Lalitha Mahal, Mysore

Outside the royal city of Mysore, stands a shimmering white palace – a splendid Italianate palazzo, double-columned and domed – set in sparawling terraced and landscaped gardens. This is the Lalitha Mahal Palace, built by the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore to host his most important guest, the Viceroy of India. Designed in the early 1900s by British architect E. W. Fritchley for the Maharajah as a Royal edifice, it became the state guest house and remained so until the 1970s.The Lalitha Mahal Palace is one of India’s most opulent hotels, a palace hotel that offers a palatial setting, rich interiors and antique furniture to make you experience princely living in a real Maharaja’s palace.

From here, guest rooms are spread “along its 100 meter long wings” which are “a study in royal opulence”. The rooms enjoy ceilings “at least 25 feet high” and these are beautiful, “bedecked with elaborate cornices and light fittings”. The rooms are large, indeed “of princely proportions” and beautifully decorated with “priceless carpets” and “chandeliers and lofty doors and windows”, Antique furniture abounds, with the Viceroy suite offering “a king-sized four poster bed with a scalloped silk canopy, carved and lacquered cupboards, Belgian mirrors and velvet armchairs”, all of which recall “a different era”. Even the bathroom boasts of history, as “the bathtub sitting on the marble floor” was imported from the UK. The rooms offer “commanding views of the sprawling city”. The annexe, added in the 70s, is “a better bet” for “lesser mortals”. Although this too offers grandeur including “marble and parquet flooring”, it is with “toned-down opulence”. For the guests eating in, the meals are served in the “palatial banquet room” which is “resplendent in glowing stained glass domes, intricate wall moulding, glittering chandeliers and the original wooden, spring-loaded dance floor”

Truly, Lalitha Mahal Palace is opulence, heritage and grandeur blended together.