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Live Like a Maharaja in One of India’s Most Expensive Hotel Suites

While Indian royalty officially lost their power with the country's independence in 1947, you can still get a taste of the Maharajas' lavish lifestyles—for a price. These eight five-star hotels have perfected the art of hospitality, with opulent palace architecture and antiques, Ayurvedic spa treatments, and round-the-clock butler service that aims to please.

An avid Italophile, Laura is always on the hunt for the next great travel trends, luxury hotels, best places to eat and drink, and hidden gems. Her writing has appeared in dozens of publications. She also co-wrote "New York: Hidden Bars and Restaurants," an award-winning guide to the city's speakeasy scene.

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Presidential Suite, The Leela Palace New Delhi

Starting rate: $8,563 per night

Escape Delhi’s chaotic traffic at this serene retreat in New Delhi’s diplomatic enclave. One night's stay might cost you more than a month’s rent, but for the extravagant price tag, you get not one but two living rooms with gold leaf ceilings, a plush study, a dining room that seats you and eleven of your closest friends, a pantry for your butler to prepare meals, a master bedroom with a walk-in dressing room, an over-the-top bathroom with crystal stone faucets and Asprey toiletries, and a personal gym. A Rolls Royce Phantom is on call to chauffeur you around town and 24-hour butler service means you can fulfill any whim at any hour of the day or night—an especially nice perk if you suffer from jet lag.

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Maharaja Suite, The Leela Palace Udaipur

Starting rate: $8,686 per night

While it’s not cheap by normal standards, the Maharaja Suite at the Leela Palace is a relative bargain for Udaipur, where opulent palace hotels reign. Known as the “City of Lakes” or “Venice of the East,” Udaipur is one of India’s most popular destinations for weddings and honeymoons, and as the hotel’s private boat whisks you across the lake to your sumptuous digs, you’ll instantly understand why. All 80 rooms and suites come with gorgeous views, but the ultimate indulgence is the 3,552-square-foot Maharaja Suite. Adorned with antiques, hand-crafted silver furnishings, wood paneling, and chandeliers, the suite features a living room, dining room, master bathroom with spacious wardrobe, bath with a Jacuzzi, plunge pool, and courtyard. Did we mention it comes with its own ESPA massage parlor? Because you certainly wouldn’t want to be seen wandering around the property’s public tented spa in your bathrobe.

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Presidential Suite, Oberoi Gurgaon

Starting rate: $11,685 per night

Conveniently located near Delhi Airport, the strikingly modern Oberoi Gurgaon offers all the comforts of a five-star cosmopolitan hotel, from its sophisticated fine-dining restaurant to a 50,000-square-foot luxury shopping arcade sporting brands like Gucci, Burberry, and Neal Sutra, which sells clothes by contemporary Indian designers. Check into the spacious Presidential Suite for the ultimate crash pad overlooking Gurgaon’s vibrant cityscape. The 5,300-square-foot suite, decked out with original artwork and its own Italian marble fireplace, features a spacious living room and dining area, a king-size master bedroom, twin bedroom, luxurious bathroom, a gym/yoga room, and a private pool and terrace. Ring your butler to arrange in-room yoga lessons, private dining, or anything else you desire.

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Nizam Suite, Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Starting rate: $11,700 per night

Once the abode of the world’s richest man, this stately property is shaped like a scorpion. Princess Esra—the first wife of Mukarram Jah, the last Nizam of Hyderabad—personally lent a hand to the suite’s decorator, adding her own royal touch to its unique mix of European, Rajasthani, and Mughal design elements. The duplex suite, where Nizam actually lived, comes with a private swimming pool, Carrara marble bathroom, and custom-designed crockery by Versace in the beautifully appointed dining room, where a coterie of on-call butlers serve meals prepared by world-class chefs.

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Kohinoor Suite with Private Pool, Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur

Starting rate: $14,022 per night

If you can’t stay in an actual palace, then the Kohinoor Suite at the Oberoi Udaivilas is the next best thing. To reach the property, you’ll be ferried across idyllic Lake Pichola, welcome drink in hand. And the royal treatment doesn’t stop there. As you cross the threshold, you’ll be showered in rose petals and ushered into a lobby crowned by a blue-and-gold dome—a prelude for what's to come. Inspired by Udaipur’s City Palace, the 2,650-square-foot Kohinoor Suite is done up Mewar style, with gold domed ceilings, intricately carved marble screens, and elaborate mirror mosaics. Take a dip in your private pool, then dry off on the sun lounger shaded by a colorful tasseled umbrella before dressing for dinner and a performance of traditional Indian dance at the hotel’s alfresco restaurant. While strolling the grounds, don’t miss a glimpse of the hunting lodge. Built in 1869 by Maharana Fateh Singh, it's covered in hand-painted frescoes depicting Udaipur—a setting worthy of a Wes Anderson film.

