Heritage hotels: Rooms from the past

Heritage hotels, rich in history and dipped in royalty, allow you to seep in the legacy of their locales while offering uber luxury lodgings and royal cuisines

Published: Oct 1, 2017

After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.

mg_99879_raj_hi_hujairr_280x210.jpg The Raj Palace Jaipur, India
The nearly-three-century-old hotel offers a glimpse into Rajasthan’s royal customs. Originally built in 1727 by the descendants of Thakur Mohan Singh, the ruler of Chomu,  the palace that houses The Raj Palace hotel was renovated in 1997. Over 800 workers revamped its arched corridors, residential quarters and courtyards under the supervision of Princess Jayendra Kumari, the present owner and a descendant of Thakur Mohan Singh.

No two rooms in The Raj Palace are alike. Its 50 rooms and suites overlook the pool, the garden or the courtyard. The palatial suites come well-equipped. Take the presidential suite for instance: Aptly called the Maharajah’s Pavilion, the 16,000 square-feet suite is spread over four floors with a private lounge, a separate dining area, a rooftop jacuzzi with panoramic views of Jaipur as well as 24-hour butler service. Depending on the season, the suite could set you back by ₹26 lakh to ₹48 lakh a night.

There is also the Shahi Mahal Suite, which is closed for renovation till January 2018. Other rooms like the Heritage Room are available for upwards of ₹25,000 a night. Here you can spend your days picnicking like the Maharajahs of Chomu did or just soak in what the restaurants, serving Indian to European cuisine, have to offer.

One can even have high tea at its Royal Lounge. And the Shikarbadi Bar is available for an evening tipple. The hotel has won many awards and features on several top luxury hotels worldwide lists.

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Adare Manor, Limerick Ireland
Set to reopen this November after an extensive renovation, the Adare Manor hotel has often been referred to as Ireland’s finest heritage hotel. Set up in the 1830s by the second Earl of Dunraven (depressed and suffering from gout, he encouraged his wife to create something grand for the family and provide employment to villagers around Adare), the project was completed in the 1860s.

One of Ireland’s wealthiest men, JP McManus, bought the hotel in 2014 and kept it open for a year to understand what works and what doesn’t. Guests checking in after the renovation can expect 104 immaculately done-up rooms with renovated fireplaces and amenities.

While Limerick rarely features on travellers’ itinerary, the Adare Manor—a 30-minute drive from Shannon airport—hopes to change that.

Rooms start at euro 300 (around ₹23,000) a night and rise to euro 600 (₹46,000) a night during peak season. A five-course meal costs euro 110 (around ₹8,000) and this does not include the extensive range of whiskeys available.

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Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden Velden am Wörthersee, Austria
This three-level lakeside chalet gives guests a taste of the charm of Carinthia on the shores of Lake Wörthersee. Built in 1603, the hotel, with 104 rooms, offers a beach club filled with fresh water from the lake that is heated all year round. There’s a pool as well as a private marina for 15 yachts.

Rooms start at euro 200 (around ₹15,000) while the most expensive suite costs euro 1,000 (around ₹75,000) a night. Those willing to stretch their wallet can try the Graf Khevenhüller Suite—built by Schloss Velden in 1603, it comes with two rooms, a large terrace and a private sauna—or the Roy Black Suite dedicated to singer and actor Roy Black, who was the star of the 1990s TV series Ein Schloß am Wörthersee which made the hotel world famous.



Belmond Hôtel de la Cité Carcassonne, France
One of the two hotels within the walled medieval city of Carcassonne (a Unesco world heritage site), the Belmond Hôtel de la Cité stands between two historic landmarks—the Roman Château Comtal and the Gothic Basilica of Saint-Nazaire. Within its glorious gardens is a Michelin-starred restaurant, La Barbacane. Its 59 rooms and suites offer guests antique furniture, ornate woodwork and stained glass windows. Rooms have modern bathrooms as well as iPod docks and Nespresso machines. Guests can spend their days in a heated outdoor pool, the spa or wandering around the city of Carcassonne.

Located at an hour’s drive (90 km) from the Toulouse–Blagnac airport, a room at the Belmond costs euro 300 (₹23,000) a night.

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Château de Fère Hotel Champagne, France
With its 29 rooms spread across 70 hectares, the Château de Fère Hotel provides a quiet backdrop to the vineyards, rivers and castles of the Fère-en-Tardenois (part of the Champagne region). Built in 1206 by Robert de Dreux, the grandson of Louis VI, it is ideal for a week-long summer break (the hotel is located an hour away from Paris). The more adventurous can hop on the hotel’s hot air balloon and pop a bottle of champagne over the vineyards.  

Rooms start at euro 275 (around ₹22,000) a night in the off season and euro 480 (₹36,000) during peak time.

Five-course meals are available in the hotel’s selection of restaurants or on the terrace overlooking the vineyards.

(This story appears in the 13 October, 2017 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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