Wake up a princess in one of the world's most beautiful palaces
08 AUGUST 2013
Want to feel like a princess for a day? Stay in one of the world's palaces that have been transformed into lavish hotels.
With the finest of furnishings, the most beautiful of interiors and breathtaking settings in palaces dating back to the 17th century, jet off to stay in the unique Taj Lake Palace in India, Istanbul's Ciragan Palace, or Seville's symbol of the Moorish influences from the past, Hotel Alfonso XIII...
Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India
Today, guests can stay at one of its most famous of India's palaces: the 17th century Taj Lake Palace. When it was transformed into a hotel, its grand interiors drew the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth II and the King of Nepal. Occupying a four-acre island in Pichola Lake, the hotel appears to float on turquoise water. Cypress-shaded courtyards, gardens and fountains dot the graceful white marble complex, which was built facing the east so that residents could pray to the sun god at dawn.
Each and every one of the 66 rooms and 17 suites offer stunning views and intricate décor to envelop guests in royal mystique.
Ciragan Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Situated in a 19th-century Ottoman palace, this 5-star hotel features an infinity pool with views of the Bosphorus – the silver band of water that links the Black Sea to the Marmara and separates Europe from Asia – Turkish baths and private cabanas by the pool. Rooms at the Ciragan Palace are finished to excellence with luxury bedding, floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony with glorious views of either the sprawling gardens or the sea. You'll be delighted with either…
The setting of the hotel – in the 19th century Vienna Palace of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha – is extraordinary. Experience six centuries of architectural history in this incredible piece of art, built on the former defence wall of the emperor's city, situated in the heart of Vienna.
Now the 5-star luxury hotel boasts grand ceremonial rooms, an exclusive spa area overlooking the roofs of Vienna, a sauna, a steam bath, a hot tub, an indoor pool and a sun terrace. All-glass lifts, an impressive wine celler and impeccable service are also on the menu, as well as Austrian and international gourmet cuisine – at the in-house restaurants.
The Patria Palace situated in Lecce in Puglia – the heel of Italy – brings back to life an ancient patrician residence of the 18th century, the Palazzo D'Anna-Petrarolo. Lavishly restored by artists and craftsmen, the palace has been embellished with frescoes and decorative Art Deco style.
Small and cozy yet with the utmost elegance, the 63 rooms and suites, all different, are each personalised with murals painted by American-born artist John Duggan, who has become a prominent painter in Italy.
Situated in the heart of the south of Spain, Hotel Alfonso XIII symbolises the city's Moorish influences and provides access to the renowned Santa Cruz quarter and Guadalquivir River.
Built at the request of King Alfonso XIII in 1929, this prestigious hotel – complete with Arabic-style architecture including high arches, ceramic tiles, original brickwork and ornamental towers – has been hosting an array of royals and heads of state for more than 85 years, and continues to draw guests from all over the world for its historical aura and charm.
Perched high above the desert capital of Jodhpur, Umaid Bhawan Palace is the last of the great palaces of India and one of the largest private residences in the world – set amidst 26 acres of sprawling lush gardens.
Named after Maharaja Umaid Singh, the present Maharaja of Jodhpur's grandfather, this golden-hued desert sandstone monument took 15 years to build, becoming the symbol of a new Jodhpur.
The palace, offering 64 luxurious rooms and suites that come complete with lavish interiors and fine gilt furniture, is a blend of eastern and western architectural influences. Its majestic 105ft high cupola is influenced by the Renaissance, while the towers draw inspiration from Rajput tradition.
The Xara Palace, Mdina, Malta
This Relais & Châteaux property is a unique 17th century Palace hidden away in the medieval fortified city of Mdina, the old capital of Malta. Restored to its former noble glory, the 5-star boutique hotel boasts 17 luxury rooms with unique pieces of antique furniture and paintings, luxurious Parisian fabrics and king size beds, and needless to say, stunning views of the surrounding baroque architecture.
Step back in time with this luxurious palace-come-hotel that is perched on centuries-old bastions for an exquisitely unforgettable holiday, and why not try some award-winning haute cuisine along the way...