#T+L India’s Best Awards 2021: The Winners Of Best Domestic Hotels

India’s Best Awards 2021: The Winners Of Best Domestic Hotels

T+L readers voted for the most remarkable and safe domestic hotels of their choice at India's Best Awards 2021. Here’s the verdict.


By Rashima Nagpal Published on Jun 28, 2022, 11:00 AM

India’s Best Awards 2021: The Winners Of Best Domestic Hotels

Some of us are still hesitant to plan an international trip. But that doesn’t mean you cannot take a break. You can still book a staycation, pamper yourself with some room service, and just laze around at one of the many beautiful properties around the country. To make your choice easier, we asked our readers to vote for the most remarkable and safe domestic hotels of their choice. And here’s the verdict.

Here are the best domestic hotels in India

Located conveniently close to Delhi and Gurugram, the sprawling Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport has been a preferred spot for business persons and expat travellers for 22 years now. The property offers 261 contemporary rooms and suites with pleasing garden views. For big and small business events, the hotel has versatile event spaces, including the Crystal Hall that can accommodate up to 800 people and the Ebony meeting rooms with a capacity of 30 guests each. The dedicated business centre, featuring a 12-seat conference room bookable by the hour, also offers Polycom audio conferencing and videoconferencing systems.

THE Park Kolkata has been winning this accolade for three consecutive years now, and for good reason. Apart from 149 eclectic rooms and dining venues, the hotel is home to luxurious multi-purpose banquet halls and elegant boardrooms that appeal to the discerning business traveller. Spread over an area of 1,115 square metres, the seven banquet halls are fit for extravagant business events, whereas the two boardrooms can easily accommodate 16 and 20 people, respectively. Each venue comes well-equipped with state-of-the-art technology to make your business affairs seamless.

Built in 1729, the original Rajmahal Palace was the home of Maharaja Sawai Man Jai Singh and Maharani Gayatri Devi for many years. It is the newest addition to RAAS’s portfolio of historic properties, and is now called Rajmahal Palace RAAS Jaipur. The hotel has 13 rooms and suites, each furnished with a mix of family heirlooms and contemporary artefacts. Some have been named after celebrity visitors, including John F Kennedy, Lord Mountbatten, and Princess Diana of Wales, who once stayed here. Beyond the regal rooms are magnificent gardens and an art deco-style swimming pool. And the walls of the palace tell stories of the Pink City.

Image Credit: raashotels.com

A restored 18th-century fort that offers magnificent views of the countryside, Alila Fort Bishangarh is one of the most atmospheric hotels in the country. It is a unique example of the architecture of the Jaipur Gharana, with hints of Mughal and British influences. Owing to its remote location in the village of Bishangarh in Rajasthan, this fort-hotel allows you to disconnect from the modern world. Get a taste of the local culture with immersive experiences, such as a Rajasthani Rasoda masterclass or pottery with local artisans. Or unwind in style at Spa Alila. No matter what you choose to do, your journey is bound to be memorable.

Inspiring, grand, and exquisite, ITC Royal Bengal pays homage to the cultural heritage of Kolkata. It is located at the intersection of the business district and the main city, making it a popular choice among both business and leisure travellers. The hotel features 456 rooms and suites (including 82 serviced apartments), six dining destinations, 5,630 square metres of banqueting space, and Kaya Kalp-The Royal Spa. ITC’s ethos of ‘responsible luxury’ makes sure your stay is both indulgent and guilt-free.

At the heart of the Garden City, rising 24 storeys above Central Business District, Conrad Bengaluru marries elegance with leisure. Its 285 luxurious guestrooms and suites offer great comfort while the pillarless Grand Ballroom is one of the largest events spaces in the city with a capacity of around 1,200 guests. Together with five unique dining options, the signature Conrad Spa, and a temperature-controlled infinity pool, it has all the creature comforts that the discerning traveller seeks on a workation.

Located just a few minutes from UB City and MG Road in the Garden City, JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru is the ideal luxury address for a business trip. A stay here comes with flexible floor plans, state-of-the-art audiovisual technology, and spacious hotel rooms and suites to retreat to after a day packed with meetings. Covering a total of 1,245 square metres, the 10 event rooms here can be customised for gatherings of various sizes—from 12 to 1,500.

The Leela Palace New Delhi celebrates the capital’s heritage in everything from design to decor, gastronomy, and hospitality. Located close to the airport and the Central Business District, this property offers bespoke services to the luxury business traveller. Venues come in the form of Grand Ballroom, the adjoining Royal Ballroom, eight meeting rooms and boardrooms, and The Terrace, which offers a magnificent view of Lutyens’ Delhi.

