To Live in a Royal Way
To Live in a Royal Way
In our time, in order to relax in royal chambers or feel like a maharaja, it is not necessary to have an impressive title. Fortunately for us, the gates of castles, palaces and palazzos are open for everyone who can afford to pay for this pleasure and prices are not as high as you would expect. For those who want to feel like a princess or a king, we offer our selection of seven of the most beautiful hotels-palaces in the world.
Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, India
The last owner of the Falaknuma Palace, Nizam VI Mahboob Ali Pasha, was the supreme ruler of Hyderabad and was considered, according to Time Magazine in 1940, to be the richest man in the world. He was succeeded by his son, Mir Osman Ali Khan.
The palace was created in the traditions of the Italian Renaissance and Tudor architecture. The palace remembers many historical figures, including King George V and Queen Mary, The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), Russian Tsar Nicholas II and the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad. They all enjoyed the generous hospitality of Mir Osman Ali Khan. Soon after, the Nizam left Hyderabad and the palace was closed.
In 2000, the ‘Mirror of the Sky’, as it was known, was leased by the Taj Hotel Group. Reconstruction was done personally by Princess Esra, the former wife of the last Nizam. It was decided to preserve the originality and royal magnificence of the palace. Her Highness invited designers and restorers from around the world and personally chose tapestries, furniture, carpets and silverware. In November 2010, the ‘Taj Falaknuma Palace’ hosted its first guests and, today, it heads the list of exclusive hotels on Trip Advisor.
In November 2017, the Nizam’s quarters, which are the most expensive of the apartments (€5,500/night), were booked for the daughter of the U.S. president, Ivanka Trump. As for the remaining rooms, the word ‘simpler’ is permissible only in comparison with the royal chambers. Here, you will discover pastel interiors, beds under canopy, Turkish carpets, white baths, supreme refinement and eastern splendour.
The price of accommodation is from €470/night. www.tajhotels.com
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jaipur (Rajasthan), India
The Umaid Bhawan Palace is the symbol of the city of Jaipur, the home of a former royal family and the sixth largest private residence in the world. Here, you can live under the same roof as the heirs of the Maharajas.
Under a stone dome 110-feet high, there are 375 chambers, two theatres and a dining room for a thousand people; all side-by-side. The palace is divided into three parts. In one of them, His Highness Gaj Singh II, the grandson of the Maharaja of Jaipur, Umaid Singh, at whose command the palace was built, lives with his family. In the other rooms, there is a museum. The luxurious 5-star Taj Heritage Hotel, in the third part of the building, offers 45 stunning rooms and 19 suites, decorated in the Indo-Art-Deco style.
The price of accommodation is from €1,400/night. www.tajhotels.com
St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, London, England
It is difficult to believe that the neo-Gothic building of the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel was once (1873-1935) a station hotel with 300 rooms, without bathtubs or running water. Today, St. Pancras station is the main London terminal. In the course of a large-scale restoration, costing $245 million, the St. Pancras Midland Grand Hotel, where the offices of the railway company were located, recently acquired a pristine appearance and modern technical equipment.
Behind the original façade, created by architect George Gilbert Scott, a five-star hotel has been hidden since 2011, connecting the traditions of old England with modern style and impeccable service. The façade is a prime example of Victorian splendour, having played the role of palace for King Edward in the movie ‘Richard III’. As well, Tim Burton filmed scenes for ‘Batman’ on a background of the unique vaulted ceilings and stone stairs of St Pancras.
The price of accommodation is from €245/night. www.stpancrasrenaissance.co.uk
Shangri-La Hotel, Paris, France
The Shangri-La Hotel is the former mansion of the grand-nephew of France’s emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. On the order of Prince Roland Bonaparte, architect Ernest Janti, in 1896, built, in the centre of Paris, Palais d’Iéna, whose eclectic design echoes the stylistics of the Louvre and Tuileries Palace.
After the death of Roland Bonaparte, the building changed owners several times, receiving, from each successive owner, new floors and alterations. In 2006, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts bought the palace and turned it into an exclusive hotel, which opened in late 2010. The Shangri-La Hotel’s name is borrowed from the novel written by James Hilton, ‘The Lost Horizon’.
The price of accommodation is from €750/night. www.shangri-la.com
Ritz Madrid, Madrid, Spain
The King of Spain, Alphonse XIII, travelling through Europe, once realised that, in his native kingdom, there was no decent place for the reception of distinguished guests. So, architects Charles Mewes, Luis de Landecho and Lorenzo Gallego designed this building, which was to be the decoration of Madrid.
At the request of the monarch, it resembled the grand Ritz hotels in London and Paris (The Ritz London Hotel and Hôtel Ritz Paris). The best Spanish and foreign masters of the time contributed to the design of the interiors. The Royal Tapestry Factory supplied upholstery for the furniture, bed linen was ordered from Ireland and dishes and cutlery came from England. Alfonso XIII, his ministers and representatives of the Madrid City Hall attended the grand opening in 1910.
The price of accommodation is from €260/night. www.ritzmadrid.com
Palais Coburg Residenz Hotel, Vienna, Austria
Palais Coburg Residenz is located in the centre of old Vienna, near St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Columns on the façade resemble asparagus stems. Amusingly, the townspeople originally nicknamed Palais Coburg ‘Asparagus Palace’. In memory of the former owner, Duke Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg, each suite bears the name of one of the members of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha dynasty.
The magnificent palace, built in 1844, turned into a five-star hotel, with 34 apartments, in 2003. Behind the restored neoclassical façade, the atmosphere of the Middle Ages, combined with modern design elements and the latest technologies, invite you to explore.
The price of accommodation is from €670/night. www.palais-coburg.com
Four Seasons Hotel, Florence, Italy
Giuliano da Sangallo, in an unprecedented short eight years, built this luxurious palace for Florentine Chancellor Bartolomeo Scala. This was in the 16th century. Later, Cardinal Alessandro de’ Medici settled here. His heiress sister, having married, joined the ancient Tuscan family of Gherardesca. Time has passed, but the name remains. Four centuries later, the Four Seasons Hotel settled into the palace, where guests were given the opportunity to plunge into the Renaissance and enjoy the silence of the palace park, the largest in the city centre.
The price of accommodation is from €350/night. www.fourseasons.com
Royal Mansour Marrakech, Marrakech, Morocco
Royal Mansour Marrakech is one of the best hotels in Morocco. It is always cool here because the windows are in the inner landscape park, created, by designer Luis Vallejo, in the image and likeness of the gardens of the Alhambra. Here, the tops of trees crown the tent, the fountains gurgle and the blue pools shimmer. Woven from the cultures of North Africa and Spain, and the architectural traditions of Mauritania and Portugal, the design of the Royal Mansour Marrakech is a symphony of lace plaster, woodcarvings and marble coolness. The atmosphere of the multi-level chambers breathes a refined delicacy, with silk, velvet, brocades, antique furniture, paintings and vases. On the roof, there is a terrace with a swimming pool. Surrounding this masterpiece is the eternal Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains.
The price of accommodation is from €900/night. www.royalmansour.com