna’s summer hideaway. Now it stands as one of the charming luxury resorts of Ooty.
Highlights: An ode to Ooty, the loving way the manor was built steals your heart. The Manor provides a break from hustle bustle of life with comfy furnishings, lavish dining, pampering spa treatments and other experiences.
Stok Palace Heritage Hotel, Ladakh
Historic and extremely beautiful, Ladakh ‘the Land of High Passes’ has one of the best heritage hotels in India, the Stok Palace. Built in 1822 by the royal family of Namgyal as a smaller retreat across the Indus River. A decade later, the old and proud kingdom had ceased to exist but the Palace stands in their marvelous glory.
Settled atop a small hill overlooking the Stok Valley and Indus Valley, Stok is very much a living palace. It is still home to the 50-year-old Raja Jigmed Wangchuk Namgyal. A decade ago, the royal palace was restored from ruin and refurbished with modern amenities yet retaining its grandeur. The doors were opened as it became one of the unique heritage hotels in India.
Highlights: Stay at Stok Place is nothing less than a dream come true. When the location is Ladakh and the lodgings are an almost 200-years old palace then the feeling is unmatched. Learn about Buddhist traditions, the hard way of life of Ladakhi and embark on adventures.
Hotel Tripura Castle, Shillong
Next on our list of heritage hotels we have a hotel in North East India that combines scenic beauty of hills with history. The royal Tripura Castle was built in the early 1920’s, as a summer retreat for the royal family of the Manikya dynasty. The Maharaja of Tripura had fallen in love with Shillong and wanted to enjoy the bliss. His home is the epitome of romance of the royal king with the beauty. It is said that Rabindranath Tagore, the Noble Laureate had often stayed in the castle and enjoyed the hospitality of the Manikyas.
Nestled atop a hill, spread over 9 acres of green, the luxury resort is a charming reminder of the olden days. The royal traditions and setting have been preserved carefully with the addition of modern conveniences and truly delightful experience.
Highlights: Enjoy the charming beauty of Shillong along with stay at comfy lodgings. Food is a pleasure here as the unique gastronomy of the North East India, the delightful taste of tea and
The Palace Hotel, Chail
Nestled in the breathtaking beauty of a serene town of Himachal Pradesh, The Palace Hotel Chail is named among the best heritage hotels in India. Built in 1891, by Maharaja of Patiala Bhupinder Singh, the palace enjoys lavish comforts, regal setting and delightful experiences.
As the story goes, Lord Kitchener of the British colonial army, enraged by Maharaja of Patiala had expelled him from Shimla. The king then shifted his summer capital to the beautiful town of Chail and built the magnificent palace that stands till date. Spread over 75 acres, the palace has a wide variety of opulent cottages, suites and rooms. The ornate furniture, the old-world setting and pictorial environs make it the ideal getaway in the hills.
Highlights: The gracious mansion of the Maharaja of Patiala Bhupinder Singh, was built in defiance of the British Raj. Built in grandeur that is unrivalled treats all guests as royalty. Not only enjoy the charm of the bygone days, go exploring the nature trails, embark on thrilling expeditions and more.
Clarkes Hotel, Shimla
One of the oldest hotels in Shimla, the Clarkes has been the hub of tourists since the British Raj. Built in 1898, the Grand Heritage Hotel is a testament of the British era. Embodying the elegance and charm of yesteryears, the magnificent colonial bungalow, gently takes you back to the days of the yore. The addition of modern conveniences and the world class hospitality, simple enhance the bliss.
Since the hotel opened its doors for guests it has been treating them to unmatched experiences. Settled in the very centre of the town, it enjoys proximity to the charming heritage sites of Shimla. Along with a lavish stay at the hotel, the Shimla Railway Station, Gaiety Theatre, Gorton Castle, Rothney Castle, many churches and other colonial era buildings keep you fascinated with the grandeur of the times gone by. Read More…
Highlights: An oasis of the olden days in the rapidly developing town of Shimla, the heritage hotel offers the perfect option to enjoy holidays with families, partner or friends. Bask in the bliss of Shimla, especially the colonial era.
Taragarh Palace, Kangra
Enveloped in the beauty and bliss of Himalayas, The Taragarh Palace of Kangra is next on our list of heritage hotels in India located in the hill stations. Settled majestically at a height of 1,000 meters, spread over 15 acres of lush forests and tea gardens, the palace is a majestic creation. Built in 1951 as a summer resort for the Royal Family of Jammu & Kashmir, the Taragarh Palace later became a Heritage Hotel in 1971.
Enjoy splendid views of the snow-clad ranges of the Dhauladhar Mountains in addition to royal décor, lavish pleasures and amazing experiences.
Highlights: Taragarh Palace is more of an experience than a hotel. Indulge in exploring the traditional Buddhist connections. Embark on the mountain trails. Get pampered with curated spa experiences. Fall in love with mountains. Indian traditions will simply make your stay memorable.
Woodville Palace, Shimla
In the heart of Shimla, lies is a royal residence which became one of the charming heritage hotels in the picturesque hill station of India. The Woodville Palace was the former summer residence of the Raja Rana of Jubbal, a pre-independence kingdom of the Shimla Hill States. Now it is a delightful option for guest to indulge in the days of the yore in addition to indulge in luxuries.
Step into the Woodville Palace and feel transported to the past when Shimla was the summer capital of the Raj. You could relive the gala dinners and tea parties when British Socialites mingled with Indian Aristocracy. Currently owned and maintained by the descendants of the Jubbal Royal family, the hotel is not run like a typical chain hotel but experiential travel experience.