Set amid 45 acres of landscaped gardens, swaying coconut palms, and shimmering lagoons in South Goa, ITC Grand Goa makes tropical wedding dreams come true. The sprawling 252-room resort offers direct access to the Arossim beach and seaside lawns that are perfect for celebrations. The architecture is Indo-Portuguese, interspersed with Goan design elements. When it comes to cuisine, the resort presents the time-honoured delicacies of Goa, as well as global cuisines. For some pampering post the wedding festivities, head to Kaya Kalp – The Royal Spa.

Featuring multiple indoor and outdoor venues spread across 9,290 square metres, Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty is the ideal venue for a big wedding. The property offers comfortable accommodation in 222 rooms, 38 suites, and four villas with private access. Three premium dining destinations, a spacious lobby lounge, indoor and outdoor pools, and an international award-winning spa further elevate your dream gala. The celebrations come alive with exquisite menus, elegant decor, and bespoke experiences.

With a commitment to excellence, attention to detail, and personalised service, The Oberoi Group has been setting new standards in hospitality since its inception in 1934. At present, it operates 32 hotels, Nile Cruisers, and a Motor Vessel in seven countries. In India, it offers a portfolio of some of the most exquisite hotels and experiences. Be it a grand stay at The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, 30 acres of uninterrupted luxury at The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, or gourmet feasts at The Oberoi, New Delhi, The Oberoi Group knows how to spoil you silly.

Symbolic of the country’s rich traditions, heritage, and cuisine, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts has one binding philosophy—Atithi Devo Bhava. With a legacy of over three decades, the group offers 11 premium hotels and endless luxurious experiences in India. Each property is imbued with the values of the Leela Dharmas, and at the same time celebrates its unique location, art, culture, and cuisine with thoughtful service, celebratory rituals, and immersive experiences.

Originally built in 1835, Rambagh Palace has played many roles—from being the home of the queen’s favourite handmaiden to a royal guesthouse and hunting lodge, and later as the residence of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and Maharani Gayatri Devi. Today, it is a crown jewel in the portfolio of Taj Hotels, offering 78 beautifully restored rooms and suites in Jaipur. The luxurious palace retains its classic splendour in the form of hand-carved marble jalis, sandstone balustrades, cupolas and cenotaphs, and historic gardens.

A respite from the hustle-bustle of the national capital, The Lodhi surprises you in many ways. Spread over seven acres of verdant parkland alongside the iconic Lodhi Gardens, the hotel boasts some of the largest rooms and suites in the city. Private plunge pools and balconies are opulent touches in a city like Delhi. Also home to some of the most popular dining venues in the city and the country, The Lodhi has been a favourite of our readers for many years.

A five-star Hyatt resort in Majorda, South Goa, located 20 minutes from Dabolim International Airport, Alila Diwa Goa makes for a fun-filled holiday. Besides spacious rooms, multiple dining venues, a spa and fitness centre, and an infinity pool, it comes with a kids’ club, a teen zone, and a mini theatre to keep you and your family entertained. Add to that a range of local experiences and you have the perfect family holiday.

Spread across 28 acres of tropical gardens and lush lawns that roll down to the edge of the Bambolim Bay, Grand Hyatt Goa redefines luxury in the heart of North Goa. Each of the 313 grand rooms and suites comes with a balcony that offers relaxed seating and soothing views. The resort offers a range of in-house recreational activities that include aqua zorbing, snooker, a sailing centre, a kids’ playground, and an adventure park featuring wall climbing, zip lining, a rope course, skycycle, and more.

A beautiful medley of Kerala’s traditions and modern hospitality, Kumarakom Lake Resort wins hearts for more reasons than one. Spread across 25 acres of coconut groves close to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary in Kerala, it is a treat for nature lovers. Accommodation ranges from lavish rooms, villas, and suitesto traditional kettuvalloms or houseboats that offer stunning vistas of Lake Vembanad. Not to mention the holistic Ayurveda health offerings that make the property one of the best wellness retreats in the country.

Surrounded by River Nombili in Kasaragod, Kerala, The LaLiT Resort & Spa Bekal is a boutique property
with 38 suites, each with a private jacuzzi. The property also has a lagoon overlooking a white-sand beach, and a spa which is spread over 1,858 square metres. With so many ways to unwind, the resort certainly embodies its philosophy of relax, revive, and rejuvenate. Also equipped with recreational and sports facilities, it is an ideal destination for a wellness break.

Since its inception in 1975, ITC Hotels has cemented its position as India’s premier luxury hotel chain. Renowned for its exemplary blend of traditional hospitality and global standards of service, the hotel chain today encompasses over 100 hotels in 70 destinations across four brands. Add to that its commitment to planet positivity; each ITC Hotel is certified with a LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum rating for globally recognised planet-positive endeavours. The chain’s dedicated hygiene and cleaning protocols programme, WeAssure, promises a stress-free stay in these times.

