India is one nation that can wow all kinds of travelers! One can choose destinations as per their interests in architecture, history, beaches, wildlife etc. One can also select their accommodations from the most humble home stays and boutique properties to the most lavish accommodations ranked amongst the top hotels in the world. However, those who wish to explore India in the most luxurious manner, must consider the following aspects while planning a luxury tour to India:
Every country has a right time to visit. However, in India there could be more than one of these, depending on your priorities. Undoubtedly, winters are the best season in India and the travel months of November to February are indeed suitable for a luxury traveler. If one is unable to travel during these months, then an alternate could be beginning of September. It is the monsoon time and while western India could be pleasant due to rains, northern India can get humid at times if the rains are not as expected. However, the brighter side is that one can take advantage of the off season prices for the several luxury and palace hotels which can make a little discomfort in climate also seem worth the while.
To experience true luxury in India, the state of Rajasthan in the north-west is a must visit! It can be comfortably covered along with the Golden Triangle cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Top destinations in Rajasthan that can be visited are Jaipur, Ranthambhore, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Mihirgarh, Jawai Bandh and Jaisalmer. Selecting the destinations would also depend on your personal interests. For instance, those who love wildlife can include the Ranthambhore National Park in their program. Similarly someone who is fascinated by palaces and lakes, must not skip Udaipur.
It is highly recommended to have a minimum of 2-3 nights at each destination to explore the place in a leisurely manner, especially if traveling by road. In order to cover the Golden triangle along with the main cities of Rajasthan, a minimum of three weeks is required. If you have around two weeks or less, then you may consider adding Jodhpur and Udaipur to your Golden triangle itinerary.
Most luxury tours to India include a visit to Rajasthan and most guests prefer traveling by road. An important reason for this is that not all cities are connected by direct flights and a road journey gives a peek into the countryside and beautiful landscapes of Rajasthan. One can stop on the way and click pictures or just breathe in the fresh air. For families of 6 or more and small groups, there are also mini buses available with washroom facilities. Cities connected by flights too can take anywhere from 5-7 hours (almost same as road travel time between most cities) considering the airport reporting time is 2 hours prior to flight departure and not to forget the travel from your hotel to the airport and vice-versa! Usually airports are located at a drive of around 45 mins. to 1 hour from the city centre and it can even take more time, depending on the traffic. Hence, when we look at the commuting time to airport, waiting time, traffic risks and also the hassles of checking in and out of baggage etc., we often find that traveling straight in your car from your hotel in one city to another seems the most comfortable option. Ofcourse for premium luxury travelers, a chartered jet is always the most comfortable and fastest inter-city travel option.
One needs to be very careful with the term ‘luxury’ used in hotel advertisements. Even small boutique and theme hotels use the term ‘luxury’ as there are no official rules as such for the ‘luxury’ category of accommodation. The classification of hotels as per the ministry of Tourism, government of India, include budget hotels, 3 star hotels, 4 star hotels, 5 star hotels, 5 star deluxe hotels and heritage hotels. The highest category or luxury usually refers to the ‘5 star deluxe’ category. It is easier to recognize top luxury hotels though, like the Taj Lake palace in Udaipur or Oberois Amar Vilas in Agra etc. Most heritage hotels have been preserved with their ancient time décor including some furnitures and carpets too which may actually give it a very outdated look instead of a luxury feel. However, the term ‘luxury’ is still subjective and one must check the hotel’s website and pictures available online to use one’s best judgement.
To explore India in the most luxurious manner, it is crucial to get a private tour tailor-made to your individual travel style and preferences. Traveling at the right time, selecting the right accommodation and including destinations as per your interests will surely make your visit to India truly luxurious and worthwhile!