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Kohinoor Suite, Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra

Starting rate: $14,022 per night

If it’s good enough for Prince William and Kate Middleton, Agra’s most luxurious hotel is good enough for you. While it may not be as old as the Taj Mahal, it was built to look like a Mughal palace, with terraced gardens, perfectly symmetrical architecture, and even fountains shaped like the ones in front of the Taj. All 102 rooms and suites have a view of the iconic monument, but the spacious Kohinoor Suite boasts views from every room, including the glassed-in shower. After waking up to the sounds of the Call to Prayer and savoring a delicious breakfast on your terrace, a butler can escort you by buggy to the Taj Mahal via the resort’s private entrance. Come afternoon, practice yoga in the gardens or cool off in the massive pool with its striking indigo tiles.

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Kohinoor Villa with Private Pool, Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur

Starting rate: $14,022 per night

You’ll feel like royalty when you book the Kohinoor Villa at this gorgeous manicured resort five miles outside the Pink City of Jaipur. Built around a 280-year-old Shiva temple, the property seems designed to encourage spiritual healing. Cleanse your chakras at the spa, set in a restored Rajasthani mansion, before unwinding in the palatial 11,377-square-foot Kohinoor Villa, which consists of three free-standing buildings and a private garden with its own 60-foot pool. One building houses the sumptuous master bedroom (which connects to a separate sitting room and walk-in wardrobe), another houses a guest bedroom, and yet another contains the beautifully appointed living and dining pavilion, where colonial furnishings, traditional Indian wall murals, and elaborate gold accents exude a princely atmosphere.

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Tata Suite, Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai

Starting rate: $15,560 per night

Opened in 1903, Taj Hotels’ first property benefits from an unbeatable location on the Colaba Causeway, just steps from the Gateway of India and Mumbai's waterfront. Named after Taj founder Jamsetji Tata, the Tata Suite nods to the property’s colonial heritage with its exotic artifacts, priceless paintings, and handwoven silk draperies. Maharajas, dignitaries, and celebrities have all made themselves at home in this 5,000-square-foot suite, and for the measly price of a three-carat diamond ring, you can, too. Enjoy complimentary cocktails, post-dinner cognac and chocolate service, and 24/7 tea and coffee at the Palace Lounge, one of the eleven onsite bars and restaurants. Your private valet is at the ready to escort you to the city’s sights, whether you want to visit the Hanging Gardens, posh Malabar Hill, or pay a visit to the Ghandi Museum and Research Center. After a day of sightseeing, have your butler draw up a bath with aromatic salts and oils in your tub overlooking the Gateway to India—or better yet, book a massage in the in-suite spa, which comes with its own sauna and steam room.

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Suryavanshi Suite, Rambagh Palace, Jaipur

Starting rate: $17,157 per night

If you feel like royalty when staying at Taj’s Rambagh Palace, that’s no accident. The hotel was built in 1835 for the Maharaja of Jaipur and remained a royal residence until 1957. Join the hotel’s staff on a heritage walk and they’ll regale you with tales of the palace’s distinguished history as you ogle the majestic public spaces, dripping in chandeliers and stone archways, and expansive grounds including manicured Mughal gardens. With its period décor, silk draperies, private terrace, and arched French windows offering panoramic views, the 1,800-square-foot Suryawanshi Suite is fit for a king. We wouldn’t blame you for wanting to move in permanently.

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Shambhu Prakash Suite (Grand Presidential Suite), Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

Starting rate: $23,000 per night

Rajasthan is known for its grandiose royal palaces, but the Taj Lake Palace offers the rare opportunity to actually sleep in one. Built in 1746 for Prince Jagat Singh II, the property is a sight to behold—a gleaming white marble oasis whose reflection glitters off the surface of Lake Pichola, which you have to cross by speedboat to reach the hotel. (Psst: you might recognize it from the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy.) For a cool $23,000 a night, you can live à la Maharana Shambhu Singh, the presidential suite’s namesake. Your digs come appointed with richly colored antiques, rare paintings, crystal chandeliers, and every diversion you can dream of—be it cozying up in the suite's library, which is stocked with a curated selection of literary classics, or watching the sunset from your private balcony, a glass of champagne in hand.

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