India is home to some of the most characteristic heritage hotels. While the word heritage almost always conjures up images of grandiose palaces that have been converted into opulent hotels, there are many ancient homes, estates and even forts with restored grandeur that stand a class apart. Consider staying at one of these 5 hidden heritage properties on your next holiday. You’ll be overwhelmed by their charm and character…
The Brunton Boatyard, Cochin
A flagship property of CGH Earth, The Brunton Boatyard has historical roots dating back to 1895 when Cochin was a Dutch colony. Geo Brunton, after whom the heritage hotel is named, was a shipbuilder back in the day and on his Victorian shipyard is where The Brunton Boatyard stands today. With its Dutch-Portuguese style architecture, some materials like wooden beams and terracotta tiles were also salvaged from Brunton’s business and used in the construction of this 5-star hotel. Influences of its grand heritage are visible throughout The Brunton Boatyard, including in its 26 sea-facing rooms and suites complete with colonial-style interiors like four-poster beds. With recreational facilities like an outdoor pool and spa, the cuisine served at this heritage hotel is a medley of local as well as Portuguese, Dutch and English influences. To add to the charm of your stay at The Brunton Boatyard, the hotel offers complimentary sunset cruises on the Cochin Harbour, complimentary bicycle rentals, yoga sessions and cooking demonstrations.
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The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata
Those who know Kolkata as Calcutta will tell you that The Oberoi Grand is an iconic institution located in the heart of Chowringhee that reflects the city’s rich and decadent cultural past. Frequented by politicians and Heads of States since the 1800s, the pillar-less Grand Ballroom at this heritage hotel has been the venue of many a ball and coronation. Even today, The Oberoi Grand continues to redefine luxury and hospitality and makes a striking impression from the moment you walk in to the lobby where an imposing chandelier and over a century old wooden handmade piano set expectations for the grandeur to follow. With opulent and luxurious rooms and suites, hotel amenities at The Oberoi Grand include The Oberoi Spa, which is tucked away in the colonial style wing of the hotel, an outdoor swimming pool and a state-of-the-art fitness centre. The Oberoi Grand is renowned for its restaurants and bars—La Terrasse which is a French-style bistro, Baan Thai that serves award-winning Thai cuisine and Chowringhee Bar that takes you back to the days of the Raj.
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Le Colonial, Cochin
A historical Neemrana Hotels’ property, Le Colonial is a 16th century colonial home converted into a heritage hotel. Dotted with treasures from the past, Le Colonial is said to have once housed Vasco da Gama and Saint Francis. With rooms named after greats like Tipu Sultan, Viceroy and Major Petrie, the interiors are typical of that era with teak wood-panelling, sprawling verandahs and large poster beds. With luxury on top of the list, amenities like a garden pool and spa, and features like an inner courtyard patio and old-style dining room add to the charm of Le Colonial.
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Fortune The Savoy, Mussoorie
Atop a horseshoe crest on the mountains of Garhwal Himalayas, the ‘queen of the hills’, Mussoorie, was once the summer getaway of the British who came here for relief from the scorching plains. The town is dotted with historical landmarks like Mussoorie Library, Gun Hill and Camel’s Back Cemetery along with private estates that date back to the 1840s. One of Mussoorie’s most prominent and luxurious hotels to be built during British colonial rule was The Savoy, which is known today as Fortune The Savoy. Opened by an Irish barrister, Cecil D. Lincoln in 1902, the hotel boasts of old-world charm and modern-day comforts. Much of the original English Gothic architecture that fell to disrepair over the years has been resurrected in all its historical glory. With 50 rooms and suites, the hotel is a masterpiece with sprawling lawns where a traditional High Tea can be enjoyed. The Fortune The Savoy is that chapter of history and heritage that never fails to impress and enthral.
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The Golden City of Jaisalmer surrounded by the Thar Desert is one of Rajasthan’s greatest treasures. With a rich heritage and culture like the rest of the regal state, Jaisalmer boasts of architectural marvels like the towering Jaisalmer Fort and ages-old havelis. A gem amongst them is Suryagarh, a grand fort palace that’s now a luxury heritage hotel. Combining elements of the ancient and modern, the rooms, suites and havelis are poetic masterpieces that are befitting of the standards of royalty. Hotel amenities include a sports centre, swimming pool and a spa. Food is a serious business at Suryagarh and authentic Rajasthani food is its pride and joy. With traditional recipes and the use of charcoal grills, the chefs here serve up the distinct flavours of the Rajputana region that are an absolute delight. The gracious and warm hospitality at Suryagarh will make you feel no less than a royal!
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