The new Hilton Goa Resort is a unique addition to the long list of hotels in the sunshine state. Overlooking lush farms and River Nerul, the property is perched on a hillock in North Goa. With its architecture inspired by the heritage forts of Goa, the property’s rooms are spread out in different blocks, offering ample privacy to guests. The resort’s all-day dining restaurant @Saipe serves enchanting sunset views along with international cuisine. The in-house lounge bar and Mediterranean restaurant, Coco, offers an extensive beverage menu. The cafe, Doce, serves an assortment of artisanal teas and single-estate coffees along with sweet treats. No wonder the property has become an instant hit among our readers!

As the brand’s maiden outpost in India, Raffles Udaipur has charged into the Indian hospitality scene and made waves across the country for all the right reasons. Set gloriously on a private island at the picturesque Udai Sagar Lake, this Indo-Saracenic architectural beauty is surrounded by the Aravalli hills. It offers six categories of rooms and suites with outdoor heated pools, cabanas, gazebos, and private butlers; thoughtfully curated dining experiences including a patisserie and a pool bar; and the famous Raffles Spa.

Set in a spice garden in the Periyar highlands of Thekkady, Kerala, Spice Village is modelled on dwellings of the Manan tribe of the region. Conceived as a village, the resort has employed local materials, local artisans, and traditional wisdom in its creation. From fertilising the two-acre vegetable and herbal gardens with nutrient-rich vermicompost and running an organic garden that puts fresh produce on the table to upgrading bio-waste to paper and integrating recycled materials in the decor, the resort’s sustainable initiatives make it a clear winner in this category.

Inspired in design by the Hadis, or tribal villages of the region, Evolve Back Kuruba Safari Lodge, Kabini is bordered by the Kabini River on two sides. The resort’s architecture marries traditional crafts with modern luxuries. Think tribal patterned furnishings, ethnic furniture, and subtle touches like ‘bottle gourd lamp shades’. Activities such as boat safaris, night trails, coracle rides, and Kuruba tribal dances further bridge the gap between luxury and eco-living. At the resort’s Ayurvedic spa, Vaidyasala, India’s ancient healing secrets come alive in the form of rejuvenating massages and therapeutic treatments.

Built in 1955, The Claridges, New Delhi blends elegant architecture characteristic of early-19th-century Britain with contemporary modern styles. It offers accommodation in 132 elegant rooms and suites, divided into two wings—Heritage Wing and Cabana Wing. The hotel is equipped with a temperature-controlled outdoor pool, a fitness centre, and a spa. Its vibrant F&B outlets include Sevilla, which serves fresh Mediterranean flavours; Pickwick, a recently relaunched all-day multi-cuisine brasserie; Dhaba, which plates delicious North Indian food; Aura, a bar that serves as many as 55 brands of vodka and plenty of signature cocktails; Jade, which celebrates Chinese-Cantonese cuisine; and Ye Old Bakery, one of the oldest patisseries in India that offers delectable pastries, cakes and savouries.

The 18th-century Ahilya Fort Hotel is the perfect gateway to the sleepy town of Maheshwar. Set on the banks of River Narmada, the hotel offers no more than 19 rooms housed in six different buildings of the fort. Guests can enjoy strolling through three acres of courtyards and gardens with fountains that take you back in time. Explore the town, the bustling markets, and an iconic riverside complex of temples and cenotaphs, or cruise down the river on a traditional hand-poled boat and admire floating lamps—Ahilya Fort Hotel offers an array of experiences that go beyond the many comforts of your room.

With simplified point-redemption values and no blackout dates for room redemptions, The Indian Hotels Company Limited’s loyalty programme, Taj InnerCircle (TIC), is highly gratifying. One can enjoy delightful rewards across the group’s portfolio of over 80 hotels in India, over 15 hotels internationally, over 350 restaurants and bars, and more than 65 spas. The Epicure Plan under the TIC umbrella offers additional perks, tailor-made for gourmands and connoisseurs. Members can earn and redeem TIC points for eligible spends across participating partners worldwide.

Offering a collection of exceptional benefits and privileges across Radisson Hotels—including Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Radisson Individuals, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson—Radisson Rewards is all about putting guests first. Take its member-only rates, for instance, which allow one to save up to 10 per cent more when booking directly. Travellers can redeem their points for a Priority Pass that gives them access to over 1,000 airport lounges in 500 cities across 130 countries. What makes Radisson Rewards truly unique is its First Climate initiative, which allows patrons to donate their earned points to climate protection projects.

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