Go beyond the puppet shows and thali feasts of India’s tourist palaces seeking out another gentler and creative India with some of our favourite family-owned boutique properties below. From one of the grandest cities in India, now a faded beauty and nearly unknown, to a celebrity favourite deep in the depths of Rajasthan, India is scattered with lesser-known properties that are infused with stories of valour, vision and rooted in the soil of their setting. This is a journey through hotels created by love – with each one is utterly individual to itself, offering an experience not to be found anywhere else on earth.
1. Rajbari, West Bengal
A gentle 2.5 hours drive from Kolkata ‘City of Joy’, Rajbari is less a hotel and more of a discovery. Restored after decades of dilapidation by Kolkata resident Ajay Rawla, this early 19th-century merchant’s palace has one of the most breathtaking entrances