India's most romantic hotels
With Valentine's Day round the corner, couples can choose to getaway at some of India's best romantic hotels that offer a choice of luxurious indulgence or a chance to be one with nature.
Compiled by online travel guide TripAdvisor as part of the 2011 Travellers' Choice Hotel Awards, the list of romantic hotels traverses destinations from Manali and Munnar among the hills to the quaint backwaters in Kerala to exquisite locales in Rajasthan.
While Delhites can take their flashy cars and zoom off to Udaipur which has two of the most romantic hotels to offer, Mumbaikars can take a romantic break from the incessant chaos of the city at the secluded Machan and Camp Canopy in Lonavla. As Varun Hooja from the Machan puts it "At The Machan our guests get the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in nature with their companions."
Bangaloreans can choose from The Serai, Chikmaglur and Orange County, Kabini in Mysore to rekindle their romance as well as head to Kerela which has 3 of the top 10 romantic hotels. Couples from hot and humid Chennai can head to the cool hills of Munnar in Kerala for their romantic rendezvous.
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Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan
The white palace in the middle of Udaipur's Lake Pichola is a sight that can kindle romance in the most unromantic of hearts.
The 18th century royal abode which captured the affection of actress Vivien Leigh, Queen Elizabeth II and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and was featured in the James Bond film Octopussy has been voted the most romantic hotel in India by travellers, according to TripAdvisor's 2011 Travellers' Choice Hotel Awards.
Ideal for couples who have luxury and pampering on their minds, this one is a must have on your things-to-do-before-I-die list.
For more information, visit www.tajhotels.com.
Image: Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan
Photographs: Courtesy: Taj hotels resorts and palaces
The Zuri, Kumarakom, Kerala
Set against the backdrop of Vembanad Lake, the Zuri Kumarakom, Kerala Resort & Spa is a slice of paradise in God's own country.
A five-star deluxe spa, a lagoon, a touch of enchanting wildlife and oodles of tranquillity make the Zuri the perfect spot for relaxation with your lover.
For more informations, visit www.thezurihotels.com/kumarakom.
Image: The Zuri, Kumarakom, Kerala
Photographs: Courtesy: Zuri hotels and resorts
The Machan and Camp Canopy, Lonavala, Maharashtra
This is the place to head to if you love the romance of nature. While the Machan is a unique tree house that stands on a precipice with a breathtaking view, Camp Canopy turns the rustic romantic with its luxury tents.
Located in the midst of an isolated private tropical forest, this is one of the most Harmonious Habitats ever created, according to CNN International. And with just birds, deer and rabbits for company and clear skies for star gazing, this can be your personal Eden.
For more information, visit www.themachan.com.
Image: The Machan and Camp Canopy, Lonavala, Maharashtra
Photographs: Courtesy: The Machan, Camp Canopy
Honeymoon Inn, Manali, Himachal Pradesh
This hotel is, unabashedly, all about romance. Located in the lap of the Himalayas, with Deodar woods, multi-tiered gardens, and an apple orchard, it couldn't have asked for a more befitting spot.
For more information, visit www.hotelhoneymooninn.net/manali/.
Image: Honeymoon Inn, Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Photographs: Courtesy: Hotel Honeymoon Inn
Orange County, Kabini, Karnataka
At Orange County, the casual visitor is drawn into the bosom of the Nilgiri biosphere. Even as you are cradled in the lap of luxury, the resort gives you a wildlife experience like no other.
Steeped in local lore and culture, and inspired in design by tribal villages, this picturesque resort is bordered on two sides by the Kabini river.
For more information, visit www.orangecounty.in.
Image: Orange County, Kabini, Karnataka
Photographs: Courtesy: Orange County , Kabini
Camp Noel, Munnar, Kerala
Located right in the heart of the mountains, Camp Noel promises to be one of the most enchanting experiences of living within the midst of nature.
It is strategically situated far away from the city and it offers an experience that will take you into the depths of Kerala.
Practically 36 km away from the main Munnar city, this hotel will give you a forest experience, as you must drive for almost 6 km to get to this hotel on a path that can barely be called a proper road.
For more information, visit www.campnoel.com.
Image: Camp Noel, Munnar, Kerala
Photographs: Courtesy: Camp Noel, Pazhathottam, Koviloor
The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, Rajasthan
Make sure you get here if you want to experience the romance of old rambling Mewar courtyards, rippling fountains, pools, and gardens. Its grand architecture will give you an authentic feel of Rajasthan.
It has a luxurious spa that overlooks the lake, an international cuisine served in a way that you get a view of the City Palace and Lake Pinchola and rooms with exquisite views.
For more information, visit www.oberoihotels.com/oberoi_udaivilas/index.asp.
Image: The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, Rajasthan
Photographs: Courtesy: Oberoi Hotels & Resort
The Serai, Chikmaglur, Karnataka
Located close to Mysore city (80 km away), the hotel pronmises to give you the same peace and comfort that it gave soldiers and travellers exhausted in their journeys, hence the name -- Serai in Turkish, or a Palace of the Sultan.
It has a spa replete with therapists and has accommodation options to suit your needs private villas, cottages overlooking the river, and single-floor villas with a choice of a pool or a Jacuzzi.
For more information, visit www.theserai.in/en/in-the-hills.html.
Image: The Serai, Chikmaglur, Karnataka
Photographs: Coffee Day Hotels & Resorts Pvt. Ltd
Ambassador Resort, Manali, Himachal Pradesh
The Ambassador has retained the local essence of Manali. Located 50 km from the Kullu airport it rests high on the Himalayas and offers excellent views of the surrounding gardens, mountains and forests.
Image: Ambassador Resort, Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Photographs: Courtesy: Mystic Himachal
Vivanta by Taj, Kumarakom, Kerala
This 19th century colonial bungalow offers an authentic experience of Kerala where you can soak in the pleasures of its backwaters, houseboats and swaying palms.
Accommodation options include charming heritage rooms as well as luxury villas and cottages.
For more information, visit www.vivantabytaj.com/Kumarakom-Kerala/Overview.html
Image: Vivanta by Taj, Kumarakom, Kerala
Photographs: Courtesy: Vivanta Hotels and Resorts