About 200km/3hr from Delhi.
Rooms at the Oberoi Amarvilas offer ethereal views of the Taj Mahal, and service that’s fit for royalty. The rooms are designed to indulge with king-size beds, teak floors, and handwoven Mughal-inpired rugs. The spa offers pampering treatments involving milk-and-rose baths, and the restaurant serves up melt-in-the-mouth Kakori kebabs and Awadhi biryani made from heirloom recipes. Turn up the romance with an intimate dinner for two in your private balcony. www.oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-agra-amarvilas-resort. Doubles from approx. ₹40,000.
About 150km/3hr from Delhi.
The pool is a recent addition to the 14th-century heritage hotel. Photo courtesy Neemrana Hotels
Take a road trip to Alwar in Rajasthan for a quiet stay at this majestic Neemrana heritage hotel that dates back to the 14th century. The restored fort has large, airy rooms dressed in ethnic tones, with views of the sprawling hotel garden and the village nearby. Explore the region’s rich history, wind down with a relaxing Balinese massage at the Neemrana spa, or spend the day reading by the pool. The Sariska Tiger Reserve, home to leopards, hyenas and the striped cat, is also a 1.5-hr drive away. www.the-hill-fort-kesroli.neemranahotels.com. Doubles from ₹3,000-10,000. Get a 20 per cent discount between May and August.
Cozy up with a thrilling novel at this friendly homestay. Photo courtesy The Coral Tree Homestay
Only a six-minute walk from the Taj Mahal, this cosy homestay is a good base from which to explore the marble Mughal monument. Gopal Singh, a government-approved tour guide, runs the homestay with his wife. When you’re done gawking at the domed marvel, go on a nature walk to spot birds like the Indian cormorant, Eurasian collared dove, and brown rock chat. If all you’re hankering for is alone-time, curl up with a book in one of the homestay’s four brightly furnished rooms. www.thecoraltreehomestay.com and on Facebook. Doubles from ₹2,200.
About 85km/2hr from Delhi.
Sit down to a traditional dinner at the hotel’s courtyard restaurant. Photo courtesy Mud Fort Kuchesar Heritage Hotel
The renovated Kuchesar mud fort dates back to the 18th century and was once the seat of the Jat Kingdom in Uttar Pradesh. Today, its chambers have four-poster wooden beds, warm yellow lights, and simple ethnic furnishing that make for a comfy, intimate getaway. The property offers a range of culturally enriching activities. Opt for a pottery class, visit nearby mango orchards, or explore fort ruins. www.mudfortkuchesar.com. Doubles from ₹6,000.
About 250km/5hr from Delhi.
Dera Village Retreat has 18 cottages, all with a muted colour palette. Photo courtesy Dera Village Retreat
For a more rustic break, visit Dera Village Retreat in the Aravalli Hills. The rooms are comfortable, well-furnished, and done up in earthy colours. Spend your days exploring the area on short hikes (ask for a picnic lunch), taking trips to the village, or exploring the Chand Baori stepwell (40min-drive away). It was built over 1,000 years ago and is considered one of the oldest and deepest stepwells in the country. At sundown, return to the property for folk dance performances and dinner. www.deravillageretreat.com. Doubles from ₹12,000. Get a 20 per cent discount from April to mid-May and mid-August to September.
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