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Elegant Traveller

Explore India's Greatest Hidden Gems with Me

schedule4 Minute Read

31-Jan-2024 Holly Groombrige

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Explore India's Greatest Hidden Gems with Me

Discover some of the lesser-known gems of this diverse destination...

India is known for its bustling cities and mouthwatering meals, but on my latest trip in December I took a different approach to this iconic destination. Staying at a handful of our featured hotels, I got the chance to see India in a whole new light through a lens of luxury.

Embarking on a curated journey of bespoke experiences, I swapped the guidebooks for unique experiences in India that I can't wait to share with you. From seeing the iconic wonders in a more unique way, to discovering overlooked luxury offerings, these are my top five hidden gems of India.

Visit the Only Rooftop Bar in Delhi

My first stop on my Indian adventure was to the capital city of New Delhi. Despite its cosmopolitan centre, you may be surprised to hear that rooftop bars appeared to be a rare commodity here.

As I was staying at The Oberoi, New Delhi, I took some time to visit the only rooftop bar in Delhi, Cirrus 9, which was not short of charm or splendour. This unique bar stands tall above the compelling landscape, positioning itself between the bustling city and lush golf course. On one side, vast green that stretched into the horizon and the other, vibrant lights glimmering off tall towers.
Cirrus Bar
The incredible views and delicious cocktails made this a great place to escape to, and I would definitely recommend arranging a visit!

Exchange Pandemonium for Private Tours

As a luxury hotel brand, Oberoi is great at ensuring you have a peaceful oasis amid bustling cities, and my stay at The Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra was no different in that sense. I say 'in that sense' as this stay was unlike any other. after just a few steps into the pristine lobby, I could see the Taj Mahal through the patio windows in front of me! I imagine very few hotels allow guests to check-in in full view of one of the new Seven Wonders of the World!
No matter how many pictures you've seen of this marble building, you cannot help but grin at the sight. The Amarvilas provides a fantastic view of the Taj Mahal from every room too. This allows you to appreciate its beauty without dealing with the usual crowds.
View of Taj Mahal
Holly at Taj Mahal at sunset
If you do want to venture out and get closer though, I would thoroughly recommend visiting the Taj Mahal at sunset. The warm atmosphere was simply mind-blowing. And a guided tour meant I could get an insight into such an impressive structure; our guide told us the story of how the Mughal Emperor designed and created this monument in memory of his wife, which had me thinking of the sheer scale of construction efforts.

Get Up Close to The National Bird

Before my visit I had heard a lot about the beauty of Jaipur. The hustle and bustle of the city could get a bit overwhelming, but I was staying at The Oberoi Rajvilas which was the perfect balance. Based on a 32-acre ground, it was the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploration.

I stayed in a luxury tent, but this was far from camping. It was designed with all the modern amenities you would expect from a premium hotel including private gardens and pools. And aside from the calmness of it all, this stay brought me closer to the national bird of India: the peacock! It was such a special sight to see them roaming freely around all the gardens.
Peacock at The Oberoi Rajvilas
Exterior and Pool

Visit The Lesser Known (But Equally Impressive) Sites

I had the opportunity to see so many amazing sites that may be overshadowed by those that typically feature on 'what to do in India' guides. Just a few of my favourites were the Jantar Mantar, an 18th century royal observatory that has huge instruments that include the world's largest sundial, and the uninhibited Nagda Temple on the outskirts of Udaipur where stories of classic Indian culture were told by the intricately carved exterior.
Nagda Temple carvings
Nagda Temple
I also have to mention Marine Drive on the coast of Mumbai. Otherwise known as the queen's necklace, is truly a site to behold when the sun sets, and the road is lit up with vibrant yellow lamps. I spent my evenings at The Oberoi, Mumbai enjoying the view from my sea-facing room.

My adventure ended at the Gateway to India which is where the first British monarch landed on the country's grounds. A grand arch-monument now stands on the waterfront to commemorate this historic moment and is absolutely worth visiting if you are passing by the city of Mumbai.

See The Country's Sustainable Side

On my travels, I discovered that Delhi is making a real effort to go green by adopting measures that improve air quality and clear smog. Vehicles that run through the city have been replaced with either natural gas or electric powered engines, making it a much more pleasant climate.

Upon entering Udaipur, I found similar indications of sustainable practice as my hotel, The Oberoi Udaivilas, sourced a fantastic 40% of their energy from solar panels. Their own bottling plant meant I was greeted into my rooms with a fresh glass of water, guaranteed to be free of any plastic amenities.
Are you looking for more travel inspiration? Filled with first-hand travel tales, expert destination guides and more, our luxury online travel blog can help.
Holly Groombrige

Holly Groombrige

Luxury Travel Specialist

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