Highlights: Away from the city limits of Shimla, nestled in 4 acres of greenery, the Woodville Place is majestic building. Inspired from the 1930’s art deco era, the palace has a unique. Ornate furnishings, artefacts of the royal family including a large number of photographs and other memorabilia make it a unique getaway.
Oberoi Wildflower Hall, Shimla
The Wildflower Hall of Shimla is wrapped in history. Dating back to the days of the British Raj, when Shimla was the frequent getaway of the official and dignitaries, the hill town reverberated with grandeur and elegance. Lord Kitchener, the then Commander in Chief of the British Army in India kept a summer home in the town to be in the centre of the activity. His charming home was later converted into a hotel and has since than passed many hands, before being razed in a fire. Oberoi Group built the Wildflower Hall property in 1995, recreating the century old charm and designs.
Experience the rekindled charm of the olden days. The rooms, furnishings, setting and everything hint at the former days of Shimla when the colonials made the foreign land their own home. The heritage hotel located in the favorite hill station of India is a worthy experience.
Highlights: Owned by the Oberoi group, Wildflower Hall combines the charm of the past with the luxuries of today. From pampering wellness programs, royal stay, dining, to expeditions in the mountains, this is the pleasure retreat of Shimla.
Oberoi Cecil, Shimla
The list of the best heritage hotels in India is incomplete without a mention of Oberoi Cecil. The beautiful hotel in Shimla has been witness to a vast history. From quite modest beginnings in 1883 as a one storied house, with its famous inhabitant- Rudyard Kipling, the hotel became the address no one would like to miss when thinking of a holiday in Shimla. In the days of British Raj, it acquired the reputation of famous Balls, dance shows, gala dinners and so much more. Equally fascinating is the tale of Mohan Singh Oberoi, a diligent worker at Cecil, who rose ranks and ultimate went on to own the hotel.
After extensive renovation from 1984 to 1997, Cecil was restored to its past glory. Oberoi Group of Hotels simply made it unmissable with their signature, adding their luxury experiences. Till date it Oberoi Cecil is the most sought for memorable holidays in Shimla.
Highlights: Lavish rooms, opulent decor, royal dining, wellness experiences, expeditions in the hills and many more cherished experiences await at Oberoi Cecil. The 130-yaer old heritage takes you back to the olden days.
Judge Court, Pragpur
The pictorial town of Pragpur in the Kangra Valley has a beautiful secret, the medieval property named Judge Court. Built in 1918 by Bhandhari Ram for his son, Justice Sir Jai Lal, the property has a hint of Indo-European touch to it. The 300-year old ancestral cottage at an elevation of 2000 ft. in the Kangra Valley is untouched by the passage of time. Modern development has not disturbed the charm and is wrapped in the charm of the olden days.
The country manor overlooking the mighty Himalayas, located in the heritage town is a delightful place for vacations. Experience the slow pace of life.
Highlights: If time has stopped anywhere, then it is the medieval property of Judge Court. Even the addition of modern conveniences do not hurry up the pace. Rejuvenate in the bliss of the medieval way of life, carefully preserved in the heritage property.
Urvashi’s Retreat, Manali
Snuggled in the picturesque environs of Manali, Urvashi’s Retreat is a delightful option for vacation. The 100-year old summer home of Urvashi Singh’ family has been transformed into a boutique resort.
Built in traditional Himalayan architecture, combining the old with the new, the cottage is decorated with classic Victorian furniture, luxurious fittings and rich traditional textures. When the destination is the hill stations of India and the stay at this charming cottage, you will have an experience of a lifetime. The family introduces you to the age-old life of mountains. Bask in the bliss at the family home.
Highlights: Charming in every way, the cottage is the perfect getaway form cities into the very harmonious bliss of the mountains.
Netuk House, Gangtok
An ode to the bygone days in the lap of north East in Gangtok, next we come to Netuk House. Built by Gellong Netuk Lama, counselor to the then Chogyal (Monarch) of Sikkim in in the late 1950’s, the house is been a hub of activity. The home-stay has for long served guests. Though decades have gone by, the house is still sought for its traditional hospitality, opulent accommodation, and its hospitality.
Highlights: If your holiday is all about Sikkimese beauty, traditions and having a good time, the Netuk House fulfils all categories. Settled in the very heart of Gangtok, overlooking the mighty Mt. Kanchenjunga, the hotel captures in essence everything you seek in Sikkim.
The Elgin Nor-Khill, Gangtok
Last but not the least on our list of heritage hotels in hill stations of India we have, The Elgin Nor-Khill in the beautiful hill town of Gangtok. The splendid building has quite an interesting tale to it. Nor-Khill” translates to the “house of jewels”, which here refers to the natural wealth of mountains, valleys, flowers and fruits. The Chogyal (King of Sikkim) favored the beauty of Nor-Khill. He would set his easel here, and spend hours recreating the scenery with paints.
In 1932, the King of Sikkim, ordered the building of Nor-Khill around a beautiful garden, to serve as royal guesthouse for heads of states and dignitaries. With the passage of time, the charming property opened its doors for guests. The beauty that had captured the interest of the King very much exits till date, enamoring guests of the hotel.
Highlights: Marvel at the typical Sikkimese architecture, enjoy the serenity of the blissful ambiance of the mountains while indulging in modern luxuries. The view of Mt. Kanchenjunga only adds to the pleasures of staying here.